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Blutack

Dust by friction....

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So the Mrs. is out tonight, and I'm bored. You can probably guess what happens next!

A few bits of wood out of the shed, an old piece of rope from the sailing bag, and I'm all ready to make some flames!! Except unsurprisingly I'm not.

All I've succeeded in doing is making a decent amount of smoke, and some hot-ish dust, but nothing that could as yet be called an ember. I suspect my drill is too green / damp. Unfortunately I can't find anything better to use at the moment, despite living on the edge of a wood .

Perhaps if I shove all of the stuff under the sofa, when I find it again in a year, it might work!?

Any tips people?
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  1. Crow's Avatar
    This is kind of like a blogg about a trip that didn't happen.

    I'm going to have a go...
  2. GrahamC's Avatar
    I recall the first time I tried fire by friction, I didn't even get smoke. Then I decided that it was important to be able to use the ember properly if I ever got one. A few minutes on the pillar drill in teh workshop and I had a first class ember
  3. Lloyd's Avatar
    Buy a Zippo.
  4. Dr. Joe's Avatar
    A few tips to check:
    Is the wood soft enough to dent easily with your thumbnail?

    Both the spindle and fire board need to be soft.

    Keep the shaft vertical by bracing it against the knee while holding the fire board with your other foot. Posture is very important. You push down hard while your spindle moves very fast.

    I don't use the bow with the cord attached to my hand end, instead I tie a loop to put my finger through. This allows you to increase the pressure on the spindle and it not slip. Since you can tighten the cord with your finger. (until your finger falls off.)

    Make the upper bearing very smooth I prefer a stone bearing and lubricate it.

    The spindle should be at least 3/4-1" in diameter and 8" long for good spinning speed.


    Tom Brown wrote a book on this and said he was taught to do it with green oak. Once he had perfected his skills to build a fire with such a difficult wood any other wood seemed easy.

    Woods used here were Yucca, Willow and Cedar.

    If you get lubricant on the wrong end of the spindle grind it off by putting some sand on the fire board.

    Once you have a set of tools that work keep them in your fire kit.

    Use Char cloth to capture your ember.

    Have the tinder bundle ready on the char cloth.

    Keep your kit dry and build the fire on a dry surface.

    Eat your oats before you start.

    The fire board needs a 1/8 pie shape cut out with a high side to shave off the ember on the spindle.

    Don't give up, it does not win until you quit!

    Knowing how to do this is very liberating.
  5. Blutack's Avatar
    Thanks Dr. Joe - so I just need to find the other 499 ways of doing it wrong, and I'm laughing, right?


    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Joe
    A few tips to check:
    Is the wood soft enough to dent easily with your thumbnail?
    Oh, er, no they're not. I did have some softer woods to choose from (e.g. I have some 2x1 white pine I could use for the board), but I rejected them as I thought they might be too resinous.

    I've just had my porridge and had another go at it, and I actually got on worse than last night. I think the wood has polished up now, and hence isn't making enough friction. I'll have another go later with some different wood.

    Maybe cracking this should be my goal for 2010!? It seems to be a bit of a bushcraft rite of passage, a bit like learning that awkward J-stroke thing in canoeing .
  6. Sundown's Avatar
    "Awkward J-Stroke Thing"????????

    There's Yer Trouble... Never Seen Nobody Start a Fire Witha J-Stroke.

    Sundown
  7. Dr. Joe's Avatar
    There's Yer Trouble... Never Seen Nobody Start a Fire Witha J-Stroke.


    It did make me think, could you use the wood from your paddle to build a fire?
  8. johnm's Avatar
    I'm with Lloyd - Zippo
    Aletrnatively (if you're traditional), a box of Swan Vestas
  9. TGB's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by johnm
    I'm with Lloyd - Zippo
    Aletrnatively (if you're traditional), a box of Swan Vestas
    Too short! Much too easy to burn ones fingers.

    TGB
  10. TonyBR's Avatar
    BIC lighter + home-made fire starter, just like all the brazilian indians in the last 50 years!!! Planning to test that compressing thing that was on a thread recently though. Looked quite fun...... and faster than this board/stick/bow/string.....
  11. Alexlebrit's Avatar
    I tried, and tried, and tried, and then gave up and bought a