Comments: 1909 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

Venting_Oreos3871 karma

Hey John, I love what you do. It takes a lot of dedication to continuously experiment and go out everyday.

Anyway, from what I understand the projects you do are quite labour-intensive and can take several months and several days at the project locations. My question is, do you bring any food and water with you from home or is food and water readily available onsite?

JohnPlant4827 karma

No it's about 15 minutes walk from home. Thanks.

Amphibionomus1125 karma

Speaking of labour intensive projects - there are many copycat channels out there on YouTube by now. Especially the swimming pool video is posted regularly on Reddit. I think it's faked beyond believe / certainly not done by one man alone, but would it be feasible to dig one without any help, in your opinion?

Still seems like a silly idea anyway, even with help, creating a pool of stagnant water for mosquitoes to thrive in...

( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYCXQoo-doM this video )

JohnPlant676 karma

The swimming pool ones use portland cement and modern tools. I don't think they're doing the same thing as me (using only natural tools and materials). Some of them say in their captions that the cement is "mud", but when it dries it doesn't dissolve in water indicating it's cement (unless it's a special mud I'm unaware of- if so someone might enlighten me).

chevymonza120 karma

Do you ever listen to music while working/not recording? A lot of the projects look like they take all day and can get monotonous.

JohnPlant219 karma

No, don't bring anything other than an old type phone that doesn't play music. Yes, they are sometimes monotonous but the mind wanders. Thanks.

ghostoo666113 karma

Honestly when I get really focused into something, that’s the only stimuli I want. Perhaps he gets just as entranced in his survival buildings.

JohnPlant133 karma

Yes, that's true for me as well.

JohnPlant174 karma

It's close to home so I go back and get food and water there thanks.

William__White2321 karma

I've been trying to get here for an hour now. Your ama just now showed up. Sorry. I really enjoy watching your channel.

One question. How close are you to getting enough iron to make a small knife or whatever you are planning on making?

JohnPlant2426 karma

Still working on it. Made a furnace at home and made some iron this week. Need to replicate it in the wild and then create the tool there. Thanks.

William__White761 karma

It's taking a lot longer than I thought it would. How much Iron to you have that you made in the wild? Also, you have taught me a lot of things. I have made fire, stone hatchet, chisel, baskets, pottery. But I can't build shelters or kilns because here where I live people will just tear it down. Thank you.

JohnPlant1128 karma

Just a very small amount, it takes a lot of effort because there is no traditional source of iron ore here, instead I have to reley on iron bacteria. Look for a farm you can build on but get permission first.

Dr_Monkee598 karma

You should go through every single age of mankind, bronze age, iron age, all the way up to the 20th century, where you create a computer from scratch and get fat and sit behind a desk all day and contemplate suicide.

JohnPlant260 karma

I'm trying to build a tech tree based on ubiquitous materials and some of the rarer metals such as copper and tin are hard to find. Might skip the fat computer age though I think.

londons_explorer204 karma

You should send a sample of the bacteria to a lab for testing (bet ya someone here on reddit would be able to do it).

They'd be able to tell you how much iron was in every kilogram of bacteria. That way you'd know if your issue is not having enough iron in the source, or if it was low yield in the smelting process.

JohnPlant71 karma

Ok, someone can post it to primitive technology reddit and give me an address to send it to. It would be interesting, I'm guessing 55% iron by weight? Remember to that iron content isn't the only consideration in a good ore- magnetite has more iron than hematite but is harder to smelt due to it's slag not being as viscous. (correct me if I'm wrong, this is just from memory)

previattinho66 karma

You can Mine iron from iron bacteria!? I tried searching for this but only gets results explaining what is iron bacteria. Is this a kind of primitive source of iron? I know that iron ore was relatively hard to work with due tô the temperature requirements

JohnPlant80 karma

Yes, it's one of the inventions I came up with myself (harvesting bacteria as an ore source). I've had to solve many problems to smelt iron in this place with it's challenges. The great thing is that in doing this you can go anywhere in the world and produce iron in that location using this method- not just rely on ore sources. Also, I'm still refining this method. It's crude now but I've worked out a way to filter the creek water and get the bacteria without having to rely only on the thick orange paste that occasionally forms.

Buttsmuggler692118 karma

What kind of mindset do you get into when out in the wilderness?

JohnPlant2684 karma

A sort of busy working mindset, want to get things done. Other times just strolling looking for wood, rocks , clay etc.

Buttsmuggler69463 karma

Ahh first of its awesome that you replied, I’ve been a long time watcher (I think since about your 3rd or 4th video) and love the content. I also love being out in nature but usually in a more relaxed context so it’s interesting to hear your busy perspective. I know you’ve talked about it before but what made you decide to start this cool hobby?

