Watch: Building a Hut from Scratch

YouTube / Primitive Technology
YouTube / Primitive Technology / YouTube / Primitive Technology

This morning I came across a strangely mesmerizing video. It starts by showing a young man clad only in shorts making a stone axe by chipping two stones together. Then he cuts down a tree with the axe. Then he frames a hut using more slender trees, tying them together with ropy vines. Then he strings leaves together to make a thatch. By the end of what seems to be the first day, this fellow has made himself a very basic shelter with a bed and a fire. From scratch.

What makes this so compelling is its silence. The man, who goes by "Primitive Technology" on YouTube, doesn't need language to explain what he's doing—he just shows it to us. The only piece of modern technology that appears to be present is the video camera—and I guess his shorts, though he's probably wearing those for modesty. He doesn't bother with shoes.

The slightly-mysterious man built this hut on an abandoned cane farm in Far North Queensland, Australia. He adds onto it in a methodical, logical way, always in silence. He says it took 30 days to create over the course of nine months. He also points out on his blog that he doesn't actually live in the wild; this is just a hobby. It's truly fascinating, and it's truly satisfying knowing that humans have been doing something like this for millennia. Even in the age of YouTube, there is appeal in the primitive.

If you have 11 minutes, watch what 30 days of hard work and natural resources can get you:

Here's what "Primitive Technology" wrote when he uploaded the (primitive, non-HD) video in May:

I built this hut in the bush using naturally occurring materials and primitive tools. The hut is 2m wide and 2m long, the side walls are 1m high and the ridge line (highest point) is 2m high giving a roof angle of 45 degrees. A bed was built inside and it takes up a little less than half the hut. The tools used were a stone hand axe to chop wood, fire sticks to make fire, a digging stick for digging and clay pots to carry water. The materials used in the hut were wood for the frame, vine and lawyer cane for lashings and mud for daubing. Broad leaves were initially used as thatch which worked well for about four months before starting to rot. The roof was then covered with sheets of paper bark which proved to be a better roofing material (*peeling the outer layer of bark does not kill this species of tree). An external fireplace and chimney were also built to reduce smoke inside. The hut is a small yet comfortable shelter and provides room to store tools and materials out of the weather. The whole hut took 9 months from start to finish. But it only took 30 days of actual work (I abandoned it for a few months before adding bark roof, chimney and extra daub).

Check out his blog for more stuff like this.