Friction fire making is a wonderful pursuit that teaches the student much more than how to make a fire. The tree and plant species are followed through the seasons to learn their intricate details. I practiced the bow drill and hand drill methods for years before seeing actual sets in museum collections. After personal examination of many archaeological sets from several ancient cultures, we have come up with a balance of design measurements that will work well for any student. The sets here are designed to be teaching collections, so that the student can not only succeed, but be able to make his/her own sets properly in the future.
Using the bow drill to create wood friction
The friction of the wood creates an ember that is used to ingnite the tinder
FIRE MAKING SETS
The complete bow drill fire kit ready to go
The bow drill friction fire set comes ready to go for a fire, and includes a 7 page instruction manual to cover any questions about working the set. The total set includes a bow, 3 spindles, two hearth boards, two tinder bundles, and a handhold made of super hard oiled Osage Orange wood. Also, each kit has a variation of several different wood species to try. Any student of the skill can email us at any time to answer any questions about working the set, or for additional materials availability.
The hand drill fire method is the most universal in the world, and perhaps the oldest. It is by far the most simple as well, but the materials have to be carefully chosen for the correct species and state of degradation. This set features two drills of the best species, such as Mullein, Yucca, Elderberry, cattail,and Wingstem. Also included is a 3 page troubleshooting guide, and hearthboard of cedar or poplar, and two tinder bundles to bring the ember into a flame.
The pump drill method is perhaps the easiest method for students of any age to achieve a primitive fire. It is more difficult to construct, but is easy to use continually once built. This set is similar to those of the Iriquois and Cherokee described at the time of European contact. It features a flywheel weight of drilled sandstone. The string and crossbar handle is wound around the main spindle, and torqued downward. The flywheel weight spins, and continues to spin after the downward stroke, winding the drill automatically for the next pump. The quick spining motion creates a coal in the fireboard time after time, and only the small interchangeable bit needs to be replaced. The set comes with a 3 page instruction manual complete with diagrams on building a set with the correct measurements. It is ready to go for a fire right out of the box, and comes with all the necessary extra supplies for future fires: 2 fireboards, 2 tinder bundles, and 3 extra fire bits. (see ITEMS FOR SALE)
When cut into thin slivers, polypore fungus can become a valuable punk for firestarting. It can start even when damp, and smolder for long periods of time. It also produces a wonderful smelling aroma, and was used by the Native Americans for smudging shelters. Price is $8 for a set of samples of several species. (see ITEMS FOR SALE)
Beech Tinder Fungus bringing a small spark into a strong glowing ember
Tinder fungus such as Polypores, Fomes Fomentarius, and Ganoderma applanatum are a wonderful help to the friction fire maker. Even when damp, this fungus can catch an ember and keep it smoldering for hours. Once an ember is achieved through friction, popypore fungus can enlarge the coal and increase the heat so that the chances are greater of igniting the tinder bundle. When soaked in fat, it can make a burning candle, and the smoke it generates is a great smelling inscence. Order size is 1.5 ounces, an amount that could work for over 20 fires. This is not the thin sliver sold in our flint and steel kits, but a larger unprocessed amount as found in nature. It can be carved with a knife to make a small pile of slivers that easily catch into an ember under the bow drill/hand drill notch.