Sunday, September 28, 2008
Rubbing sticks together to make fire
There's a primal satisfaction to starting a fire with stone-age equipment. There are plenty of videos and how-to articles about bow drills available on line, but I'll throw out these few tips: Technique is critical. Kneel, step on the hearth board, brace your spindle arm against your leg for stability, and concentrate in long, level strokes with your bow hand. Start slowly to warm things up and develop a smooth rythm. Don't bear down hard until you've already filled the cut-out with dust. Sometimes the bearing surfaces polish each other and they stop producing dust. A pinch of dry sand will help. Once you get a coal (you'll know you have one if your little pile of dust keeps smoking after you've stopped drilling), don't be in a hurry to transfer it to your tinder bundle and start blowing. Giving it thirty seconds or so to coalesce will be beneficial.