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Primitive Fire Making?



Is anyone else here into primitive fire making?

It's something that I got into years and years ago and have been adamant about ever since. I thought maybe by chance someone else here might be a fan also. If not I'm currently putting together some tutorials as well as some video's to show people how it's done. Something that I really want to do is go out into the woods, bring my fire set, a kettle, and a small shave kit w/ mirror. And bust a fire, boil water and shave. Documenting the process for B&B's SOTD thread of course :001_smile

Anyways, for those who are into hand drilling and bow drilling, here's the current set that I have in the closet (More in storage)

Bows (Oriented Vertically. From R-L)
-My new bow that I just recently harvested. Juniper. Going to drill it out to cut some weight then string it up.
-An old, old bow, the cordage is fraying and just needs to be replaced badly. Cracking a little bit as I didn't treat the wood properly when I made it.

Spindles (Oriented Diagonally. R-L again)

-My favourite bowdrill spindle, made from yucca. Very soft so I try to use it only when I need a fire quickly, as regular use will eat it away far too fast.
-The next 4 spindles are little spindles made from sagebrush, good for a small, lightweight set.
-My all time favourite hand-drill spindle. It should really be narrower, but it is just a phenomenal spindle for hand drilling, you have to really go at it though, so it tends to really rip the calluses off your hands.

Fireboards (Oriented Horizontally. Top-Bottom)

-Sagebrush fireboard. My old go-to. A little heavy and cumbersome for lugging around, but is reliable and easy to waterfall with.
-Yucca fireboard. Perfect for hand drilling, this fireboard gets eaten away quickly, so I tend to only use it when I really need fire right away. If I had more of them I would use it every time.
-Cottonwood fireboard. My go-to fireboard whenever I want to fool around or show someone how to bust. Moderately easy to work with, doesn't get eaten away too fast. Good embers.
-My first fireboard ever. Got a lot of embers out of it, but wouldn't touch it now.

And my toprock is there next to the fireboards.
That's pretty cool alright...never really considered 'starting fires' as a hobby but you've piqued my interest! Did you make all that gear yourself?


Yeah I made it all. Utah happens to have a fairly good selection of woods that work well for fire making. The entire west coast does for the most part. The east coast tends to be more lacking. I'll definately post my how-to's and video's here when I finish them.

I used to make my own cutlery, especially when I first moved out of my parents house (Figured it was more cost effective, and environmentally sound). But making enough to entertain would've given a cardiac incident.

I've recently been toying with the idea of making my own shave equipment - particularly a lather mug, and a brush handle. Juniper pinyon tends to look pretty beautiful when you soak it in olive oil for a while, takes on a very rich colour and smooth texture. Let me see if I can dig up any of my old cutlery to take a picture of.

Edit: Here you go. First spoon I ever made.
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Nice! I've never tried the bow and spindle technique, though did get to a point many moons ago where I was halfway decent with flint and steel. The bit about eastern vs. western woods is interesting -- I'd never thought of that, but suppose it makes some sense. Thanks for sharing!
When I was a teenager I had a "fire box". It was a crude wooden box about 6 inches across in both dimensions and about 3 inches high. But what mattered were the contents:

  • charred cotton as tinder
  • broken-off piece of an old steel file
  • piece of flint found locally

Strike the steel and flint together and catch the sparks on the charred cotton. Worked pretty well. By closing the box the embryonic fire could be carried around for a long time.

But that's as far as I took it.

I do have one of these:

Not quite as "primitive" as your stuff!
Very interesting post BF!
I am surprised that your bows are so stout, I have fooled around with fire making over the years (with the crappy eastern wood:tongue_sm) and I always made my bows very limber and whippy and longer.
I eagerly look forward to your screen debut.
very cool.the spoon is pretty neat.the fire bow's and stuff i played with many years ago with little sucess.
I do have one of these:

Ditto. I use it to light my alcohol stove too. I use to use a Sparklite but the Firesteel is just a touch heavier and much more versatile and trustworthy.

Making fire is an interesting and important skill to know. Survivorman will tell you that. :biggrin:


Stjynnkii membörd dummpsjterd
Primitive Fire Making?

Pffft. All I have to do is send my wife into the kitchen.
Not as adamant as you are, however, I haven't used lighter fluid in over ten years, whether lighting charcoal or a camp fire.

I use a product called Fatwood for what is truly a one match fire.

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