Survive in Style (2) - 15 Minute Mug




About: I made a beer mug with only a knife and a hatchet. I think that says a lot about me.

In the soon very famous, often copied but never equalised SIS - Survive In Style - series I'd like to show you, ever thirsty backyard survivalists and other Real Adventurers, a childish simple way to make a quite decent recipient you can use to store whatever you put in it.

This can be water, but also honey, beer, rock oil, many cranberries, one apple, wood worms, nuggets or raw diamonds - mother nature is full of surprises.

In fact, to be honest and to anticipate a full load of 'not nice' comments, this instructable is inspired on another instructable - thanx to that member to let me use his knowledge, wisdom & craftmanship. He is awesome.

In fact (2) I'll just show you a simplified version of it. Making a nice fancy beer mug can be awesome, though, but it's also quite time consuming. And what to do if you don't find those honeybees?

So I simplyfied the job.

Is it possible to make a mug in just a few minutes, without birch bark & digit-torturing sewing, without bamboo or coconuts if you're living in a temperate region, without clay if the soil is frozen and without shells if you're a 1000km inland?

It is! You only need a small axe - or strong teeth - and some cord or sinew. Easy.

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Step 1: Get Some Soft Wood

Willow, birch & poplar are just perfect: fast growing, fast recovering, soft & non-toxic.

Avoid hardwood - unless you want to make a 45min mug.

Cut it, that large branch.

2 minutes. Top chrono.

Step 2: Groove It Like a Pro

Make one end of that branch as flat as possible with your axe and cut 2 grooves all the way round.

Cut that future mug one inch or so from the second groove off the branch.

Depending on how much fermented berries you swallowed you'll be or going to the next step or make another groove and try to cut at the right side of that 2nd groove.

3 minutes.

Or 6.

Step 3: Split It Nicely

The plan is to make 4 equally sized parts.

Instead of throwing that axe as a fool in the air and hoping to get those cuts exactly where you want them, I'll suggest that you just put the blade very calm on the proto-mug, and to smash on it with another piece of wood.

Just a suggestion, but one with 100% chance on succes.

Your choice, it's your mug.

2 minutes.

Step 4: Hollow It Out

Cut away the inside triangles of each part and stay one inch away from the bottom.

Stay away from the sides. 10mm is fair enough.

The better you carve, the more you will store.

5 minutes, there you go.

Step 5: Reassemble and Adjust

Once that piece of happiness is hollowed out you can reassemble it again.

A few meter of wet hemp cord - or simply paracord, two fishermens knots and done is that mug.

3 minutes.

That hole in the bottom? No worry, big diamonds won't fell through it and big worms won't escape by it.

Water can be problem, indeed. Just insert a few wedges, hold the mug a few minutes in the water to let it swell and that ugly thing is ready to use.

14 minutes, and you'll survive in style a little bit more.

Still one minute left. Have it, that drink.

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    19 Discussions


    1 year ago

    "Stay one inch away from the bottom."
    "Stay 10mm away from the sides."

    Did this bother anyone else, or just me?


    3 years ago

    I need to do this now. It's perfect for the upcoming pirate event next month. Only problem, I don't know one knot from another. Come to think of it, I can knot up a show lace but that's about it. I'll figure something out.
    By the way, will pine wood work as well?


    4 years ago

    You DO tend to leave your Era - correct mark on us readers, you are truly renaissance material. Chock another one up on your tally bro!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Sometimes it's good to go back to basics & to enjoy simple down to earth activities as carving a mug. You really have to give it a try!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I like this. Fast and repeatable. Well written and documented. It probably took you longer to document and post this 'ible than it took to create the mug.

    It is hard to tension a Fisherman's knot (unless we are thinking of different knots). I would think that a Double Constrictor would be more effective.

    5 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you Jobar! You're totally right about the timing, I'm sure it's even possible under 10 minutes! Thàt would be an awesome challenge, btw: Speed Mug Carving!

    Carve a mug as fast as possible, starting from equally sized trunks, with a volume of minimum one pint ànd watertight. This is gonna be the hype of the summer, really! Or not.

    And, I also agree with that knot-story. In fact, I use a good double sliding knot first and then I put a fishermen over it. The sliding knot gives the tension, the fisherman the maintenance. I need to check out wat a double constrictor is, btw...


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    It is a common knot in the spear fishing community since it is used to secure bands for spearguns. A quick jaunt to youtube and a search will get you want you are looking for.

    Thousand years ago , man like you made a difference in their life and ours by inventing things from the wild. :). Great job as usual bro.

    2 replies

    4 years ago

    Just know what kind of tree you're using. Locusts have poisonous sap.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    That's one of the reasons why I suggested willow & birch. Poplar would have been excellent as well. Fast growing, fast recovering, soft & non-toxic.

    Work with what you know, always a safe base to start from...


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    You would have a hard time working Locust the way that Bricobart suggests in 15 minutes. Point taken though, know your tree source.