American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Let's Make a Hand Drill Fire (Part 1)

Perhaps the simplest of firestarting methods outside of random lightning strikes on dry tinder is the hand drill fire. This is literally rubbing two sticks together and, with practice, can become a fairly reliable method of getting a smouldering ember which you can transfer into a tinder bundle to bring your fire to life.

Now I've had limited success with the hand drill fire making in the past and my hearth board and spindle have long since been lost. I'm going to have to rebuild for this project.

I like a hearth board somewhere around 20" long and between 1/2" and 3/4" thick. Too thin and you'll drill right through before you have your ember; too thick and it'll take too long to get an ember.

I've always used cedar because that's just what I've had available. What I really like about cedar (other than that wonderful smell) is that it can readily be split to a thickness/width that suits your particular needs with just a knife and baton.

Finding a piece of cedar in my yard, however, is going to be nigh impossible. Perhaps a trip to the Home Depot for a suitable hearth board--or is that cheating?

Once I find a suitable piece of wood I will trim it down to size and get it ready while I also go searching for a decent spindle. I know of a place with a couple of old mullein stalks but they may be too old and pithy to work. A bit of an expedition is in order...

Thanks for reading,



At 11:28 AM, Anonymous said...

This is going to be an interesting series and I look forward to more! Starting a fire using this method is like graduating to the next level of survival expertise.

At 12:07 PM, Blogger backcountrybowhunter said...

Looking forward to this one. On survivorman season one Les uses a hand drill to start a fire in the American southwest. He has a couple great hints, so check it out if you can.

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Mungo said...

Looking forward to this set of posts too... cedar sounds like a good baseboard - what's best for a drill? I've tried Mullein, but it broke.

At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never succeeded with hand drill. Grrrr...
Pablo's Woodlife

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good luck! i tried when i saw this video.

its hard!


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