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Thread: How to start a fire with a bow and drill…….....

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    Member hogfamily's Avatar
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    Default How to start a fire with a bow and drill…….....






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    …..continued…..






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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    This reminds me that I need to practice my primitive fire starting techniques.
    If you haven't practiced these techniques how will you be able to use them when you need them in am emergency?
    Your method is certainly easier though.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    I like gasoline
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    not me I like my weed burner and a jub of propane
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    Primitive fire in Alaska would be a real challenge- when you need it most is when it's cold or when it's wet and it's hard to get an ember using primitive methods in cold or wet conditions. I'll stick to carrying lighters, matches, magnesium bars and ferro rods. And a road flare for when all else fails.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EagleRiverDee View Post
    Primitive fire in Alaska would be a real challenge- when you need it most is when it's cold or when it's wet and it's hard to get an ember using primitive methods in cold or wet conditions. I'll stick to carrying lighters, matches, magnesium bars and ferro rods. And a road flare for when all else fails.
    I do understand and I do usually carry those items you listed.
    I still feel a person should try a primitive method every now and then. What I find is if I always use gasoline,road flare etc. etc.
    Is that I forget the basics of fire starting and in Alaska there is always that chance you will need one of the primitive methods.
    I am not saying a person should leave the matches at home for a while and only use the primitive methods. Just that practicing the bow drill once a year (as an example) is good knowledge to use and remember. There is sometimes a trick or two or a part of the process that can greatly improve your overall odds if not make the whole thing work or not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    This reminds me that I need to practice my primitive fire starting techniques.
    If you haven't practiced these techniques how will you be able to use them when you need them in am emergency?
    How do you start a fire? Rub two Boy Scouts together!

    I've started several bow-drill fires and it's HARD work! I was successful in the desert, using bone-dry yucca wood and bone-dry tinder, and even then it required time and effort. It certainly wouldn't be among my top survival priorities on a cold, wet day! (But at least the effort might warm you up ...)

    I've also watched experienced people starting a bow-drill fire who made it look quick and effortless. But they had the advantages of tremendous strength, preparing their materials well in advance, having everything perfectly dry, and practicing many hundreds of times. One of them admitted it wouldn't be his priority on a cold, wet day either.

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphina View Post
    How do you start a fire? Rub two Boy Scouts together!

    I've started several bow-drill fires and it's HARD work! I was successful in the desert, using bone-dry yucca wood and bone-dry tinder, and even then it required time and effort. It certainly wouldn't be among my top survival priorities on a cold, wet day! (But at least the effort might warm you up ...)

    I've also watched experienced people starting a bow-drill fire who made it look quick and effortless. But they had the advantages of tremendous strength, preparing their materials well in advance, having everything perfectly dry, and practicing many hundreds of times. One of them admitted it wouldn't be his priority on a cold, wet day either.
    A fire piston is a much better choice from a perspective of effort and time. It's as primitive as any other method but dry tinder is still a must have.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Of course if I had the wits about me not to loose my fire piston I would probably still have my magnesium fire starter or waterproof container of matches.
    I have done the bow drill once and it is a lot of hard work. I have also used flint and steel a few times.
    I just figured I should practice the bow drill again just to see if I remember how. There is also the fire plow. Just as much work if not more but it can be done.
    I wear prescription glasses so that is another option.
    I am sure guys like AGL4NOW could fill us in on lots of different yet effective ways we should practice.
    Les Stroud said on his show that he would pick one method and use it on every weekends camping trips for a year. After that he usually had it down pretty good. Might not be a lot of fun but in a true emergency with no other means available I sure would wish I had practiced more.
    Might be fun to teach the kid while we are out ice fishing this year.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    hey folks new to this forum but just yesterday I was discussing fire starting with an airborne ranger buddy of mine. As far as the fire/bow method I would put it last of anything that I know. I told my buddy that I have started fire many times with flint/steel, Magnesium starter and with magnifying glass in good sunlight. I did try the bow method several times and found it all but useless against the other easier methods. I have found a new aid to starting fires and that is the alcohol wipes now found in most first aid kits. Another method, with all the battery powered items now that we all carry, the little 9 volt (or any other battery for that matter) will start a fire if you have steel wool available. I have to say that I prefer the mag/striker method as it always works for me and the starter kit needed is compact and easily carried. It is easy to catch the heavy sparks from the striker. I did have some propane lighters stored in a box of survival supplies and after a pretty long time the lighters would not light at all. I guess the volitiles in the liquid seep out throught the plastic after time. But I will never depend on them at all. nice to have a new one or two just in case and the longer fire lighters are great. Anyway glad to be in here with you and hope to read and contribute much to the forum. I am an old cub/boy scout, x navy and camper, hiker so have much experience in the outdoors, land nav included. later....

    PS i am not familar with the fire piston some of you mentioned. I will say that whey I tried the fire/bow I did not have perfectly dry components so am sure that under real survival conditions this method would be totally useless to me.

