Fire by hand drill

Fire by hand drill

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Fire fun

Hi bushcrafters,

As usual myself and a friend set our selves a challenge for a bit of fun.

We met in a wood last night and decided to make fire with anything we could find and boil water within 2 hours.

We had our knives and that's it.

It had been raining quite heavily.

There was a carpark which somone had fly-tipped an old fridge so we set about getting some bits and pieces.

We found two old lighters but they were empty and the flints had corroded away to nothing.

There was lots of tinder about-birch bark dry goose grass among others.

We set about making a friction fire set using elder and sycamore.

For cord we used one of the strands from the power cable of the fridge. However this proved to be a very poor choice, far to slippy and not flexible enough.

As luck would have it we went for a quick scout and found an old rope swing. It was cheap blue nylon rope but it was perfect for us.

We used the Egyptian technique which was very effective.

We didn't need a bow because there was two of us which doubled endurance power.

After going at it for a while we realised that there was a number of problems.

Blue rope slips like crazy and withers at the slightest heat and is not wear resistant. It was also very wet which added to our woes in a different way. However because we were both serious student of the technique we managed an ember and quickly got a fire going to boil the water in an old tin can.

We decided to finish with an attempt at fire plough using elder and sycamore.

It was surprising how easy it is to produce smoke if you have decent endurance and strength.

It is not an impromptu technique suitable for the novice and could not be done by someone who had read about it in a book and not developed some muscle memory. Of course this applies to all techniques of this sort.

After a serious effort which exhausted us both we got a small ember.

I think the lesson from this exercise is that the countryside is full of rubbish which is a shame. However it can be used for lots of alternative uses.

Sometimes I wonder why we bring so much gear. It is a lot more fun and creative to improvise things.

Fun indeed.

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