Author Topic: Working on it, but. . .  (Read 6169 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline FlaMike

  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 342
Working on it, but. . .
« on: September 02, 2014, 09:10:43 PM »
I've been reading my way through just about everything I can find here on fire by friction and decided I just had to give it a go. I've gotten my hands on some ferro rods and I'll get some use out of them, but those things throw such a shower of sparks that it's almost as easy as my first encounter with fire by friction, the Bic lighter. (Well, it is, you know.)

But I want to learn to use a bow and spindle. I gathered the parts & pieces from my back yard (jungle,) and gave it a try. I originally wanted to make my bow string with my locally available plants, and did just that. But it seems that if you make a string one day out of a cabbage palm frond, the following day its dried out enough not to hold up very well. On day one, it worked pretty well, but I had a problem keeping spindles in one piece. The bow string held up well enough for me to break several spindles.

But I was in the middle of a boat build, so I went back to that. Today, I had some periods of time where I had to wait for stuff to dry during the build, so I went back to the bow drill. And that's when the string finally let go. Being in a hurry as usual, I replaced it with some paracord.

The spindle and hearth board are both from the cabbage palm. The bow is some kind of tree that grows all over the place, no idea at all what it is. Here's a pic of my efforts so far:



The bearing block is also from a cabbage palm, and when I started using the Egyptian bowdrill method that PetrifiedWood showed in the "Let's talk about Bowdrills" thread, I stopped breaking spindles and started getting good burn-ins and making heat and smoke.

But that's as far as I've gotten so far. Heat, lots of smoke, but no coal yet. What tends to happen is after the burn in, I cut the notch, and when I go for the coal, the spindle breaks through the notch, usually, or I manage to drill right through the hearth.

I'm thinking that I need a more substantial hearth board. (Fire board.) Next time at it, I'll go out back and find a much larger frond to work with. And I'll study the pics on the forum to make sure I understand how that notch is to be cut.

Oh, here is my last try:



You can see the one notch that broke out before a coal could be formed, and the other one drilled through the board (and the green leaf.)

It is fun, and only a little frustrating. Now that the boat build is done, I'll be able to spend a little more time on this project!

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
There is no such thing as One True Way.

Offline PetrifiedWood

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Administrator
  • Belt Grinder
  • ******
  • Posts: 11353
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2014, 10:02:14 PM »
Looks like you have a good start. The rest will fall into place with practice. It gets easier, but it is never truly easy to do. Though we do have a few people who make it look that way! :D

Keep experimenting with different sizes for your spindle and hearth until you find a good balance. If the hearth is too thin you can burn through before you get a coal. If it is too thick the dust will have to pile up too high and you will exhaust yourself before you get a coal. The notch has to fill up with dust all the way to the top so that it is in contact with the hot spindle in order for it to ignite.

Glad to hear the Egyptian method is helping you somewhat.


Offline madmax

  • Diamond Stone
  • ****
  • Posts: 9125
  • The Phoenix
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2014, 02:26:48 AM »
Good start!  Keep it up.  That first flame from an ember is like magic.  You'll fall into your own rhythm soon.  The sabal palm is a great tree for the bow drill.  Cordage is always kind of a pia.  I need to work more on that.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
Hunter S, Thompson

Offline upthecreek

  • Charred Cloth Challenge
  • Global Moderator
  • Diamond Stone
  • *****
  • Posts: 5662
  • Friction Fire Fellowship & River Rat
    • my youtube
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2014, 10:18:40 AM »
Looks like you are very close. You'll get you a coal soon. Keep trying and studying your result.

Creek
Axes Rock!

Offline FlaMike

  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 342
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2014, 07:49:14 PM »
Kind of feel guilty for not posting back here, sooner.  :-[

Last Thursday, the 18th, I switched over to another spindle and fire board, this time using a local wood, cypress. Don't know why I didn't try it before. Saw a video where a list of woods were given, and cypress was one of them. And cypress, I got.

First attempt, the coal was a complete surprise. Had nothing ready for it. Minutes later, this time with tinder standing by, I did it again and this time, got flames.

