Author Topic: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge  (Read 2576 times)

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Offline PetrifiedWood

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I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« on: December 10, 2017, 12:13:34 AM »
One of my friends agreed to go to the local shooting range today, and afterward we planned to try making some bow drill fires. He had told me in the past that another of his friends made a bow drill fire with sagebrush for the spindle and fire board.

But here's the kicker. He made it with green wood! I was skeptical, to say the least.

Well after shooting a bit we walked a few hundred yards to a big sagebrush and he harvested some wood to make his set. I had brought a bow along and a fidget spinner to try as a bearing block. The fidget spinner worked very well, which I expected. He had a smooth stone with a perfect, obviously man-made, deep divot in it that his mom had found in a creek bed years ago. I couldn't help but think it might be an actual, purpose made bearing block.

In any case, I made a spindle and fire board out of dry, dead sagebrush because I figured that while it was possible his green wood set would work, I probably wouldn't have to work as hard to get an ember using my dry set. Well, it didn't really work out well for me. The spindle was rough and the string kept riding up on it, and all sorts of problems. My friend's green set worked! He burned in a nice divot in his fire board and made tons of smoke. so I figured I'd go back and cut a green piece to make a better spindle. The green wood is a lot easier to carve and work with so I was able to make a much nicer spindle and this time I had success. When I say it was green wood, I mean it literally was cool and moist and very slightly sticky to the touch with light green streaks under the bark.

I got a great ember going with surprisingly minimal effort. I'd even go so far as to say that with the fidget spinner (this is the first time I ever "cheated" and used a ball bearing) this might have been the easiest bow drill ember I've ever made. I am still at a loss to explain why the green wood didn't doom the effort to failure but it absolutely worked, to my shock and surprise. The conditions outside were in the low 40's with a very slight breeze and low humidity.

I managed to make 3 different embers with this set today and failed every time I tried to blow a tinder bundle into flame, but my friend got one to work that I handed over to him before it went out so we got fire with a team effort. In my defense, it has been a while since I've done it and I did not take a lot of time to make a really great tinder bundle. Nevertheless, I am so impressed with the green sagebrush that I had to share.

« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 10:29:37 AM by PetrifiedWood »

Offline xj35s

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2017, 07:17:18 AM »
Never hear any of the experts say anything of the kind. It's very interesting. To make a spear with fire you harden green wood with the fire right? Maybe that's what's happening. The edge of the drill is getting hardened by the heat making it more durable and creating a better friction footprint.

I have no experience with sagebrush.  Look forward to the pictures.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2017, 07:31:09 AM »

  That's interesting, not mention that it defies common sense,  I'd really like to know what properties are in Sagebrush that allows it to have such a low flash point.
  Up hear in the North East we don't run into Sagebrush very often (grin),  but this leaves me wondering if any other common woods carry those same properties, and which they might be ?
  Friction fire is not one of my best skills, proper wood selection, age, and moisture content all work together to frustrate efforts for a successful ember, I've had a lot more failures than fires,  I'm pretty good at a lot of things, but then again I still haven't figured out how to program my flip phone yet.   
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Offline MnSportsman

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2017, 08:43:19 AM »
Interesting!
 :)



Perhaps you were using wood from a "Creosote" or "grease wood" plant. They are like a sagebrush the way I understand it. From what I understand, there are a lot of volatile oils in the Creosote/grease wood plant.


Those resins/oils may have been what was making the smoke & helped out gaining an ember.
 :)


Thanks for the tip & sharing your experience!
 :)
I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline Moe M.

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2017, 09:12:07 AM »
Interesting!
 :)



Perhaps you were using wood from a "Creosote" or "grease wood" plant. They are like a sagebrush the way I understand it. From what I understand, there are a lot of volatile oils in the Creosote/grease wood plant.


Those resins/oils may have been what was making the smoke & helped out gaining an ember.
 :)


Thanks for the tip & sharing your experience!
 :)

  Good point JB,  and nice to see you back posting. 
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Offline hunter63

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2017, 09:52:56 AM »
That is interesting....mayb e friction helped by the  sap?
Quote>

Well after shooting a bit we walked a few hundred yards to a big sagebrush and he harvested some wood to make his set. I had brought a bow along and a fidget spinner to try as a bearing block. The fidget spinner worked very well, which I expected. He had a smooth stone with a perfect, obviously man-made, deep divot in it that his mom had found in a creek bed years ago. I couldn't help but think it might be an actual, purpose made bearing block. < qoute

I also found a stone that has the hole and fits your hand perfectly
Prof at the collage says ...most likely not....but then again he doesn't like it when someone else finds something.....LOL

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Offline wolfy

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2017, 10:12:56 AM »
In the picture, it looks like a man-made groove around that celt.  Is it? :shrug:
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Offline xj35s

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2017, 10:27:05 AM »
That's amazing. I'm going to keep a better look out from now on. I bet I can find something similar in a small creek with a natural waterfall that's been left undisturbed for many years. Although the odds of a rock sitting in the exact location for a hundred years without the path of the water ever changing, hmm maybe not.

