TOP Natural resources FOR woodcraft and bushcraft

TOP Natural resources FOR woodcraft and bushcraft

TOP Natural resources FOR woodcraft and bushcraft

Woodcraft and bushcraft are both dependent on natural resources to function properly. Trees are particularly advantageous since they are accessible at all times of the year, regardless of the season.


 However, although it is true that certain materials inside a tree are more readily accessible during warmer months, timber, roots, and inner bark are always available. 


There are many different types of trees in the eastern woods, and discussing all of the different species would be beyond the scope of this book. You will, however, get an understanding of some of the most common tree families, such as pine, willow, poplar, oak, and birch, as well as how to make full use of the resources they have to offer.





The pine tree is one of the most prevalent trees in the eastern woods, accounting for about a quarter of the total. It also gives important materials throughout the year, regardless of the weather. Because the pine tree is a conifer, it does not lose its needles throughout the winter months, when many other tree species lose their leaves, as many other tree species do. 



Consider taking a closer look at this tree from the outside in order to have a better understanding of its capabilities.
It is amazing because, owing to its resinous nature, it burns fast and can be used to construct a fire lay even in rainy weather, making it an excellent choice for making a fire pit.



 The dense, black smoke that emanates from a pine fire is the result of the resins contained inside the wood being burned away. If you choose pine for your fireplace and spindle set, it may be a highly efficient material—just be sure to avoid the resins otherwise your hearth and spindle set will merely polish instead of burning. Pine is a good carving wood, but it is not as sturdy as other woods when it comes to making tools.

Pine needles are used in this recipe.





Pine resin is often found on the outermost section of the tree where an injury has occurred, and it may also be found on the trunk. The dripping or secretion enables you to get access to and harvest anything from inside the tree without causing any damage to the tree. 



This substance, also known as sap, is similar to liquid gold and should be gathered whenever the chance presents itself. I have a separate 4-ounce container in my kit so that I may gather sap whenever I come across it and put it in my kit as needed. Pine sap, when used as a therapeutic resource, may serve as new skin on a shallow cut and is typically effective as an antibacterial when wounds are being cared for.



 The resin itself is very combustible, and as a result, it acts as a fantastic flame extender inside the fire lay. Pine pitch, a very excellent glue that can be manufactured by heating the sap and mixing it with equal parts charcoal and a binder such as cattail fluff or herbivore dung, may be produced. When melting the sap, utilize a low heat setting since it becomes very brittle if overheated.


The resultant glue may then be kept in a container or wrapped on a pitch stick by wrapping it around the stick like cotton candy and allowing it to cure one layer at a time, as seen in the photo. This stick may subsequently be heated over a fire to soften the glue, allowing it to be applied more smoothly.




Eastern pine needles are exceptionally healthy, containing more vitamin C per weight than a fresh-squeezed orange and more calcium than a banana. The vitamin A content of these pine needles makes it an ideal tea for enhancing the immune system as well. Pine needle tea may also be used as an expectorant and a decongestant in addition to its other properties. 



The tea may also be used as an antibacterial wash or fomentation, according to certain sources. Because not all pines have the same flavor, you should experiment with several varieties to discover the one you enjoy the most. 


The use of pine needles may be transformed into lovely coil baskets, however the process is time-consuming. Because the resinous needles of dead pine trees are very combustible, dead pine needles make excellent complements to any fire pit. When building a primitive fire, they also make suitable coarse materials for a bird’s nest because of their coarseness.


GROWTH OF THE ROOTS Certain tree species, such as the spruce, have very long roots that extend barely below the surface of the earth. 


It is possible to gather these roots in long lengths and utilize them for cord or basket weaving. After the root has been collected, it is necessary to remove the outer bark in order to make the root more malleable. 


To remove the bark from the root, squeeze the root between two sticks and draw the root through while removing the bark from the root as you go. Keep the roots moist so that they are simpler to handle while handling the plant. Larger roots may be further divided to extend the life of the resource even more.





Because the sap collects in the fatwood, the part of the tree known as the fatwood is the finest place to gather resins from the trees. Stump and root ball may often be a wonderful source of fatwood, especially when they are combined. Because not all tree species produce a significant amount of sap, you will need to experiment with what you have on hand.



