We all have that Ron Swanson type in our lives: the guy you see frequently starting fires with just two sticks, the guy who has built his own canoe – twice, the guy who truly doesn’t need a map – he’s made his own. If you’re not essentially an Adirondack Paul Bunyan, you might be surprised to that you can still learn these 5 essential old school Adirondack skills.
This one is sort of complicated because you need a forging hammer to create a forging hammer. Conundrum aside, you can learn to forge all sorts of metal objects like tomahawks, hardware, and, of course, your own forging hammer.
You can knit, you can crochet, but until you’ve actually hand-spun the fiber into yarn, you’re not really old school. Start the process from the very beginning by learning to spin fiber. You can also learn to weave, felt, and quilt. If you REALLY want to be old school, you can raise some sheep, collect plants to dye the fiber, and THEN spin it, but some of us in the Adirondacks aren’t that hard-core.
So, if we’re all honest, most of us will admit we don’t know how to use a longbow, let alone make one from scratch. If you’re feeling particularly old school…and I mean really old school, you can learn to make a long bow to hunt your own food. Just remember just because you made the bow doesn’t mean you’ll be good at using it!
After making a fire like our ancient ancestors, we can honestly say you’ll probably skip the lighter fluid during your Memorial Day barbecue. You can learn how to rub two sticks together until you get a spark. We can say from personal experience that it’s one of the most satisfying old school outdoor skills to have!
Everyone has seen those old school Adirondack pack baskets, and some of us probably have our homes decorated with them in classic Adirondack style. It turns out that you can actually learn to weave a large one of these yourself! And while old school Adirondack hunters and trappers used them to carry pelts and supplies, we won’t judge you if you just use it to collect your dirty laundry.
So, will you awaken the old school Ron Swanson in you? Are you going to be the next Paul Bunyan? Check out the new Hobbies & DIY category on our events calendar! Comment below or on Facebook to show us YOUR old school Adirondack crafts, and tell us how you learned them!
All photos courtesy of the Adirondack Folk School. Its the only school of it’s kind in the country dedicated to teaching the arts and crafts of the Adirondacks. Find their course calendar and programs on their website here.