Friction Fire Tuesday

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

  1. CivilizationDropout

    CivilizationDropout -MOA #17- Supporter Bushclass I

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    I had a sort of impromptu session today, decided to give the bowdrill another whirl while grandma had Natalie.

    So of course I built a set and got to work. A little over an hour and a half later I have ember;
    IMG_8524.PNG

    The eagle eyed among you may notice that a certain fire spirit blessed me with some wisdom.
    @NWPrimate knows the one I mean.
    First sustained ember, on an eastern tulip set.
     
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  2. Ivan

    Ivan Scout

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    P1070042.JPG P1070051.JPG
    Mourning Ceremony Fire

    Happy fireworks comrades.
     
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  3. rsnurkle

    rsnurkle Supporter Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Wait, was that real-time coaching? I'm clearly behind the times with phone apps! And congrats on your ember!

    An excellent ceremonial fire, happy fireworks to you! (And ALSO!

    A belated :35::35::35: for this accomplishment! I thought I had commented on it, but apparently not. Very cool to hear your got a two mile range out of that ember, too!
     
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  4. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    It was new to me too, but it was really cool to be a part of this. @CivilizationDropout worked hard for this one and it paid off. :dblthumb:
     
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  5. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    ROCK ON!
     
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  6. CivilizationDropout

    CivilizationDropout -MOA #17- Supporter Bushclass I

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  7. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Slow learner Lifetime Supporter

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    Got a couple of cherries this evening. Found a board that I think is well aged cedar, holy cow is it hard to carve! Seemed to generate good dust though.

    First
    [​IMG]

    Second
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Stone

    Stone Bushmaster

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    Congratulations on that first bowdrill ember!
     
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  9. Bitterroot Native

    Bitterroot Native Indigenous Skills Junkie

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    CONGRATS!!! :dblthumb:. Good job man, I knew you would get it down! Proud of you brother
     
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  10. CivilizationDropout

    CivilizationDropout -MOA #17- Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thanks boys. More to come, I went out to try attempt two and got rained out.

    Here's the conditions the ember was achieved under;
    IMG_8520.PNG
     
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  11. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Slow learner Lifetime Supporter

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    Congratulations! That's a heck of a feeling. I will never forget my first ember.
     
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  12. atlastrekker

    atlastrekker Supporter Supporter Bushclass III Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Cograts @CivilizationDropout !

    On another note. Has anyone seen this one before? I was scared at first, but she(?) pretty much rocked the hand drill.

     
  13. kcardwel

    kcardwel Hardwoodsman Hobbyist Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass III

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    great vid; she did a great job
     
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  14. woodsmanjohn

    woodsmanjohn Supporter Supporter Bushclass II

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    Had to work some this mourning but got back home an knocked out a hand drill coal mullein on basswood.

    [​IMG]


    Have a great 4th of July folks. John
     
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  15. Ivan

    Ivan Scout

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    Thanks. It’s a naturally shaped beach pebble. I made the dimple primitively while at the beach using a hand held flake of chert, a harder stone. I wonder if NWPrimate has the same kind of stones on his beach. A video would be great.
     
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  16. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    I might, but I'm pretty lazy so I've always just let nature do the work on them before I get there. ;)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. CivilizationDropout

    CivilizationDropout -MOA #17- Supporter Bushclass I

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    I need one of those that'll double as a hammer stone!

    I was wondering because I have these;
    IMG_6117.JPG

    A divot would be great in that far right one!
     
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  18. Seahunter

    Seahunter Scout Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Congratulations @CivilizationDropout . I know that friction fire has been something you were interested in for a while. Nice job getting an ember.
     
  19. Seahunter

    Seahunter Scout Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    I was sitting on the patio with the family and spun up an ember and my wife said "Oooh, I just made a friction fire with a blah-blah stick".
    DSC_1671.JPG
     
  20. ArmyMacE

    ArmyMacE Husband, Father, Woodsman Supporter

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    Hand drill friction fire practice...

    B70038D2-4CC2-4E91-966F-41A44F35E0BF.jpeg

    7116E6E6-BCBC-419E-86A6-9CB7F3544C4D.jpeg

    F3887488-C7D8-46CE-AE5C-681E341AA84E.jpeg

    Thanks,

    Jarrod
     
  21. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    Yesterday was my first time trying to use chaga for fire. Several members have sent me pieces of it over the years, so I can’t be sure who sent this chunk (probably @Coryphene ?) but it has been sitting in my house for years.

