loading

This is it, my 40th Instructable. Hurah.

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
(http://www.hachasartesanas.com).

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.

Step 1: Cut that log

First you'll have to gather some wood.
Choose straith-grained species - I got a piece of elderberry (not because elderberry is THE mug species, just because I got a piece left). Any straith- or spiral grained species will do the job, no worries.

You'll need a log with a diameter about the size of your hand so don't sight too small.

Use a hatchet to cut it down (or cheat like me, use a saw - first penalty point).

<p>A thought from my boat building days; if you can get a good flat fit between the staves, you can use an old cooper's trick for waterproofing. Once the staves are dry. take a metal rod with a diameter about half the width of the stave and clamp it to one mating edge of the stave. Now beat on it with the back of your hatchet until you've formed an even groove all the way down the stave. Repeat for all staves. Then, plane the grooved edge back to flat. Now assemble as you described (the rawhide is a great idea) but omit the stickum between the staves.</p><p>What will happen is the liquid will cause the compressed edge to swell back and make a compression seal between staves that won't leak as long as there is fairly frequent filling and draining of the mug. That's not a problem is it ?!</p><p>Bottom would be hard but you could go with a hidden tongue and groove there using a pull saw and, by putting a band just above the joint, get by without goop there as well IF your joints are good.</p>
<p>That's really a great trick - at least for well planed staves. Most mugs I made had quite irregular surfaces, creating a natural male/female joint. Awesome tip, btw.</p>
I have an older wooden mug and after holding water in it, it split in multiple areas leaking how can i get it to hold water again?
<p>If it sat dry for a while before it cracked, they might be stress cracks in the wood from drying out. You could try <strong>liberally</strong> applying a food safe oil to the wood to swell it back up; any oil for wood cutting block care might work. Keep in mind that this will probably preclude trying an adhesive afterwards. Alternatively, you could try very warm beeswax and heat the mug with a hairdryer to get the wax to soak in.</p>
<p>line it with a well-fitting glass..</p>
<p>You could try using an epoxy resin or other wood glue. Make sure that it is food safe first though!</p><p>Apply some to the inside where the cracks are, then use a shop vac (not your best vacuum cleaner) to suck the glue/resin through the crack. Once it starts coming out the other side you're done.</p><p>Note: I haven't personally done this ... just a possible method that popped into my head.</p>
line it with pitch.
<p>I do not understand the question so I will just say that I would use the constrictor knot like this.<br>I would tie it around the mug to hold it together just leave the ends long enough to hold on to so it can be pulled very tight. <br>The &quot;nip&quot; of the knot holds itself very tight, the tighter you pull it the tighter it holds and does not slip back<br>uncle frogy</p>
<p>it is no where stated what knot was used to bind the mug together may I suggest using the constrictor knot which can be tied extremely tight and is easily done </p><p>uncle frogy</p><p> <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constrictor_knot" rel="nofollow"> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constrictor_knot</a></p>
<p>I see on the wiki page how you can use this knot to tie to a perpendicular line,rod,etc.,but how would you use it to tie it to the other end of the rope after wrapping the mug,as it would be parallel.Forgive my ignorance,and Thank You!</p>
<p>I used a sliding knot to get the whole tight &amp; put a stinky fisherman over it. </p><p>I like the constrictor, though - excellent idea!</p>
<p>1) Great!</p><p>2) I like the &quot;more work&quot; one's vibe way better than the &quot;faster kapitalistic&quot; one's.</p><p>3) lol @ your poor knife!</p>
<p>Happy 40th!</p>
<p>Thanx, that was already 2 years ago - countdown to 100 now!</p>
<p>Good job and great description. Use it in good health. Like your hatchet. I picked up a pretty groovy one back in Damascus before it got blown apart. Great little blacksmith shop.</p>
<p>Thank you - that kind of hatchets last a lifetime..</p>
<p>The propolis is not a good idea for a sealant because of the simple fact that it desolves in alcohol. Yes, it's edible and easy to use but I wouldn`t recommend using this mug for extended periods of time. </p><p>If you use Oak for the mug, sand it smooth, then smoke it you will not need any resin to keep it together. Just soak it in water for about 30 mins for the wood to take some of the water in and expand enough to make it water-proof. </p><p>We're talking for something in the lines of the mugs I've uploaded below.</p><p>The con if this type of mug is that it has to be used often so that it doesn`t dry up and start leaking. </p>
