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Thread: Fire-Bow (PIC HEAVY)

  1. #81
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    I'll try anything. I'll see if I can find some around and give it a shot. Winged sumac is abundant here so I intend to try that too, just haven't gotten around to it yet. So many hobbies, so little time...

    I did try Crash's method of using tinder fungus as my hearth over the weekend with a hand drill and it worked pretty well. Bored through the fungus pretty quick, but it worked!
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Helen Keller

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  2. #82

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    Cool YCC,

    I tried a white birch spindle on a white ceder fire board over the weekend.
    Get what appears to be a coal,but goes out rather quickly.
    Got 2 coals on the ceder on ceder spindle and fire board.
    The first time I failed to blow it into fire.
    Next I want to try poplar.From what I understand poplar,cotton wood and aspen are all the same tree?Is this true?Just named different in other areas of the country?

  3. #83
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    They are all in the family Salicaceae. Poplar, cottonwood and aspen are different species within that family.

  4. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    They are all in the family Salicaceae. Poplar, cottonwood and aspen are different species within that family.
    Thanks Rick,

    That had me confused........not hard.
    So all would be good for bow drill if dry and passed the fingernail test?

  5. #85
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Here's a list I stole from another site....

    Agave (stalk) - Very Easy (probably not in wet conditions)
    Ailanthus – Easy
    American Basswood – Very Easy
    American Beech – Difficult
    American Elm – Difficult
    Apple – Very Difficult, unsuccessful so far
    Atlantic White Cedar – Very Easy
    Balsam Fir – Easy, bonus: sap is only found in bark
    Black Ash – Difficult
    Black Birch - Moderately Difficult
    Black Cherry – Very Difficult
    Black Walnut – Moderately Difficult/ Very Difficult, white sapwood works/unsuccessful with dark heartwood
    Box Elder – Moderately Easy
    Common Juniper – Easy
    Eastern Cottonwood – Easy
    Eastern Cottonwood Root – Very Easy
    Eastern Hemlock – Moderately Difficult, need to select as sap free wood as possible
    Eastern Hop Hornbeam – Difficult
    Eastern Red Cedar – Moderately Easy
    Evening Primrose on Basswood – Easy
    Grey Birch – Moderately Easy, always wet, must be dried
    Mullein on Cedar – Easy
    Northern White Cedar – Very Easy
    Pitch Pine – Moderately Difficult, try to find as sap free wood as possible
    Quaking Aspen – Moderately Difficult, hard to find dry wood
    Red Maple – Difficult
    Red Oak – Difficult
    Red Pine – Moderately Easy
    Saguaro Cactus – Very Easy, easy to find dead standing cactus, use ribs
    Sassafras – Difficult
    Speckled Alder – Easy, virtually impossible to find dead dry wood
    Spruce (species?) – Moderately Difficult
    Staghorn Sumac – Moderately Easy
    Striped Maple – Moderately Difficult
    Tamarack – Moderately Easy
    White Ash – Difficult
    White Pine – Moderately Easy, must use wood without sap, does not work well after rain
    White Pine Root – Very Difficult, don't even waste your time
    Willow (species?) – Easy
    Yellow Birch – Moderately Easy
    Yellow Poplar – Moderately Easy

  6. #86
    2%er Erratus Animus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    Here's a list I stole from another site....
    Arggg The Pirate of the wilderness survival you be

  7. #87
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    I use a yellow poplar (tulip poplar, Liriodendron tulipfera) hearthboard for harder spindles. Nandina domestica is a rather hard wood for a spindle, but the yellow poplar hearth is just a fraction harder and makes fire. It is a bit aggressive on softer woods like a yucca stalk and tends to do more grinding than friction.
    If my spindle drills through my black willow (Salix nigra) hearth, I switch to the poplar. It's all about having the right combination... the elements...
    the spindle should be marginally soft, dentable with the fingernail, but I find this is not necessarily true, as I've made fire with harder woods as well.
    The hearth should be ever so slightly harder than the spindle.. I think of my spindle as the kindling of the ember, and the hearth the "sparker" or the part that makes the friction.
    If your hearth is too hard, it will just wear down your spindle, too soft and you'll drill through it. I'm still experimenting with woods and combinations as I find pieces worth trying and it is largely a learning process for me as well.

