Today I learned how to start a fire by rubbing sticks together

I had a small hatchet, a small knife, and a bit of string. I spent 6 hours or so preparing for about 6 minutes to get a fire started I let burn for about 3 minutes.

Fire by friction is hard. Building a bow drill set is fussy, exacting work with a hatchet. My aim is much better than it used to be thanks to my blacksmithing practice. The knife I had with me is much to small for this type of work.

I got a fire lit! There should be a video posted soon by the guy who was teaching me today. 

In album Bow Drill Fire

Fire is so pretty.

You really learn to appreciate fire when you make it by rubbing sticks together.

You really appreciate a lighter after spending 6 hours to make a fire.

This is the fire set. It’s designed to have the tinder bundle placed down inside at the bottom, and the whole thing goes WHOOSH when you get the fire going. This is a bit spindly, but it worked great!

My hand-crafted bow drill set. I did most of the work with a small hatchet.

On our way out, after dark, I saw something glowing on the ground. When the camera flash went off for this photo, we saw it was some rotten wood. Luminescent Fungus! Stuff you read about in books, it actually exists!

This is my setup to build a fire with a bow drill. The parts are on the left side, the fire set is in the middle, and taking a shoe off helps tremendously!

This is the tinder bundle. It holds the coal and produces the flame. It’s dried bark bits, grass, and some cattail fluff.

This isn’t me. He is showing me how to seat the parts. There is a lot of doing this.

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  1. +Tim Cunningham its quite complex. If any one of about 6 key points isn't right, it won't work. My instructor struggled for a few years before paying somebody to teach him out of frustration. 2 of us where learning that day, the other guy didn't get his fire. Probably needed another hour to get his set right.

    The stuff I learned makes starting any fire much easier as we tested this weekend with a Ferro rod.

    Find somebody who has successfully built a few sets and have them help. It's doable, it just makes me really appreciate my Bic all that much more.

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