It was too late in the day to shoot a video, and haven't gotten to it, since. But I know I must. And I will. And I will post it in the Friction Fire Fellowship thread.

You are right! It is what we used to call, "a trip!"   :D

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
There is no such thing as One True Way.

Offline PetrifiedWood

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Administrator
  • Belt Grinder
  • ******
  • Posts: 11353
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2014, 10:37:09 PM »
Congratulations! I'll bet it was a great feeling seeing that coal when you didn't expect it. Experimenting with different woods really pays off.

Offline Squall

  • Mill File+
  • *
  • Posts: 80
  • The book was better.
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2014, 12:06:16 PM »
Speaking of experimenting with different woods....I don't suppose someone solid on friction fire has a list somewhere of what woods may be the best choices for the different pieces?
Just a backyard bushcrafting neophyte.

Offline DomC

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Whetstone
  • **
  • Posts: 98
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2014, 11:47:00 AM »
I've used cabbage Palm hearth boards and Brazilian pepper spindles with good results. The real secret is using really dry materials which is difficult to be had in the high humidity associated with Florida's summer. I store my bow drill stuff in a large ZIPLOC bag.

DomC

Sent from my KFTT using Tapatalk

God is enough, let go, let God. (Gal 2:20,21)
A knifeless man is a lifeless man. (Nordic proverb).

Offline offtrail

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 481
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2014, 10:30:34 AM »
Just a little off topic but you stated early in your thread that ferro rods were nearly as easy as a Bic lighter. Well yes and no to that comment. I have seen many people fail using a ferro rod to start a fire. Truth is it's all about what is available as tinder in the area your in. Just saying, just because you have a Ferro rod does not guarantee a fire. For that reason most backpackers carry some kind of tinder with them at all times. Just trying to make a point here without sounding like a mother hen. Without the right and dry material a ferro rod is anything but easy. By the way good luck with the bowdrill fire, your first coal/fire will never be forgotten...it's the best!

Offline offtrail

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 481
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2014, 10:33:07 AM »
Speaking of experimenting with different woods....I don't suppose someone solid on friction fire has a list somewhere of what woods may be the best choices for the different pieces?
Do you plan on carrying a bowdrill kit with you in the woods, or do you plan to make one in the field as you need it?

Offline wsdstan

  • Supporting Member
  • Diamond Stone
  • ****
  • Posts: 8483
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2014, 10:47:39 AM »
Just a little off topic but you stated early in your thread that ferro rods were nearly as easy as a Bic lighter. Well yes and no to that comment. I have seen many people fail using a ferro rod to start a fire. Truth is it's all about what is available as tinder in the area your in. Just saying, just because you have a Ferro rod does not guarantee a fire. For that reason most backpackers carry some kind of tinder with them at all times. Just trying to make a point here without sounding like a mother hen. Without the right and dry material a ferro rod is anything but easy. By the way good luck with the bowdrill fire, your first coal/fire will never be forgotten...it's the best!

I think you missed his mild sarcasm with the bic lighter comment.  You do sound like a mother hen but one with good intentions, just like my mother had.
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
(Mark Twain)

Offline Squall

  • Mill File+
  • *
  • Posts: 80
  • The book was better.
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2014, 12:36:08 PM »
Speaking of experimenting with different woods....I don't suppose someone solid on friction fire has a list somewhere of what woods may be the best choices for the different pieces?
Do you plan on carrying a bowdrill kit with you in the woods, or do you plan to make one in the field as you need it?
Yes ?  I haven 't even touched friction fire yet, personally.  I was just hoping to stack the deck in my favor by shamelessly stealing the benefits of other's experience.  Saw a few recommendations in the FFF thread, was just wondering if anyone had managed to determine yay or nay on a running list.  Even if I were to prepare a kit in advance, I'd still like to know what types of wood to look for, and which to avoid.  I saw someone mention avoiding pine and other resin filled woods to cut down on glazing, I guess I was looking for more input like that. 
Just a backyard bushcrafting neophyte.