Very interesting still.
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2017, 10:33:36 AM »
I got a picture of the set up in the first post now.

As for the stone in this post, that is very similar to the one my friend has, only his stone is more white in color and not as perfectly round. The hole looks about the same size and depth though.



That is interesting....mayb e friction helped by the  sap?
Quote>

Well after shooting a bit we walked a few hundred yards to a big sagebrush and he harvested some wood to make his set. I had brought a bow along and a fidget spinner to try as a bearing block. The fidget spinner worked very well, which I expected. He had a smooth stone with a perfect, obviously man-made, deep divot in it that his mom had found in a creek bed years ago. I couldn't help but think it might be an actual, purpose made bearing block. < qoute

I also found a stone that has the hole and fits your hand perfectly
Prof at the collage says ...most likely not....but then again he doesn't like it when someone else finds something.....LOL



Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2017, 10:44:42 AM »
Interesting!
 :)



Perhaps you were using wood from a "Creosote" or "grease wood" plant. They are like a sagebrush the way I understand it. From what I understand, there are a lot of volatile oils in the Creosote/grease wood plant.


Those resins/oils may have been what was making the smoke & helped out gaining an ember.
 :)


Thanks for the tip & sharing your experience!
 :)

JB, I am sure this was sagebrush. The tiny silvery green three-lobed leaves, shaggy bark, twisted growth and the scent is unmistakable. The odd thing is the dead stuff is usually so dry and brittle you can't make a good fire set out of it because it wants to split apart too easily. But after yesterday's experiment, I am a believer.

We did get some minor surface glazing, but a sprinkle of fine sand dust from the ground fixed that (as it usually does). I did use a dead sage fire board which might explain why I got a little less glazing than my friend, but he got nice big glowing embers too so it doesn't seem to matter.

The real test will be to try it this summer and see if it has something to do with the way the sap runs in summer versus winter. If it works in the summer I will be even more impressed.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2017, 10:53:56 AM »
Thanks for the post and the picks of the rock.  It gives me hope to get one lit up when I am able to get out and about.  We have a little sagebrush in this area and I will look for some of the proper size to whittle. 

Do you think this set up will work after it dries out?
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Offline hunter63

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2017, 02:52:07 PM »
In the picture, it looks like a man-made groove around that celt.  Is it? :shrug:

Not to highjack the thread.....but yes...my professor friend kinda confirmed that it was "cultural " (man made)

The grove goes around the side and top...but the bottom is flat....appears the two grooves on the top of the right side are like finger grooves one seem natural...the other has maked for being worked .....Flat spot fits the palm perfectly.

It fits in your hand,... like a hand plane but may have been mounted in a handle.

Both were found back in the 1980's during drought dried up several rivers.
The river is close to a prehistoric trail....that had been documented to in use till the 1800's



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Offline wolfy

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2017, 03:16:47 PM »
Thank you, h63......now, back to our regularly scheduled program. ;D
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Offline Yeoman

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2017, 10:33:58 AM »
Mors Kochanski has a video in which he states some paradoxical survival advice.
Not everything is as you would expect, but wow, that's got to be one of the oddest things I've ever heard.
It makes me wonder if there are types of wood up here that might work if green.
Very few people mention birch as a friction fire wood. The reasoning is because it's rarely found in a naturally dried un-rotten state.
Maybe it could work green but no one's ever tried it.
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2017, 07:29:40 PM »
Mors Kochanski has a video in which he states some paradoxical survival advice.
Not everything is as you would expect, but wow, that's got to be one of the oddest things I've ever heard.
It makes me wonder if there are types of wood up here that might work if green.
Very few people mention birch as a friction fire wood. The reasoning is because it's rarely found in a naturally dried un-rotten state.
Maybe it could work green but no one's ever tried it.

I suspect the big hurdle to experimenting with new materials for bow drill fires is that it's a lot of hard work! I know I have been lazy about trying new materials but I am definitely sold on the sagebrush. And now I probably will fall back into the habit of using what I works (and my new favorite is sagebrush).  O:-)

Offline duxdawg

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2018, 04:58:29 PM »
I've used green wood with a ferro, but never for Friction Fire. Interesting.

