Enjoying a Quiet Evening

My mother spent only one day in the intensive care ward, then she was transferred to standard care and so far there are no complications. I had enough peace of mind to take out my little chainsaw and work a bit again on the wood that needs cutting down to size to make knife handles. This is one of the pieces – a rootball of unknown species, probably willow and either Salix cinerea or Salix caprea. I have never seen the tree in question, I stole the rootball from the garden of a nearby derelict abandoned building (former asylum for mentally handicapped) where it was dug out and partially burned during some works. I hope to get some interesting pieces of wood out of it. I had to hammer quite a few stones out of various crevices first though, otherwise, it would destroy my chainsaw.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I did not work too much, however. I needed a rest after tackling the pile of firewood. It was a bit less in the end than I hoped for – approximately 3.200 kg – but still, I was tired after working on it daily for over a week. Small pieces are now in sacks of 12 kg and larger pieces are neatly stacked near the house. It will get rained on even though I covered it a bit, but that is not a big problem. Once wood dries, it does not take water in very easily and it does dry again very quickly, so I know from experience that it easily dries in the cellar in a few days with the waste heat of the oven.

So when I was done with what little work I felt like doing, I made a little fire and we sat with my father and we baked sausages for dinner. I started the fire with a ferrocerium rod and I was a bit surprised by how easily a tuft of dry grass has caught fire from these sparks. At least I know for certain that I am not selling useless crap with my bushcraft knives.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

After dinner, I tossed some more wood on the fire. Mostly wood that is not suitable for heating the house, like rotten pieces of a palette, tree bark, etc. It made a bigger fire over which I have put an old baking tray across two fireclay bricks. And I filled that tray with dried iron rust.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This is the step that I have had no pictures of when I wrote about my DIY buffing compound. I went with the baking tray instead of a can/pot this time because I wanted to be able to stir the material during the calcination process. I assumed that that would allow oxygen to access it easier and thus the end product should contain more red hematite and less black oxides (probably wüstite and magnetite). And I think I was correct. The ochre-colored lumps heated up very, very slowly, then they finally started to disintegrate into black dust that has turned into red hematite with further heating and stirring. You can see the color change in the last picture. The sun was much lower at that time and thus the lighting conditions were different, but the color change of the material in the tray is real. Also evident in that picture is the disintegration of the lumps.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

According to the forecast, tomorrow the weather should be nice. Thus I will spend it by cutting as much wood for knife handles as I can. It needs doing. As it is, the wood takes up a lot of space. When I cut out the usable bits, I reduce a huge log into a few small blocks that fit into a shoe box. The rest goes into bags and onto the pile of firewood that will get used up during the winter.

I am also thinking about offering some of the nice pieces of wood for some symbolic price in my shoppe. It is highly improbable that I will use all that I have.


  1. Jazzlet says

    Great news on your mother, I hope she continues to recover well!

    That sounds like a lovely evening.

  2. Ice Swimmer says

    It’s great to hear good news on your mother.

    You would fit in here quite well with your dinner, people in Tampere seem to be quite fond of grilled or baked sausages, both as street food and also as snacks in combination with sauna (public saunas have facilities for grilling your own sausages).

  3. says

    @Ice Swimmer, that is an interesting thing. Grilling sausages over an open fire is in CZ a summer tradition. BBQ was not a thing when I was a kid, but grilling sausages over an open fire was an event at every summer camp or a sports/social event for kids. To this day it is my favorite way to spend a nice warm spring/summer evening, even though my childhood was not that splendid (not my parents’ fault I feel compelled to ad).

  4. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 3

    Finland is/was pretty much the same. I think this is just a bit more prominent in Tampere than in Helsinki area. The local specialty in sausages here in Tampere is the mustamakkara (black sausage, made from pork blood). The other street food specialty here is a local version of the Tatar* peremech pie, pärämätsi. I haven’t tasted one, but they say it’s very tasty and spicy.

    * = Tatar merchants came to Finland both before Russian Revolution and in connection with that. They are still involved in various areas of business.

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