    The technique / mechanics of bow-drilling is the key part, second is the identification of the properties of your materials, and third is not being afraid to experiment with everything. I've even made fire with chinaberry (Melia azedarach). Yucca seems to work with any hearth that isn't too hard

    Rick, I noticed some of the ones I've used are missing from your list.. you gotta add crepe myrtle (moderate), chinaberry (difficult), and yucca (best for beginners).
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Helen Keller

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  8. #88
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    The road crews were cleaning ROW along ditches and I found a pile of willows cut down, some black, and some crack willow. I harvested more black and a few pieces of crack willow (S. fragilis). It was dead and starting to lose leaves, but not dead enough yet, so it's weathering in the yard for a few weeks, although a few of the branches were dead and brittle.. might have a go with those this weekend.
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Helen Keller

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  9. #89

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    Yesterday I picked up a horse hoof mushroom off the ground that I had kicked off a tree weeks ago.I got my bow drill set out and tried it as a fire board.The shroom was hard like wood but just didn't make any smoke,mostly just drilled.I saved the dust and grabbed my normal,white ceder fire board.
    After a few minutes I had a nice coal that I got glowing nice and red with fanning from my hand.Dumped the coal into the mushroom and then sprinkled the dust on top slowly while blowing gently.The shroon burned nicely and started to expand outward creating a nice big coal.I'm a believer in fungus tinder.
    Now,hopefully I'll find some chaga(true tinder) to try off of a local white birch stand.
    Sometime I'll have to get the camera out and show a few pictures.

  10. #90

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    Probably should have posted my above reply in the fungus tinder thread.
    I was just shocked at how long the ember lasted straight from the bow drill.
    YCC,have you used any natural cortege for a bow drill yet?
    I followed your post on making some from yucca leaves.

  11. #91
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    I find that my crude yucca cordage will make a few fires before it breaks if it's dry. It seems to help to moisten it (not dripping wet) before having a go with the bow. Not as enduring as modern nylon, but it does work.
    The splices tend to be the points of failure. Practice making good splices in your natural cordage and it will do much better. Natural cordage tends to grab the spindle beter than the smooth cordage of modern day. Didn't have as much slippage, but I gotta work on my splicings.
    Good Luck and let us know how it turns out!

  12. #92

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    Great post, great pics! Thanks! I can get an ember pretty consistently I think I just need better tindle.

  13. #93

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    *tinder* not tindle

  14. #94

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    I have heard quite a few people say tindle. But, I have always said tinder. Thought maybe it was a regional thing.

  15. #95
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    Thanks for the good tips, ycc, and all the info from everyone. I'm a newbie here, but have been trying to make fire with the bow drill for years. Haven't done it yet. We just have pine, spruce, fir and juniper and black locust around here. The yucca all have spindley stalks, about pencil size, that are too fragile to use with a bow. I found some really nice shaped stones in the wash, and used a 3/4" masonry bit to put a socket in them, work fine. Split my hearth board from a juniper stick, and use a pine or juniper branch for the bow. For spindles, or drills as some call them, I've used pine, juniper, Oregon Grape, Currant, and Rose.
    I get dust, I get smoke, I keep sawing away, the smoke quits. No ember yet, still trying.

    Would "tindle" be a contraction for "tinder bundle"?
    Wherefore, let us be thankful that there are still thousands of cool, green nooks beside crystal springs, where the weary soul may hide for a time, away from debts, duns and deviltries, and a while commune with nature in her undress. ~ George W. “Nessmuk” Sears ~

  16. #96
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    tindle is a contraction of "tinder bundle", I've also heard the hearth called several different things, and same with the spindle.. It's a pretty basic and straightforward endeavor, so we won't get hung up on the lingo..
    Ed, if they have much resin or pitch in them, they will gum up once they reach a certain heat.. You'd be surprised at some of the other materials we've found that work. Resinous materials are very hard to get an ember with. Stay away from pine, not sure about juniper (isn't it similar to cedar?), and the others sound like "definately maybe"s.
    Keep trying and let us know how it turns out.

  17. #97

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    EdD270, I'd try using the same material for both the spindle and fireboard/ hearth. And possibly a longer bow. You can also narrow down the diameter of the spindle where it meets the fireboard. After doing these three things my success with the bow drill/ firebow has greatly improved.

    I did a series of vids here that shows the whole process in detail.

    Here is part one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yvco9cKcwv8

  18. #98
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    Will a piece of oak (with lubrication) work for the handhold?
    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
    - Greek Proverb

  19. #99
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    I don't see why knot!

  20. #100

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    I got my first embers and fires with an oak handhold/ bearing block using soapwort for a lube. I've also used red pine resin as a lube. But, a piece of solid fatwood makes an excellent handhold and long lasting socket with no lube required.

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