Friction Fire Tuesday

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

  1. Stone

    Stone Guide

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    Then I got two more hand drill embers with the grape spindle. These are the first embers I ever got using grape as a spindle.

    The first on yucca...

    grape spindle on yucca.jpg

    The second on western red cedar.
    grape on western red cedar.jpg
     
  2. Stone

    Stone Guide

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    Two more, but only one pic.

    Grape spindle for a hand drill ember on both sunflower and sycamore.

    Here is the sycamore ember.

    grape on sycamore hearth.jpg

    The sunflower ember was a real challenge because the sunflower root I was using for a hearth was soft/punky in the center. The first time I tried I was getting good smoke, but the notch was in the soft center and kept breaking through. So I selected a little firmer spot on the root and put the notch on the firm side of the root. Sure enough, as I was getting good smoke the soft/punky back part started breaking apart. So I tilted the spindle so the tip was boring toward the notch at a pretty good angle (15* to 30* maybe?) and kept boring away and making smoke and hot dust. When I stopped I had an ember! It must have taken a bit out of me because my pics weren't sharp enough to share. I tried also photographing the bottom of the notch, but being the two-dimensional medium that 'film' is they were not portraying reality. So you just get the story. :)
     
  3. Badey

    Badey Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    New hand drill combo - Yucca on Box Elder.

    image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg

    Here's the video of this ember.

     
  4. Black Chrome

    Black Chrome Scout

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    You make that look so easy. Well done @Badey!
     
  5. pgvoutdoors

    pgvoutdoors (FMR) Wilderness Guide Supporter

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    I've been reading through this thread for the past couple of days now and I have to say all of you have put together a great resource. What really makes it unique though is that you have demonstrated a number of variations on the bow and drill method plus you've covered a broad variety of materials, many of which most people would never guess they could work. I know I've learned a few things, thanks.
     
  6. City Bushcrafter

    City Bushcrafter Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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  7. Stone

    Stone Guide

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    Not here!

    You do have to build up callouses, and that takes some time.

    I tried a few different pairs of gloves when I started, but they were cumbersome and kept balling up. These days I just put chalk on to get more traction (rockclimbers/weight lifters chalk).

    The best relief I had for my hands starting out was to wrap Ace-type bandage on the spindle. I still put adhesive athletic tape on my host spindles because they are slick (pvc in one case).
     
  8. City Bushcrafter

    City Bushcrafter Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    That's pretty cool @kcardwel, that is one big hearthboard!
     
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  9. Badey

    Badey Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Thanks!

    Nope, I've never worn gloves when doing hand drill. However some people do that when getting started (or when it is cold out).
     
  10. melbolt65

    melbolt65 Guide Bushclass I

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    Nice job @Badey , that's one of the fastest transition from ember to cherry I've ever seen. I also have been thinking a lot about notches lately and have been considering the advantages of a shallower cut notch. To spew the dust out quickly without compacting it below the spindle. This was a great example of that, I will be experimenting more on this area.
     
  11. Black Chrome

    Black Chrome Scout

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    IMG_0418.JPG IMG_0417.JPG IMG_0415.JPG IMG_0413.JPG IMG_0416.JPG Last night was a little slow at work so I worked on some G-14 classified home projects. I had to disconnect a machine last week to get it ready to move. Well this piece of conduit spoke to me and said it didn't want to go to the scrap yard just yet. I also found this rock in the landscaping and it said that it wanted to be liberated into a bearing block so I obliged. Finally I found some wood that was going to be shredded so I walked away with 21 new bow drill hearths to practice on. After I got home I decided I wanted to try to get a coal with the new pieces and my last spindle. I also got to try out my andaltool forest knife on this set. I like it a lot so far.
     
  12. Badey

    Badey Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Thanks!

    I've been trying to use shallower notches more often. I feel like they work better than deeper notches, even if the notches are the same width.

    I've also never seen an ember transition so fast, not even with Yucca on Yucca, which is the fastest transitioning ember I've had before this one.
     
  13. Stone

    Stone Guide

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    By shallow notch do you mean one that does not go as far into the circle?
     
  14. Badey

    Badey Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Yes. When I first started, I would make my notches all the way into the middle. Now if I do, it is by accident.

    I usually aim for about 1/3 the way in, although I have done a little shallower than that.
     