JohnPlant469 karma

No computer games as a kid and access to a rural area.

HorseyToPointyGuySix2046 karma

Hey John, congrats on all the success! I'm an avid bushcrafter so I've been into your videos for a while. My questions, has any random person ever stumbled into your camp? Has your camp ever been vandalised?

JohnPlant2670 karma

Some people come across them but never any vandals. Mostly pig hunters.

Rubixcubelube612 karma

Wild pigs can be pretty scary. Ever come across any/had trouble with them?

JohnPlant637 karma

Yes, I've seen pigs all the time. The only trouble I have is they eat my root vegetables.

Unique_Name11708 karma

Hi John! Whatever happened to the stingless beehive you put ontop of your huts chimney?

JohnPlant2324 karma

They lasted for a bit then moved out of the log they were in. I probably harvested the honey too much. Those type don't produce much honey, like maybe 500 g a year.

Unique_Name1589 karma

That's a shame, I expected them to leave after the hut got destroyed.

Do you plan on continuing the different types of crops you grow and experimenting with different agriculture practices? I think you could create a natural aquaponics setup with your stream. It's been historically used for rice paddies but it may work with some root crops along the riverbank.

I really enjoy your videos mate, been watching since one of the first hit the front page. I'm planning to get your book too, best of luck with it.

JohnPlant768 karma

I might experiment with different crops, the polynesian arrow root grows there naturally so it might be good to cultivate it as it's just a matter of improving the soil fertility there. Could probably irrigate during the wet season without damming the creek. Thanks for that, much appreciated.

patron_vectras157 karma

You could try to impregnate some soil areas with terra preta. Have you considered this? Not sure how much charcoal it would take.

JohnPlant119 karma

Yes, I've heard of terra preta. I started making charcoal way back just for this purpose before I was making furnaces. I could use the smaller charcoal fines that are discarded during charcoal making for my furnaces- best to have the mound near the garden.

bodenlosedosenhose1324 karma

First off I really love your content!

Do you have a job? If yes: Does it have something to do with primitive technology and history?

If not: Would you want to do primitive technology for a living if you could?

And kinda silly but can you speak?

JohnPlant3507 karma

Thanks Glad you like it. I had a job as a lawn mowing contractor (self employed) before I started the channel. But since starting the channel I work full time on it. Primitive technology is my job now. Yes, I can speak but just don't for the videos. Originally it was out of laziness in not putting narration in the videos but then the silent format became popular so I kept it that way.

bodenlosedosenhose810 karma

Oh man I got soo many questions. Like do you have a strong Aussie accent?

Do you live in a town or more remotely?

How far from your building site do you live and how do you get there? And how do you get electricity for your camera out there?

JohnPlant1468 karma

Yes, a definite aussie drawl. In a previously rural area that is becoming increasingly residential. About 7 minutes. Just charge it at home.

OkamiKnuX560 karma

You're a fucking legend you are, mate.

JohnPlant77 karma

Thanks!

kfpswf101 karma

Originally it was out of laziness in not putting narration in the videos but then the silent format became popular so I kept it that way.

The no talking, caption only format is one of the best things about your videos, second only to your skill and dedication in learning these techniques. I find them meditative, focusing on just the important aspects. Do you also experience any form of mindfulness when making these videos?

JohnPlant81 karma

Yes, you get into a sort of trance while making things that takes your mind off things in the outside world, for sure.

whathappenedwas1041 karma

I love your content!!!

Wondering where you get your ideas from? As in, how'd you learn all these methods, and where/do you look for new ones?

Do you replant what you chop down?

Do you ever wear shoes?

JohnPlant1289 karma

I get them from whatever interests me at the time, books or internet usually. Internet research plus trial and error. No, the forest just grows back from the leaf litter and seeds because it's so hot and wet here. No, never wear shoes in the bush. Thanks, glad you like it.

benin0z694 karma

G'day John, Congratulations on the book launch. Have watched your videos multiple times in fascination. Question - would you ever consider hosting bushcrafting days/tours? My wife has always wanted to go up to Queensland and could kill 2 birds with one stone learning first hand all you do

JohnPlant1059 karma

Yes, I have considered it but worry about public liability. I think there is potential for a primitive technology school though. Come to Queensland anyway, the weathers great and there's lots to see and do. I should make a deal with the tourism industry here, much potential for overseas interest in PT.

benin0z300 karma

100% agree! The liability is a fair point, but yeh a lot of potential. You could even just sell official PT cargo shorts (the blue ones you wear). Do you sell your baskets etc. At local markets at all?

