Saturday, February 28, 2009

Making your own Rabbit Nets.

A Village craft that has gone.

A great many old country ways are fast vanishing from the village scene, none more so than in the Cookham’s. There was a time when most village boys had learned not only at school a formal education, but how to live off the land in a great many ways. How to catch vermin like rats and rabbits was just one way of putting a copper or two in your pocket to spend at Mrs. Vales sweet shop, or the latest dinky toy from Nat Smith on the Colonnade in Maidenhead.

The first picture is of a Purse Net or Fish Net needle. Sometimes called a bobbin or shuttle and were made of a straight grained wood like Deal. Most country folk made their own and I made mine from boxwood that my father had received his tins of Corned Beef from the Argentine. I would trace out the outline of the needle on the wood and cut it out with my hand fretsaw, finishing off with a penknife and sand paper. My string was butchers string from the shop and the rings were curtain rings that were no longer in use. I found also that the wooden pin would break off, so I resorted to drilling a hole up through the center and inserting a 4” nail in its place, afterwards there were no problems.

The Purse or Rabbit Net.
Note the white drawstring that ran around the outside of the net and was pegged firmlt into the ground. So when the rabbit hit the net fast thedrawsting would close the net and the rabbit was trapped.
I made about twelve of these nets to start with, as you never knew how many holes there were in the warren, plus there were also the emergency boltholes, which had to be covered and sometimes hard to find. Mind you I had a very good teacher in Ernie Holland of White Place Farm, who started me out with my first ferret.
I also found in the making of the Purse Nets for catching rabbits, that I could make very good Christmas presents using the very large wooden curtain rings to make string shopping bags.

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