    I have seen videos where people like @mountain joe drill directly into a piece and the ember forms inside of the divot, so I thought I would give that a shot. Being a new material for me, I wanted to remove the variable of moisture so I brought some pre-dried hand drill spindles with me.

    [​IMG]

    I really expected this to be easy. :18: I tried both red elderberry and burdock and got lots of good smoke and dust, but nothing stayed smoldering. Not being familiar with the material, I started out with very light pressure expecting the spindle to dig in right away, but I actually had the opposite problem. Even with as much pressure as I could muster, it barely removed any material from the hearth.

    I didn’t quite go Full Badey; but I came close; wrecking my hands again trying to make this work.

    I didn’t remember to take an after-photo, but here’s a video screenshot of the divot and pile after I finished with the elderberry and made my first attempt with burdock.

    [​IMG]

    When I got home, I dug out an old alder bow drill spindle to see if I would learn anything by bow drilling into it. I drilled and drilled; making lots of dust that appeared to be primarily composed of alder.

    I tried everything from light pressure, to as much downward force as I could apply; varying speed at the same time and didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. The divot would smoke for fifteen or twenty seconds, but never appeared to be close to glowing.

    Finally after fifteen minutes of doing my best, a section of smoldering dust fell off of the rim, held together and started glowing.

    [​IMG]

    I used the little bitty ember to get the piece smoldering, but it didn't transfer nearly as easy as I would have expected. Once it got going, it smoldered away happily for fifteen minutes before I snuffed it out with some foil.

    [​IMG]


    Did I somehow end up with the world’s hardest piece of chaga? If anyone has any insight or advice, I would appreciate it.
     
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  22. ArmyMacE

    ArmyMacE Husband, Father, Woodsman Supporter

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    I haven’t used chaga like that, so I can’t help. I know chaga can get pretty hard though.

    However I’ve had great results doing similar stuff with horse hoofs fungus. The whole thing will become a coal. No tinder bundle necessary with some punk wood and twigs.
     
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  23. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    Cool! How long do you think it would need to dry inside to work?
     
  24. ArmyMacE

    ArmyMacE Husband, Father, Woodsman Supporter

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    I’m not entirely sure actually.. our environments are quite opposite. The one I tried was in the same day.. it’s really dry here on this side of the mountains.

    I have a few hunks that have been a month or two I could get on video. The videos won’t be as nice as yours though!
     
  25. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    I would love to see that! :dblthumb: I'm new to cutting into fungi, but so far everything dead that I have cut in the woods has oozed water.
     
  26. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Some of it is very hard. It's density changes with in the conk it's self. Some areas of a conk seem light and airy (still solid though) but other areas are very hard and dense. The light and airy areas take spark much better due to the fact those pieces must have lots microscopic air chambers that aid in combustion.

    Core areas of chaga have the airy material, and the outer areas seem to be more dense. There is usually a color difference associate with the density as well. The airy material is usually a rich redish/orangish brown with the harder material having a lighter yellowish brown hue to it.

    It seems that your chunk of chaga is small. Small pieces are usually harder because they don't have much of a "core" so to say. They mainly consist of "edge" material which is that hard and less pithy.

    I have also found that the "quality" of chaga can vary from conk to conk
     
  27. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks @Primordial . That makes a lot of sense. After failing to ignite the dust via friction, I tried dropping some flint and steel sparks into the dust pile, but even that fine powder wouldn't catch them. While I was trying, I noticed sparks landing and smoldering on the conk itself. Even with strong forced oxygen, they would only smolder for a second or two before going out.

    The video I shot doesn't show them well on the light colored material, but here's ten seconds of footage where you can see it happening on a section that was charred by the spindle. They seemed to land and get started just as readily on the light stuff though.



    I broke this chunk off of a larger piece, and still have a few others left, so I'll see if any of it is softer.
     
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  28. Trailhawk

    Trailhawk Scout

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    Bamboo fire-friction method. I teach bushcraft and jungle survival in the Philippines and these are two of my students while the other one is my assistant.

