Spatulacraft is the extension of household spatula skills into the domains of survival, fishing and camping. The origins of spatulacraft are not clear, however some researchers believe it may have originated during the late 20th century in New Zealand. Today spatulacraft is a popular hobby amongst survivalists and those that enjoy the outdoors or practise bushcraft. It has become especially popular in Perth, Western Australia, where numerous spatulacraft experts reside. One such expert is outbackjoe.
The spatula is the tool used by the spatulacraftsman for all his work. Only certain spatulas are suitable for spatulacraft. A spatulacraft spatula should have the following characteristics:
– Thin and flexible head that gives when impacting a glass bottle to reduce risk of breaking the bottle.
– Made of flexible carbon steel to reduce risk of cracking or chipping and for ease of sharpening in the field
– Straight front edge to be able to scrape down barbeques and hotplates properly
– A roughly square or rectangular head with parallel sides to help adequately catch the lip of a bottle cap during a cap removal strike
– Handle material needs to be able to resist heat and should not be flammable or melt easily
– Round cross section handle to provide comfortable grip in any position
Below shows top and side view of a good spatulacraft spatula
Below shows top and side view of outbackjoe’s very first spatula. It’s extremely well used and has undergone serveral repairs over the years.
Spatulacraft Skills and Uses
Those adept in spatulacraft can apply their skills to a wide range of activities including those identified below.
Opening beer bottles
This is the classic traditional application of spactulacraft. An extremely satisfying and rewarding way to open a beer, this is a popular activity for both beginners and experts alike. Arguably the fastest and most elegant way to open a bottle of beer but can lead to tragedy in the hands of the inexperienced through smashed bottle necks, beer write offs and bloody diarrhea. Not suitable for cans.
General cooking operations
This includes flipping, turning, mixing, beating, kneading, spooning, rolling (especially sausages) and serving. Advanced spactulacraftsmen can produce entire meals using only a spatula.
Cleaning hotplates and barbeques
The spatula is unmatched at cleaning hotplates and barbeques, except by perhaps the paint scraper. Both utensils give a superior clean whilst leaving a fine layer of flavour on the surface to enhance your next cook up. Over time the process also produces a fine leading edge on the spatula, as sharp as the sharpest knife. This opens up the spatula for cutting applications.
The most basic spatulacraft cutting skill, this important exercise is often encountered during camp barbeques. Sausage redistribution and rolling can be performed in the same motion, making it a superior method in the hands of a spatulacraftsmen.
If used regularly for hotplate and barbeque cleaning, a spatula will develop a fine edge that can be used as a knife substitute and thus becomes your one stop shop for food preparation, cooking and wood carving.
This is done to create a healthier meal when cooking with high fat meats or meat derivatives such as sausages. Whilst cooking, the item is squashed firmly with the spatula, expelling excess fat. On long camps this can make a noticeable difference to your arteries.
The bane of any beach cookup, grit will ruin an otherwise great meal. A spatulacraftsmen can partially recover the situation by using his spatula to carefully scrape off sand particles. Use in conjunction with multi-purpose paper to provide the best possible results.
General Fishing Tool
A sharpened spatula can be used for cutting fishing line, cutting bait, scaling fish, separating cockles or pipis and removing heads of small fish. Gutting fish can be performed but is not preferred.
Not for moving large logs, the spatula is a nimble fire stoker that excels where accurate control and fine movement are required.
Modern camping and bushcraft kits often fail to include a bellows. The spatula can provide adequate fanning to light your tinder or invigorate your fire.
Minor excavation works
For use when a shovel would be overkill, this especially applies to clearing a small fire pit in sand. Some users have extended this notion to excavating and covering over of bush dump pits, however it can lead to a shitty flavour in your food if not careful.
An environmentally friendly alternative to chemicals, this involves swatting insects or flicking them into the fire.
Substitute for a flat head screwdriver
Use only in emergencies, as the sharpened edge can be damaged. Will jimmy open cans and tins.
Can be used on females to offset nagging.
Watch the videos below to see Outbackjoe sharing his passion and skills in spatulacraft.