Offline Squall

  • Mill File+
  • *
  • Posts: 80
  • The book was better.
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2014, 12:42:57 PM »
I've used cabbage Palm hearth boards and Brazilian pepper spindles with good results. The real secret is using really dry materials which is difficult to be had in the high humidity associated with Florida's summer. I store my bow drill stuff in a large ZIPLOC bag.

DomC

Sent from my KFTT using Tapatalk

Not much palm up here in NJ.  Lots and lots of pine.  Oak, some ceder along the rivers, and some others. I'm sure I'll be able to find something that works well, just hoping to narrow it down.  Thanks for the suggestion though.
Just a backyard bushcrafting neophyte.

Offline MnSportsman

  • Diamond Stone
  • ****
  • Posts: 6320
  • Just call me, JB, it is easier to type. ;)
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2014, 07:38:42 AM »
Speaking of experimenting with different woods....I don't suppose someone solid on friction fire has a list somewhere of what woods may be the best choices for the different pieces?


  I waited to post here, in regard to your question, Squall, because I thought one of the other members would mention this link:
http://www.primitiveways.com/Fire%20Making%20Materials.html


If you are in North America, you should be able to find some of the materials mentioned, I would think.
:)


Old Philosopher posted a topic referencing that link back earlier in 2014. Here is that topics link:
http://bladesandbushlore.com/index.php?topic=8599.0


 The fellow who compiled it "Storm" has passed away, but as long as the website stays, the list should be there.


But...I would recommend you Copy/Paste it( the page/list) to a Word document to save on your computer, or print it out, in case the webpage fades away.
 ;)


  Now to return to the OP.
 :)


  I wish you continued success in your efforts of Bow Drill fire, Mike S.!  Congrats! on your success!
 :thumbsup:


Hand Drill next?
 ;)


G'Luck!
 :)
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 Squall

  • Mill File+
  • *
  • Posts: 80
  • The book was better.
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2014, 04:53:05 AM »
Thanks Sportsman, that's exactly the kind of thing  I was looking for.
Just a backyard bushcrafting neophyte.

Offline LetsRock

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 201
  • Tampa, FL
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2014, 07:37:29 PM »
Believe it or not most wood types will work. Dead and dry are key. The drier the wood, the better, be it Pine, Oak, Poplar, Hickory, Basswood, Cottonwood, Willow, Citrus, Wild weeds, etc.... Medium density woods tend to be ideal. Hard dense woods tend to hold more moisture, and can require more effort to drive off that moisture (steam away or evaporate). Generally, hardwoods are a poor on-the-spot choice, unless the environment is dry (ie. low humidity, under 50%).

Resinous woods work, just avoid the resiny areas of the wood. Branches typically have little or no resin compared to trunk wood. Longleaf Yellow Pine is my favorite here in Florida. It's my go-to choice, even over Sabal Palm (Cabbage Palm).

1/2" to 5/8" diameter spindles tend to be ideal for bow drill. For Egyptian style bows, 2 to 4 wraps around the spindle tend to be ideal. Any more than that can hinder more than help (ie. harder to manage, get tangled). You shouldn't need to use Egyptian style when using more durable cordage like paracord/ bankline. If you're snapping the spindles then the bowstring is too tight, the spindle's too long, or the spindle's too decayed. I usually go Egyptian when using less than ideal cordage (ie. cheap shoelaces, strips of clothing, plastic bags, natural cordage, etc...), since it has less tensile strength.

A heads-up. It requires a lot of practice to be proficient out in the field with this skill depending on how you chose to limit yourself with available tools & materials. This is not something to be successful with a few times and think you're capable of saving yourself in a survival situation. Backyard practice is not enough (only about halfway there, skill-wise). I typically practice as if I were a lost day-hiker, whatever's on my person (ie. a small pocket/ keychain knife, shoe laces, or strips of T-shirt). It's very rare I'm out & about without at least those options on me. Any better tools are bonus (ie. good bushcraft knife, paracord/ bank-line, hatchet, hand saw, etc...). The thing is, if I have those better tools available.... guess what I'll also likely have with me? Yes, better fire-making devices (ie. lighters, firesteels, road flares). There's a lot of misinterpretation out there with this skill.