    IMG_0413.JPG IMG_0415.JPG IMG_0416.JPG IMG_0418.JPG IMG_0419.JPG IMG_0421.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
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  29. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Larger conks like this usually contain excellent chaga at the base thir core or just around it. Many times on those cone shaped conks the center of the core can be hollow : http://www.seekingthewildwithin.com/2017/09/chaga-harvest.html

    You can see how the edges where it was attached to the host tree are yellowish in hue which are remnants of the poor quality layer. When I get home, I'll try to take and post some photos up showing what different types of chaga innards look like.
     
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  30. ArmyMacE

    ArmyMacE Husband, Father, Woodsman Supporter

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  31. Trailhawk

    Trailhawk Scout

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    I also do bow-drill in the tropics but humidity is my greatest enemy.

    IMG_8074.JPG
     
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  32. Ivan

    Ivan Scout

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    A book, Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age, gives intriguing info on drilling artifacts. These are from the Scandinavian Mesolithic and include a stone hand-rest, antler hand-rest, and a bow made of rib. The book’s illustration shows a hand-rest in the shape of our beach pebbles.
     
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  33. rsnurkle

    rsnurkle Supporter Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Realized I forgot to post some friction fire practice here! It's been a while since I worked on the bowdrill. Definitely felt a little rusty, but I think the main issue with this set was not taking more time in the construction phase to shape everything for best performance, and also trying to troubleshoot it when the "feels like" temperature was nearing 100*F, a bit humid, and my brain was probably getting too warm.

    I spent my first attempt getting some stuff dialed in (drilling through the hearth completely). Had to deal with a cracked and too-short hearth on the second attempt, and then started having a lot of spindle popping out on the third attempt, which may have been fatigue and heat more than anything. Regardless of the lack of ember, I was very happy to have gotten out and tried.

    Maple spindle and hearth harvested at the start of the walk, miscellaneous thick bark for the bearing block, random branch and cheap synthetic cord for the bow.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  34. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    Great to see you practicing again @rsnurkle ! :) I like that miscellaneous thick bark bearing block.
     
  35. rsnurkle

    rsnurkle Supporter Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Great to practice again :). I first tested this kind of bearing block out in @kcardwel 's all from one tree friction fire challenge, and have since considered them a great option that may not perform as well as manmade or bone/shell/fatwood bearing blocks, but are a readily found resource that's better than a wood divot filled and refilled with green material.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
  36. Badey

    Badey Supporter Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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  37. Stone

    Stone Bushmaster

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    Is that the one by Richard Rudgley?
     
  38. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    I tried another no-knife bow drill set this afternoon, but couldn't make it work. I was pretty sure I had an ember on the first attempt, but it stopped smoking after a few seconds. I got lazy with the cordage and pulled strips of willow and maple bark from little knotty saplings with my fingers instead of taking the time to get quality material which resulted in the biggest problem that I ran into.

    As the spindle got deeper into the hearth, the friction increased and my crappy unprocessed cordage just kept snapping on me. I tried an attempt with the two-hole method hoping that might do the trick, but I ended up giving up after the spindle jumped the divot.

    I think I could have made this set work with more patience and attention to detail, but I was pouring sweat and my attitude was going downhill quickly. On the plus side, building the set with rocks was easier than ever, so practice is paying off in that regard.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

     
  39. Cedarfire

    Cedarfire Tracker Lifetime Supporter

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    I can see there's a lot of prep and hard work involved in a no-knife bd. Did you time it by chance as it's something to consider if one might be stranded in the forest for a night without their knife. It takes long enough to make a bd set with a knife locating all that is needed. And it's interesting there's a difference in taking their time to make the set rather than rushing through it, could mean sink or swim out there.
    Ahh, cordage, scares the heck out of me. I keep putting it off since my initial trial was a such a flop. It looks like it would take the most time to make in the set too. At this point I'm too keen on getting an ember, that's the excuse I'll use for now while I build my patience and attention to detail :)
    Thanks NW Primate!
     
  40. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    Great points/questions@Cedarfire ! Using natural cordage definitely adds to the challenge and can be a hugely frustrating factor, but working with it has become one of my favorite parts of the process.

    When I checked the timestamps on the videos (a trick I learned from @rsnurkle :)) I was surprised to see that from grabbing the cottonwood branch to having the set ready to go took less than an hour. This was due to the spindle already being round, the hearth being soft, and my obviously poor decision not to spend time making better cordage.

