Spare Time Activities/A drinking cup

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Spare Time Activities: Foreword 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

A drinking cup

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HERE’S an idea for making a really jolly drinking cup which was described for the benefit of British Scouts by that grand old pioneer and backwoodsman, Dan Beard. Do you know what a noggin is? If not, look up your dictionary, which will give “Small mug, small measure, usually ¼ pint of liquor,” so that’s that; and the noggin we are going to make is the real backwoods article as actually made and used by the pioneers and trappers in the days of Dan Beard’s boyhood. You know, or at any rate you ought to, that no self-respecting Scout goes about with axes and frypans and billycans hung about him like a pedlar’s caravan. Just one thing is essential, and that is, the knife; everything else should be in his rucksack except perhaps his noggin hanging ready for a drink if need be. But how to make it? First of all you find a tree, for preference maple, beech, or sycamore, which has, as you will find on so many trees, a little bump or swelling of the right size. Then you get permission to saw it off. If you live in town don’t rush off to the nearest public park and start cutting the corns off the ornamental trees. There’s no need to be an ass, and ask for trouble – you get plenty without asking. The thing to do is just to keep this idea of noggins in your mind until, one day, you are camping in the country and find a suitable tree with just the right bump – then get the owner’s permission, and there you are. Well, having done all this, saw off your knob of wood, as you see in the drawing, and then get busy scooping out the wood in the middle until your cup is about ⅛ in. thick ; mind you don’t go

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right through the shell – when you arrive at this stage you will find a certain amount of care is needed. Having got the shell thin enough, make it really smooth by using bits of broken glass, finishing off with glass paper. Then polish it with a little linseed oil and shellac well rubbed in.

When you have found the ideal “bump,” on a suitable tree, saw it off. Having done this, scoop out as much wood as you can, leaving the cup about ⅛ of an inch thick. To hang the cup to your belt, bore a hole in the wood, and attach by means of a piece of rawhide. To make the wooden “platter,” get a piece of wood about a foot square. Scoop the wood from the centre. The small hole in the corner is for such things as salt. If you are going to hang it on your belt, bore a hole and attach a strip of rawhide, as you see in the diagram, fastening a small wooden toggle at the other end by a rawhide splice. To make this you simply cut two slits in the leather, slip the short end through the second slit and the long end through the first, and haul taut. This will hold the rawhide absolutely secure, like the latigo lash. Another useful gadget which you might like to make just to keep the noggin company is an old English wooden platter, which schoolboys and others used as long ago as the days of Good Queen Bess, and before that. Take a flat piece of wood of the same kind as the noggin, from 9 in. to 1 ft. square – according to the size of your appetite – and ½ in. thick. Draw a circle to within ¼ in. of the sides and scoop out the wood to a depth of ¼ in. Then in one corner draw a little circle of 1 in. diameter and cut out a little recess to hold your salt, and you have a very serviceable camp platter which will stand any amount of rough usage. There’s no need to tell you that the brand illustrated at the head of this chapter is the Indian sign for water.