Offline madmax

  • Diamond Stone
  • ****
  • Posts: 9125
  • The Phoenix
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2014, 12:25:23 AM »
Lol.  Everybody was sqeezin it wondering if we would have fire on the first Pot and Machete.  LetsRock had a friction fire from palm going before the rest of us got our landlegs.  Check his vids out.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
Hunter S, Thompson

Offline Squall

  • Mill File+
  • *
  • Posts: 80
  • The book was better.
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2014, 02:44:01 PM »
Believe it or not most wood types will work. Dead and dry are key. The drier the wood, the better, be it Pine, Oak, Poplar, Hickory, Basswood, Cottonwood, Willow, Citrus, Wild weeds, etc.... Medium density woods tend to be ideal. Hard dense woods tend to hold more moisture, and can require more effort to drive off that moisture (steam away or evaporate). Generally, hardwoods are a poor on-the-spot choice, unless the environment is dry (ie. low humidity, under 50%).

Resinous woods work, just avoid the resiny areas of the wood. Branches typically have little or no resin compared to trunk wood. Longleaf Yellow Pine is my favorite here in Florida. It's my go-to choice, even over Sabal Palm (Cabbage Palm).

1/2" to 5/8" diameter spindles tend to be ideal for bow drill. For Egyptian style bows, 2 to 4 wraps around the spindle tend to be ideal. Any more than that can hinder more than help (ie. harder to manage, get tangled). You shouldn't need to use Egyptian style when using more durable cordage like paracord/ bankline. If you're snapping the spindles then the bowstring is too tight, the spindle's too long, or the spindle's too decayed. I usually go Egyptian when using less than ideal cordage (ie. cheap shoelaces, strips of clothing, plastic bags, natural cordage, etc...), since it has less tensile strength.

A heads-up. It requires a lot of practice to be proficient out in the field with this skill depending on how you chose to limit yourself with available tools & materials. This is not something to be successful with a few times and think you're capable of saving yourself in a survival situation. Backyard practice is not enough (only about halfway there, skill-wise). I typically practice as if I were a lost day-hiker, whatever's on my person (ie. a small pocket/ keychain knife, shoe laces, or strips of T-shirt). It's very rare I'm out & about without at least those options on me. Any better tools are bonus (ie. good bushcraft knife, paracord/ bank-line, hatchet, hand saw, etc...). The thing is, if I have those better tools available.... guess what I'll also likely have with me? Yes, better fire-making devices (ie. lighters, firesteels, road flares). There's a lot of misinterpretation out there with this skill.

Yeah, I get what your saying, and honestly, I want to figure it out more for the romanticized bragging rights than anything else.  I don't generally even go out without a day pack, and knife, and I have a few redundancies for fire starting, so I can't think of too many situations where I'd end up with no other recourse but a fire bow....but I still wanna.  Thank you for the advice, I'll take it to heart.  Everyone, sincerely, thank you for all the input, I'm blown away by how helpful everyone has been since I've signed up.  This place is pretty awesome.
Just a backyard bushcrafting neophyte.

Offline FlaMike

  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 342
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2014, 03:52:45 PM »
Fire made with the bow and spindle was a lot of fun. I will keep it up, and keep trying different materials and methods. Again, because it's fun.  :)

But I will depend upon a Bic lighter, a ferro rod, and my flint and steel, pretty much in that order. I don't mean I'll start with the Bic, in fact, my order of preference would be the reverse of the way I just gave them. But for dependability, I think that order is about right. (For me, anyway.)

Still intend to get the bow drill on video and posted, mainly because that's what we do around here. Also, kind of why I like it around here!)

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
There is no such thing as One True Way.

