Saturday, January 12, 2013

A quest for fire

Like I said before I tried making fire before with a bowdrill but I failed to do so, I realise that it is all just a matter of practice and sooner or later it will work.. not exacly sure as to what i am doing wrong.. Maybe I do not spin the bow fast enough, maybe I do not put enough pressure on it or maybe I made my bowdrill set out of the wrong materials.. anyhow it is frustrating and all I can do is try again and again.

When I head out I will bring with me 3 different kinds of firestarters... Matches, 2 firesteels and a dozen cheap lighters... These are all disposable and even firestarters do not last forever so learning to make a fire with natural materials is becoming very important.

Some Firestarting techniques

Here is a whole list of firestarting techniques, some are very familiar and some on the other hand are not.

Bow Drill
This is one of the most populair techniques of the primitive outdoorsman. A bowdrill is made out of 4 items: the Spindle, the Bow, the Bearing block and the Hearthblock. Sometimes people make a Bowdrill set out of one type of wood, others like to experiment with different types of wood and for example make the spindle out of a hardwood and hearth out of softwood. Making such a bowdrill out in the wild is pretty easy and the hardest part seems to be making a good, strong Cord for the Bow.

Hand Drill
The most famous technique of making fire in the wild, even kids know of this technique. However it's a lot harder then the Bow drill, the principle is the same but in this case there is not a bow that makes the spindle spin but your hands that does the hard work. That spindle usualy is longer and thinner than the spindle of a Bow drill.

Fire Plow
For those of you who have seen the movie 'Cast Away' you may remember this technique. If you have not seen the movie, go watch it since :)   Just like the handdrill it's basicaly 2 pieces of wood but instead of creating friction by spinning one piece on the other this time we create friction by rubbing one piece on the other. I have tried this and boy, it is not easy. A flat piece of wood is placed on the floor and has to stay in place, with the other piece of wood (I prefer thin and round) you rub the end on the entire length of the flat piece. It takes some time and you need to put some pressure on the stick without wearing yourself out, which I find hard.

Fire Saw
Plow, Saw, Drill... looks like a workshop up in here.. Anyhow the Fire saw is also made out of two pieces of wood usualy Bamboo, therefore we can pretty much say that this is a technique used by Asian tribes. One piece of bamboo stays in place on the ground, the other piece is used as a saw and after a while you should be able to create friction and therefore fire. I have no idea how good this works since i have never tried it. Holland is not a good place to start in order to find bamboo but it can be bought and i''m also pretty sure that other types of wood can be used

Fire Thong
This might be the technique that is less known, the first time I have heard of this was a week ago. It's nothing more but a piece of wood and a strong string. Since I have never tried this I cannot say how easy this is or what's the best way to do it.

Fire with Stones
Tried it and tried it again and failed every single time. The thing is that most stones will not produce a spark and either Flint or stones with high iron content I think work best. I have tried creating sparks with flint and other stones, flint on flint and flint on carbon steel. I think I get about 2 sparks out of a 100 strikes which is not worth the effort. Why it won't work? Maybe i'm doing it wrong, Maybe the flint I use is actualy not flint at all or maybe it's just a matter of more experience.

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