I was at this again like I have been for the last while. It can be quite hard on the hand so I take a rest every so often to give them a chance to repair.
So i have decided that although everyone says Clematis is the best for a hearth it is to rare in my area to be practical as a material.
So I reverted to Willow and Elder.
I just wanted to record my observations on the method so that i dont forget them and also in the hope that they may help somone else on their journey to what i think is the ultimate form of friction fire lighting. I must stress there are loads of people better than me but sometimes info is lacking.
Here are a few tips and observations of what i have found.
1. Get a good drill which is bone dry and strong. I seem to have got most luck with 2 year growth wands which have a outer wall of about 1.5-2mm thick. the drill should be about 1cm-1.5cm thick in total.
the length should be as long as possible but i have been using one about 40cm long or so. Make sue it is as straight as possible.
2. Hearth should be about 1 cm thick and about 3cm wide. Make sure your notch, where ember collects is not to far from edge of board. Hearth should be bone dry but not decayed. I used Goat Willow from a thick branch which i whittled down.
3. Cut your notch and start drilling. use the whole length of your hand as you spin the drill. Warm up slowly and relax. INcrease pressure and speed suddenly. You will feel a sudden resistance as the drill bites into the wood, this is when you go faster and increase pressure more, smoke will form.
You might want to spit on your hands to increase grip. Just enough will give tremendous friction and pressure. If you wish to get really good grip try some honey on your hands. it is amazing. But cheating in a way.
The notch will be burnt in.
4.Cut your notch out to the centre of the burnt in circle and widen the base a bit so it can collect underneath. an 8th is a good rule of thumb.
5. Now you are ready to produce your ember. You must keep the drill straight as you drill. Dont allow it to move about. Start drilling using the full length of your drill. dont hang about and when you reach the bottom grip it firmly with one hand and move the other tot the top quickly and start again. You will find when learnin that it will jump out a few times. keep going.
6. Warm the drill up for a good few strokes but dont go mad. raise it a fw degrees. Then stop but dont take the drill out. Keep it in the socket to retain the heat.
7. Now really drill fast and down and move to the top quickly. You will find the smoke comes quickly and is thick and can be yellowish.
8. Try to make a good few passes of high pressure and speed. I usually make 3 or 4.Keep the drill straight.
9. Now lift the drill out and you will see wisps of smoke coming from the ember. fan it with your hand. Somethimes it can appear that there is no smoke. Keep fanning it might come back.
10. If you get an ember light a fire. if not rest and try again.
11. you might find that the drill has gone down into the hearth to far. This means friction will be produced at the sides too. No good. Do a new hole or carve the hole so the sides dont touch.