Spare Time Activities/Furniture for the outdoor home

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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

Furniture for the outdoor home

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PROBABLY most of us have experienced the discomfort of badly served meals in camp, and have consoled ourselves with the chilly comfort that after all “carnp is camp,” and we must Be Prepared to “rough it” for a little time. This is really only partly true. Of course we are quite ready to rough it, if need be, with anyone; but there is no need to exalt roughing it into a virtue and to endure intolerable conditions when you might easily be living in decency and comparative comfort. You can always tell the camp of the old hand from that of the tenderfoot. The old campaigner knows how to make himself comfortable, and has a thousand little dodges up his sleeve. He is always improvising, adapting and making use of the things that lie to hand in order to make himself at home in the wilds, while the tenderfoot is enduring all sorts of discomforts in the vain belief that he is becoming a hardy campaigner. This not only applies to sleeping arrangements but also to cooking and feeding, and it is about feeding that we are going to talk to-day. I wonder if you have ever sat on your blankets in a bell tent eating Irish stew or drinking cocoa; if so, you know how difficult it is to keep your blankets clean and your tent fresh and sweet. The moral is, of course, that food should never be eaten in your sleeping tents. Rig up a little shelter outside and then provide your Patrol with a dining-table, which can easily be made with a few old staves and some ordinary builder’s laths, about 2 ft. 6 in. long.

Fasten the laths together by tying a couple of clove hitches in the middle of two pieces of string around the first lath, and then join the others by means of the Malay hitch, which the diagram makes clear. When you come to the last lath you finish off by knotting the ends of the string. You have now a sort of wooden mat which can be rolled up and carried about quite easily This forms your table-top, and four pieces of staff driven into the ground make the legs. The table-top is supported by two staves lashed horizontally to the legs at a convenient height from the ground by means of square lashings, or if you use forked sticks for the legs no lashings will be needed at all. The picture on the next page makes all this clear. The finishing touch is put on by having a piece of American cloth to cover your table. Camp stools, too, are quite easily made if you know how to use a saw and an auger, and are lucky enough to have a tree to cut up. In this case the easiest way to make a stool is just to cut off slices from your tree about 2 in. thick with a cross-cut saw. Probably you know how to

use the cross-cut already, but if you don’t, just remember the following little tips: –

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First of all don’t push it – always pull it to and fro. The teeth are set to cut on the pull. Then don’t dance about – keep your feet still; shuffling is a great waste of energy, so get a firm stand and swing down to it. Last of all, don’t press on the saw, it will do the cutting all right if you will keep it steadily going. Cross-cutting is fine exercise, as you will find out if you try it on an oak tree. Well now, having cut your slab cleanly off the tree-trunk, the next job is to make the legs, which consist of just three or four sticks about 1½ in. thick and say 1 ft, or 15 in. long. Bore holes with an auger about two-thirds of the way through the seat from the under side, being careful not to go right through or you will spoil the whole job. Shape the ends of the legs so that they fit quite comfortably in the holes, don’t make them too tight or there will be no room for the wedges to work. These wedges – called fox wedges – should be made just a little too large to fit the slits which are cut in the tops of the legs. Then when you put t e h legs in the holes bored for them, and drive them firmly home, the wedges expand the tops of the legs so that they grip tightly, and if you have done the job well they will be as firm as a rock. It is not, of course, essential to have a round section cut off the tree-trunk for your stool tops; actually it would be far better to use a thick piece of plank rather than a piece cut across the grain, for it is much less likely to split. When you have made a few rough stools for camp and become pretty good at making them, you could set to work to furnish your Patrol Corner or Rover Den with some really well- made ones, ornamenting them by chip-carving the tops, or covering them with leather.