Friction Fire Tuesday

Discussion in 'Fire' started by IHatchetJack, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    Howdy all,

    I've decided to set aside every Tuesday evening for practicing primitive fire techniques. It's good to get into a habit of doing the things you love, and this skill can be done anywhere with good ventilation so there's no excuse not to practice it if it's something you love! All skill levels are welcome and encouraged to join! Everyone needs to practice, even seasoned warriors!

    No rules here, only suggestions. I'll be documenting my practice through photographs and text. All primitive methods are welcome, and if you have a really cool modern method feel free to share!

    Here's one of my embers tonight. Bow Drill set, basswood on basswood, rock bearing. The knife is a BCNW knife customed up by AdventureSworn.

    [​IMG]


    I'll be updating this thread every Tuesday with my post practice photographs and thoughts!
     
  2. MATT CHAOS

    MATT CHAOS Guide Bushclass I

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    Nice work!
     
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  3. golfer1555

    golfer1555 Scout

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    nice job
    and by the way awesome picture
     
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  4. Driftingrz

    Driftingrz Guide

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    good job and fancy picture takin haha... i vow to try this before the end of hte week.. as soon as the rain stops comin down... anybody know if oak works well for friction?? i would assume not.. but its the only source of dry wood i know of at the moment
     
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  5. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    Oak only works for shaman :). I bet you have sycamore, or even pine in your area. As long as its seasoned and the growth rings aren't too close together, pine will work with practice.

    You probably have tulip poplar around your area too, these work okay also. What I've been lately recommending to people first trying is to focus on the technique and not worry about making an ember. Practice until you can go a minute straight without loosing the spindle, when you can easily do this, making an ember wont be much of a problem.

    Remember to photo your attempt and share with us!
     
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  6. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    Being a scout master, you should learn this and teach your boys!
     
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  7. Driftingrz

    Driftingrz Guide

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    ill take pictures of whatever i use.. only problems is i cant identify anything other than oak and pine haha.. very sad
     
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  8. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    Sycamore is very easy to ID. It's usually fairly tall, growing close to water. The bark is thin and will flake off in long slats, usually hanging from the tree begging to fall about a quarter distance up the tree. The trunk is covered with the brownish bark while closer to the top of the tree the wood turns a very pretty white color. The leaves are large and shaped kinda like a campfire. The tree produces round green seedpods about the size of a golf ball, they hang from a stem about 3-4 inches long.

    I promise you've seen sycamore and while its not the best wood to start out on, it IS the easiest to identify. You may have basswood in your area too but I'm not totally sure. Basswood is a tall tree with high branches. Leaves are heart-shaped with one lobe of the heart larger than the other. It's bark will peel off and be very fibrous if you strip it. It's pretty common to find lots of basswood shoots growing near the trunk, because of this you'll usually find basswood trees growing very close together. I like to harvest the shoots green and let them dry. They grow back next season so you're not really doing any harm.

    I'll go to the park this evening and get a few pictures for you.
     
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  9. mainewoods

    mainewoods Maine Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    :dblthumb: Nice Job! Looks Great.
     
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  10. Nature Girl

    Nature Girl Scout Bushclass I

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    I have practiced this technique so many countless times.....and failed. kfb, my hubby has taken away my paracord due to my cussin' at the set-up.
     
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  11. JC1

    JC1 Guide

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    from what I have read, hard woods (oak) are very hard to get going while the softer woods (pine) are much easier.
     
  12. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    Well...maybe if you try again and take some pictures, then post them here, someone can help you out! Steal your paracord back and try not to swear too much! :)
     
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  13. elzeardclym

    elzeardclym Tracker

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    I was there about a year ago, but if you decide it's something you want to do and look at some decent books you should be able to expand your tree knowledge significantly in short time. I've learned more trees than I can count in the last year or so. It helps learning what trees have uses too, because it helps keep the tree in your memory. It also helps actually finding the tree and not just seeing it in a book.
     
  14. Driftingrz

    Driftingrz Guide

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    if i could afford to put out the extra money for a guide for tree identification then i would have long ago.. but not gonna happen anytime soon....

    but i did build a bow drill tonight.. used some driftwood for the hearth... which sucked and the green wood i found out by the barn for the socket actually burnt up a little bit so i switched peices using driftwood for the socket since its so hard... my technique is just fine.. i could keep it going for a few minutes at a time.. just need the right materials to make some flames.. oh well.. easy enough to make the bowdrill setup.. did everything with a bk11 from processing to drilling holes...
     