    Of course I struggled with it for another twenty minutes after that, but with a smooth running set, you could have flames in just a few minutes if you had your prep in order.

    I usually budget an hour for a set if I'm using preexisting cordage, or two hours if I'm making my own. A lot depends on what tools and materials I'm using; sets made from sticks are quicker than those made from logs etc; and I'm not counting time for making kindling etc..

    I try to make a point not to rush the process though. It usually yields poor results, and doing things in a hurry makes it much more likely that I'll end up losing a finger. :18:
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  41. Cedarfire

    Cedarfire Tracker Lifetime Supporter

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    The primitive set took less than an hour, awesome NW Primate! Here's to a fire on your next pbd trial :D (green with envy here).

    Good advice about prepping, that's my downfall. Have lost lots of embers rushing around trying to keep the initial fire going. Too focused on making the bd set. Thinking about it now, it might be a good idea to make a list, why didn't I think of that before:rolleyes:.

    I definitely need to work on my patience and slow down with natural cordage. The first trial with willow cordage quickly burned a dislike for it, although I still hope to get there. Patience has to be one of the biggest hurdles to master when learning primitive fire making, I have to remember it's good for me:).
     
  42. ArmyMacE

    ArmyMacE Husband, Father, Woodsman Supporter

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    This one fought me a bit.. it was building a lot of side resistance due to a node, narrowed it down and it produced a nice ember.

    Hand drill friction fire practice, prickly lettuce on unknown tree root...

    FB55C842-321F-468A-94F4-7DD0EE818960.jpeg

    Thanks,

    Jarrod
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  43. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    Alder on alder with nettles cordage.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Five minute video. You can jump to 2:15 if you want to skip over the cordage.



    Sword ferns wrapped in blackberry vines for the bundle.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  44. ArmyMacE

    ArmyMacE Husband, Father, Woodsman Supporter

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    Willow on willow bow drill practice, it has been a good long while.

    It gave me a bit of trouble but I succeeded...

    The plus side was the massive amount of dust four fuel for the ember.

    26E78F9F-1AEE-4F33-BD1E-5A2B77A1D71C.jpeg

    31D04C83-749D-4578-84F8-1636913C0EE6.jpeg

    Thanks,

    Jarrod
     
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  45. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    Pre-dried red elderberry on western red cedar hand drill.

    [​IMG]

    I almost gave up on this set, but found the right combination of speed and pressure on the third attempt.

    [​IMG]

    One minute close-up video if you're interested...

     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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  46. Ivan

    Ivan Scout

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    wildfire 7.7.18a.JPG wildfire 7.7.18b.JPG wildfire 7.7.18c.JPG

    Weekend Wildfire Fun

    I improvised this set using a yucca fiber cord I’ve been carrying around for awhile. All the other stuff pictured was found on site. I cached the bow and drill socket there for future use. The spindle is willow and the hearth willow root.
     
  47. Cedarfire

    Cedarfire Tracker Lifetime Supporter

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    That is an interesting hollowed out end on the red elderberry spindle. We don't have it here and am curious if the dust is from the outer edge or was there pith inside to help create some of that dust? The combination sure gave a nice ember!
     
  48. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    The end of this spindle was packed with dust and chunks from the previous hearth, so I hollowed it out with the tip of the knife to cut down on friction in the center hoping it might make it easier.
     
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  49. Stone

    Stone Bushmaster

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    Got a pleasant surprise today in the mail.

    ArmyMacE sent a box of sticks! They included a broadleaf doc stem, lavender roots, honey locust roots and stems, a stem from a very old hybrid rose, and a hearth of river birch from a tree in his yard. They were all very carefully and clearly labeled. July Gift from ArmyMacE.jpg
    Thank you Jarrod!

    Note, the knife was mine already.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
  50. ArmyMacE

    ArmyMacE Husband, Father, Woodsman Supporter

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    Glad the package made it! I couldn’t unscramble a few I had set aside with proper identification, so I just sent what was. There was three others that didn’t make to you, when I do get proper identification I’ll add them to a new box.

    The lavender root has been close to success a few times, I haven’t gotten to work myself yet. Best of luck!

    Thanks,

    Jarrod
     
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