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  15. City Bushcrafter

    City Bushcrafter Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Well I caught the bug with that 1st ember on Saturday. I wanted to replicate it again today and take it all the way to flame, but for the life of me I could not get an ember.

    It rained pretty much all day so that may have played a part, but my spindle was just having all kinds of issues as well. The top end was digging into my handhold no matter what I tried, creating lots of friction. I even had a hard time keeping it spinning true.

    I tried it five times before I called it a day. In 2 of the attempts the pile smoked for about 5 seconds but went out both times. From the light brown color, I knew it was not going to sustain. Anyways, I had fun and got my workout at the same time. So today I had a colossal penta-fail, but I don't look at it that way. I look at it as practice and part of the learning process.

    I put together a short clip primarily to encourage those who read this thread but are not experts like me. Get out there, and give it a try, and share it on this thread!

    Hope you enjoy!

     
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  16. OMRebel

    OMRebel Scout Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    I think your problem was that your coal catcher was not big enough which allowed moisture from the ground. You said it had rained earlier, so that is my guess. But good attitude in seeing it as part of the learning process!
     
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  17. Guillaume Longval

    Guillaume Longval Friction Fire Addict Supporter

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    :dblthumb:

    That was really close! The dust looks ok. Ive seen paler dust ignite. Wet or hight humidity set will give you that kind of smoking pile. Did you try crushed green leaves in the handhold divot?
     
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  18. City Bushcrafter

    City Bushcrafter Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I tried leaves, grease from my face (it's hot and humid here and I was sweating buckets), sweat, spit, you name it! lol
     
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  19. Stone

    Stone Guide

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    I had a rewarding day today making unique hand drill embers. Using a grape spindle plug in a host spindle I got 14.

    I'm not going to bore you with all the pics, especially since some of them were bad. So here are the best ember shots. Then we will talk about things I learned and experienced.

    Grape on Eastern White Cedar.jpg
    Grape on Eastern White Cedar

    grape on persimmon.jpg
    Grape on Persimmon

    grape on redwood.jpg
    Grape on Redwood

    grape on sagebrush.jpg
    Grape on Sagebrush

    grape on willow.jpg
    Grape on Willow.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
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  20. Stone

    Stone Guide

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    All 14 of the embers were made with the same grape spindle plug.
    Notice that in the Grape on Sagebrush photo, the host spindle is pvc pipe. Also, notice how short the spindle was getting.

    All the remaining images were taken with that plug whittled down some more on the receptive end so it would fit in the bamboo host spindle. Notice the difference in length of the spindle plug in the redwood ember photo and in the eastern white cedar ember photo. That spindle plug is now officially retired.

    One more thing to notice is evident on the redwood ember photo. I used to wonder if it was possible to use a spindle with a crack/split in it effectively. Notice that split in the spindle! It's a weather check, so it split from the center to the outside of the wood to relieve pressure. This one made a lot of embers in that condition today.
     
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  21. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I remember reading/hearing somewhere that cracks in the spindle would dissipate heat; but like you, I've had quite a few of them split and never noticed enough of difference to care.

    Thanks @rsnurkle

    [​IMG]

    It's not full @Badey, but it has me out of the hand drill game for now.
     
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  22. Black Chrome

    Black Chrome Scout

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    IMG_0422.JPG IMG_0421.JPG I woke up today and decided I needed some more fire making. I was able to produce 2 coals and 1 I even brought to flame. Oddly enough the first and last attempt were successful with 2-3 failures in between. Both embers actually came from the same hole in the hearth. Notice the notch in the spindle on the with flame ember. For some reason I couldn't keep my bow from walking up the spindle so I carved that notch to keep it from doing it. It worked but as soon as I was done I changed the angle shallower and brought it down quite a bit so hopefully there isn't as much friction there.
     
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  23. City Bushcrafter

    City Bushcrafter Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I worked from home today and of course I used my lunch time wisely and got a friction fire practice session in.
    This time I tried Cedar on Cedar and got an ember in not time. You were right @Jacob is was a lot easier than pine.
    I still had issues with my tinder bundle; it smoked a lot but did not ignite (I spared you from the footage in the video). I guess my curls are not fine enough. Will have to figure out another material available around here to use.

