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#291152 - 11/18/18 11:32 PM Primative Firemaking
Ors Offline
Namu (Giant Tree)
Addict

Registered: 09/16/05
Posts: 663
Loc: Florida, USA
Just curious how many here have primative firemaking skills. Bow and drill ll...hand drill...

We go to a song circle every summer, and a couple of years ago, there was a group teaching primative firemaking. Every fire circle that year began with someone starting the first the old fashioned way.

Seems to me it would be a good skill to have.

No one was teaching it in SoCal, and with good reason considering the current fires, and Iím not finding local classes here in Florida, but maybe itís not something people are thinking about here.

Just wondering who has those chops.
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Ors, MAE, MT-BC
Memento mori
Vulnerant omnes, ultima necat (They all wound, the last kills)

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#291153 - 11/18/18 11:42 PM Re: Primative Firemaking [Re: Ors]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2742
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I haven't managed fire with the bowdrill/firedrill yet, although I have managed blisters and cursing. It's on my bucket list.

But I have learned to make fire with old-school flint and steel using found tinder. (I'm not talking ferro rods, which are blowtorches in comparison).

Upon reflection, the takeaway for me was not the method of making spark, but the concentrated discipline of finding, preparing, and using natural tinder that can take a spark from anything.

Is that the most important part of the equation? I begin to think it might be. It requires you to be intensely aware of the environment you walk through, and to align yourself with it.


Edited by dougwalkabout (11/18/18 11:46 PM)

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#291154 - 11/18/18 11:51 PM Re: Primative Firemaking [Re: Ors]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6815
Loc: southern Cal
I suppose you can make a case for proficiency with bow drill,flint and steel, fire piston, etc but I must admit I just don't get it. it is very easy to carry premium matches w/tinder in a waterproof case, one (or two) Bic lighters, or other modern appliances, which can be lighter than the primitive items. I do use a ferro rod and steel to ignite my iso-butane canister stove - works very well.

I am very often in situations (above timberline, in caves, etc) where conventional fuels are not readily available, so bring on the liquid fuels. I have been in situations here in SoCal where a conventional wood fire is inadvisable or prohibited, although that is a fairly special case.

Certainly not a bad skill to possess, but realistically not all that critical.
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#291155 - 11/19/18 02:41 AM Re: Primative Firemaking [Re: Ors]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1472
Loc: North Carolina
There is something to be said for primitive fire making. It is a skill that could be useful, but requires a good deal of practice and learning the types of wood suitable for it. With so many other options, few learn it anymore. A bow drill or other fire drill is not something I would carry, but knowing how (and practicing!!!) is something to put together in an extreme situation. The trouble is that in a really extreme situation you may not have any tool or the right materials. It is not a waste of time learning how to do it (and practice!!!).

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#291157 - 11/19/18 03:05 AM Re: Primative Firemaking [Re: Ors]
Ors Offline
Namu (Giant Tree)
Addict

Registered: 09/16/05
Posts: 663
Loc: Florida, USA
dougwalkabout brings up a good point. I think part of this for me is about my awareness and being in tune with the environment. Being in relationship with the natural world in a good way.

Like Montanero says, it takes practice and knowledge of what types of wood work best.

I guess Iíve liked the idea Tom Brown puts forth in his book about outdoor survival about feeling at ease in the forest, with only a knife, and knowing you can find everything else you need to be comfortable.

Not that primitive fire making would be my FIRST choice, but for my own sense of space and place in this world, I think Iím going to learn.
_________________________
Ors, MAE, MT-BC
Memento mori
Vulnerant omnes, ultima necat (They all wound, the last kills)

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#291158 - 11/19/18 06:12 AM Re: Primative Firemaking [Re: Ors]
Phaedrus Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2244
Loc: Great Plains
I'm not as proficient as I'd like to be. For me the appeal is mostly academic, a link to the ways of the past. About 5% of my interest is practical; while the possibility is remote I could wind up in a situation where I had to improvise fire with few or no tools. Realistically in a true survival situation where fire meant the difference between life and death- and I had no lighter, matches, firesteel, etc.- I'd probably be a goner! Friction fire is challenging under the best of conditions and pretty dicey in bad weather.
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#291159 - 11/19/18 01:05 PM Re: Primative Firemaking [Re: Ors]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1472
Loc: North Carolina
I have seen some, who do it a lot, get a fire going in less than a minute. But they do it a lot, and carry their own small kit with prepared tinder. Like with other fire making methods, the preparation is most important.

You have not really failed until you have stopped trying!

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#291160 - 11/19/18 03:37 PM Re: Primative Firemaking [Re: Montanero]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6815
Loc: southern Cal
Sometimes it can be insanely difficult to ignite a fire, and sometimes it can be insanely easy. A few years ago, we had a 7,000 acre fire ignited by bullet strikes from roadside target shooters - a case of light fuels and very dry conditions.

I have worked with steel tools on rocky, high silicate limestone where tool strikes were creating sparks. We were in dry grass lands, but fortunately did not start anything. I have read that at least one fire has been ignited in SoCal by sunlight focused just right (or wrong!) through a broken glass bottle base.

My most favorite fire starter used to be a carbide lamp, now technologically obsolete because of nearly unobtainable fuel. Light and fire in one handy appliance, reasonably dependable and quickly fixed.

Although I am reasonably weight conscious when hiking, I always carry redundant fire starting items, at least three. Making fire is a fundamental survival skill.
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#291163 - 11/19/18 09:43 PM Re: Primative Firemaking [Re: hikermor]
DaveL Offline
Stranger

Registered: 10/03/18
Posts: 8
FYI
Carbide is available in my local army surplus store, also on line. Spit and light, 😀

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#291164 - 11/19/18 10:28 PM Re: Primative Firemaking [Re: DaveL]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6815
Loc: southern Cal
The problem with carbide is maintaining it in an altered, dry condition. this was not a problem in Tucson, where I employed carbide regularly, but here in California, it degrades with great ease, either in its original canisters or in tightly sealed spare lamp chambers.

I have gone to electric lighting exclusively. Even there a way exists. I have a sparker which charges through a USB port. I haven't used it yet for real, but it ought to start most types of tinder quite readily.

As I recall, there were some pretty complicated shipping regulations or carbide. All the cavers i know have gone electric over the past few years.


Edited by hikermor (11/19/18 10:29 PM)
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