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Help on hand drill

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I need some help on the hand drill.  Right now I've been using blackberry on cottonwood and have been able to get dust and a little bit of smoke.  I've tried mullein and can't even get that to make dust. To me it seems like I just cant get enough downward pressure yet but I'm looking for other recommendations on anything I need to improve.  I've gotten coals using thumb-loops on mullein and horseweed but I want to be able to do it without the thumb-loops.  Right now I'll just keep practicing to get my muscles in better shape for it.

Man, the hand drill is tough to get.  In my bumbling world.  It is amazing when you get a coal.  Keep on keeping on.

Moe M.:

  Somethings are just not worth the effort,  I can understand challenging yourself,  but there's a limit to just how far you should endure the frustration of failure,  not to be a smart ass,  but have you considered carrying a Bic lighter.
  Before you call me a bad name,  think about this,  friction fire is tough even when you have the right materials,  and the materials have to be just about perfect in moisture content,  not too soft, not too hard, the humidity in the air can change the game,  there are so many variables to deal with, when does the hand drill become worth the effort ?
  The Bic lighter was low,  but it makes a point,  for most of us carrying several ways to make fire in the bush is all we'll ever really need, in my personal kit,  I have a couple of small Bic Lighters, if one fails I can fall back on the other,  I carry a ferro rod in my pack, and one on my person,  I carry a flint & steel kit that has everything I need to get flame including the tinder,  and I also carry a small bag with a spare flint, steel, tinder, fat wood, cotton balls, and the 3" stub of a bees wax candle,  also in my kit is a 2-1/2" burning lens.
  I carry cordage in sveral different ways including my boot laces,  tarp and ridge lines, and a paracord bracelet,  that gives me the ability to make a Bow Drill fire, which for most people in most areas of this country and points North is probably the simplest and most effective way to make fire by friction,  like you, I have been nothing but frustrated with trying to master the hand drill,  but as much as it would be a huge ego boost for me,  I have better things to do with my time,  and if I can't get a fire going with the seven or eight means that I now carry,  I shouldn't be allowed to roam the woods alone.
 Just one man's opinion.

I think most people who learn friction fire do so knowing there are easier options. It's not about getting fire going as much as it is about getting a fire going using a primitive means.

The last time I was at the range there was a guy working on the sights of his 50 caliber percussion rifle. I'm not an antique firearms aficionado, so I don't know the particular rifle he was using. But it wasn't a modern muzzle loader. He told me he has taken several elk with it over the last ten years.

There are a lot of modern options he could have used that would be easier and more efficient, but to a lot of people the WAY something is achieved is as important as the end result.

That said, I have only tried hand drill a few times and it is not something I want to try again, lol!

I am just now getting started with learning Fire by Friction, so I'm not the best to be offering advice, by a long shot.

But, since you mentioned being able to get to the coal stage using mullein and horseweed, would not that be the materials more likely to produce a coal with a hand drill?

In that you are currently producing a lot of dust and some smoke with blackberry on cottonwood, I'd suspect the problem has something to do with the hardness of the two materials, compared to each other.

Am am in full agreement with PW's opinion that the way, or method, is often the most important part of learning a new skill. We seldom do things a certain way because its easy, some of do it a certain way because its a part of history that should be kept alive.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL


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