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#256388 - 02/10/13 08:15 PM Fire by Friction - Bow Drill
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2015
Loc: NE Illinois
I'm watching the Survivorman episode where he heads from a Costa Rican beach into the jungle and finds it miserable. It is so impressive that he was able to start a fire using a friction bow drill. That is something I've never leaned to do ... but think it would be nice to learn.

When I was a kid my brother had a Boy Scout version - pre-made, but I'd rather know how to do it from scratch.

Any advice on how to learn?

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#256393 - 02/10/13 09:21 PM Re: Fire by Friction - Bow Drill [Re: KenK]
LesSnyder Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1534
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
lots of good videos on YouTube... this is my favorite

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzXOVbYUamc

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#256395 - 02/10/13 09:57 PM Re: Fire by Friction - Bow Drill [Re: KenK]
Zardoz Offline
Newbie

Registered: 03/04/06
Posts: 25
Loc: Indianapolis
Hi Ken, making a bow-drill and subsequent fire isn't too difficult but it is a time-consuming process and factors such as humidity and strong wind can make a big difference. It is a great skill to learn in the event you end up in a 'gear-less' situation. I made many fires with a homemade bowdrill to imprint the skill but would prefer a rapid and more reliable method if possible. Choosing a wood that is the right density is pretty critical to get a good hot coal, hardwoods don't work well but woods like Ash are good. Once you get over the frustration of the spindle popping out and get a knack for estimating how much time to continue working the drill after smoke appears, then learn to drop the coal into your tinder without it blowing away it gets easy and somewhat reliable. Larry Dean Olsen's book on survival gives a great lesson on bow drills and many other primitive skills.
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#256398 - 02/10/13 10:58 PM Re: Fire by Friction - Bow Drill [Re: LesSnyder]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1916
Loc: Washington, DC
Originally Posted By: LesSnyder
lots of good videos on YouTube... this is my favorite

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzXOVbYUamc



Thanks, Les. That is worthwhile viewing.



.

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#256401 - 02/11/13 12:39 AM Re: Fire by Friction - Bow Drill [Re: Dagny]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6583
Loc: southern Cal
I had no idea Ikea was a smoke shop.....
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#256415 - 02/11/13 04:25 PM Re: Fire by Friction - Bow Drill [Re: KenK]
JPickett Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/03/12
Posts: 264
Loc: Missouri
Seems simpler to me to not be found without matches, firesteel, or some other means of starting a fire. After all, who counts on finding an IKEA store in the woods after getting lost? For that matter, if you Do find an IKEA store, easiest to call a taxi for a ride home!

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#256426 - 02/11/13 09:23 PM Re: Fire by Friction - Bow Drill [Re: KenK]
Pete Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1347
I don't think there's a lot of magic ... just practice. But it does help to choose the right kinds of wood - for both the drill and the "target" that you are boring into. Look around for advice on the wood ... I'm rusty but seem to recall that the drill has to be pretty hard and dry.

Watch "Castaway" with Tom Hanks again. His efforts with a hand drill were not successful. But sliding forwards and backwards with a blunt stick did work better. A big part of the success was that the sliding motion built up a small pile of very dry "fluff" from the wood fibers in the target board. It's the fluff that actually catches fire.

I think it depends a lot on your setup, type of wood available, humidity and dampness of the wood etc.

Pete2


Edited by Pete (02/11/13 09:26 PM)

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#256427 - 02/11/13 09:45 PM Re: Fire by Friction - Bow Drill [Re: JPickett]
bws48 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 830
Loc: Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Originally Posted By: JPickett
Seems simpler to me to not be found without matches, firesteel, or some other means of starting a fire. After all, who counts on finding an IKEA store in the woods after getting lost? For that matter, if you Do find an IKEA store, easiest to call a taxi for a ride home!


+1

Rubbing 2 sticks together is a fine skill to have. But like any skill, it takes time and effort to learn, and practice to keep up. Matches, fire steel, "bic" style lighers (4 for a dollar locally) etc. are cheap and reliable and low skill, and more effective for the average person.

I don't disparage the skill, but I do think that the time and effort in learning it to a reliable point is not realistic for the typical person in the outdoors. "Flicking a bic" gets them the fire they need with much less time and effort. All they need to do is carry one. And all we need to do is convince them to prepare, just a little.
_________________________
"Better is the enemy of good enough."

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#256430 - 02/11/13 10:29 PM Re: Fire by Friction - Bow Drill [Re: bws48]
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 899
Loc: NW NJ
Yeah, you just have to keep things in context.

It is nice skill to have. Someday I'll master it, or at least succeed, once. Carrying a pre-made bow drill kit as your survival fire starter is rather silly.

Tom's Law of Survival:
Improvised last-ditch methods shown in manuals will invariably be adopted by people as the standard preferred methods.
_________________________
- Tom S.
Mora Knives & Adventurer Series Survival Gear

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

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