 It is fair to assume that all pines will have some fatwood in their composition. Many times, a dead standing or fallen tree may have a root ball that has been entirely soaked with resin, which indicates that the tree is dead. 


That is the treasure trove! If you find yourself in need of a fire-starting equipment in an emergency situation, keep in mind that fatwood is very combustible. 


A natural partnership is formed when you mix the accelerant properties of resin with the slow-burning properties of wood as a fuel source. 


Decide on a location of a live or dead tree where a branch has developed and cut the branch as near to the trunk as you can get it to. You will discover at least a couple inches of fatwood in this location.


 Locate the dark, orange-colored fatwood section of the log and scrape it into tiny shavings using the back of your knife to prepare it for starting a fire. This substance will ignite when exposed to an open flame or when struck with a ferrocerium rod.




The inner bark of the tree may be utilized as a source of nutrition. It also has several antibacterial characteristics, and it may even be used as an improvised bandage in some circumstances. Inner bark may be used to construct slats for baskets after it has been allowed to dry for a while.






A water indicator tree, willow grows exclusively in wet regions such as river and stream banks, drainage zones, and shoreline habitats, making it a good choice for water monitoring. Weeping willow wood is soft and suitable for carving. It is also one of the finest materials for building a hearth and spindle for a bow-drill fire set.




Leaves and branches of the willow tree

Salicin, found in willow leaves and the inner bark, is one of the chemical components that is utilized in the production of aspirin. Making a decoction of the inner bark is a rather effective headache treatment, and eating the leaves can ease a toothache temporarily.



The willow’s branches grow long and straight, and its new growth is also quite straight, which is why it makes for a good arrow shaft. The elastic nature of willow branches makes them ideal for use as containers for fast baskets and other items.





The inner bark of the willow tree may be used to produce baskets and packing boards. The bark is best gathered in the spring and early summer when the bark is loose and may be readily pulled away from the tree with a wedge, rather than in the winter. 


The outer bark may then be removed from the inner bark by peeling the inner bark away from the outer bark. The inner bark, like the majority of these sorts of components, is best workable when it is maintained moist.


POPLAR The eastern forests are densely populated with poplars. My favorite tree is the tulip poplar (also known as the yellow poplar), but it is really a magnolia, not a genuine poplar, which makes it one of my least favorite trees. 



This wood was used to create Daniel Boone’s boat, which is still on display today. The poplar is a soft tree that makes a great primitive fire set, such as a bow drill, because of its softness. A superb spindle, as well as a hearth board, may be made from poplar wood for this purpose. It’s also excellent for carving, and it makes little camp goods like spoons and spatulas a breeze.



Leaf of the Tulip Poplar

It is possible to utilize the leaves and bark of this tree medicinally to draw infection or to drive toxins to the surface of the skin, such as those produced by poison ivy, by applying pressure to the leaves and bark. One of the most effective methods to cleanse your skin of the ivy oils that cause rash is to employ a hot fomentation in conjunction with a wash. When consumed as an infusion, the leaf tea has a binding effect and may be used to treat diarrhea symptoms.




During the spring, you may simply remove the outer bark by pulling it away from the sapwood with a wedge or the blade of your axe. This bark may be used to build a variety of bark containers, ranging from baskets to arrow quivers. This may be accomplished by making two circular cuts through the bark of the tree, with the spacing between the cuts corresponding to the required length of the piece. 



Then, to open the bark, create a vertical incision between the bark and the sap by placing a wedge between the two. After that, you may begin to peel away the outer bark.


Keep in mind that peeling off the bark can cause the tree to die, so only do it if it is absolutely essential before proceeding.





The inner bark of the poplar tree, along with pine sap, is one of the most valuable resources found in the eastern forests. The inner bark serves as both a source of bird nest material and a source of tinder bundles for a campfire.



 In addition to being a strong reverse wrap for two-ply cordages when harvested green, it also has other uses. In many instances, the inner bark fibers may be seen clearly through rotten bark that has fallen off the branches. If you have branches that are dead but not shedding, you may simply process them with the back of your knife to make the inner bark accessible.




