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How to Build a Bender

You'll need:
  • about 20 nice bendy hazel branches, at least 6' long
    (trim them down so you have poles, but leave some little bits of branch on cos you can use them as hooks to hang things up inside your bender)
  • strong string or thin, pliable rope (& something to cut it with!)
  • tarpaulin and groundsheet / something waterproof to put under your bed
  • metal / wooden stake and mallet or hammer (metal is easier to get into hard ground)
    (you can make a wooden stake by sharpening the end of a thick piece of hazel)
  • lots of nice things to put inside (plenty of bedding if it's winter)
Stick Chick shows you how!
stake Find a flat area of ground about 10ft square where you want to build your bender. Make a hole (about a foot deep and as wide as one of your bender poles) with the stake and hammer in one corner of the area. Push the thickest end of one of your bender poles firmly into the hole.
pole Repeat this about 6ft away (further if you have nice long poles and want a spacious bender), so you now have two bender poles waving in the air opposite each other.
tie Now bend the two lengths of hazel over and wind them around each other in the middle so that they form an arch. (I like to make my bender tall enough to stand up in, but this depends on personal preference and length of poles available). Wind string / thin rope around the interwoven poles so they are held together firmly. You should now have an archway (don't worry too much if it falls over, but it's best if it doesn't!)
done Repeat steps 1-3 to make a circular shape by bending at least 2 more arches across the first (think of the bender poles as the metal bits in an open umbrella).
  • Now you need to strengthen the structure by weaving and tying more bender poles horizontally / diagonally around the circle of arches. But remember to leave a gap big enough to use as a door!
  • Once you are satisfied that your bender is as sturdy as you can make it, cover it with a big tarp (or a few smaller ones if that's all you have) and weigh it down with stones / branches around the edges.
  • Put down a groundsheet or something waterproof to put your bedding on (bubble-wrap is good for extra comfort and warmth). If the groundsheet reaches the edges of your bender, bend the sides up inside the tarp 'roof' so that water doesn't run down on top of your waterproof floor!
  • Now you can add all your homely comforts, snuggle up inside, and wait to be evicted!!

make your own mallet

You will need

  1. An unseasoned log : about 12 inches long and five inches in diameter.
  2. Some tools : A saw, billhook or hand axe and perhaps a sharp knife.
  3. A hard surface to work on is essential.

What you do

  1. About half way along the log, cut around the circumference to a depth of just under 2 inches.
  2. Now working at the narrowest end of the log, use an axe or billhook to remove the wood down to the cut. Leave the center of the log, this is your handle.
  3. Tidy it up a bit making the handle as round and smooth as you can. You can use a billhook or a sharp knife for this.
  4. Some people split off one side of the head to provide a flat surface to hit things with.

'make your own mallet' blatantly stolen from affinity (but they're so cool we know they won't mind!) see their website for how to make a two-piece wooden mallet and loads of other really useful info (including different ways to build a bender).

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