JohnPlant450 karma

Yeah, the pants, I've thought of that before. I sold fire sticks at the markets once just for fun before starting the YT channel. $10 per kit. Sold 3 in one day.

benin0z170 karma

Haha nice. The main thing is you are able to do full-time something you enjoy and are passionate about. It's a shame you only have a new video every month!...mind you I can appreciate there is A LOT of work to get to the stage of sharing. Any plans to release more frequently?

JohnPlant607 karma

I'll post when I have new stuff to share. I don't really want to post for the sake of it. Some of these skills take years to perfect and some of the skills don't even exist yet either, they're still theoretical and I have to prove them or find ways to scale them up.

Ste_hen234683 karma

How long does it take you to edit the videos for your channel on average? Love the content!

JohnPlant981 karma

I edit as I go with the project. About half an hour at the end of each days work. Then final editing at the end of each project. Thanks.

BrooksWasHere1540 karma

Hey man, love the channel! You make it look easy. Do you ever get injuries? I never notice bandages. I know if it were me and I was in the bush with no shirt or shoes I'd be all sorts of cut up.

JohnPlant1522 karma

I have many cuts and cracks on my feet. Sometimes I rest for a day for them to heal. I've nearly injured my eyes breaking up wood by smashing it over rocks * always look away/close eyes when breaking wood like this*. Other than that just minor cuts bruises and scrapes but nothing serious. I got really sick when I was making the water hammer video and had a very high fever, probably from standing in water with dead animals in it all day. But it's generally a safe hobby, I haven't died once yet and hope to keep up this record.

Flegolaz525 karma

hello John. I love to watch your videos. keep it up, they are awesome. my questions: how many huts have you already built? how long do you use them each time? Are they close to each other? Can you create a map, where the huts are, where the kilns are and where the sweet potato fields are? this would be very interesting to see.

ps: I have already ordered your book, fortunately it has been translated into German.

JohnPlant814 karma

So many hut's I've lost count. Very few huts exist as they all have wooden components that get eaten by termites here. I need to make shelters from permanent materials (e.g. stone, ceramic only- no wood). Right now it's just the last hut I built and a really dilapidated thatched hut. There are yams where the sweet potatoes were now but I'll probably build a shelter there soon. I have 2 kilns, 2 charcoal makers and a natural draft furnace made from clay bricks at this stage, clustered together on the same side of the creek bank. Thanks for ordering the book much appreciated.

Flegolaz201 karma

how do you plan your huts? do you have a fixed idea or does this happen spontaneously? For example, whether a two-sided roof or a four-sided. Do you go home every night or do you occasionally sleep in the huts?

JohnPlant450 karma

I plan the huts before building them. I draw the dimensions and figure out the lengths timber needed. to measure them I use my foot as a unit of measurement and convert it from meters. A reoccurring theme is usually building the wooden posts and roof first before making the walls due to the rain washing mud away (roof protects walls from rain while building). I've camped in the tiled hut and it was warm in winter. I don't usually camp out these days though and I should get back into sleeping in the huts again. I camped out in a tent last night though, it was good apart from lack of sleep.

Flegolaz200 karma

how long do you need per hut?

JohnPlant352 karma

15 days

TDX506 karma

G'Day from Brissy, and congrats on the book! Sorry I have a few questions:
- Do you stay out there the whole time, or do you head home most nights?
- Did you get ripped from the labour involved in your projects, or do you have a gym membership?
- Do you plan on making any more overseas visits to show how other cultures get it done?

JohnPlant731 karma

Go home most nights. Do weights in the garage, gym is a waste of money Not at this stage. Thanks.

vb-xb-eb-elxr6396 karma

Hey Champion. First, love the videos. (And loved them even more when I figured out you had captions)

You are truly living out my childhood dream of building the ultimate cubby house. And as someone who had several attempts of making bows out of all sorts of crap. Makes that one episode my favorite. So thank you for that.

Question, On average, how many days in a month would you spend in the bush. It seems the everything you do is very labor intensive. And it looks like you would almost have to be there 24\7 for get any results.

Cheers again mate. Can't wait for the book. (P.S. are you going to narrate the audiobook? Ha!)

JohnPlant465 karma

Almost everyday I spend at the huts. There's always something to do. Just do a bit each day and you'll get your projects done. Bow making as hard to learn, the one on the channel was the 3rd one I tried till I got the design right. Thanks.

Flegolaz168 karma

What about your ironmaking project? are you going to make a video again on this?

