Author Topic: best wood for plowfire board  (Read 496 times)

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Offline hayshaker

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best wood for plowfire board
« on: December 17, 2016, 08:14:30 AM »
i was watching some time back the movie castaway with tom hanks
in the movie he used a alstralian plow board, i think he used the base of a coconut tree branch.
ofor us non tropical folk what do we have to work with.

Offline Moe M.

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Re: best wood for plowfire board
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2016, 08:57:23 AM »
i was watching some time back the movie castaway with tom hanks
in the movie he used a alstralian plow board, i think he used the base of a coconut tree branch.
ofor us non tropical folk what do we have to work with.

  Basically any wood that will light with a flame from a match or Bic lighter,  OK, not what you were looking for I know,  it's just my clumsy way of saying Good luck with that,  basic friction fire with a bow drill is iffy enough when you're in a dire situation, damned near impossible with a hand drill,  and positively demoralizing with a plow board, which is why I carry a couple of Bic lighters and at least two ferro rods,  one in my fire kit and one on every knife sheath I wear.
  IMHO friction fire and flint & steel were the cat's rear end pre 20th. century,  they are still fun to play with today,  but when the real thing is facing you,  you're weak from exhaustion,  your hands won't work because of the cold and wet,  and your mind is confused from lack of water or food,  fire is one of those must haves to keep you alive,  count on sources of fire that actually work under bad conditions,  fuel cell lighters,  dry tinder,  and a fire steel for a backup.
  Back to you question, my honest answer is I don't know,  but I'll bet that any type of wood that is suitable for pulling an ember from a bow drill or hand drill set will work for a plow drill,  but in the end it pretty much depends on where you are and what types of wood are prominent in your area.
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.

Offline hayshaker

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Re: best wood for plowfire board
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2016, 09:07:45 AM »
spot on MOE i feel the same way plow boards& bow drills are the reason they
created ferro rods. i was just for experience sake wanting to know.
so when i do try it i can say i at least tryed.
but in a tru survival situation i'll stick with my fire kit thank you.
in my GHB for instance i carry at least 5 ways to start a fire.

Offline Moe M.

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Re: best wood for plowfire board
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2016, 09:58:36 AM »
spot on MOE i feel the same way plow boards& bow drills are the reason they
created ferro rods. i was just for experience sake wanting to know.
so when i do try it i can say i at least tryed.
but in a tru survival situation i'll stick with my fire kit thank you.
in my GHB for instance i carry at least 5 ways to start a fire.

  Back about a decade ago I attended a symposium on bushcraft skills,  the host was a Survival expert of note that was very well respected in the bushcraft/survival community,  part of his demonstrations was on the hand drill,  he spent some time instructing about what to look for and where to find the right kind of wood,  how to judge the moisture content, and how to best prepare the hearth board and spindle.
  That done he prepared a little tinder that he had with him in his pack and fashioned it into a birds nest of sorts,  then settled himself into a Yoga position and started in twisting the spindle between his hands,  it didn't take very long for smoke to appear at the base of the spindle,  then some dark brown dust started to pile up,  within a couple of minutes he had a sustainable ember which he deposited into his birds nest,  a few breaths of air and a slow shake to create a breeze and he had a flame.
  I was amazed at how easily he had turned a few simple natural resources into a life saving fire,  later during a break I approached the instructor to tell him that I was really impressed with his skill and starting his friction fire,  the guy was a regular person and a genuinely nice person,  he smiled at me and thanked me for the compliment,  then said that he does it all the time,  then said "don't be fooled,  I made it look easy because I brought a premade hand drill set with me that I know will work every time for demonstration purposes,  but when I'm in the bush I use what works reliably and quickly,  usually a butane lighter, ferro rod, or storm matches,  Friction fire and flint & steel is fun to practice and good skills to own,  they aren't something you should bank on to save your life when everything around you is not at it's best".

  Sound advice in my opinion.
   
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.

Offline hayshaker

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Re: best wood for plowfire board
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2016, 10:12:56 AM »
dang skippy,moe that was a nice post
in my pack ferro rod/knife
storm proof matches
bic lighters
steel/ flint
olin mini flare for worse case senario.
and charcloth
trick b-day candles
fatwood
birchbark
fatwood dust

Offline Moe M.

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Re: best wood for plowfire board
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2016, 10:29:58 AM »
dang skippy,moe that was a nice post
in my pack ferro rod/knife
storm proof matches
bic lighters
steel/ flint
olin mini flare for worse case senario.
and charcloth
trick b-day candles
fatwood
birchbark
fatwood dust

  Just goes to show you that no matter how much you think you know there's always something to learn by talking and listening,  I never thought about carrying "trick birthday candles",  all my fire kits include the stub of a candle as a tinder extender for damp or windy days,  having a few small candles that reignite after being blown out is a great idea.

