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Thread: My first bow drill fire successes: Caught on video.

  1. #1
    Senior Member PineMartyn's Avatar
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    Default My first bow drill fire successes: Caught on video.

    This weekend my wife and I went backpacking on some nearby Crown land to take advantage of the summer-like weather before the black flies start biting.

    It was a memorable trip on a number of fronts, but for me a highlight was finally lighting my first bow drill fires. I had produced my first coal over the winter thanks to the help and generosity of fellow bushcrafter who gave me a bushcraft care package which included a small block of teflon with a depression drilled into it to use as an ideal bearing block, thus eliminating nearly all friction between the top of the spindle and the bearing block. This initial success left me determined to use friction fire and percussive techniques (eg: flint and steel) on each of my camping trips this year.

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    The video below chronicles my awkward, embarrassing failures, along with eventual success. I must say it was painful to watch this later - to witness how dreadful my form was, along with a host of other mistakes I was making - but I must say it was very instructive to have visual feedback on all that I was doing wrong. For those, like me, who are just beginners with this technique, I would encourage you to record yourself on video for later critical viewing.



    It's with a view to getting better at this that I set my own vanity aside, post this video, and invite all who are more advanced in this skill to weigh-in with their criticism and recommendations after viewing the video.

    Hope this helps.
    - Martin
    No one has ever been heard to say on a deathbed, "I wish I'd put in more time at the office."


  2. #2
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Congrats, I still waiting on a successful attempt........guess it won't start it self.

    On my "to do list" this summer........
    Need to get the form down....have gotten a coal a couple of times but never got full flame.

    Flint and steel w/char cloth......piece of cake, even gotten a glowing char cloth with 2 pieces of pyrite....friction, nada.
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    Goog...He's just this guy greatgoogamooga's Avatar
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    Absolutely brilliant! Thanks for this post and the vid. It's one thing to see videos of people getting it on the first try. it's much more educational to see the development process.

    Goog

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Congratulations.
    Can't Means Won't

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    Quality Control Director Ken's Avatar
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    Great Job!
    “Learning is not compulsory. Neither is survival.”
    W. Edwards Deming

    "Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils."
    General John Stark

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    Senior Member Stairman's Avatar
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    After success it seems to be easier next time, with the right components anyway. Congrats!

  7. #7

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    Congrats! One of the coolest things I have done was my first friction fire with the help of a couple of the guys at this site.

  8. #8
    "sorry backside" rebel's Avatar
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    That was a really nice vid. Rep sent.

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    Senior Member PineMartyn's Avatar
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    Thank you all for those kind comments. I really would welcome any tips, strategies or suggestions you might have which have worked for you when you were learning or wish you'd known about when you were learning. Primitive fire-making is a skill I really want to improve, so feel free to post any suggestions here or in the comments area of my video

    To Hunter63 and others who are seeking to acquire this primitive skill, please keep at it. One of the hardest things about it is that there are so many confounding variables involved and so whenever you fail to get a coal, you're never sure which variable to change as a remedy. Is it a problem with the kit? The type of wood? The moisture in the wood? Too much pressure applied? Not enough pressure? Not bowing fast enough? etc, etc.

    My own suggestions would be:
    1) Watch the how-to videos I listed in the description box of my own video; all of them helped me significantly.
    2) Use as many cheats as you can when you start out, so as to eliminate as many possible causes of failure as you can. For instance, make your kit from store-bought, kiln-dried lumber that you've left sitting in your home for a few weeks until you're sure it's bone dry. Another is to use a low-friction bearing block, such as a heavy shot glass to avoid the problem of too much friction between the top of the spindle and the bearing block. I found that doing these sorts of things helps me narrow down what I needed to do differently, before abandoning the 'cheats'.

    My thanks again and hope this helps,
    - Martin
    No one has ever been heard to say on a deathbed, "I wish I'd put in more time at the office."

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    Congrats! That is awesome persistence! With my limited successes with the bow drill, I have generated the best coals by letting them sit in the notch to solidify so to speak. Well done Sir!

  11. #11

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    I have no Idea how I missed this post, great job!!!
    I Wonder Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here, and drink what ever comes out?"

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    Senior Member BENESSE's Avatar
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    I missed it too!!!
    Wonderful post, this is what WSF is all about.
    Martin, wherever you are, please come back and tell us what you've been busy with!

  13. #13

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    Great video! It's nice to be able to see all your attempts and the minor adjustments that made a big difference.
    I love hiking, backpacking, and camping.
    http://www.adventurestrong.com

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    Member RoadLessTraveled's Avatar
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    Congrats Martin! I'm happy to see your success! Great work!

  15. #15

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    Well done !

  16. #16

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    I have seen this done so many times on so many TV shows , looks relatively easy. Yours is best vid I have seen so far . Shows how difficult it is , but with practice , not impossible. Very impressive , no one can teach you a thing . Much respect.

  17. #17
    Senior Member PineMartyn's Avatar
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    Thanks for the positive comments entherder, welderguy, BENESSE, adventurestrong, RoadLessTraveled, zeroed4x, and Nighthawk01.

    I wish I could boast I was an expert at the bow drill by now, but I haven't gotten in as much practice as I'd intended this summer. We recently bought a house (a real fixer-upper) and working on it has kept me from practicing my bushcraft skills as much as I would have liked.

    Oh, and RoadLessTravelled, I still have those pieces of sotol for hand drill practice which were gifted to me by someone, but which originally came from you. My elbow injury (I have a bad case of tennis elbow) will, I hope, be well enough so I can finally get down to learning to use make a fire by hand drill using the sotol.

    Thanks again for the kind words folks,
    - Martin
    Last edited by PineMartyn; 09-20-2013 at 10:21 PM.
    No one has ever been heard to say on a deathbed, "I wish I'd put in more time at the office."

  18. #18
    Senior Member BENESSE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PineMartyn View Post
    Thanks again for the kind words folks,
    - Martin
    Welcome back!!!! Missed your wonderful posts, please don't stay away so long!

  19. #19

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    respect my friend , I will get there :-)

  20. #20
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Good to see you back PineMartyn. Hope to see more of you. The light is always on.
    Can't Means Won't

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