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  • #24414
    Profile photo of sledjockey
    sledjockey
    Bushcrafter
    member8

    While I was traveling for work, I saw the comments about several users not frequenting the boards as much. Some speculation was that they had taken a hiatus due to various reasons, mostly lack of information/content in posts. Since I have quite a few posts up elsewhere, I figured I would cross post the information to help out some of you who might be interested in the information:

    This post is about friction fire through use of bow drills. Many people talk about bow drill fires and how they work. There seems to be a lot of emphasis placed upon the types of wood used, such as combinations of this + that = fire. There is much more to it than that, so I wanted to get some information out there about reading the dust and the actual technique needed to successfully start a friction fire.

    It is really hard to find a good video about friction fire. Most don’t really go too much into wood selection other than giving you a list of “wood combinations” that work together. This video shows you the finger nail test and explains how to check to see if the wood is actually dry enough to use.

    Another couple of points about this video:

    He uses the spindle to create a good socket in the hearth (fire board). Good technique that most “experts” online do not do.
    He also checks the dust after he creates a socket. The color and consistency of the dust will help you figure out how well your spindle and hearth will work.
    It isn’t too obvious in the video, but using the initial dust from creating your socket will help you get an ember quicker. I assume that he did that considering he piled all the remaining dust on top of his ember to keep it going.

    Here is the video:

    How to read the dust:

    • Light brown and lighter dusty dust means that you are going too slow or there is not enough friction. Try going faster and pressing down a bit more. It could also mean that your wood choice was too soft.
    • Light brown and fuzzy type dust means you are just shaving off pieces of the wood and not actually getting any heat. Go faster. The dust will get darker and be kind of fuzzy in appearance as you get closer to the right combo of technique and wood.
    • Dark brown almost black and fuzzy dust is what you are after. This is the perfect combo so look for embers burning in the dust.
    • Dark brown/black that are almost like little rolls of wood means that you are possibly going too fast and not pushing down hard enough. The wood dust is more like shavings that are not keeping enough heat to burn.
    • Dark brown/black that is almost a crusty or already burned looking means that you are going too fast or pressing down too hard. It could also mean that your wood choice was of a type wood that was too hard.

    This is perfect dust:
    image 1
    Perfect dust from friction fire

    There are many different charts out there on what type of wood works best. The big thing is for you to test out several combinations and get used to testing the wood’s density with your fingernail. It has to be able to dent it without a massive amount of pressure, but it should not break or crack under that pressure.

    Keep trying different wood types from your area to get that perfect combination for you. Technique plays an important factor as well. I can get the softer woods like pine and cottonwood going, but fail with maple and cedar. It really comes down to what works for you.

    http://ageofdecadence.com

    #24436
    Profile photo of freedom
    freedom
    Survivalist
    rnews

    sledjockey, Great video, I just learned something new. I had seen this used before but this video was very good at teaching how it is done. Thank you.

    #24440
    Profile photo of sledjockey
    sledjockey
    Bushcrafter
    member8

    You are very welcome. Like mentioned in my post, I think I am going to start posting some of my instructional things here for you guys. Not everyone frequents the same places and by adding things for everyone here it might give some of the survivalist, prepper, gardener, hiker, etc., groups a bit more information that they might not be regularly exposed to. Not only that, but most of it has already been written so cut/paste is simple….. :o)

    Just how I thought I could help out a bit around here.

    http://ageofdecadence.com

    #24442
    Profile photo of freedom
    freedom
    Survivalist
    rnews

    It is a great idea. We have many ways of doing many things here and to add more ways is great.

    #24506
    Leopard
    Leopard
    Survivalist
    member8

    Yip. One night, a few years ago, I had a good look at a packet of Bear Grill waterproof matches. I thought I should maybe have more. Started dipping normal matches in candle wax. Tested it by trowing it in water, timing the water bath to see how waterproof the candle wax made it. Now for my lesson learned that night. .. It helps to remove the wax from the tip of the match before trying to light it. : )

    #24510
    Profile photo of freedom
    freedom
    Survivalist
    rnews

    LeopardThat is a great idea to do. Will make some and test them out.

    #24517
    Profile photo of sledjockey
    sledjockey
    Bushcrafter
    member8

    That works well in drier type areas, but here in the PNW matches are not really a decent option. Anyone I know that has been out a lot ends up getting hosed over by them at some point.

    Here you are much better off using something like a an H60 firesteel with cotton/Vaseline in really wet weather or flint/steel in colder drier weather.

    I will post some stuff later on about the H60, flint and steel fires, as well as a list of great tinders for different situations.

    http://ageofdecadence.com

    #24519
    Profile photo of freedom
    freedom
    Survivalist
    rnews

    I will be on the look out for your post sledjockey.

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