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Thread: Fire-Bow (PIC HEAVY)

  1. #41
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    oh and also, is cotton ball a good starter tinder?

    and also, is it easier to put tinder under the board, or transfer the coal?


  2. #42
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Cotton can be used, but if you are going to all of the trouble to use a primitive method for starting a fire...............just sayin'.

    Transfer the coal.
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  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by crimescene450 View Post
    So im in ohio now, where i have much more means to try alot of primitive things

    so the first thing i decided to try is a firebow

    im having problems though (obviously)

    first off, ill shows you my stuff, just to make sure if there any problems with it

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    heres my base? is that what its called?
    im not sure what kind of wood it is
    Your fire board or some folks say hearth is the base. So, I wouldn't say you were wrong. If the wood you are using doesn't put off a lot of saw dust it is too hard.

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    heres my spindle, made of sugar maple
    does maple work? and is this straight enough? should i completely debark it? or does it not matter?
    I don't know many woods. But, there is a post where good woods were posted on this site. It definitely matters what woods you use.

    http://survivalinstructor.blogspot.c...ill-woods.html

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    heres my point (i have no clue why this pic is so big)
    is this good at all?
    I use a blunt end on the base of the drill and a pointed end on the hand piece.

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    im not sure if this is a good handhold. its a shell we had lying around
    what are some other good handholds?


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    heres my bow
    is this curvey enough?
    I'd tighten the string and make sure your are able to maintain zero slippage.





    now my problems:

    my main problem is that the spindle keeps poppping out
    i hear this is because of bad form. but it is possible that the handhold is allso bad? there really isnt a divot in the shell.

    a second problem is my string keeps stretching. im not sure what to do about that though

    on a couple of tries i had smoke, so i stopped but there was no ember

    my residue is light to dark brown and really fine[/QUOTE]

    Your spindle is popping out because the notch is to small and close to the edge. At least that has been my experience. Dark brown saw dust and smoke after you stop sawing means you got a coal. Lightly "lightly" blow on the smoke spot and the dust will grow an ember.

    At least that has been my experience.

    I would like to say lightly again and some times just leave it be if there is a breeze.

    I'm still trying to mark it off as a skill and can't. I have made fire with it. But, I can't yet do it every time!

  4. #44

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    I still have no idea what wood im gonna use. There is nothing around here that immediatley jumps out as the perfect wood. Most of the stuff around is hard as hell.

  5. #45
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justin_baker View Post
    I still have no idea what wood im gonna use. There is nothing around here that immediatley jumps out as the perfect wood. Most of the stuff around is hard as hell.

    yeah i know, thats why i waited to go to my dads house in ohio

    so much more resourses


    the good news it, its super dry in CA. and when i start flint fires, i find the seeds of the grass (the kind that grows on the hills, idk what its called) works very well and catches the spark

    so if i were to try a friction fire there (which i will if i get it down here first) id use dried grass seeds asa tinder

    if maple works for me, then maybe bigleaf maple will work for you


    Quote Originally Posted by Batch View Post


    I'd tighten the string and make sure your are able to maintain zero slippage.

    actually i almost think that might be the problem

    when the spindle is in it, it is super tight and always wants to escape, which might be why it
    pops out

    Quote Originally Posted by crashdive123 View Post
    Cotton can be used, but if you are going to all of the trouble to use a primitive method for starting a fire...............just sayin'.

    Transfer the coal.
    yeah good point
    there doesnt seem to be much tinder around here
    cuz its been storming for the past 10 days
    would fine bark shavings work?

    and how does one transfer a coal?
    a leaf or soemthing?
    Last edited by crimescene450; 06-29-2010 at 10:35 PM.

  6. #46
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    I'm going to try to address the issues here.

    Crimescene450:
    Your notch is too wide. remember the rule of thirds: notch width is 1/3 the diameter of the spindle; notch depth is about 1/3 INTO the divot. The "base" is called several things, hearth, hearthboard, fireboard... It's a technicality so call it what you want to. We'll know what you're talking about
    Crown molding is most often birch or fir. Make sure it isn't very resinous. If you see any sap drippings on it, it's no good.
    I haven't tried sugar maple. your spindle doesn't have to be perfectly straight, but it doesn't need a big hook in it either. A little wobble is acceptable, a lot of wobble will make the spindle pop out of the divot. The bark makes no difference and you can leave it on. The pointy tip will eventually flatten with use. I don't put a very long tip on mine at all.. just enough to seat into the hearthboard. You want as much surface contact between the hearth and spindle as possible. Not just the 1/4" on the very tip, but the whole 1" thick spindle end (or however thick it is).
    As long as your socket (handhold) is smooth enough and allows the spindle to spin freely, it'll work fine. I've used lighter knots before, but I really prefer my nice limestone rock for it's weight and the way it fits my hand.
    I don't think your bow has enough curve, but I've seen (on the net) folks using bows that were almost straight. I guess you use what you can find, but I'd look for one that is a bit more curved. As long as you can get a good long spin in one direction, that's all that really matters. Look at my bow in the OP.
    the spindle popping out of the socket is pretty common and I still do it from time to time. I have to agree that it is bad form MOST OF THE TIME, but the socket also needs a good seat for the spindle to ride in and it needs to be greased with something so there is no friction on that end of the spindle. For now, focus on form and getting a new socket.