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  15. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    You're in the right place for tree ID, buddy. Give me a few minutes and I'll start uploading some sycamore pictures.
     
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  16. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    First off is Sycamore...
    You can see the white coloring towards the top. Growing near water, but not necessarily as close as in this picture.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the flaking bark. You can see it's pretty distinctive.
    [​IMG]

    Finally, here is the leaf. They're usually bigger than my hand, and sort of look like a flame. Great shade trees.
    [​IMG]

    The next is Tulip Poplar. Pretty slick bark with what sort of look like arrows pointing upward. This isn't a good picture of the arrow, though.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the very easy to spot leaf of the Tulip Poplar.
    [​IMG]

    And finally, here's a super easy to recognize standby for friction fire, and about a dozen other things. The Willow. Not too many pictures of the willow, but wherever you notice leaves like this, there are willow trees there of some variety.
    [​IMG]

    Hope this helps out a bit! Harvest ethically and let your sets season well!
     
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  17. abo4ster

    abo4ster Banned Member Banned

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    For you north Georgia folks, Eastern White Pine makes an excellent bow drill and it is easy to identify too. It is the only pine with five needles per fasicle. Eastern Hemlock is another bow drill wood that is easy to identify. I would say both of these are in the easy range for the bow drill.

    Nice thing about these trees is that they retain their dead branches making it easy to pull a set right off the tree.

    All the other conifers in our area are difficult.

    Like the thread idea Ihatchetjack, will be following. Thanks, Chris
     
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  18. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    I've had pretty good luck with pine, but sometimes I have issues with the set being super hard feeling. Like the sap set up or something... Any tips?

    Also Abo, you've obviously had great luck with the Box Elder for hand-drill, I'm sure it works great for bow-drilling but have you tried it?
     
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  19. Driftingrz

    Driftingrz Guide

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    thanks for the pictures.. ill keep a lookout for them if i can get out tomorrow.. hopefully this crappy weather has ran its course...
     
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  20. abo4ster

    abo4ster Banned Member Banned

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    I think box elder is super easy for the bow drill... If you think the pine is on hard side, go for more speed in lieu of down pressure. Harder woods seem to need some additional speed, whereas a softer wood responds better to increased downforce relatively speaking. I say relative as in either case you want lots of speed and downforce.

    FWIW, I think learning the bow drill with red maple is the way to go. My rationale is that it is on the difficult side, but more than doable. Also, it is a very common tree widely dispersed, so knowing you can get fire with red maple is a bonus. In addition, it's structure is opposite, which makes it easier to split into the stem of a dead tree to get a hearth. The stem is usually easier than the branch. Having been meaning to do a video on this tip.

    Nonetheless, here is my list of bow drill woods for the area and associated notes...

    Box Elder ~ easy
    Red Maple ~ difficult
    Buckeye ~ easy to medium
    Yellow Birch ~ easy
    Black Birch ~ medium to difficult
    Hickory ~ difficult
    Eastern Red Bud ~ medium
    Beech ~ difficult
    Eastern Red Cedar ~ easy side of medium, handles moisture very well
    Yellow Poplar ~ supposed to easy, but I find it hit and miss
    White Pine ~ easy
    Sycamore ~ easy side of medium
    Eastern Cottonwood ~ easy
    Black Cherry ~ difficult
    Red Oak ~ difficult
    Staghorn Sumac ~ easy
    Willow ~ easy
    Elderberry ~ easy to medium
    Sassafras ~ difficult
    Basswood ~ easy
    Eastern Hemlock ~ easy side of medium, very susceptible to moisture
    American Elm ~ difficult
    Viburnum ~ medium

    Hope someone shares their list and/or updates this one with their findings. Peace, Chris
     
  21. Driftingrz

    Driftingrz Guide

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    do you guys typically use the same kind of tree for each individual piece of hte bow drill or...? i know the bow of the drill isnt super imporant but spindle and hearth obviously are

    and when unable to identify a tree.. what are some other ways to judge if it would be good for friction? i heard something about a thumbnail test somewhere??
     
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  22. elzeardclym

    elzeardclym Tracker

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    Well, while you're on a tight budget check out your local library to see if they have any decent tree ID resources. I've also heard that DNR/forestry offices sometimes will be able to help you out but have no experience with that.
     
