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Author Topic: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks  (Read 3088 times)

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Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« on: June 03, 2017, 11:23:53 AM »
Anyone ever been successful at this?   :fire.:

Camping last weekend our group tried for a couple hours to no avail.
Hand drill=too much work, hard on the hands.
Rubbing a stick into a groove in baseboard= some smoke but no embers.

One guy tried something called the "Thong method"  :chuckle: Partially split wood wedged open, then using a string like a wire saw, pull back and forth= first and quickest method to produce smoke, but string(various styles/thicknesses) broke before starting an ember.

I went for the Bow drill. Produced a lot of smoke and black dust in hole, and even appeared to be burning the wood on the bottom of the groove, but never got an ember to fall out into the tinder. Used a piece of split Fir for the base wood, not sure what type of wood the drill piece was, but both were dry. Used a chunk of green sapling as the bearing/top pivot.  Made my arm sore after several hours of trying.  >:(  :chuckle:

If you've been successful at this, what's the trick?  Guessing one needs to use a particular variety of wood, especially for the baseboard.


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Offline jrebel

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2017, 11:35:36 AM »
Base wood soaked in gas??   :dunno:
 :chuckle: :chuckle: :chuckle:


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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2017, 11:39:03 AM »
I did get one going with a flint.....no gas.  :chuckle:

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Offline Nice Racks

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2017, 12:13:38 PM »
The drill and hand plate should be of a hard wood type such as oak, while the base plate should be of a softer wood such as fir.  As you start working the bow (very fast), the friction and heat builds up on the soft base plate , and the softer wood becomes hot ambers. Then it's dinner time.

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2017, 12:16:36 PM »
Well that's how its SUPPOSED to work anyways  :chuckle:

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Offline Magnum_Willys

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2017, 12:23:26 PM »
Had same results. Sapling for bow, dry wood for baseplat, havalon case for top plate.  Got lots of smoke. Kept wearing out before embers. If i could of done it furiously for 5 mins Im sure it woulda gone but whew!   I got warm tho!

I have been successful with cedar baseplate and shaft in controlled conditions but not in field.

Offline RadSav

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2017, 12:37:44 PM »
With my grandpa when I was 4 or 5.  Had cedar chips and fir sap on the base plate plus one person blowing on the embers and one running the bow.

It was a genius plan by grandpa!  Get that one fire going with one grandkid.  For the next few days us three boys didn't fight, scream, torment chickens or shoot holes in the metal barn.  We were too busy trying to duplicate what grandpa did.  I'm sure he was laughing at us from the nice quiet living room window with a cold Olympia in one hand and a cigar in the other. 
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Offline Old Dog

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2017, 12:49:54 PM »
I used to help out a a cub scout camp, and I would start several fires a day using a bow and drill.  By the time you had fire you didn't need it to be warm.   :yike:  It's work!!! :chuckle: :chuckle: :chuckle: 
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Offline j_h_nimrod

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2017, 01:15:34 PM »
My outdoor survival instructor claimed sage was the best, not sure if it was for the drill or base though. Hard to find straight sage for a drill so would assume the base.

Offline Alpine Mojo

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2017, 07:38:58 PM »
I did it once in Boy Scouts.  Never again.  Now I carry a Bic lighter.  Summertime and the living is easy.
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Offline Alchase

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2017, 07:44:26 PM »
I did it once in Boy Scouts.  Never again.  Now I carry a Bic lighter.  Summertime and the living is easy.

I carry a bic lighter in each pocket of my pack, each in a ziplock baggy.
LOL
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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2017, 07:47:15 PM »
Hardwood base and shavings around the point where the stick is boring down.  Real fine dry shavings, not dust.  Chainsaw with the grain to get shavings that look like excelsior.  You can get a gallon in no time that way.  It is a chore still.  And when it smokes and glows GENTLY blow on it and as soon as you get a little flame drop it into a pile of dry shavings and gently blow and add kindling wood. 

It's been decades, but I remember that much. 

Offline Alchase

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2017, 07:59:40 PM »
Bic lighter and a couple Fritos, burns like Sterno, LOL
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Offline Dbow

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2017, 08:07:01 PM »
Yes I have done it successfully. I have taught young people how to do it as well.

Yucca stalk, the straighter the better. The base of the stalk take and flatten two sides, just enough to get it to sit flat. Cut tapers on the big end of the upper half of the stalk. Cutout a circular hole in the middle of the flat end of the stalk about an inch from the end. Spit on your hands and begin drilling in the small hole just enough to get a hole that will stabilize the drill. Now chat a notch from one side to almost the center of the drill hole. Place a leaf or something to catch the duff and the ember. Spit on hands and rub back and forth pushing down and then raising your hands to the top again and again. If you do it right it will take less than five minutes and a ten year old can do it.  You are welcome.

Offline Okanagan

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2017, 09:24:31 PM »
My nephew routinely starts fires by friction and I was astounded at how quickly he does it. 

One summer in Sequim some of us at a family do got to talking about starting fires that way.  The nephew did a quiet demo.  He walked out by the garden, picked up some scraps and had smoke within seconds of starting the friction, an ember seconds later and a flame in less than a minute.  It was a dry August day.

