Tools and Kit for Forest School -
Here you will find a selection of our favourite kit that we use on our training courses and recommend to Forest School Leaders.
Forest School Tools & Equipment
Axes & Hatchets - The very best axes that we have found are those made by Gränsfors Bruks, for balance, durability and ability to hold an edge. We also use Husqvarna (Small Splitting Axe, Carpenters Axe, Hatchet) which are still hand-forged stell but more of a mid-priced tool. Hultafors (also good). It's no coincidence that these are all Swedish manufacturers!
Bow-Saws - we wouldn't use anything other than Bahco with Raker-tooth (green wood) and peg-tooth (season/dry wood) blades. We use 24" to allow for two-handed sawing and 21" for coppicing and small-bore cutting. We can supply spare blade guards.
Folding Pruning Saw - Bahco again for this - the 396 Laplander is the one to go for - green rubberised handle and black teflon-coated blade. Crucially the blade locks in the closed as well as the open position. An indispensable piece of kit, but watch out for the over enthusiastic sawing pullying the blade out of the kerf you are sawing - slow and steady!
Fixed Blade Knives - Mora (formerly Frost) 840 with hard sheath, available in high carbon or stainless steel blade (the carbon blade holds a better edge). Makes a perfect accompaniment to the Laplander and the Firesteel. For use with children the Mora Scout is ideal.
Knives & the Law - READ THIS >
Fire-Lighting - our preferred method is the ubiquitous Swedish Fire-Steel onto a cotton-wool (make-up) pad with optional petroleum jelly (vaseline).
Storm-Kettle - These are great ways of boiling water in the outdoors - quick, low impact and suitable for all weathers. However there are a couple of potential safety issues - lift kettle on and off the fire base with the handle horizontal (so you don't burn your fingers on the 'volcano effect' at the top of the kettle; and NEVER boil with the cork in!
Secateurs & Loppers - Wilkinson Sword (Fiskars). For the secateurs we use the 'Chunky' Bypass Pruner. For the Loppers we use the 'Geared' Bypass Loppers. The come in three sizes.
Cord & Twine - The twine we use for square-lashing is Sisal Baler twine usually available from farmer's merchants (worth checking with them as sometimes only stocked seasonally).
Ropes - We use green polyprop braided cord for practicing knot-tying. Climbing rope is great (both static and dynamic) but expensive unless you can blag some from a climbing centre or outdoor pursuits centre - they replace their climbing ropes on a regular basis and often throw the old ones out.
P.P.E - Hard hats are from numerous suppliers and online tools/workwear stores (check they are still in date); Gloves from DIY stores and garden centres. Choose 'welders gauntlets' for use around the campfire or heaviy clearing work.
Storage - Secateurs and pruning saws fit snuggly in webbing pouches but knives should be carried in more secure ammunition boxes or similar. These can be sourced from govt surplus suppliers or camping/survival online stores. We like the fact that ammo tins are not easy to open and make quite a noise, thereby announcing any 'unofficial access'.