One time when some of us were bivouacing in the mountains, Bob announced that he was going to catch a mess of trout in the morning. He had a line and some flies, but I wondered how he would extemporize a rod stiff and elastic enough for fly fishing. It didn't bother him a bit. The only straight and slender stick he could find right there was a box elder seedling. He trimmed it, removed the bark, and spent about an hour roasting it over the camp-fire, drawing it back and forth in his hands, so as not to overheat and crack it, and to temper the heat just right, according to thickness of the point treated. When the sap was roasted out, he hung the rod up to cool, and when that was done he had a one-piece trout rod with the necessary whippy action ror fly fishing. Next morning he soon caught all we could eat.
Small pieces of green wood can be bent to a required form by merely soaking the pieces for two cr three days in water, but if it is desired that they should retain their new shape, they should be steamed. Small pieces can be immersed in a kettle of hot water. A long, slender one is suppled by laying it over the kettle, mopping it with boiling w^ater, and shifting it along as required. Large pieces may be steamed in a trench partly filled with water, by throwing red-hot stones into it. Then drive stout stakes into the ground, in the outline desired, and bend the steamed wood over these stakes, with small sticks underneath to keep the wood from contact with the ground, that it may dry more readily. If a simple bow-shape is all that is wanted, it can be secured by merely sticking the two ends of the wood into the ground and letting the bow stand upright to dry; or, use the Spanish windlass, as shown in Fig, 54.
Fig. 54. Spanish Windlass (for bending wood).