Fire by hand drill

Fire by hand drill

Saturday 30 July 2011

New Zealand flax

From plant to fibre. 3-ply plait.
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Thursday 28 July 2011

A few pics from day out

A friend injured his hand so had to make feather sticks one handed. He was better this way strangely

Mice munching on toadstool

Weird darts of mist coming from tree!! zoom in..

Nice cloud

Huge sycamore leave. Sycamore is good for bow drill

A Hazel nut was somethings dinner. Nuthatch perhaps


Tracking fun


Went out for a smooch about to try and find some tracks.

Blackbird sunning itself

Where is the track?

See it now

Burrdock leaves are very usefull

Paul follows some badger tracks

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Ready for hiking!

My daughter with her tiny back pack on.
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Friday 22 July 2011

Making some char-cloth


Made some char cloth from some old tea-towels last night. I prefer making it from denim or dusters, anything to fluffy like towels don't seem to work as good.

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Wednesday 20 July 2011

Collecting tinder from Bracket fungus

Using a rock to remove part of the bracket. The shell is quite hard

This brown area above the gills is what you use. Dry it off and when fluffed up it will catch a spark and smolder away for ages. Good stuff.

Monday 18 July 2011

A little bit of Norway

Hi all,

I learned an interesting fact today. My family research has turned up an interesting twist.

I am a Norwegian via Scotland and then Northern Ireland!

Well a little bit of me is anyway.

Strange, I have allways thought about the scandanavian countries as somewhere I would love to spend time. Maybe Norway is calling me home to the Fjords.


Flint knapping inspiration

Flint knapping the impossible

Great video

Sunday 17 July 2011

A walk in my local wood

Hi all,

I went for a wee wander to see what i could find.

goat Willow

Cleavers are edible

Hazel Nuts

Rose bay Willow herb

Hog weed


Peanut butter to encourage the squirrels to approach my hide

Some nettle cordage coated in beeswax

Hand drill embers


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.

good luck.

Saturday 16 July 2011

Firesteel failure

Hi all,
I was out practising my wet weather fire lighting.
I made a load of feathersticks from hawthorn which was a bit punky and didn't split or feather well. Then I moved on to hazel which was much much better.
All split with my knife and a baton.
I then found the dry spot under a tree and cleared the earth and preped the fire site.
Got my firesteel out, made a preliminary strike with my knife spine and SNAP! The firesteel broke in two.
I still managed to use the little stub left on the handle but the switch went from easy to hard!
Lesson learned allways bring at least two fire sources.
I love experiences like this. Its were the best learning is done.
Go out and make mistakes and all sorts of magic will happen.
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Wednesday 13 July 2011

A green leather lapplander saw holder


I made this from a piece of sofa leather my friend gave me.

Really nice croc green color.
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Sunday 10 July 2011

Friday 8 July 2011

A close up of the bow drill hearth in action.

This is Paul showing us how it is done. Total time from start to production of ember = 17 seconds

Wednesday 6 July 2011

A woodland wander

Myself and Paul of the Niba went for a wander round a new wood area we got permission to use of 60+acres. A good day was had with plenty of craic.

2 incisor marks from a squirrel eating Maple inner bark

Badger set

A hair from the set

A hair at the entrance

Paul tracks the badgers

Paul practies a new fire blowing technique he learned. It is excellent

Jews ear, an edible fungus

A nice Birch with a huge Burl

Watching squirrels

The wood