'Viking' beer mug (no power tools - the bushcraft way)

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This is it, my 40th Instructable, YIEHAAA!!!

For this anniversary-I'ble I wanted to make something special.
I like beer, I like wood, I like the outdoors, so I decided to give myself a favour: I decided to make a good old 'viking style' beer mug.
The bushcraft way.

Aim was to use not one single power tool (to spice the job a bit). It took a lot longer than with the 'right' tools but it turned out to be one of the funniest projects I ever did. This was pure fun!

Set all your toolboxes stuffed with classic hand tools aside cause you won't use them this time.
All you need is a hatchet & a knife.

A good hatchet, and a good knife.

Back to basic.

A few members asked where I got that fabulous hatchet.
Well, this beauty is a traditionnal axe from the Basque Country - a region saddled on the western French-Spanish mountainous border. I discovered those axes some 20 years ago during raptor migration monitoring. They're quite hard to find, even locally, and it's just this summer I found a spot again where they were sold. They are made by the 'JAUREGI' factory/family in northern Spain and I never saw them anywhere else

These axes are hand-forged, and extremely reliable. Light (the small one weights only one pound), balanced, extremely powerful & useful to do as well bushcraft or bigger tree cutting. I never had better, I'll never have better. If I had to choose one object to take on a survival trip, there would be not one second of hesitation.

They are made in 5 or 6 sizes. On the picture you'll see the two smallest models. The darkest is my first I bought some 20 years ago and that's still alive 'n kicking.
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dab6515sr13 days ago
Do you have any suggestions as to what I can coat it with if I don't know what type of wood I used? I've made 2, one for me and one for my grand daughter.
bricobart (author)  dab6515sr13 days ago

I'm quite happy with the use of walnut oil. Heat it in the microwave and pour it around and in to get high penetration. Wipe the excess & repeat. You also can use bees wax. No industrial coatings (varnish, epoxy, stainstuff etc.).

Looking forward to see your build, use the 'made it' button'!

HerrBergmann2 months ago

So what % of mousture do you let the wood dry to? Or how long would you leave it to dry after splitting?

bricobart (author)  HerrBergmann2 months ago

No idea about that %, but it was harvested end october and set apart for only a month. My opinion: the fastest you split it the better. If you let it dry first, cracks will probably occur - unless you let it dry for a long time, unbarked and with the cutting zones sealed. Succes!

AJMansfield2 months ago

If you want real bushcraftery, use pine resin (or other tree sap) that you harvest yourself, no purchasing fancy bottles of anything.

bricobart (author)  AJMansfield2 months ago

Or harvest natural propolis with only a knife and a hatchet. Or a well trained grizzly. Or your younger brother, as a sacrifice to beer.

AJMansfield2 months ago

You know, saws have been around for like, 3000 years. Every good bushcrafter has a saw, there's no shame in using it.

bricobart (author)  AJMansfield2 months ago

Thanx, it was just a great challenge to do the whole job with only those two tools!

AJMansfield2 months ago

Groovy. (I mean, you are making grooves after all...)

bricobart (author)  AJMansfield2 months ago


industriald9 months ago
For some reason, I see an Aussie version of this mug with barbed wire instead of the string around it. I don't know why, it just came to me.
Hieu industriald2 months ago

Just get some of those plastic barbed wire they sell for halloween. I got some in bracelet form in a bag for a buck after last halloween. Now they will live out their lives on my new mug. Great idea.

Go for it, man!

bricobart (author)  industriald9 months ago
I'd like to see that!
Aussie beer is dangerous enough as it is :)
bricobart (author)  industriald9 months ago
Any recommendations? I never tasted beer from down-under!
XXXX Gold is always a good fallback. No matter what, don't ever let anyone talk you into drinking VB!
bricobart (author)  industriald9 months ago
I'll remember that! How much degree does that XXXX have?
I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean by degree in that sentence. If you mean the alcohol percentage, it's 3.5%
bricobart (author)  industriald9 months ago
Yap that's it, we call it still 'degrees' like in midieval times - man I'm gettin' old!
Only 3.5%?! So why should it be dangerous? In Belgian everything below 10% is called fruit juice!
Tell me you just put that komma at the wrong place and that I'm so totally wrong!!!
Ha ha, I guess it is a pretty low alcohol content! But enough of it and it is like a memory eraser from Men in Black...
FFalaschi3 months ago

I'm planning to open a "Viking" bar and i'll use this as the oficial beer Mug.

bricobart (author)  FFalaschi3 months ago

Whaaoow!!! Tell me where! Are you going to make them by yourself?

Yes i'll do it with a friend we live in Argentina. the only thing that we will add is an aluminium interior to the mug because of bromatology reasons.
bricobart (author)  FFalaschi2 months ago

So cool!!! You know what you have to do: posting some pictures, I'd like to see that! ;)

Deelishus784 months ago


bricobart (author)  Deelishus783 months ago

Thank you!


bricobart (author)  behrouz norkarami3 months ago


VitaminX4 months ago

simplicity and creativity at its peak.. :) great one xD

bricobart (author)  VitaminX3 months ago

Nice comment, thanx!

I don't know if this has been said, but elderberry is toxic. The berries are the only edible part of the plant, and only if they're ripe and have been cooked.

bricobart (author)  kbornholdt-smith3 months ago

Thàt's why there are more voices in my head than before I made the mug! ;)

Just to specify: I'm just drinking from it, not eating it (no pun). Cold beverages (beer), no hot ones (reducing the risc of toxins spoiling in the liquid). And for what it's worth, people are making flutes from this plant for hundreds of years (wet wood to mouth contact), and I never heard about any damage... Which doesn't mean that I want to minimize your warning, I just want to assure you I'm doing fine ;) Cheers!

bdominicano4 months ago

Here is mine! Thanks for the inspiration!

bricobart (author)  bdominicano4 months ago

I am totally speechless my friend, I almost feel stupid with mine ;) Really great craftmanship, kudos! Which wood did you use? Oil finish? I suppose you're living in the US, because it would have been great fun to attack that barrel of beer together! ;)

Hah! Dont feel stupid with yours - I cheated and used modern tools only because I have two kids and very little time to do it the "old way." The wood is olive wood. I used black-dyed poly urethane instead of your bio-resin because I wanted it to be able to hold hot liquids. From what I have heard, the bio stuff can melt? The antler was fun to sand and fit to the mug but it smelled like a dentists office in the shop with that burnt bone smell. I forget the oil finish that I used, I know that it was something natural though and you have to re-apply every 6 - 8 months-ish. Holds 70 ounces. It really is a barrel!

Had a blast making this. If you are ever in Phoenix, AZ, come on by and share a few pints with me. Cheers to you and again, thanks for the inspiration!

bricobart (author)  bdominicano4 months ago

Don't worry about that cheating stuff, my next will be power tool based as well ;) Just be careful with the combination of polyurethane & hot liquids, I don't want you to get sick... The idea of using antler is just great, it's fun to see that every region has its own supplies - I used apple wood - and it would be crazy to see other regional variations of this mug!

Arizona you said? Well, for many years I'm dreaming of my mega-tour through the western half of the US, buying a truck & cruising from site to site. From San Fransisco to Anchorage, the long way. So who knows? ;)

Dr Demento5 months ago

Well done, Sir. I will have to give it a try.

bricobart (author)  Dr Demento4 months ago

Be the first to post a picture of yours, my mug is gettin' lonely! ;)

TheSurvivor995 months ago
Will cypress wood work for this project?
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