Recognized HTML document

334

Art of Travel.

boiling water before putting it into the trench; that can be done by laying it in a deep narrow puddle, and shovelling hot stones into the water. All crowbars, wagon-lifters, &c., should be roughly seasoned, as green wood is far too weak for such uses. The regular way of seasoning is to leave the timber to soak for a long time in water, that the juices may be washed out. Fresh water is better for this purpose than salt ; but a mineral spring, if it is warm, is better than cold fresh water. Parties travelling with a wagon ought to fell a little timber on their outward journey, and leave it to season against their return, in readiness to replace strained axletrees, broken poles, and the like. They might, at all events, cut a ring round through the bark and sap-wood of the tree, and leave it to discharge its juices, die, and become half-seasoned as it stands.

To Tend Wood.-If it is wished to bend a rod of wood, or to straighten it if originally crooked, it must be steamed, or at least be submitted to hot water. Thus a rod of green wood may be passed through the ashes of a smouldering fire and, when hot, bent and shaped with the hand ; but if the wood be dry it must first be thoroughly soaked in a pond or puddle. If the puddle is made to boil by shovelling in hot stones, as described in the last paragraph, the stick will bend more easily. The long straight spears of savages are often made of exceedingly crooked sticks, straightened in the ashes of their camp fires. A thick piece of wood maybe well swabbed with hot water, forcibly bent, as far as can be safely done, tied in position and steamed, as if for the purpose of seasoning (see last paragraph), in a trench ; after a quarter of an hour it must be taken out, damped afresh if necessary, bent further, and again returned to steam-the process being repeated till the wood has attained the shape required ; it should then be left in the trench to season thoroughly. The heads of dog-sledges, and the pieces of wood used for the outsides of snow-shoes, are all bent by this process.

Carpenters' Tools.-Tools of too hard steel should not be taken on a journey ; they splinter against the dense wood of tropical countries, and they are very troublesome to sharpen. The remedy for over-hardness is to heat them red-hot; retemper

- www.fastio.com