Offline offtrail

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 481
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2014, 06:31:43 PM »
It's ok to carry a bic most people do just in case. I never use it but it's always with me, I use toy caps or flint & steel for most of my fire starting. I do however get the urge to make a bowdrill kit in the field if the conditions are dry. If not I will not waste my time as it can take a lot of energy to force a coal from damp wood, if possible at all. At first in my early learning days I learned the bowdrill at home, used all the easy material like a shot glass for the bearing block. Pvc pipe for the bow, hearth and spindle made from dry wood from home. When I made my first coal, I was top dog, cock of the walk, I was the man!!! That high lasted for quite some time until I took to the field and tried my luck at making my first bowdrill kit in the field. It was like starting all over again no coal the first ,second or third time. But i stuck with it because I knew from making a coal at home that it can be done. What helped me was paying a lot of attention to the notch, it needs to be just right. And the spindle has to be shaped just right to fit the drilling hole in the hearth board. Then you have the matter of reading the dust and knowing how much and how little pressure is needed. It's a lot of fun once you get better but living in northeast Ohio it's always a challenge to make and get a coal from a made in the field bowdrill kit.

Offline LetsRock

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 201
  • Tampa, FL
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2014, 10:52:39 AM »
Folks learn the skill for many reasons, be it to see if they can do it, for fun or entertainment (ie. parlor trick, hobby), teaching, historical reenactment (ie. primitive/ indigenous living), social media ratings, image/ reputation, to be impressive (ie. ego fluff, bragging rights), spiritual aspects, and for supposedly what-if survival situations (long or short term). I set off to learn the what-if approach and it's been a tough goal to reach because the skill is so romanticized. So many suggest, "It's as easy as that..." when more often than not, it's not so easy. This is what I mean by misrepresentation.

The majority of video demonstrations usually suggest or insinuate some sort of, "In case you're ever in a survival situation..." or lead the viewer to believe he's skilled enough to make fire in a survival situation. Folks love to demonstrate their capabilities, but usually in a controlled environment, yet want the viewer to believe their just as capable out in the field. It's rare to see someone truly show success in an uncontrolled environment with unproven materials. Especially, when the ideal is not available.

I'm all for demonstrating for any of the above reasons as long as folks are up front with their intentions. With the magic of video-editing these days it's so easy to make viewers think they're better at it than they really are and mislead viewers into thinking that it's easier than it really is. That misrepresentation thing again.

Also, what commonly occurs is folks get over-confident with themselves once they've experienced routine successes at home. I know, because I was one of them, ha ha. Just as offtrail mentioned, most don't really think it's that big a transition to use freshly found unproven materials exposed to the elements, but it typically is, depending on the weather or environment. Even harder when improvising with less than ideal tools and materials (ie. No decent knife, hand saw, hatchet, paracord/ bankline, special bearing-block, etc...).

Friction fire-making is a wonderful skill to learn. I'm glad I learned it. I encourage others to learn it. It really does give a sense of confidence (peace of mind) when I'm out and about in the woods. Note, this is after several humbling experiences, to include pondering the possibility of no fire when you really want or need it. The nice thing is if you can be proficient out in the field then you can do it for any of those other reasons I mentioned.

Probably the biggest challenge is managing the male ego. This is where much of the misrepresentation occurs. One of the biggest myths is expecting to be successful in just one attempt (or handful of attempts). It usually is when using ideal materials in an ideal environment, but often not the case when using unknown or unproven materials out in the field. Also, it's one thing to be impressive in front of your girlfriend, wife, kids, buddies, YouTube subscribers, students, etc..., but Mother Nature really doesn't care how capable or impressive one is. Although, most would say they're at greater risk of embarrassment than ever having to save themselves in an actual survival situation rubbing sticks together, ha ha. That grey area between wishful-thinking and reality, I guess.

On planned outings I carry and use the usual ways of making fire (ie. lighter, firesteel, dry tinder, etc...). Though, I've had some instances where a planned outing almost turned into an unplanned outing and I didn't have the basics on my person to reasonably handle an uncomfortable situation. It's just nice to know I've got another option when the expected options aren't available.