JohnPlant255 karma

Yes, I'm working on it. Built two different furnaces at home and made iron prills from both (just tested one this Monday). I'm confident I can do it but the challenge is in making enough prills to melt together in a mold, making progress though. I made a community post last year of a picture of some iron prills I melted together in a small crucible. scroll down to the 4th and 5th last posts here to see the pictures: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAL3JXZSzSm8AlZyD3nQdBA/community?view_as=subscriber

beltersand148 karma

How confused do you think you will make future archeologists?

JohnPlant87 karma

Not very if they see my videos in the YT archives and know the general area. Though seriously if they saw things like the forge blower they'd know it had been retro engineered from at least the mid 1800's technology. If it was things like pottery though they might consider unknown trade routes in Australia until they were more able to scientifically date the pot sherds.

Zero-Ctrl114 karma

I’m probably a little late to the party, but finally an AMA from someone I actually care about talking to!

I’ve watched all of your videos (multiple times), find them unbelievably relaxing, and I’m unbelievably jealous that you have that land to work on!

Also read your blog, it’s a disused plantation right?

How do you feel about all the people who have copied your style of videos?

I think you should start up a company offering primitive survival weekends, where people have to build their own shelter and stuff. I’m in the U.K. and I have looked at this type of thing but it’s usually basic bushcraft and I don’t need help building a fire lol.

Edit: put a link to your book? I’m going to buy that shit for myself this Christmas!!

JohnPlant80 karma

Yes, it used to be a cane farm.

It's a free country (world) so they are allowed to. Some fake their videos, others copy my inventions but a few are genuine and clever.

I think that's a great idea, this is a need that should be adressed. Maybe a small fee could alow people access to land- maybe a service that links people with land to people who want to practice it? UK link for book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Primitive-Technology-complete-making-scratch/dp/1529104599/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=primitive+technology&qid=1572625050&s=books&sr=1-1

DoSdnb94 karma

Do you reckon you have gathered enough Era Score for a golden era when your ironmaking ends the Classical Age?

JohnPlant68 karma

Yes.

kingbovril59 karma

Hey John, huge fan of your channel and I’ve been watching since you started.

I’ve always wondered if you learned your survival skills from indigenous peoples or from any cultures specifically? I saw above that you do most of your research online but am still curious if there are survival skills from any one culture that you’ve adopted in particular.

Also, as a bowyer myself I really enjoyed your bow video. Very impressive you were able to make a bow with the tools you had, most people have no idea how hard it is to follow a single growth ring!

JohnPlant56 karma

Aboriginals lived here so I use their poison leeching technique to process plants into food. But for other things it's all over the world. Africa and Central America influence me a lot. Yes, I just leave the bark on the back of the bow, never cut into it or it might break. I found splitting the stave to be easier in the wild than carving it from the start.

Flegolaz53 karma

Do you own a piece of land in the forest where you do your projects?

JohnPlant56 karma

Back at friends property, I sold the other place because it was too wet and too big for me to maintain. So many mosquitoes and leeches there, really hard to keep firewood dry for pyrotechnology.

Heineken9453 karma

Hey John, thanks for the Ama.

Do you ever get fomo?

Is there a Mrs Plant in the picture? If not, what are your thoughts on this isolation?

JohnPlant96 karma

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is real but I've never been bothered by it too much. I have a girl friend now but didn't for a long time. I also tend to get more done when not socializing. Some people deal ok with isolation, others really dislike being alone.

daggerpwna52 karma

Hey John! Have you ever been recognized on streets by some fans? How do they react about your channel and hobbies? And especially to The fact you can speak? Thanksss

JohnPlant75 karma

Yes, I've only been recognized twice though. They react positively. They seem un surprised when they hear me speak.

BanjoCalrisian42 karma

G'day mate, are there any bushcrafters you admire? I've always been a big fan of Les Hiddins.

JohnPlant50 karma

Yes I watched the bush Tucker too growing up. Ray Mears is good also.

SniffyTippyToes41 karma

How do you deal with all those damn mosquitos?!

JohnPlant54 karma

Smoke, it keeps them away when you're sitting still and working on something.

ReasonablyBadass39 karma

What was the greatest "Aha!" effect you had so far?

JohnPlant103 karma

The invention of the forge blower that used a spindle that could be spun one way and then another to force air into the furnace. The AHA was in realizing it doesn't matter which way the impeller spun it would always fan air into the furnace, thus the hand drill or cord drill could be used to apply the high RPM needed for the fan. No other bush crafter would have come up with this.

Spitfiredrgn38 karma

Hey John, glad I caught this early before it inevitably explodes with questions. I've been following you for years,so thank you for all of the content you've released so far. Have there been any dangerous situations that you've been in while in the bush (animals, injuries, etc)?