OAK The oak, 

with its strong grain and hard wood, has historically been employed in building due to its strength and durability. Oak is an excellent wood for making wooden tools and even for making replacement handles for tool handles and grips. There are two primary types of oaks: red oak and white oak. Red oak is the more common of the two.


Red oak is an excellent choice for a variety of construction components, including slat boards and dimensional timber. Red oak is a fibrous wood that can withstand bending force with ease, making it an excellent choice for creating bows. Many supplies, including as pack frames and snowshoe frames, may be made from red oak by heat-forming them.



The therapeutic properties of white oak are represented by this tree. the materia medica (collection information) regarding medicines and the ailments they were used to cure in medieval times, the white oak leaf was the emblem for materia medica (medicine knowledge). 


The inner bark of white oak has been shown to be effective in treating sinus congestion and headaches.


 This tree’s leaves and bark are very astringent due to the high concentration of tannins in them. 

The leaves and bark of this tree may be used to draw infection or to drive things to the surface, such as the oils from poison ivy, as well as to relieve diarrhea. Because white oak bark is naturally antimicrobial, decoctions of this bark make excellent mouthwashes and gargles for sore throats and gum issues, among other things.


Oak wood is a long-burning hardwood, making it an excellent option for all-night fires and for forming coal beds in cook stoves, among other applications.
Oak leaf is a kind of tree that grows in the United States.





Sassafras is included in this category because the root tea has carminative properties. A cinnamon-like taste may be achieved by finely grinding dried sassafras leaves and using them in baked goods such as bannock, a quick-fry bread. It was used as a tonic from colonial times until the 1960s, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) performed research that revealed high doses of the compound safrole caused liver cancer in rats. It is possible to employ a root decoction to soothe an upset stomach and to regulate the digestive system.


Sassafras leaf is a kind of plant.




While birch trees may be found in a variety of locations across the eastern woods, the black and river birch trees are the most common in regions such as the middle ground of the Ohio River valley. 


All birches produce oil that can be collected from the bark, and it is very combustible, so much so that it may frequently continue to burn even after the tree is completely dead. Birch is an excellent carving wood, and it is the chosen choice for the handles of Scandinavian-made knifes because of its durability.
Leaf of the birch





Birch bark, maybe more than any other tree in the eastern forests, except perhaps the pine, supplies one of the most versatile and perhaps life-saving materials available. Because of its high concentration of volatile oils, birch bark burns with a dense black smoke that, in the summer, may be used to repel insects. This fuel is nearly unrivaled in terms of its capacity to burn in moist circumstances, and when burned over an open flame, it takes little to no processing to immediately generate a bright, warming fire while simultaneously drying marginal tinder. 




Birch bark is also highly appreciated as a resource for constructing containers of various kinds, as well as for weaving into baskets and sheaths, among other things. Canoes were traditionally covered with birch bark, which was harvested by native peoples.



 Harvesting the bark from living trees is recommended between May and June, but since this tree is so tenacious and resistant to decay, the bark may be obtained from dead trees at any time of year. 



It is feasible to harvest the outer bark of a living tree without harming it, as long as you are not able to damage the inner bark of the tree throughout the process. Before harvesting significant quantities of bark, make test cuts to measure the thickness and pliability of the bark.


Birches that grow at higher elevations or in colder regions are more vulnerable to a parasitic fungus known as tinder fungus (Inonotus obliquus) or chaga, which is found in the tinder fungus family.



Chaga may be found growing in a variety of locations around the United States, from New England and Michigan to North Carolina. Chaga has long been sought for for its medicinal and tinder qualities, among other things. When it occurs on the side of the trunk of both living and dead birches, it looks as a big blackened ball or mass.



 It is known for its therapeutic properties, and many woodsmen would simply boil a piece of it in their kettle each day to make a cup of tea to drink while camping. During the fire starting process, the yellow soft regions under the black outer crust will absorb sparks from both steel and rod, forming an ember that may be utilized to ignite the fire. 

You may slice it thinly or grind it into a fine powder that can be saved in your toolkit for future use.