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    Most everytime I am in SE Alaska, (where it rains a lot) on a hunting trip, I have times I am waiting for my hunting partner to catch up or go look over a small clearing. While I am waiting, I always set about to start a test fire with what I have in my pack. most of the time it is a mag stick with a striker, I find the driest tinder available and set about starting a small warming fire. This keeps my skills fresh and lets me try different ways to start a fire in all kinds of weather. I have tried the Bow starter at home and it was a lot of work. I will stick to the mag stick with striker. I have one in all my coat pockets and extras in my pack. They do not weigh much.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Well, one good thing about the stick and bow method (at least for me)... It's all about attitude. I have discovered that if I work that bow good and hard for about fifteen minutes, my core temperature rises significantly. A few minutes more and I start sweating. And then just a few more minutes of feverishly whipping that thing back and forth without any discernible results, and I blow my top, pick up the whole apparatus and hurl it far into the woods and, PRESTO! I am no longer cold! That will keep me warm for a good fifteen or twenty minutes; sometimes even longer if I'm really ticked off. So I make it a point to get really mad before I pull the ejector handle.

    Works for me.

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    FIRE PISTON; guys I looked it up and will either make one or order one.
    works just like a diesel engine. May have seen it before but didn't remember. I will still prefer the mag stick, flint/steel for quick and reliable fire starting. easy to carry and always have it available. But, I will check out the fire piston.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Here's the fallacy of nearly all the "primative" methods mentioned thus far... if your "primitive" method requires you to buy something in advance, it's not "primitive". How often do you see magnesium bars growing in the forest? How about those nice little flint sticks with steel blades? If you have to buy such items, you'll be so much ahead of the game if you just buy waterproof matches and lighters instead.

    The definition of "primitive" fire starting is when you get dropped off in the middle of the wilderness (ala Survivor style) with nothing but the clothes on your back and empty pockets. You get to start fire with your hands, brain, and the natural stuff lying around you. If you needed to bring something, it ain't "primitive", is it?

    There's nothing primitive about magnesium, flint, pistons, etc. All of them are bulkier, more expensive, and harder to use than plain old waterproof matches. So you might as well just buy those. Buy lots of them. Keep them everywhere. Replace them frequently. Heck, even vacuum pack individual boxes of them to stuff into all the nooks and crannies around your house, vehicle, and outdoor gear. It increases your chances of having access to a real fire starter if you ever need it.

    That said, fabricating a fire bow can be done using nothing but your hands and what's lying on the forest floor. So, it certainly is a primitive method... as long as you're not building it in your home wood shop ahead of time. And don't forget that you have to braid the string from natural materials, too.
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerberman View Post
    Most everytime I am in SE Alaska, (where it rains a lot) on a hunting trip, I have times I am waiting for my hunting partner to catch up or go look over a small clearing. While I am waiting, I always set about to start a test fire with what I have in my pack. most of the time it is a mag stick with a striker, I find the driest tinder available and set about starting a small warming fire. This keeps my skills fresh and lets me try different ways to start a fire in all kinds of weather. I have tried the Bow starter at home and it was a lot of work. I will stick to the mag stick with striker. I have one in all my coat pockets and extras in my pack. They do not weigh much.
    I think the real reason your hunting partners lag behind or wander off to "go look in a small clearing" is because every time they come back, you've got a nice campfire going! S'mores, anyone?

    I'm with JOAT on this one... wouldn't it be easier to just carry matches or a good lighter?

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    While it may be easier to start a fire with matches there is always ther possibility that may not be an option.
    I certainly agree one should carry waterproof matches. I prefer the little orange match cases. They keep your matches completly dry even when submerged in water.
    But if by chance your matches or lighter fail you what will you do? If your waterproof matches become lost or your lighter fails you or somehow becomes empty what then?
    I am not recommending the bow drill method but it is a good discussion on it and other more effective methods.
    I usually have boot laces on me that can be used for the bow drill. I have yet to loose a set of boot laces in the wild. Even some type of rope someone else left behind would work.
    Bow drill fire method:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0bEoVhxFJ8
    I also wear Prescription glasses witch could start a fire and have never lost them either.
    Flint and steel could be any steel item weather it is your pocket knife or something scrounged up and a rock from a stream or trail that produces a spark.
    How about this method? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOdf0-fZarw
    Even if you forgot your matches how many Alaskans have a beer can and a roach clip?
    I dont drink or smoke so that one is out for me.
    I know survivorman did it with an aluminum soda can and some chocolate.
    Yes waterproof matches are the best method. But if you have no concept of alternative methods what will you do when your matches get lost or destroyed or whatever? As difficult as some methods might be it would be good to have a general concept of how to do them just in case.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    ;-) while you are packing those matches all around be sure to pack some rolls of toilet paper too......for fire starting of course

    and some of you remember the episode of andy griffin when andy put the match heads in the hole where barney was twirling the stick on the stump trying to start a fire and all of a sudden it burst into flames not a bad idea but maybe some black powder would work

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