     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
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  24. melbolt65

    melbolt65 Guide Bushclass I

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    Nice job! Your wood shavings needn't be super fine, but they do require a different approach than a typical tinder bundle in my experience. I've used just regular old carving pieces from various wood carving activities with a knife, where they were not at all fine. I think it's important to give your ember a chance to spread to surrounding wood chips though. You may want to let it sit and char a bit before you actually begin blowing on it. Light waving with a hand at this stage is fine. Once the smoke starts to thicken a bit, it means the wood is charring now and it can spread. At this stage you will apply very light but also very long breathes. You will know when it really spreads and heats up, at this point you can pick up the force a slight bit but still not too much.

    Too much force on wood shavings cause it to tunnel down through and eats away at your ember quicker, decreasing it's size. Let it do the work with long steady flow of air. You'll get it.

    Here's one I did earlier this year for example with regular carving pieces. You can skip to the 2 minute mark if you want to get straight to it.



    Hope this helps
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
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  25. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Great job @City Bushcrafter and an excellent example of how you don't necessarily need to be making dark brown or black dust to get an ember.

    Just in case you want some help with your curls/bundle issue... unless they are really fine, it is much easier to use curls and shavings off of the stick. Unless you're careful making them, curls will generally be much thicker at the base, which is exactly where the ember needs to sit to be stable.

    If you want to try an experiment, next time you can cut the curls off of the featherstick (by cutting in the opposite direction that you made them) and collect them into a pile. Then, take a moment to make another batch of the finest little curlies that you can and compress them into a nice tight little ball. This little ball should be packed a lot denser than you would normally use for a tinder bundle.

    Then, shape this little ball into a nest/platform. Take your regular shavings and make a regular bundle, and then put your super fine yet densely packed mini bundle into the center.

    Once you have your ember, carefully place it in/on the mini bundle and close the regular bundle over it. When you give it air, the mini bundle will eventually start to smolder and become an ember of its own, with a lot more heat potential than a pile of dust. Keep giving it air and it will flame up before you know it.

    This strategy works great for all kinds of other bundle materials too. This jute twine makes for a great example because of how clearly you can see the mini bundle sitting in the main bundle, and how it is obviously packed tighter than the main bundle.

    [​IMG]

    I hope that makes sense, but feel free to ask if you need clarification on anything. I'd be happy to take some photos for you using curls too if that would be helpful.

    Removing them and making a classic bundle is the most reliable way to do it, but you can experiment with leaving them on the stick too. If you go this route, take some of your longest curls and fold them in toward the stick to make a little platform for your ember. One of the biggest issues is losing dust through all of the gaps, so if you can give your ember a place to sit, it will do a lot better. Putting two or three feather sticks together also helps to hold it in place.

    [​IMG]

    I know this is a topic better suited for the Tinder Bundle Thursday thread, but it seems relevant enough to post here.
     
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  26. rsnurkle

    rsnurkle Supporter Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Many kudos to @Stone for those grape combinations and thanks for including your thoughts after such a batch!

    Nice job sticking with it to try 5 times, and :dblthumb::dblthumb::dblthumb: for your attitude about it being practice and the learning process! That's kind of the joy of friction fire--a deep satisfaction for all the work involved in doing things "the hard way."

    :18: You're welcome @NWPrimate ! Make sure to give those hands enough time to really heal.

    @melbolt65 thanks for the reminder about not burning out the ember while getting curls to heat and then ignite. I remember you posting that video a while ago, but hadn't looked at it in a while and am glad I got the reminder now!
     
  27. Tennessee

    Tennessee Guide Supporter Bushclass II

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    I have a Box Elder hearth board that I have gotten seven coals out of one divot. Really surprised. I think I may be able to get at least one more or maybe two before I drill out the bottom.

    20170620_173320.jpg

    20170620_170856.jpg

    20170620_170743.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
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  28. City Bushcrafter

    City Bushcrafter Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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  29. kcardwel

    kcardwel Hardwoodsman Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass III

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    wow; @City Bushcrafter you are so close; your style is great; rhythm is good; everything looks right. using @NWPrimate advice or maybe waiting a little longer for your coal to form should do it.
     
  30. Guillaume Longval

    Guillaume Longval Friction Fire Addict Supporter

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    Prepared 2 bowdrill sets in the eventuality of showing the craft to someone else (when the schedules align). Pretty excited about it!

    1 set is all balsam fir, one set is all deltoid poplar. Made an antler handhold (i wanted to try that for a while), and an experiment: using a small fir knot for the hand hold divot. Well, while testing the set, it drilled through it like butter. But then, i had a facepalm moment and realised i could "make" fatwood by just putting half dryed spruce resin in the divot. And it worked incredibly well!!!