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  23. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    When I was first learning, I definitely used a set of the same woods just to keep it simple. In most cases, if one set works, it'll probably be interchangeable with other working sets. It's all about experimenting with different combinations and seeing what works. Just when you think you've got everything figured out though something like this will happen; I have used two identical sets from the same piece of wood and had one set be awesome and one be difficult.

    Once you get a good bearing block and bow, they'll last you years and years. My bow is from a piece of black cherry I harvested about three years ago. It's the only bow I've ever had, so far.

    The thumbnail test is basically for seeing how soft the wood is. Slice a clean flat spot in the dead wood you're thinking of using, then press your thumbnail into the fresh exposed wood. If it leaves a mark easily, it's a good candidate for friction fire. If it's too hard, try it anyway!

    Good luck!
     
  24. ReallyBigMonkey1

    ReallyBigMonkey1 Scout

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    I live in north georgia too and all the advice I have read here is right on the money.I love willow, basswood and box elder but, when I used to teach scouts the bow drill, I always showed them willow on willow. It's plentiful and easy to identify and works well most of the time. The bad part is you can have a favorite choice of wood, and have luck with it most of the time then sometimes that same wood selection won't perform at all.
     
  25. sidecarr

    sidecarr Scout Bushclass I

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    Nice job ,great idea get into practice so if you need it, wont be a big deal.
     
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  26. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    Sound logic, learning with a hard set.

    Aside from Sumac, I've tried all your "easy" woods and agree with your conclusion of difficulty. The only tree I would add is Pawpaw, which is on the medium side of easy.

    You hit it on the head about Yellow Poplar. The whole process is deceiving with that wood! I get great smoke, and great crispy dust, but can hardly get an ember! It must be super sensitive to the humidity around here, or something...

    I'd really like to see a video on the Red Maple!
     
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  27. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    Hope everyone has their firebow ready for tomorrow!
     
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  28. CSugg

    CSugg Scout Bushclass I

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    OK... Upthecreek dared me to do a video on bowdrill. Creek, here it is!

    Please excuse my old man grunts and groans, and my very obvious bald head! My son start laughing when he saw "the pink egg". Gotta get better with camera angles.

    Ches


    553 0209 - YouTube
     
  29. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    Thanksx1,000! Great job man!

    I'm about to get things rolling and upload my photos from tonight's practice!
     
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  30. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    First of all, I'd like to tell about my new rock bearing. My old rock bearing is rather thin, and when used more than a couple times it becomes hot, really hot. I wanted a bit thicker bearing so I could use for practice sessions without burning my hand, so this weekend I picked up a nice piece of river sandstone that fit the bill perfectly.

    Here is my old bearing:
    [​IMG]
    As you can see, its quite thin.

    Here is the new piece of sandstone before making the divot:
    [​IMG]
    Much thicker and fits the hand better as well.

    Next, I took a hard piece of quartzite with a sharp edge and began a drilling motion near the center of the new rock:
    [​IMG]

    And here's the finished product!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    More to come after supper!
     
  31. upthecreek

    upthecreek Guide

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    That's how ya get it done right there Ches! Good job :)
     
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  32. ScottH61

    ScottH61 Tinder Gatherer

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    has anyone tried Aspen? I know it can get a pit "punky" (read: spongy) if it doesn't dry right. I know it burns in the fireplace really good, and doesn't give the chimney a creosote buildup like pine does. Maybe wood that would give that buildup is what I want? I know next to nothing of this skill, but I'd really like to learn it. I have access to a lot of Aspen wood, and maybe a bit of an old apple tree... Feedback is welcome! :)
     
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  33. Driftingrz

    Driftingrz Guide

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    i spent some time in the woods today setting up a tarp shelter for a bushclass and had my dog along.. but couldnt find any wood that wasnt Oak around me some pine but it was all on the ground rotten. gonna try another WMA tomorrow or later this week.. im really wanting to knock out my first bowdrill fire
     
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  34. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    [/QUOTE]

    Can't speak for aspen, but I've definitely tried cottonwood and it works pretty darn good. Not 100% positive but I bet you have it growing in your area near water.
     
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  35. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    Tonight, I used a piece of willow I had harvested about a month back. It's a solid piece and I figured I'd document the process of making the set.