JohnPlant60 karma

just the occasional snake. never been bitten. Watch your eyes though when breaking wood up, splinters can fly at the face. Goes for flint knapping too.

CoSonfused37 karma

Hi John, what made you start the channel?

JohnPlant92 karma

I filmed footage to show friends and family and then put it up on YouTube to make money. It was sort of like hey, might as well- maybe there will be a small niche audience. But then it became more successful than I expected.

TrumpImpeachedAugust35 karma

Your fingers often get quite dirty over the course of your work. How do you protect the camera you use to film?

JohnPlant68 karma

I don't, the camera is filthy. Luckily the Nikon D3200 is quite robust and hadn't had any issues. Just keep the lens clean with some cloth.

patleeman34 karma

Love the channel. Been watching since you got popular!

How many pairs of shorts do you own?

JohnPlant50 karma

Maybe 20? Alot. Thanks.

AsIAm34 karma

Hi John, your content is amazing! I always watch it twice — without the subs and then with them. First time is kind of ASMR for me, and second time it’s highly educational. Thank you!

I am really curious about your next projects — what’s on your mind beside the iron?

JohnPlant52 karma

Wood ash cement, larger structures made from permanent materials. Engines. Autonomous machines. Things like that interest me.

CannaUnot29 karma

What got you started doing primitive technology?

JohnPlant72 karma

Access to bush land as a kid making huts. Then I considered that it was cheating to use modern tools and materials for some reason know only to my 11 year old younger self. That's how primitive technology started.

rudidude8620 karma

G'day John! I love your videos -- thank you for making them.

I have to imagine things don't always go as planned out there. Will we ever see a blooper reel? Maybe on the next April 1st?

JohnPlant38 karma

Probably not, there aren't many funny things that happen, just stuff that doesn't work. Thanks, glad you watched it.

22plus20 karma

What is the most surprising piece of "Primitive" Technology you have encountered?

JohnPlant46 karma

The forge blower I invented. I surprised myself.

francesthemute58618 karma

I think the thing that really makes your channel so great is the videography: the camera work, the editing, the sound. Do you have any formal training in this? What were some of your inspirations for your style?

JohnPlant30 karma

No formal training. I just like setting up the camera and doing my thing. I will take some consideration in setting up a shot to make it look good (e.g. to see all parts of the finished project in one shot). I'll have the project in mind and start a storyboard in mind with all the parts planned out and then just film it.

krink8518 karma

Human waste is one of the things that many forget to account for when doing this type of thing. What do you do to remove or safely contain the inevitable number 2 that comes up while you are out in the bush?

Also thanks for the awesome content on YouTube! I would love to do what you do but I don’t have the land or time. So for now I will live vicariously through you!!!!

JohnPlant72 karma

I never need to as it's very close to home. When I'm far out in the bush just dig a hole and cover it afterwards, clean dry leaf as toilet paper (NOT STINGING TREE!- select wisely). Urine is good on a pile of leaves- use leaves for garden compost the following year and they will have plenty of NPK fertiliser. Urine also makes saltpeter for gunpowder. Can't show this stuff on YouTube, it would get demonetized or restricted. Cody's lab had a great video on making gunpowder from urine and it's completely gone now.

DirtyJavaMan17 karma

How careful are you of poisonous snakes/spiders especially walking around barefoot? I hope you keep it up, watching your videos is a highlight for me.

JohnPlant23 karma

Always keep an eye on the ground where I walk. Will do, thanks.

ifellbutitscool15 karma

Do you get much interest from preppers? I imagine in this time where distopian outcomes are on a lot of people's minds more people might turn to survivalist entertainment/education

JohnPlant23 karma

Yes, there is a lot of overlap from PT into the survival genre.

kaancl334413 karma

Is it possible to creat cement and make better buildings on the place you are working rn ? I dont know anything about the chemistry behind the cement but all the materials have to be in the nature right :/

JohnPlant32 karma

There is no limestone here but it's distributed evenly in the soil and concentrated in the leave bark and wood of trees. The ash made from this can be made into a cement that sets after 3 days and will not dissolve in water. This is the same chemistry as normal cement made from limestone. I'm storing the ash as pellets and will calcine them in a kiln when ready to use, probably as a mortar for clay bricks.

Lejars13 karma

Love your videos man. How do you feel about all the copy cat channels building pools in the jungle? Also how itchy were them pants?

JohnPlant36 karma

It's a strange subculture, they use portland cement and modern tools to build the pools and aren't shy in pretending it's real. The pants were like wearing two welcome mats but weren't itchy, just stiff.