    Im very happy because that is soo easy to find.

    Anyways
    Poplar on poplar IMG_20170620_185951649.jpg
     
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  31. Badey

    Badey Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    @Tennessee, literally as soon as the page started to load (at the 3rd picture in your post) I said, "that's a beautiful knife. I know that knife. Tennessee posted a new ember." Then I scrolled up, and sure enough, it was your post and your knife.

    @City Bushcrafter, good work with the ember. Keep trying with the shavings tinder bundle. It took me a while to get the hang of it when I started using shavings.
     
  32. melbolt65

    melbolt65 Guide Bushclass I

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    Failed twice tonight with Hollyhock on incense cedar, thanks @Stone for the spindle and hearth. That one has been giving me some issues. After that I decided to boost my spirits by switching the spindle to a new host I made with a yucca plug.

    Along with this, I was experimenting with the "shallow notch". Worked well for me.
    [​IMG]0620172054-936x1664 by melbolt65, on Flickr

    [​IMG]0620172100-936x1664 by melbolt65, on Flickr

    Thanks to @Lode for a nice bundle of tulip poplar bark, only took a small amount for a tinder bundle.
    [​IMG]0620172100a-1664x936 by melbolt65, on Flickr

    [​IMG]0620172102-936x1664 by melbolt65, on Flickr

    One other observation in addition to the shallow notch, for me, the ember always happens with hand drill when an avalanche occurs within the dust. I was spinning spinning and spinning and I knew it was hot enough that I should've had an ember by now, so I gave the board a little tap to cause the avalanche and instantly a coal popped out. Has anyone else noticed this? Perhaps I can coax it along this way in the future, as it seems to congeal otherwise.
     
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  33. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Cedar on cedar with Japanese Knotweed Cordage.

    [​IMG]

    I sped the video up so that it's under a minute. I thought I had it twice but they turned out to be false embers. You can see on strand of the cordage snap at around 0:33.



    Despite one of them breaking, it held out just long enough to get the ember.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  34. Black Chrome

    Black Chrome Scout

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    I spun up another ember when I got up today. No pics because nothing has changed from the last few. Same set up. I am ready to try different materials but my plan is to keep getting at least 1 ember a day for as long as I have material to do them with. I learn something new each time I try. That's what this is all about right?
     
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  35. City Bushcrafter

    City Bushcrafter Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Awesome video and beautiful pictures @NWPrimate! Wow you get a lot of dust buildup around the divet! Using natural cordage looks like a bear!

    I just learned something new from watching your video; that it's ok to just resume bowing if at first you don't get an ember. For some reason I thought you had to get it in one shot and kept emptying the dust pile and starting fresh each time. I guess I thought cold dust wasn't good.

    Thanks for posting.
     
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  36. kcardwel

    kcardwel Hardwoodsman Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass III

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    good lessoned learned @City Bushcrafter ; I used to be that way...fervent, intense, sweaty, got to get it done...but learned as time went on calmness is important. I stop on new woods or when I want to check things to see if things look right...I had the privilege of bowing with nwprimate and cokeyedhunter(sp) and both show this...smooth, precise, and seasoned in what they do. Nothing like being in person with the people doing it.
     
  37. atlastrekker

    atlastrekker Overlanding Bushwhacker Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    I too was under that impression as well. I did notice it during the video, which is really nice @NWPrimate thank you. I saw it and said to myself, "Oh, now that changes things a bit." I went out and tried it out on the last set I made, low and behold, it works! Not only that, but as @kcardwel pointed out it was nice to be able to check it out and then get going again. I wasn't nearly as worried about things while doing it.
     
  38. Guillaume Longval

    Guillaume Longval Friction Fire Addict Supporter

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    Played with some wet bowdrill today. Rained on and off for several days here. Last shower this morning. So i took a dead plum branch from the backyard. It was feeling quite wet inside just with my fingers, so i carved a set out of it. also tryed the handhold i just made out of an antler (it actually is just a divot added to my flintknapping pressure flaker).

    Took me around 12 drying rounds. Not bad. IMG_20170621_172702916.jpg IMG_20170621_172754567.jpg IMG_20170621_174406290.jpg

    Funny, the drying was too fast for the wood and a check appeared from side to side in the divot!

    Edit: the bearing block did well indeed, but i almost burned myself twice accidentally putting my finger on the divot...too small around.
     