That time he used the center stalk of dead cattail from the nearby creek as his hand rotated drill/spindle, a chunk of cedar for the base and he shaped both with the sharp edge of a broken rock.  I have tried since with several materials and found that it is easy to get smoke but much harder to progress from there to flame.  Before he started friction he used the sharp edge of stone to scrape a bundle of fuzz from the inside of cedar bark, to cradle the ember and coax it into flame.

Offline Seahawk12

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2017, 09:42:05 PM »
I had known how in theory, but two years ago i figured I'd give it a go. It's always easier to learn survival skills when you don't have to worry about going cold for a night in the mountians.
I practiced in my back yard.
The bow-drill worked for me.
I would suggest anyone that spends time out in our mountians to practice this skill. Murphies law and fluky bad luck can put anyone in a sceario where these simple skills can be very important.
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Offline Pacific

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2017, 02:19:25 PM »
I have been successful....a couple of times. Hot summer day, reaaaally dry and dead maple hearth board and spindle....definitely had to work at it....got to where is was pretty easy to produce an ember with a bow drill....then you have to get that ember into some tinder and actually get it flame....

Preparation is the key!!  Man, if I had to do it in a survival situation here in western Washington in the winter time....well, it would be a cold night, for sure  :o
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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2017, 04:56:05 AM »
 Yucca stalk, the straighter the better. The base of the stalk take and flatten two sides, just enough to get it to sit flat. Cut tapers on the big end of the upper half of the stalk. Cutout a circular hole in the middle of the flat end of the stalk about an inch from the end. Spit on your hands and begin drilling in the small hole just enough to get a hole that will stabilize the drill. Now chat a notch from one side to almost the center of the drill hole. Place a leaf or something to catch the duff and the ember. Spit on hands and rub back and forth pushing down and then raising your hands to the top again and again.


I've made quite a few as well, both hand drill, bow drill and even a bamboo fire saw. Dbow's information is the best on this thread, only I'd add to the Yucca stalk, grand mullen stalk, cattail stalk, and ceder branch as local useful items. I've also been successful with cotton wood. I like either the base board or the spindle to be soft wood and the other can be hard or soft. The soft wood tends to fiber up better and you will get a lot more powder from it. the powder is what the friction is igniting, so no powered, no fire, unless you've been at it for hours and finally lite your base board on fire! :tup:

We call the powder magic dust, and you could even collect remaining dust after you get a coal and place in a ziploc for next time if you wanted.You have to remember that the powder will be very susceptible to moisture, both in the ground and in the air. I use a piece of leather under the notch in the board to collect the dust and keep it off the ground, but even a humid day can make things difficult.

I've also tried the hand plow and thong method and only got smoke, not sure what the trick is this them other than wood selection.
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Offline HawkCreek

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2017, 10:15:26 PM »
My outdoor survival instructor claimed sage was the best, not sure if it was for the drill or base though. Hard to find straight sage for a drill so would assume the base.

You dont need a very long piece for a bow drill, sage works great for both the base as well as the spindle. Mullen stocks are good spindles and cedar makes the best learner hearth boards. Once you get the technique down it's interesting to see how different woods work with each other.

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2017, 07:54:10 AM »
I am going to have to tried cedar at home.  Thanks for all the info  :tup:

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Offline kisfish

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2017, 08:31:11 AM »
I will have to try again. Tried it several years ago and just couldn't get it to produce an ember. I have only tried the bow drill. I finally ended up with a flint striker. I can get a fire going very easy with that.

Offline PlateauNDN

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2017, 08:42:37 AM »
Had to. :chuckle:
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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2017, 09:11:15 AM »
I saw it done back when I was a young sprout in the Boy Scouts.  It took some time.

Offline Humptulips

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2017, 07:13:22 PM »
I have been successful....a couple of times. Hot summer day, reaaaally dry and dead maple hearth board and spindle....definitely had to work at it....got to where is was pretty easy to produce an ember with a bow drill....then you have to get that ember into some tinder and actually get it flame....

Preparation is the key!!  Man, if I had to do it in a survival situation here in western Washington in the winter time....well, it would be a cold night, for sure  :o

Truth is if you are ever in a situation where you really need it you won't have any luck. Maybe a fun thing to try on a warm summer day. Not so much on a drizzly November evening in a dark hemlock forest..
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Offline JDHasty

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2017, 08:43:21 AM »

Offline mossy8352

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2017, 09:54:21 AM »
I recently watched this video and he makes it look so easy, he also has other videos on the same subject.


Offline Okanagan

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2017, 08:29:45 AM »
Personal opinion and perspective:  Though I carry at least three ways to start a fire and have a lot of experience in bad conditions, IME it is almost impossible to start and sustain a fire on the West End in late Fall using gear from pockets and pack.  With a vehicle, axes, chainsaw etc. it can be done.   Keeping a fire going is harder than getting it started out there after two months of steady rain.