    First, here's the piece next to my Clipper:
    [​IMG]

    Next, I split the piece with one side slightly beefier than the other. The beefy side will become the spindle.
    [​IMG]

    Now I start to trim down the spindle and start shaping it into a cylinder shape:
    [​IMG]

    After a few minutes, I ended up with this:
    [​IMG]

    The hearth isn't near as labor intensive as shaping the spindle. I just plane it as evenly as I can without going to too much trouble. Here it is half finished:
    [​IMG]

    And here is the hearth ready to begin:
    [​IMG]

    Carve a blunt point on one end of the spindle:
    [​IMG]

    And carve a vampire killer on the other end:
    [​IMG]

    Next, I cut a small divot to accommodate the blunt end of my spindle:
    [​IMG]

    Then, I mate the spindle to the hearthboard:
    [​IMG]

    Next comes the notch. I like to rock my knife back and fourth on the center line to give me a sort of target while I'm shaping the notch:
    [​IMG]

    Now slice a piece of pie 1/8th the size of the notch, or as close as you can:
    [​IMG]

    Ready to make an ember:
    [​IMG]

    Get your tinder bundle ready. This is a bundle of pine needles gathered from a paved road:
    [​IMG]

    After about 30 seconds, the willow produced a large ember:
    [​IMG]

    Time to add the ember to the bundle:
    [​IMG]

    Just add O2:
    [​IMG]

    FIRE! ARRRUUUGGGHHHH!!!!!!
    [​IMG]
     
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  36. Westender

    Westender Tracker

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    Nice! I think that last pic should be your avatar!

    Travis
     
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  37. ScottH61

    ScottH61 Tinder Gatherer

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    I can probably find cottonwood down near the river. I'll have to look into it. I might just try the aspen and see how that goes too. I'll be sure to let you know. Thanks for the input!
     
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  38. Mr.Black

    Mr.Black WILDEROXEN Tracker Pack #1 Lifetime Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    This should be very helpful...Take advantage of this folks. I hope to start next week I am inspired to organize the Kits and try some new materials
    In otherwords ya got me all fired up lol... I may post a old vid or two if thats OK (Conditions ya know?)

    Great stuff so far all
    Great post Hatchet Jack

    M/BK
     
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  39. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    My intention is exactly that, to fire folks up about learning primitive fire techniques! Post whatever you feel would be helpful. I want this thread to be a resource for everyone, beginners and experts. Everyone can contribute by practicing and documenting their practice however they want to.

    Glad you're enjoying this. I'm enjoying it too!
     
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  40. elzeardclym

    elzeardclym Tracker

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    Participated in Friction Fire Tuesday this week without even realizing it. I was at the open house for the school I'm apprenticing at this year and they had me demo'ing the bowdrill. Helped a girl who was probably 9 or 10 almost get a coal today. I kept trying to tell her that she was doing great and that if she didn't get a coal on the first try that's OK, but she seemed slightly bummed that she didn't get it, especially after seeing me do it without much of an issue.

    Didn't have a tinder bundle around and one of the dads said that blowing the coal into flame was what he was most interested in seeing, but oh well. Live and learn.
     
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  41. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    I keep a ziplock bag packed with pine needles in my glove box for just such an occasion. I have fantasies about being pulled over by the police and having my vehicle searched. "Care to explain this?" ...sure officer, no problem. Then I get out my firebow...
     
  42. golfer1555

    golfer1555 Scout

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    that would be so much fun
    and probably a good way to get out of a ticket :)
     
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  43. Mr.Black

    Mr.Black WILDEROXEN Tracker Pack #1 Lifetime Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  44. mainewoods

    mainewoods Maine Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    CSUGG Great Video :dblthumb:
     
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  45. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    Anyone gonna post here this evening? I know I'm going to!

    I think tonight will be hand drill practice!
     
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  46. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    Sorry folks, I got sidetracked last night and didn't get around to making an ember. I did, however, get to make one tonight.

    Here she be:
    [​IMG]

    And here she be once the ember had really set in:
    [​IMG]

    Hand drill using a long mystery stalk, and a piece of eastern white cedar for the hearth.
     
  47. .338WinMag

    .338WinMag Scout

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    Ihatchetjack that looks like a horse weed is what we used ta call em in the midwest the spindle i mean.
     
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  48. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    You're probably right. I harvested it in Kansas a few months ago. Thankfully, I ended up with several stalks. It works well!
     
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  49. IHatchetJack

    IHatchetJack Scout

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    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
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  50. IHatchetJack

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    Yet another week gone by...my how time speeds by...

    It's week 5 ladies and gents. Even though at times it feels like I'm talking to an empty room, I'm still trudging onward!

    This weeks adventure in primitive fire:
    F.F.T. Hand Drill!! - re-upload- - YouTube

    Somewhere in this video, there is a dolt. Can you spot him?
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
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