  Thanks for the idea.
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.

Offline Punty

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Re: best wood for plowfire board
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2016, 06:13:36 PM »
  I have yet to do any sort of friction fire, but I have to admit that there is something very gratifying about doing it with flint and steel. I don't know why, it just is. Sometimes I get real frustrated because I can't get the sparks to land on the char cloth....but in the end, I really enjoy the flint and steel technique the most.

  I guess it's kind of like how I enjoy using an axe more than a chainsaw or a saw. It's not logical, it just is.....and sometimes I get blisters on my hands, and sometimes I think my heart is going to explode from the effort....but I do it, anyway.

  I also enjoy a crosscut saw over using a circular saw, or a reciprocating saw.

  I imagine a friction fire gives the same kind of satisfaction.
If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.
Ecclesiastes 10:10

Offline hayshaker

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Re: best wood for plowfire board
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2016, 07:05:27 PM »
well i tryed the charcloth challnge yesterday got it on the second try.
to day i tryed the plow board no cookie, the plow board is the reason
they invented the ferro rod.

Offline Dano

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Re: best wood for plowfire board
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2016, 10:55:48 AM »
To add to Moe's posts, I have been involved in Scouts/camping/backpacking for the majority of my life so I've been familiar with friction fire methods most of that time as well.  I'd never say I'm an expert or even competent with friction fire making.  What I WILL say is I can usually get an ember in the summer months when everything is nice and dry, but in the early spring or anytime in the later fall seasons, I've never had luck.  I can almost always get some smoke, but that's it.  It is a reason, like Moe, I usually have several different methods of fire lighting with me at all times.  I will also add that I am ALWAYS heavy in carrying tinder material.  PJCB are my favorite, but I also carry char cloth, candle stubs, birch bark, an MRE fuel tab, slice of an inner tube, piece of fatwood and shavings, etc.

To your original post, as you research it more you should come across an adapted version of the fire plow where two sticks are bound together.  I'm not sure of the name of this particular method, but I have read some folks believe it to be a more reliable method in that style. 

Being from Indiana, it seems unless you pack wood with you, what you usually come across is downed wood, mostly wet or at least damp, usually half rotten and leaving a lot to be desired.  What you can come across if you take the time to search around your site for a while, is a piece of wood that you can (about half the time) reduce down to the center and make a one stick fire from.  Hence the reason I'm always tinder heavy.  It is a method of fire making that I know I have a reasonable chance of success....but again it requires a good ignition source...lighter or ferro rod preferred.

 

Offline Punty

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Re: best wood for plowfire board
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2016, 07:03:09 AM »
To your original post, as you research it more you should come across an adapted version of the fire plow where two sticks are bound together.  I'm not sure of the name of this particular method, but I have read some folks believe it to be a more reliable method in that style. 

  That's funny, because I have seen the two sticks tied together used as a hearthboard for a bowdrill...no notches required. I think in parts of the southwest they use two reeds tied together for handrill fires, also.

   I could see where it would be great for the fire plow because it would keep you "on track", so to speak.

   A friend of mine told me that most people struggle with the fire plow because they do long strokes instead of short strokes. He gave the example of using a pencil eraser...short strokes in a small area. I have no idea, myself, just figured I'd pass that along.
If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.
Ecclesiastes 10:10

Offline pete28

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Re: best wood for plowfire board
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2016, 04:46:05 AM »
I have always had a heck of a time with friction fire. I have only tried a handful of times and in all honesty I gave up on most of them with the exception of one, the fire saw. Since bamboo is readily available down here I practiced and practiced and practiced some more. Took me about ten tries to get it going. Once I had it down although still taking a fair amount of time it does work.
The more you look with your eyes the less you will truly see.

Offline Yeoman

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Re: best wood for plowfire board
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2016, 10:46:14 AM »
i was watching some time back the movie castaway with tom hanks
in the movie he used a alstralian plow board, i think he used the base of a coconut tree branch.
ofor us non tropical folk what do we have to work with.
I wish I could give you a suggestion based on my own experience, however I haven't spent much (any?) time learning any friction methods.
However, one guy on my SAR team claims to have used dry white spruce for a fire plow and he said it worked well.
His outdooors skills and knowledge are pretty good and I've no reason not to trust his word, but that being said, you'll have to experiement with what is around you.
Good luck.
"Learning is an interruption of the failure process"
- Me, 2014

Offline hayshaker

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Re: best wood for plowfire board
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2016, 03:12:44 PM »
i find from reading the various posts it seems that very
dry wood is part of the key.

Offline Punty

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Re: best wood for plowfire board
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2016, 09:26:22 PM »
i find from reading the various posts it seems that very
dry wood is part of the key.

  Anything less than bone dry will make for a long, long day with any friction fire. I know that much.
If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.
Ecclesiastes 10:10