I want to know as many ways to start a fire as possible, using as many techniques and materials as possible, but I'd bet against anyone using friction to get a sustained fire going within an hour on the West End in late Fall after a week of rain, using only knife, pack saw and perhaps a pack hatchet.  I.e. I'd not plan on friction fires in Western WA survival situations.

My nephew might be able to do it but there aren't many folks who can.

Learn all you can about friction fires, practice till you get good at it-- and carry a lighter, flint and steel and matches.  :)




Offline pianoman9701

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2017, 09:41:19 AM »
The drill and hand plate should be of a hard wood type such as oak, while the base plate should be of a softer wood such as fir.  As you start working the bow (very fast), the friction and heat builds up on the soft base plate , and the softer wood becomes hot ambers. Then it's dinner time.

A grain or two of sand in the base helps intensify the friction and heat.
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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2017, 10:17:50 AM »
Carry 2 Bic lighters.  Problem solved.
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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2017, 10:27:48 AM »
Personal opinion and perspective:  Though I carry at least three ways to start a fire and have a lot of experience in bad conditions, IME it is almost impossible to start and sustain a fire on the West End in late Fall using gear from pockets and pack.  With a vehicle, axes, chainsaw etc. it can be done.   Keeping a fire going is harder than getting it started out there after two months of steady rain.

I want to know as many ways to start a fire as possible, using as many techniques and materials as possible, but I'd bet against anyone using friction to get a sustained fire going within an hour on the West End in late Fall after a week of rain, using only knife, pack saw and perhaps a pack hatchet.  I.e. I'd not plan on friction fires in Western WA survival situations.

My nephew might be able to do it but there aren't many folks who can.

Learn all you can about friction fires, practice till you get good at it-- and carry a lighter, flint and steel and matches.  :)
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Offline gaddy

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2017, 01:32:00 PM »
I carry a little zip lock with cotton balls with petroleum jelly. I add to them a bit of magnesium dust, slivers and small chunks.
I have never been able to get fire from sticks. I have tried several times.
Once you get the cotton going it will fire the dust, then slivers, then chunks of magnesium. Now you have a hot enough fire to dry small wet twigs and go from there.
I should practice more with the sticks. You never know when you will loose your kit.

Offline Okanagan

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2017, 02:04:25 PM »
Carry 2 Bic lighters.  Problem solved.

I've had two Bic lighters come part in my pocket and leave me with tiny useless parts.  I carry a lighter but don't trust it.  A ferro rod and steel plus some homemade firestarter wafers and some thin slats of pitchwood are with me always.


Offline j_h_nimrod

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2017, 10:54:03 PM »
Still remember my survival instructor telling me that in a true survival situation to have the least competent or most shocked person work on the fire while you do something useful. Fire is typically a comfort, not a survival necessity.


That being the case I still carry multiple lighters even though I rarely use them.

Offline Seahawk12

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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #33 on: June 17, 2017, 12:03:03 AM »
These are cool deals to keep in the bottom of the pack:
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Re: Making Fire...Rubbing sticks
« Reply #34 on: June 17, 2017, 07:41:31 AM »
I used to never have an interest in friction fire. I watched a show a while back and thought maybe I'll give it a try. My grandson (16) came over the other day and I asked him what he wanted to do, he said he didn't know. I told him I wanted to make FIRE with a bow drill.

To speed up the learning curve we watched two you tube videos. One was some lady it looked like she was making kits, she had been to some week long school learning, it took her a while, but she got a fire going. The second video was a about tips, not getting in a hurry, cutting the notch at an angle and such.

So, went out in the garage and got some materials together. It was way easier than I thought it was going to be. We started with an oak drill and cedar board. To add a level of coolness to it we used a slightly curved beaver chew stick for the bow. 5-50 cord for the string. Oh, the Grandson seemed kind of interested became really interested when it started smoking. The cedar was less than a 1/2 inch thick and the oak drill went through that pretty fast. We basically burned three holes through the cedar and moved on to a pine board. Like the guy said in the video don't get in a hurry. Also, the coal forms in the dust.

We really didn't have good birds nest material. It was it was raining hard and steady outside. I had him go around the garage and pick up the spider webs with the leaves and pine needles. Unfortunately I had cleaned out the garage so pickings were slim.   We got a coal, put it in the birds nest and couldn't get it going. We got another coal in the birds nest and got it going a little it was smoldering didn't seem like it was going to go so I put it down. Jacob was going to start working on another coal and I thought don't get in a hurry I picked it up and a little light breath and FIRE.

When I think about the ancients getting fire way back in the day, no bic, no matches, no scout masters juice I think how cool and now we can do it too. In a related story, I was talking to a buddy of mine about this and he told me in his youth he was trying to make fire. His dad offered to help, he thought his dad didn't know anything. His dad took his bow drill set up and poof instantly made fire. Apparently his dad grew up in WW2 Norway and sometimes they didn't have matches or money to get matches and that's how they started the fire to heat there house and cook. 
« Last Edit: June 17, 2017, 08:23:16 AM by Threewolves »
Of course I am a legend, I'm just not as chattie as most.

 

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