    DON'T STOP JUST BECAUSE YOU SEE SMOKE! Often you are just barely reaching the ignition temperature when you start to see smoke and you have to get it just above that temperature to actually kick an ember out. When I see smoke, I usually keep spinning for another minute or so. The smoke will change from grey to yellow-ish. The yellow tint is the indication that something is burning and you have an ember. It still takes me about 3 minutes as a norm to get an ember. typically it takes 5 minutes to hold fire in my hands. When experimenting with different woods, It takes as long as it takes to work out the quirks.

    string stretch is going to be a problem. you need better cordage. Also, if your string is too tight, it will make the spindle want to pop out. I leave slack in my bowstring and take up the slack with my fingers when I take up the bow. Reading your latest post, I would think the pop-out is on account of the string being too tight and the socket not "fitting" your hand and the spindle properly. Please refer to (and reread) the OP. I think you missed a few minor details (or maybe I didn't cover them). Sounds like your dust (really fine) is a good wood, so try changing the other things mentioned above first, and if all else fails, get yourself some yucca stalks.
    I use a leaf under my hearth and transfer my coal and dustpile into my tindle which usually contains some ingredient similar to a cotton ball. I prefer thistle or dandelion (or similar fluffy stuff) fluff as it catches most of the dust and helps the ember propagate into the tindle.

    Maybe I answered all the questions lol. Hope that helps!
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  7. #47
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    ycc- thanks, im going to make a new bow, out of green wood, so it bends today. and im gonna try and get a new handheld.

    ill try this later today, and let all you guys know how it goes.

  8. #48
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    so i made a new bow today, and its alot better (more curvy)

    i also made a new handhold out of a piece of pine, lubed with somekind of cedar-looking plant

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    i also managed to carve out a rock (sandstone) handhold, but it doesnt seem to work as well.

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    now my end is starting to get pretty blunt tipped. should i sharpen it to a point again?

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    my handhold end is also getting pretty blunt now, should the handhold end be pointier?

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    my main problem now, is the bow keeps locking up. the string is crossing over the other string and locking it up.. is there a way to noit have this happen?


    also, i did have one good attempt this morning, i had a ton of white smoke, so i kept going, but then the spindle popped and everything went flying..

    every attempt after that had the string lock up. and i got tired and frustrated
    Last edited by crashdive123; 08-04-2014 at 06:08 AM.

  9. #49
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    I like to hold my bow at a slight angle.. the aft end (away from my bow-hand) usually rubs the ground, while the fore-end (the end you hold) is about 3-4 inches above the ground. Pay attention to which way you wrap your spindle so that the bow angle matches the spindle wrap. I have done a backwards wrap in this example, but it works great for me to eliminate slippage (but I have mastered the mechanics). Keep your wrap low on the spindle. That seems to help me with pop-outs. I think your problem here is more mechanical than technical and I'm sure you'll have fire as soon as you work out all the mechanics.
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    I only sharpen my spindle on the hot end when making a new divot and it grinds down pretty quickly to make a matched seat. Also of note, is that your second divot has a much better notch IMO.
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    Notice how "blunt" my hot end is (the end toward me) and the direction of the wrap. I'm right-handed and I like my spindle on the outside of the string (closer to me)... You may want to wrap yours backwards from mine so that the string doesn't cross over itself...
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    and how I take up the slack with my fingers when I take up the bow.

    If you got lots of white smoke, you are well on your way. Looks like you are getting VERY close to making fire, now it's just a matter of getting the mechanics down. I'm confident you will make fire soon. If you dont' get a picture of anything else, I want to see the smile on your face when you finally do make fire!

    Hope that helps! Keep me updated on your progress. All these problems being addressed will help someone reading this thread in the future.
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  10. #50
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    I am still not getting this! GRR.

    although my technique is improving. i learned to do the hold the string tight thing, and im alot better at keeping it level.

    Im starting to think its my fireboard now, the board, (if you noticed) is some kinda fancy base board for walls. and i think it might have something in it.

    i get smoke every time mow, but it never turns yellow, and i usually just get tired.

    heres my dust with my fancy board

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    i made a new fireboard. I think its cottonwood now, but im not sure, its been in our log pile for a few years, so its pretty dry.


    heres my dust from that

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    so far ive gone through 4 strings, 2 bows, 2 boards, 4 handholds, and still using my 1st spindle.

    is my dust good? and also, if i get a coal. will i actually be able to see a glow?
    Last edited by crashdive123; 08-04-2014 at 06:08 AM.

