Bow-drill Fire Workshop

Bow-drill fire

On my list of skills to start learning this year, friction fire is near the top of the list. There are several methods that can accomplish this task, however the two specific ones I want to focus on is bow-drill and hand-drill fires.

This being said, I was happy to spend a day learning and creating my own bow-drill kit from Scott Jones at Media Prehistoria. While the ticks and mosquitos decided to invade, the clouds shaded us for most of the day and overall we learned a lot. Also, despite my daughter cutting her finger and it impacting her ability to create fire, I believe she had a good day as well.

The bow-drill, to me, is easier despite the many moving parts. While I cannot wait to be able to just snatch up a twig for a spindle and hew a log for a hearth in order to make a hand-drill set, the bow-drill proved to be a little easier for this old, out of shape southerner.

Here is a quick note for the beginners that may not quite understand the terminology or process. Friction fire is the act of creating an ember and thusly fire, by rubbing two or more objects together. An example is a match being struck against the striking pad on a matchbook or the metal against flint mixed with gas for a lighter. defines it as: the rubbing of the surface of one body against that of another.

This primitive skill has been used for centuries by aboriginal persons. The mystery behind those skills are what I am leaning towards for preparing myself and my family. The reason is simple. You cannot remove my knowledge. I can choose not to remember or not to enhance the skill but the knowledge is still in my brain, regardless of me owning fancy tools or gadgets.

For those that know me, I do own a nice hand-crafted hand-drill set but have yet to be able to create an ember with it. I look forward to the day when I will accomplish fire making via hand-drill, but until then, I will relish the smell of burning poplar and yucca in order to ignite roughed up pine straw.

If you get the chance to spend the day with Scott, I think you will learn quite a bit even outside of the workshop topic. He is a very good instructor and very knowledgeable on the subject of Primitive Skills. If you are not physically close to his workshop site, I would urge you to start learning a primitive skill or two just in case something does happen. By doing this and if something does happen, you will rest a little easier knowing you can take care of you and your family.

So sit back, watch the video and enjoy.

Until then,

Use your instincts to survive