Offline offtrail

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 481
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2014, 05:54:03 PM »
When someone tells me the bowdrill is easy and it's a sure thing, I just give them the look and walk away. No need to embarrass them as we know the truth about that one. Sure at home with your kit safely tucked away inside the nice dry house. Your hands warm you find a comfy spot on the patio and start bowing, this is the easiest way to get a coal. No pressure, no fumbling cold hands and a premade kit dry as a bone...yep it is easy. I'm not knocking learning the bowdrill at home, it's the best way to learn how. But you need to take that skill to the field without that premade kit. Make one in the field then get a coal, doing this will keep the bragging down to a minimum. There is one exception, if you live in a dry climate that alone will up your odds on a successful bow to fire. 

Offline PetrifiedWood

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Administrator
  • Belt Grinder
  • ******
  • Posts: 11353
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2014, 09:04:25 PM »
Quote
It's rare to see someone truly show success in an uncontrolled environment with unproven materials. Especially, when the ideal is not available.

Very true.

For my part, I have made friction fire a time or two as proof of concept. I fail more than I succeed by about 10:1 attempts to success. I don't ever plan to rely on it, even as a secondary "backup". It's the kind of thing that's fun to try at a camp fire and if you don't get it after a few tries, you fire up the flint and steel or some other more reliable method. Even a fire piston is hugely more reliable than a bow drill or hand drill fire. And even the best, most practiced friction fire guys can't guaranty a fire every time.

It is humbling to go out into the sticks and try to scrape up the materials and get a friction fire going from scratch.

Offline LetsRock

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 201
  • Tampa, FL
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2014, 09:07:17 AM »
I agree with everything you said, PW. You'll be surprised to know, I'm pretty much the same way. I'm usually out with friends when I go out into the woods and they're really not that interested in the skill. Too much work with risky reward. Since it's more time consuming and harder to do than using a lighter, matches, or firesteel, it's something I don't typically do unless I go solo and know I've got an hour or two to mess around with it. As a matter of fact, I'll be out in the swamplands of Florida with some friends this weekend. If I get the chance, I'll spin up a coal from scratch. Gonna be a busy weekend, though.

I think it's possible for those who are fairly proficient to have a decent success rate out in the field in general weather conditions (using less than ideal tools & materials). I've got some ideas I'm trying to organize and want to demonstrate as folks have to kinda unlearn or reshape their thinking on some aspects typically learned from backyard practice. "You must unlearn what you have learned", ha ha. There's a few myths about the skill that need to be quelled so one's chances of success are improved when out in the field (or at least better understand expectations). So it can be more real with less wishful thinking.

It's fun to do. I enjoy it. If I didn't, I wouldn't keep doing it. I'm all for anyone doing it for fun.

Offline PetrifiedWood

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Administrator
  • Belt Grinder
  • ******
  • Posts: 11353
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2014, 02:29:28 PM »
I agree with everything you said, PW. You'll be surprised to know, I'm pretty much the same way. I'm usually out with friends when I go out into the woods and they're really not that interested in the skill. Too much work with risky reward. Since it's more time consuming and harder to do than using a lighter, matches, or firesteel, it's something I don't typically do unless I go solo and know I've got an hour or two to mess around with it. As a matter of fact, I'll be out in the swamplands of Florida with some friends this weekend. If I get the chance, I'll spin up a coal from scratch. Gonna be a busy weekend, though.

I think it's possible for those who are fairly proficient to have a decent success rate out in the field in general weather conditions (using less than ideal tools & materials). I've got some ideas I'm trying to organize and want to demonstrate as folks have to kinda unlearn or reshape their thinking on some aspects typically learned from backyard practice. "You must unlearn what you have learned", ha ha. There's a few myths about the skill that need to be quelled so one's chances of success are improved when out in the field (or at least better understand expectations). So it can be more real with less wishful thinking.

It's fun to do. I enjoy it. If I didn't, I wouldn't keep doing it. I'm all for anyone doing it for fun.

Yep. Part of it is knowing when the likelihood of success is low based on conditions and availability of suitable materials. Sometimes it is better to know that you are just going to waste energy vs. trying under adverse conditions.

