Rubbing two sticks together

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Red Owl

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When I was in the Boy Scouts this adult dressed as a plains Indian had a bow and drill and spent about 3-5 minutes getting enough smoke for an ember he blew into a flame. At the time I thought that was pretty cool. Now I found out the Plains Indians didn't use a bow and drill and simply twirled a stick between their hands on a fireboard. I know you are supposed to use different type woods but anyone good at this and what type wood do you use?
 
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In my part of the world, the US Southeast, I use mullein stalk and a cedar hearth-board. My hands are getting very gnarly and arthritic, and I find the hand bow pretty tough these days. At one time I was adept.

I had a girlfriend years ago who was kinda into it. She and I would sit opposite one another and trade off. When I got to the bottom of the stalk she'd take over and vice versa. That worked really well.

As with all friction fires I found the tinder bundle to be most important, and the drill and board both had to be bone dry. My experiences anyway. Good luck. Getting a good coal and making a fire that most ancient of ways is super satisfying.
 
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th.jpg seriously though. I am a disappointment to one branch of my ancestors. wore the palms of my hands to hamburger and never got a fire. my BIL has a bow and board that has never been tried so maybe i can redeem myself.
i can get a fire going good with a flint and steel on char cloth though .
 
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Got a wilderness survival book in the 1970s. And it had instruction for fire drills, flint and steel, magnesium rods, bow drills, powder on paper or cloth, waterproofing matches ect.
And big parts on carrying a coal all day. A horn, basket, skin bag filled with moss, dry and damp grass, even hair.
I bet starting a fire was a rare thing
 

rich pierce

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I’ve only had success with the hand drill with dry weed stalks and with 2-piece hand drills with a yucca tip. I keep the tip size a little bigger than a pencil. Not going to get a big ember so it’s good to have a small piece of charcoal to extend the ember. I always use willow for the hearth board and use a very thin hearth board for hand drill fire making. If done every day it can become easier. For a one-off in a survival situation few are going to be successful without great conditions and regular practice. Of course in hot desert stuff is bone dry. In the eastern US, not often. Must also pick the time of day and conditions. When relying on fire by friction I dry my updated kit and tinder every day by the fire I made, and always save soft charcoal to extend embers. That turns the whole process into a less exhausting and frustrating ordeal.
 

Red Owl

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I've seen a couple of you-tubes and to be honest- really incredible. Like the fire piston, it seems that a very fast and hard twist is what gets an ember. That said, I recently read "Black Elk Speaks" and he said when the tribe moved there was a fire keeper that kept a live ember during the trip- so that says something.
And, even with a bow and drill- I am not very good at it.
 

Tom A Hawk

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Well, not to brag but this subject is kind of area of personal expertise. For fire by friction I suggest using the thumbnail test. If you can sink a thumbnail into the wood it may be a good choice. Next give it a try and examine the dust. If soft and silky feeling the wood may be a winner. If hard and granular feeling it may not be a good choice. With bowdrill the coal usually forms in under 30 seconds.

I have a bowdrill tip sheet for anyone wishing to master this skill.
 

toot

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Got a wilderness survival book in the 1970s. And it had instruction for fire drills, flint and steel, magnesium rods, bow drills, powder on paper or cloth, waterproofing matches ect.
And big parts on carrying a coal all day. A horn, basket, skin bag filled with moss, dry and damp grass, even hair.
I bet starting a fire was a rare thing
hair- bet that smelled to high heaven.
 

toot

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The tinder was wood punk. I just stabbed it.
thank you so much for the reply. I am going to give it a try. I have read that to pop cans bottom has to be polished before use? it doesn't look like you did any prepping ? if so what would be used?
 
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