Offline Yeoman

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2018, 09:19:49 AM »
Mors Kochanski has a video in which he states some paradoxical survival advice.
Not everything is as you would expect, but wow, that's got to be one of the oddest things I've ever heard.
It makes me wonder if there are types of wood up here that might work if green.
Very few people mention birch as a friction fire wood. The reasoning is because it's rarely found in a naturally dried un-rotten state.
Maybe it could work green but no one's ever tried it.

I suspect the big hurdle to experimenting with new materials for bow drill fires is that it's a lot of hard work! I know I have been lazy about trying new materials but I am definitely sold on the sagebrush. And now I probably will fall back into the habit of using what I works (and my new favorite is sagebrush).  O:-)

This makes sense. If I ever get off my lazy butt and learn to do friction fire, I'll likely only use the prevalent materials proven to work.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2018, 10:19:57 AM »
  In the beginning when I was successful in getting an ember I also had trouble getting it to flame,  like you I thought the problem was with the quality of my tinder bundle, so I spent more time breaking my tinder down and shredding it, but it didn't seem to help all that much.
  Another thing is that my tinder bundles never gave me a problem when I use char cloth or charred punk wood with flint & steel,  in discussing my problem with someone a lot more skilled at friction fire than I am he suggested that it may be more to do with my ember than my birds nest, that maybe I wasn't giving the ember enough time to  develop.
  My usual was to establish that my ember was indeed smoldering on it's own, then I'd transfer the ember to the birds nest and start blowing gently,  I'd get some initial smoke and then it would go out,  my Bud suggested that once I get the ember going good with some gentle fanning that I leave it alone for a minute or two until it was sure to hold together when I moved it to the bundle.
  I tried it and it worked,  I think I was too quick in moving it before giving it a chance to come together as a solid ember,  when I was placing it in the bundle I was loosing enough of the dust that there wasn't enough left to hold up to the blowing process, by giving it time to gain mass I ended up with a bigger ember that burned longer and hotter, enough so that I was able to get the bundle to flame. 
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Offline duxdawg

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2018, 12:11:55 PM »
Another method is to grow your ember by adding CEs.


CEs = Coal Extenders. Any materials that will grow an ember/coal. Preferably with minimal of tending.

Saving the dust from previous attempts works well. As do dusts from most fungi, punkwoods, chars, etc

Charred materials (aka char) such as charcloth, charred punkwoods, charred fungi, charred cattail fluff, etc.

Punkwoods (uncharred chunks). Plant fluffs/downs such as milkweed, thistle, cattail, etc. Most parts of most fungi.

Etc.


Always wise to transfer the ember to another material before going for flame. That way a backup ember is smoldering the whole while, just in case the first fails.    ;)
« Last Edit: February 23, 2018, 12:17:28 PM by duxdawg »

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2018, 09:40:35 PM »
Lacking sagebrush....

I'm trying to think of a local shrubbery that makes such a woody appearance. NE Ok USA.

Dux, any special techniques using milkweed, thistle, cattail as uncharred CE
I use punks and fungi. I can really feel delight when I happen across some perfect punkwood.
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2018, 08:56:44 AM »
Woodsrunner was really good with what he used.  I think it was Mullein.

Here is a link but I know nothing of its accuracy nor anything about OK plants.  The plants in this list are in CA but some of them are everywhere.  If you have Mullein I would start with it.

http://stoneageskills.com/articles/Preferred_Friction_Fire_Woods.pdf
« Last Edit: February 24, 2018, 09:05:48 AM by wsdstan »
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Offline wolfy

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2018, 10:23:55 AM »
Yeah, ol' Woods was about as nonchalant with friction-fire as anyone I?ve ever seen! :hail:
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2018, 11:34:17 AM »
He sure was.  I really miss his videos.  Hope he is okay.
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Offline duxdawg

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Re: I learned something today contradictory to my prior knowledge
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2018, 09:17:30 AM »





Dux, any special techniques using milkweed, thistle, cattail as uncharred CE
I use punks and fungi. I can really feel delight when I happen across some perfect punkwood.
 
I hear ya! Primo punkwoods are very satisfying finds.

With cattails, keeping the head intact is best.

With loose plant downs/fluffs, such as the three types (many species within each type) mentioned, roll them like making a ball of clay or dough. Use more pressure and longer duration because CEs work best when dense.

Looking for denser than a cotton ball if you can. Feel free to mix CEs and/or chars once you've a handle on each solo. I find knowing them individually to be useful and therefore recommend folks start there.