Firemaking with sticks is an invaluable survival skill that all survivalists should master. Matches may get wet and lighters may run out of fuel quickly; while sticks are plentiful throughout wilderness environments.
Before beginning, find an appropriate spindle stick made of soft wood such as poplar or willow.
1. Bow Drill
Bow drilling can help you create fire with sticks in an emergency situation, though it requires much practice to master. A bow drill requires using sticks to turn a spindle against a board, creating friction, which leads to an ember that can then be used for starting fires. Although difficult, bow drilling may be useful when used appropriately during survival situations.
As first step, locate a long piece of stiff wood suitable for bowmaking; either poplar or maple trees work best. Make a bow that measures 8 inches long by 2 inches wide. Carve one end into a doll point shape while carving another into a groove wider than what you found on your board.
Next, cut a hole in the fire board large enough for your spindle’s rounded end to fit through, and locate or make a socket, commonly known as a hand hold, that will allow you to exert downward pressure on the bow. It should be made from material similar to your fire board and have an ergonomic shape so that right-handed people can grasp it more easily with one hand (if they prefer using their left). Finally, place either your right or left foot onto the fireboard so as to get into kneeling position and position for bowing practice!
Position your bow drill so that the bow is in front of you and its socket on top. Place your right hand over its socket, insert the bow-shaped stick, press down on it while moving it back and forth, repeat this process until an ember forms and press again on it to generate more embers.
Once you have an ember, drop it onto a tinder nest and blow on it to start it afire. As more thin sticks are added, more effective flames can be generated. Parents report being impressed with how their children persevered through multiple attempts without giving up and managed the frustration without giving up! Parents tell me this method has taught their children perseverance and inner strength that will only grow stronger with age.
2. Fire Plow
Finding ways to start fires without using matches or lighters is an essential wilderness survival skill, since matches may get wet or lost while lighters can run out of fuel. Understanding how to create friction fires using sticks could be your savior in times when you need light for cooking or warmth.
There are various techniques for creating friction fires with sticks, but the basic steps involve gathering tinder and placing it on a flat board to build on. Tinder can include pocket lint, feather down, dried mosses or cedar bark fibers which catch and ignite easily; once ignited they should be stored together into a nest or bundle for use later when starting your fire. Once started you may add larger pieces of wood as fuel until your fire sustains itself over time.
For use with a fire plow, select a stick which extends as far as your arm and is approximately as thick as your thumb. Carve a hole on one end, with its diameter equal to your thumbnail’s. Create an even and round contact point on this end–this will serve as the spindle; ensure it remains dry to create sparks!
Place the spindle firmly atop of your fireboard so that its point touches your tinder nest. Use one hand to hold both bow and spindle between palm bases while using another to move spindle back and forth while pulling bow archingly to create friction between board and tinder, until friction forms between board and tinder and ultimately coal forms; move coal to center of kindling nest once formed.
Although not as efficient, hand drilling can still be an effective method for creating fire with sticks in a hurry. While this requires patience and some practice to use effectively, this skill could prove invaluable if time constraints don’t allow for building complex structures like with bow drilling or friction-based processes.
3. Hand Drill
Practice will help you perfect the primitive friction fire technique, and use a hand drill to create an impressive flame. By rubbing two sticks together to generate friction and produce an ember, this method enables you to light your tinder bundle and build an authentic campfire in an emergency situation.
To construct your hand drill, it will require gathering several materials:
Find some tinder. This can be any dry, fibrous material that ignites easily – pocket lint, dried moss and shredded plant bark are ideal options, while fur or cotton wool might work too if available. Create a bundle using these materials by adding a small amount of petroleum jelly or ketchup as glue to hold its shape.
Collect a bow and fireboard. Your bow should be made from a sturdy green stick, roughly arm length long. Cut a depression in the center of the board; on its underside notch a V-shaped cut that meets this depression. String your bow using either paracord or hiking boot laces to strung it.
Prepare the fireboard by scraping away any dirt or debris. A well-prepared fireboard should be light in color, soft enough for you to ding with your thumbnail without gouging, with bone dry spindle and hearth wood, along with an ideal plant stalk with an inedible pithy center, being suitable for this task. Feel free to experiment with different materials until you discover what works for you best!
Use a bow and hand drill to try building your fire. Move the bow back and forth while applying moderate pressure aimed at your tinder pile; the friction between bow and spindle should cause it to flare up, sending out embers into your hearth and sparking off an inferno!
Once your fire is burning, add larger and larger sticks until it forms a teepee shape. Blow on the coals regularly to keep them burning! This method is not easy to master and requires patience and calm; otherwise you could wind up getting blistered hands from friction between bow and wood.
4. Fire Board
This method of fire starting may take more time to learn than other methods, but can provide extra options when lighters or flint and steel aren’t an option. With this approach you’ll require a bow drill stick, spindle, fire board and hand block. A bow drill stick is any long enough stick that you can attach a piece of string such as paracord or shoelace through, although dry paper rolls tightly can also serve as bow drill strings when tied with a knotted bow knot – the latter being more durable!
A spindle is a long, thin and sturdy stick you can place at the base of your fire board to focus the friction created when spinning your bow drill stick against it to produce embers. A fire board should consist of soft wood that measures one foot long by six inches wide with an appropriate shallow notch in which your spindle fits; additionally, you will also want a hand block placed over its surface for extra pressure when spinning it against it.
Before beginning to spin your fire drill stick, you’ll require both a tinder nest and coals. First create your tinder materials – such as dried grass or small branches no larger than your thumbnail that will quickly form embers – into a nest for easy ember formation. Next create your kindling materials such as small branches or pieces of wood roughly the size of a thumb to create longer burning kindling piles that still need sparks of fire to catch.
Once you’re ready to get going, create your tinder nest on your fire board and place the kindling on top. Use your flint and steel to strike some sparks in the center of the kindling; transfer these sparks directly to your tinder nest for instantaneous firestarting!