Hand Drill Fire
Now that you have all mastered the use of the bow and drill
give your attention to the hand drill method of fire starting. While requiring
more effort and practice to develop the pressure and speed necessary to provide
yourself with a fire this way, it requires less material (fewer parts) and is
much easier to carry around in one's pockets. It also eliminates the need for
cordage, the making of which could take up precious time if you happened to be
caught without some.
The two parts needed are a drill and a fireboard, preferably
of the same materials, although combinations will work. I have a good mix using
cedar for a fireboard, and a mullien stalk drill. And, of course, a good, dry,
fuzzy tinder bundle is required.
Other plant brothers which will provide a good drill are
yucca, giant ragweed and burdock. The shoots of willow, cottonwood, basswood and
soft maple work also.
Select a dry, well seasoned, straight piece about 2-1/2 to 3
feet long, remove any bark, scrape the knots down, and finish till smooth.
If cut green, peel the bark off and allow to season for a good
length of time to be sure it is absolutely dry.
The fireboard is prepared in the same way as with the bow and
drill, being of dry wood and carved flat. Be sure to have a good, clean notch
cut all the way through the board and just up to the center of the firehole.
The hand drill is operated by placing a knee on the fireboard
and spinning the drill between the hands, exerting as much pressure as possible
while spinning. Work the hands as far down the drill as it will allow, then
quickly move them to the top and start down again, spinning as rapidly as
possible. Repeat the process at least 2 or 3 more times after it really starts
to smoke. Carefully knock the hot dust of the coal out of the notch with the
knife point or a wood shaving, into the tinder bundle and blow it into flame.
Because the handdrill, method cannot develop the great speed
and pressure of the bow and drill, a lot more attention and care is needed to be
sure the drill and fireboard are well made, and both parts sometimes need
constant recarving, depending on the materials used. A good fit is needed
between drill and board to provide the most friction between the end of the
drill and the hole in the board. It also takes a good bit of practice to tone up
the arm muscles and develop a good rhythm, so don't give up, even if you don't
get much smoke the first few times. Keep trying, you'll get it going!