Offline offtrail

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 481
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2014, 09:39:54 PM »
Me, I have made many kits in the field, some have worked and others well you know. I even took it one step further and started maken my own cordage. Talk about hard, never did have success getting a coal from a kit made in the field including the cordage. I did however come very close but the minute I started getting a coal the cordage would always snap. Next time I'm going to make two pieces of cordage so when the first one snaps ill quickly switch over to the other and hope for the best. And yes I will have it on video and not edited ever. At one time I had over 300 videos showing bowdrill fires, then Utube made the drastic changes. That pi$$ed me off and I deleted most of my videos including from my own computer. That was very stupid of me but I was upset and we do dumb things when were mad. So as it is now, I'm stuck at this point doing the bowdrill with natural cordage. I hope to one day be able to do this at least once in my life.

Offline LetsRock

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 201
  • Tampa, FL
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #26 on: December 02, 2014, 05:50:36 PM »
Yeah, natural cordage can definitely add to the challenge. Especially, when everything's freshly found. I've had good luck with Palm fibers (ie. Saw Palmetto, Sabal Palm, and Queen Palm). Even better if the fibers are long enough where you don't have to splice shorter pieces to make a long enough bowstring. It's funny, I thought Saw Palmetto was everywhere in Florida until I went to a hunting area in North Florida this past weekend. No Saw Palmetto around. I try to be proficient with what's commonly available. A lot of scrub brush and some roots that look like they could work. I'll have to try them out next time I'm out there.

I typically practice with cheap shoelaces or strips of clothing for the bowstring because I'll likely have at least one of those options on me so I don't have to resort to natural cordage. Believe it or not, they work well once you get the hang of it. FYI, 8 pairs of cheap shoelaces for $1 at Dollar Tree. They work great. I always have on laced footwear of some sort, but I know not everyone does (ie. cowboy boots, hunting boots, motorcycle boots, sandals, etc...). Folks usually go out wearing some kind of clothing, so it's pretty much an option if you have to make cordage in a pinch. I had good success last Saturday using all freshly found materials and my actual shoelace for the bowstring because I couldn't find the cheap laces I brought, ha ha. Almost no wear & tear. Took less than an hour from forage to flame.

This video inspired me that natural cordage isn't so out of the question.


Offline offtrail

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 481
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2014, 08:02:25 PM »
I believe this was my last attempt at the all natural bowdrill fire. For the bearing block I was using half a walnut shell. They work pretty good but you need to insulate the shell from your hand because of the heat. The cordage If I remember right is tree roots. Not the whole root just the inner bark, two strand twist 

Offline LetsRock

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 201
  • Tampa, FL
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2014, 04:46:20 PM »
That's a pretty good attempt, offtrail. I think it could work with what you had. I'd probably go a little thicker with the bowstring and do 2 or 3 wraps around the spindle to reduce bowstring tension, still maintain good grip on the spindle, and minimize bowstring slippage which weakens it (explains why it snapped in the middle).

I remember using a sea shell as a bearing-block and toughing out the heat as it got too hot in my hand. I ended up getting a big blister soon after and couldn't comfortably hold the bearing-block for a few days without enduring some pain. I still have a scar from it. If it gets too hot, stop and adjust rather than toughing it out. You could use green vegetation for lubricant in the bearing-block (ie. green leaves). You could use a bandana as insulation between your hand and the Walnut shell. You could even use your tinder bundle as an insulator, a bunch of leaves, or go with a different bearing-block. You could even use a small bit of the tinder bundle, ball it up, moisten it with spit and put that in the bearing-block as a lubricant. Part of the fun is figuring out how to make it all come together. Give it another try.

Offline offtrail

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 481
Re: Working on it, but. . .
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2014, 06:29:41 PM »
I'm sure I will try again just hope i'm still young enough to get er done. next time ill do it with a proven hearth board but made in the field. Also I'm going to try the single leaf cordage from the video you posted if I have one in the area. You see that's the kicker you have to use whats available to you at that time.