<p>It's a beer mug, not a whisky crucible. And yes, our belgian beers contain a lot of alcohol, but we drink them fast. That propolis is still okay.</p>
<p>That is really smart! can I live with you?</p>
<p>If you want real bushcraftery, use pine resin (or other tree sap) that you harvest yourself, no purchasing fancy bottles of anything.</p>
Pine resin dissolves in alcohol... Other non- toxic tree saps may do the job!
<p>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.</p>
Birch bark can be cooked down to a resin, would that work?
<p>Really? I didn't know that, thanx for the tip!</p>
<p>I think if you wanted to speed up the production, without being too industrial, a modified Froe with a curved blade would be handy. You should be able to knock out the majority of the waste with a couple of taps and end up with a nice, consistent inner radius. </p><p>Obviously, you would need different radii on the Froe for different sized mugs, but I think you could do that with a partially spiral shaped Froe. </p><p>Interesting idea, and very nice 'ible.</p>
This would be perfect to use while playing Kubb.
<p>You need one of these: http://olx.ro/oferta/barda-pentru-mana-dreapta-ID3IjGP.html</p>
<p>You know, saws have been around for like, 3000 years. Every good bushcrafter has a saw, there's no shame in using it.</p>
<p>True. But then again, every bushcrafter masters his axe and his knife so well that using a saw for building a mug doesn't make any sense.</p>
<p>Thanx, it was just a great challenge to do the whole job with only those two tools!</p>
<p>Awesome instructable, i wanted to craft a wood mug since</p><p>a long time ago, but these instructions are just what i need to get started</p><p>so thanks :)</p>
<p>Great job! And very humorous write-up! Thanks for sharing :) </p>
Thanks for the inspiration. I made this out of Marri which is a gumtree variant here in Western Australia. I used a saw and a knife and ALOT of sanding. Just put the Envirotex Lite Epoxy coating on it to ensure a good seal and the ability for hot and cold drinks to be enjoyed. :) Im pretty happy as this is one of my first wood projects. Cant wait for a beer next week when its all cured. :)
Would madrone work
<p>Fantastic tutorial! I'm in the process of making wooden &quot;shot&quot; glasses. Can't wait to try your method!</p>
What would be a good alternative to the bees wax stuff that I can find at like a hardware store ?
<p>If those cuts &amp; tights are properly done you even don't have to use propolis. Let it soak in water - or beer - for a few minutes and the whole will seal itself.</p>
This was fun! Thanks for the idea, I'll be making more for sure!!
had to use powertools, but thanks for the inspiration! just tried them out last weekend
<p>Hi there,</p><p>Do you have the instructions to make your mugs?</p><p>Thank you!</p>
<p>Looks awesome. I bought a wooden mug a few months ago at an arts festival. That has made me want to make a wooden mug for my self.<br><br>What is your technique on tying and securing the mug with the rope? I'm all about using power tools and glue (my go to when i'm working with wood) but i want to make a natural mug that is more hand made without power tools.</p>
<p>Hello! great job! I&acute;m gonna try it.</p><p>One question, wich type of string did you use for it?</p>
<p>In this project I used polyester rope - used in sail repair &amp; leatherworking - but in my future builds I'll use fine hemp cord (see last step).</p>
<p>Thank you!! once again excellent job!</p>
<p>Hi! I'm from Argentina and I want to do it for my boyfriend (He look like a Viking in the pic haha). The question is, Wich percent of propolis did you use? I just can get 5%(concentration) and I don't know if its right... Almond oil make the same results? Sorry about the bad bad english. Wait the answer :)</p>
<p>You need the real stuff. Two ways to get it: look out for some bee nests in the forest &amp; good luck, or try to get some of a beekeeper. Most of the time they're not too happy to give you some, but I discoverd that a loaded crossbow can do miracles. Really.</p>
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.
<p>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 &amp; repeat. You also can use bees wax. No industrial coatings (varnish, epoxy, stainstuff etc.). </p><p>Looking forward to see your build, use the 'made it' button'!</p>
<p>So what % of mousture do you let the wood dry to? Or how long would you leave it to dry after splitting?</p>
<p>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!</p>

About This Instructable

676,521 views

3,042 favorites

License:

Bio: I made a beer mug with only a knife & a hatchet. I think that says a lot about me.
More by bricobart: Emergency Avalanche Beacon Paleo Lighter - UPDATED! Beer Mug Dry Toilet
Add instructable to: