For me, Bushcraft is all about acquiring new skills, that once mastered will stay with you for evermore and hopefully you will be able to pass on to your kids, students or other people showing an interest in this rewarding activity, we call Bushcraft.
One of the easiest and most rewarding skills to learn is a simple whittling project, that involves making your own tent peg.
For this, any decent pocket knife, such as a Victorinox Trailmaster (Trekker) or a more substantial knife like a Mora Clipper, is all you need to create your peg (Along with a suitable stick of course).
So to begin with, we need to find a suitable stick and I tend to go for one about the tickness of my thumb. This is of course personal preference, but I find this is a decent size to whittle, whilst being strong enough to serve its purpose as a peg (Holding your tarp up).
At the end of this post I will submit a video tutorial, which demonstrates me creating a tent peg. But I just wanted to give a brief written explanation first.
1. Ideally your finished peg needs to be approx 20cm in length (Approx 1 Hand Span, if you don't have a tape measure in your rucksack), so chose a suitable stick with this in mind. A peg that is too short will not hold any reasonable load.
2. Starting approx 1.5" down from the top end of the peg, we make a "X" cut, reasonably deep. Make a kind of rolling action with your blade around the stick as you press down. Don't worry if the "X" cut seems too shallow, we can come back to this as we progress.
3. We then use a push cut, which involves holding the knife with your right hand, but pushing the blade with your left thumb, into each axis of the "X", forming the notch. Try to create a curved cut in to the notch (See diagram below)
4. After each couple of push cuts, perform another downward cross cut, cleaning out the notch.
5. Continue with these 2 cuts (Downward Cross Cut & Push Cut) until you are happy with the depth and look of the notch.
6. Complete the peg by adding a good point, then rounding off the other end to remove any sharp bits that may be uncomfortable, when pushing the peg into the ground with your hand. You can of course use the back of an axe or hatchet to knock the peg into the ground.
Once you have practiced this a few times, you should be able to knock a peg up in under a minute (But Hey...whats the rush...enjoy your whittling)