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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Teachers At Woodsmoke

Woodsmoke Teaching Staff

Tim Smith of Jack Mountain Bushcraft School

Tim Smith has been a long-time leader in bringing the field of "bushcraft" to the US. He has made the effort to connect with the international market and regularly works with groups and individuals who make their way to his operation in Maine. Tim has been a student of the craft for a long time. He has mastered many of the skills and continues to give credit to his mentors and makes room for them to teach with him. Tim will be with us at Woodsmoke this year, so if you have been a fan of what you've seen on his website and YouTube, then make sure you mark July 8-14 on your calendar, and plan to be at Woodsmoke as well.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Teachers At Woodsmoke

Woodsmoke Teaching Staff

Mors teaching how to build a lean-to - Part 1

Mors Kochanski - Master Bushman
As most bushcrafters have figured out, Mors Kochanski is the source for much of what is currently taught in the field. Mors is the quintisential master teacher. We have worked in cooperation with Mors for well over 20 years, and feel fortunate to have him consent to be our Keynote Speaker at Woodsmoke.

Don Kevilus says that anyone interested in bushcraft "needs to be Kochanskied." Mors is such a rich resource that you never seem to empty his fountain of knowledge. If you do nothing else in your life, plan to spend time in the field with Mors.

Teachers At Woodsmoke

Woodsmoke Teaching Staff
We are getting confirmations back from this years teaching staff every day now. We will let you know who will be on hand to teach as the months progress. Invitations have been sent to leaders in the classic camping and bushcraft fields. If you visit our site, you can see our staff directory for our primitive skills gatherings. Backtracks has the reputation of attracting the best teachers available.

Don Kevilus - Four Dog Stoves

To begin with, we want to introduce Don Kevilus, the mad scientist of wood burning stoves. Don is the owner of Four Dog Stove Co. and recognized as a leader in wood stove technology in both tent stove and bushcooker designs. Including being an expert in the art and science of stove heating and cooking, Don is a master teacher. He will be showing us his latest and greatest stove designs as well as conducting a wood stove-making workshop as part of the University of Woodcraft series. Sign up now and plan to attend one of Don's master classes at Woodsmoke.

Check out this article written by Steve Watts and layed-out by David Wescott in last month's issue (Sept/Oct 2011) of Backwoodsman magazine. This is a preview of what the new book series will look like. It's also a pretty good foundation on where our fascination with classic skills comes from. Bushcrafters can use it to establish a context for the many skills they practice that have a uniquely American frontier heritage.

A photo from ca.1990: Left - David Wescott, center - Dick Jamison, right - Larry Dean Olsen. The genealogy of skills traditions is an important thing to remember.

A Genealogy of Skills Traditions

In 1988, Larry Dean Olsen (author of Outdoor Survival Skills and founder of the Woodsmoke Journal in the late 70s) gave us permission to use the Rabbit Stick name to reinvent this unique teaching and learning experience. Rabbit Stick Rendezvous had been discontinued after the 1978 event, so our reissue of the new event as Rabbitstick after 20 years marked the reintroduction of an important part of the contemporary primitive skills movement. 2012 marks our 25th year of hosting this nationally recognized gathering (For information visit us at

In 1979, Dick and Linda Jamison (authors and creators of the acclaimed Woodsmoke books and video series) took over as hosts and called their event the Woodsmoke Rendezvous. In 1982 the name was changed to the Woodsmoke Primitive Living Conference, and was discontinued shortly after that. Last year, we approached the Jamison’s asking permission to use the Woodsmoke name for our newest skills gathering. They not only granted permission, but promised that if health issues would allow, they would join us at the new gathering.

We are aware that there has been a Woodsmoke mountain man rendezvous conducted in the intervening years, but we decided that the genealogy of passing on a name, and the traditions that we want to preserve, make our event unique enough that resurrecting the Woodsmoke name is important to this new effort. 2012 will mark 30 years since a Woodsmoke gathering has been held. Make sure you don’t miss this important anniversary event July 8-14, 2012.