  39. OMRebel

    OMRebel Scout Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    I think it would be awesome to have a friction fire tuesday gathering...
     
  40. Stone

    Stone Guide

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    Tuesday!
    I got four more embers today before dinner, all on rabbitbrush. Funny, I haven't been able to get any after dinner.

    Here are pics of two of the four...

    mullein on rabbitbrush.jpg

    grape on rabbitbrush.jpg
     
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  41. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Black cottonwood bow drill with cottonwood bark bundle.

    [​IMG]

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  42. Stone

    Stone Guide

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    'Cmon! I believe you're making the fires, but how do you do the special affects to get all those sunny days in the PNW?
     
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  43. Guillaume Longval

    Guillaume Longval Friction Fire Addict Supporter

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    An emberside chat!:D
    Or a spin-in:33:

    Sadly, im way far north or east of most of you guys.


    Btw, @Badey : i really like this shallow notch thing! Makes the spindle less prone to digging toward the notch with bowdrill. Thanks for the idea!
     
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  44. Stone

    Stone Guide

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    I got four more unique hand drill embers after dinner. All these were with a grape spindle.

    No pics this time, although I took them and they were ok.

    The first time I ever got an ember of any sort with a grape spindle was on June 18, 2017. This evening (June 21, 2017) I have a total of 25 grape spindle hand drill embers on unique woods.

    Today I got my first hand drill ember ever on a plum hearth...with a grape spindle.

    Edit to correct spindle type from plum to grape. I've never gotten a hand drill ember with a grape spindle...yet.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
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  45. City Bushcrafter

    City Bushcrafter Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I pretended it was Tuesday today and tried what I learned from watching @melbolt65 and @NWPrimate's videos.
    I build my bundle with the tips NWP gave me (little compacted bundle inside a looser larger bundle), and I even added some dust gathered from burning in the divot.
    It wasn't raining today so I setup outside. The neighbors were out so I unwantedly had a crowd. No pressure! :confused:

    My spindle wasn't the most ergonomic (was binding a bit), but I took my time, built a good ember, and I'm happy to say it finally happened. Woohoo! I was able to go from ember to flame. :)



    Capture2.JPG

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    Capture6.JPG
     
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  46. Stone

    Stone Guide

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    There's a saying in Oregon...
    "If you can't see Mount Hood, it means it's raining. If you can see Mount Hood, it means it's going to rain." ;);)
     
  47. Stone

    Stone Guide

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    You will be missed if we have one and you're not there.
     
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  48. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    It's all green screen and motion capture suits. :3:

    [​IMG]
     
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  49. melbolt65

    melbolt65 Guide Bushclass I

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    Nice job @City Bushcrafter !

    Hands are still a bit blistered from not knowing when to quit the other day on hand drill, so I did a couple bow drill embers to try different notch types.

    The first one shallow the second one square and deeper.

    Bearing block that I mushed birch leaves into with the tip of the spindle. It doesn't stay in but it slows the heating process to form a glaze on the tip of the spindle. Also, it buys some time before it gets hot enough to smoke and dig. I had a few piles of mush prepared. Every so often I'd stop and put more in. Using this method it didn't bore any deeper and stayed lubricated.

    [​IMG]0621172146-1664x936 by melbolt65, on Flickr

    Shallow
    [​IMG]0621172153b-936x1664 by melbolt65, on Flickr

    [​IMG]0621172156-936x1664 by melbolt65, on Flickr

    Deep square
    [​IMG]0621172159-936x1664 by melbolt65, on Flickr

    [​IMG]0621172202-936x1664 by melbolt65, on Flickr

    After two embers, some glaze and not much burning occurred. Friction was minimal. The bearing block hole didn't get any deeper either, it will live to be used many more times.
    [​IMG]0621172204-936x1664 by melbolt65, on Flickr

    Both notches took about the same amount of time to get ember but the deeper one had it trapped under the spindle and did not form a coal until removing the spindle and knocking it loose, as it was jammed tight in the notch. However, the deeper one formed a nicer pyramid pile. Both have their pros and cons, both worked fine.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
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  50. Badey

    Badey Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    We could always do a virtually spin-in! I like the idea!

    Glad it was helpful, although I think @melbolt65 was the one who was actually insightful enough to point out the advantages of the shallow notch; I was just doing it without thinking much about it.
     
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