Came across a neat idea for a sanding tool which seemed useful for handling the contours of a paddle, especially the shaft and throat area. It is my version of a "MacFarlane Bow Sander". I ended up purchasing a set of three 1" by 30" strips meant for a belt sander and used some walnut scraps along with a flexible strip of sassafras for the crosspiece. Also shaped some sassafras pieces into squarish dowel square to wedge and hold the sanding strip in place. Here are the pieces laid out for a visual.
The springy sassafras cross bar provides enough flex to bend and hold the sander under tension. While cutting out the slots in one of the walnut handles for the cross bar, a chunk chipped off so the slot became slightly too large. A thin wedge of sassafras must be jammed in to prevent any wiggling but the whole tool is pretty solid. It'll get some usage in the spring when I can start sanding outside again.
Also decided to use additional scraps to make some camping tools for my boys. Rather than learning proper technique with sharp tools, thought it would be proper to make some wooden toys so they could play and practice safely first. A piece of sassafras looked like an axe head to me and a cutoff of cherry had the contours of a handle. So they were put together but I couldn't find the camera to take pics at the time.
Then I read about a way to artificially accelerate the oxidizing process to turn the wood into a dark grey colour. It involves a mixture of rusty nails, vinegar and black tea. Found the camera for this step and took pics of the natural sassafras turning into a dark black stain using this natural method. Might be a neat trick to artificially age some future paddles as well.
Side of wooden axe head before staining
Surface oxidized with vinegar and tea mixture
Also used some more sassafras bits to make a toy bucksaw and decided to stain "the blade" in a similar manner to look like metal. A canvas and leather case was also stitched up with some scraps.
Disassembled with case
Also still had various handle blanks cut back in '08 when making some custom carving tools. Just couldn't bring myself to burning these bits of hardwood. So these were used to make some toy tools similar to my own set for making the birchbark canoe. There's a basic belt knife with walnut handle and sassafras blade as well as a crooked knife with the same blade / handle combination
Used up more bits to make a chisel, a triangular awl and even a little firesteel rod replica.
Here are all the goodies spread out on the table. Planning on making a kid's sized pack basket to put them all in so we can have some camping / bushcraft fun next season.
Camping & Bushcraft Tools