  11. #51

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    I'm absolutely clueless on this, but that last pics looks like your dust is brown and maybe not getting quite hot enough.

    My arms are still healing from my attemt at this last winter. Good luck
    !

  12. #52
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rwc1969 View Post
    I'm absolutely clueless on this, but that last pics looks like your dust is brown and maybe not getting quite hot enough.

    My arms are still healing from my attemt at this last winter. Good luck
    !

    yeah. im getting quite a workout from this
    haha

    one time i was going on for like 10 mins, trying different pressures, speeds, angles, etc...


    my dad decided to be funny and made a spindle drill bit and came out with a drill
    haha

    unfortunately he didnt know not to use pine, so it didnt work. lol

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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    I think the dust looks good enough.
    At first you won't see a glow, just a wisp of yellow smoke. A few posts back I pointed out that your hearth being crown molding meant that it was probably fir (post 46). The new ?cottonwood? one looks better for grain.
    Remember it takes a pretty good pile of dust for the ember to nestle in. Usually the dustpile has to get high enough to fill the notch in the hearth THEN the friction actually has something to react with. In this case, more is better.
    I wish I could be there to watch as you spin and maybe we could figure out why it's not working. Make sure you have enough dust to actually catch. The ember will be buried in there and will take a few gentle breaths to grow into an ember you can see. Do you have yucca growing there? It is probably my favorite spindle material and it grows literally everywhere around here.
    If you have the mechanics down, you're getting closer. Keep trying. I'm confident you'll get it!
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  14. #54
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by your_comforting_company View Post
    I wish I could be there to watch as you spin and maybe we could figure out why it's not working....... Do you have yucca growing there?

    nope, no yucca.


    i read that birch makes a good spindle, so im gonna try that today


    ill film my attempt, so you can see my form

  15. #55
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    I got alot of smoke this time. Im not sure if youll be able to see it, but its there.

    and my pile smoked for like 5 seconds afterwards.. but went out


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWgDGEcov3E

    btw, my birch spindle literly crumbled under pressure, so i stuck with the maple
    Last edited by crimescene450; 07-05-2010 at 12:52 AM.
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    It looked to me like you had an ember at about 1:30 into that video. Your form was pretty good. After you've had the smoke plume for a few seconds, try increasing your pressure ever so slightly, and work the bow a little faster. Every time it stops spinning, your dustpile cools off just slightly. you had a nice dustpile and the texture looked fine enough. I've used some woods that are pretty coarse (the dust) and it still worked.
    Try using a last burst of speed and pressure. You really should have had an ember with that attempt. The notch in your hearth didn't look wide enough to me, and I never dump my dustpile on the ground. That dustpile is like gold to the primitive firemaker. Most of the work goes into getting the dustpile high enough to reach the bottom of the spindle (which heats up enough to catch the dust nearest it). If you hadn't dumped your dustpile, your next attempt would have been "primed" and you would have saved about half the spinning time.
    Have all your materials prepared also. When you think you have an ember, it should have your undivided attention. You are dealing with an ember that starts off the size of a few molecules and grows. It is like nursing a child, and you really have to nurture it for a few seconds 'till it grows big enough to sustain itself. Don't look away until the ember is going.
    I'm still not completely sure why it isn't working.
    Hopefully these few tweaks will get you going. It looks to me like you are VERY close and I really thought you had an ember in the video.
    Nice video by the way!
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  17. #57
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by your_comforting_company View Post
    I never dump my dustpile on the ground. That dustpile is like gold to the primitive firemaker. Most of the work goes into getting the dustpile high enough to reach the bottom of the spindle (which heats up enough to catch the dust nearest it). If you hadn't dumped your dustpile, your next attempt would have been "primed" and you would have saved about half the spinning time.


    So if i save the powder, (even if its cold) i can just put it in my notch and start spinning?
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  18. #58

    Default Ember keeps dying

    Question: I have learned to get the ember going on a regular basis. The problem is that the ember keeps going out on me before I can transfer it to the tinder nest. I am using a cottonwood spindle and a cottonwood or cedar fireboard. I get lots of dirty yellow smoke followed by a wisp of smoke in the notch, but the ember keeps going out on me. What am I doing wrong?

  19. #59
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    ^ i think its because your coal isnt packed enough and has nothing to keep it burning

    but dont quote me on that because im just as much of a noob at this as you probably are.
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  20. #60

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    My daughter had not seen me do this yet. I warn you I have perma-socks from wearing boots with shorts. LOL

    Anyhow, I made the fire board real quick from willow. Used my existing bow and drill. Real bad form with my wrist that far from my knee and I angle the drill a lot. I have a reason for that, but, if you don't then avoid doing that.

    Also I get all that slippage on the string. My drill doesn't need to be round and my string is a little too slack. Though, I think the dril being to round is the bigger problem for me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8qivbjWmQs

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