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Thread: What fire making techniques work best for you?

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    Large bipedal Primate Billofthenorth's Avatar
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    Default What fire making techniques work best for you?

    What techniques or methods have proven most successful for you to start a fire in the field...without bringing anything along, in other words just from found natural materials, that being a worst case scenario.


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    None................

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    That's really a good question....making fire with nothing.
    I would try my best to never get out into that situation....and if my life depended on it, most likely none....so I would not make it.

    The only situation I could think where I would have not something with me...or find materials in others garbage.... maybe a plane crash, most fire making gear not allowed on board....and IF I was ambulatory enough, try to salvage burning wreckage?

    That's why we practice friction fire making,...bow drills, hand drills, flint steel (still need the steel) or at least be able to find pyrite (striking two pieces do create a spark, not a real good one), but not found in my area.
    Lens fire with glasses, polished ice lens.....

    I have dug up a rock that sparked on my knife and started the camps fire with it (flint).

    So what's yours and how successful have you been?
    Last edited by hunter63; 05-26-2013 at 05:01 PM. Reason: splin'
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    What have you found that works best for you Billofthenorth?
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    Chiles the night before. 'Cause I swear, the next day it feels just like......oh, butterflies.

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    None, so far. That's why I carry a zippo. And no, I don't smoke.

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    Senior Member Stairman's Avatar
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    Even a bowdrill needs a shoelace and knife to construct but I find that to be the easiest primitive method.

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    Large bipedal Primate Billofthenorth's Avatar
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    None here either, that's why I asked. I usually practice with some kind of flint and steel when I can but the thought is always there that any article brought along is a bit of a cheat.Though I guess unless you're naked you would have something like shoe laces or clothing to make cordage out of etc.

    I've always wondered if that thing about shaping ice with your hand into a lens really works or if anyone has made a pump drill, if they work seems like those two methods could be done without a bring along.
    Last edited by Billofthenorth; 05-27-2013 at 08:51 AM.

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    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    A hand drill will work with found materials and perhaps a fire plough.

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    Cool What?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Billofthenorth View Post
    ...but the thought is always there that any article brought along is a bit of a cheat....
    A cheat? Really? Who made that up? It's survival so whatever gets the job done. There's no "referee" out there scoring points.....

    BTW, I usually just rub two Boy Scouts together! (Gidney and Floyd; the two moon men from the Rocky and Bullwinkle carton series.)...
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    Large bipedal Primate Billofthenorth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarge47 View Post
    A cheat? Really? Who made that up? :
    I just meant in a training / preparation sense, obviously in an actual situation you use whatever is at hand but when I'm learning something I don't assume that I'll always have a book of strike anywhere matches and 5 gallons of gas so I can loaf on learning all the other fire starting skills.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Seems y'all got an all or nothing mind set...."If you can't make fire with nothing, you ain't squat"...or are lazy.

    Might work for those that go and "practice survival"....bragging rights and all........

    Fact is "It don't work that way".........You can practice your skills, fire, shelter, water, orientation, foraging....but the fact is you ain't surviving....That's playing.

    If you are surviving, cold, wet, hungry, lost, injured....you would kill for that match, or what ever other method works now so I don't die.

    Nothing wrong with learning and practicing new ways.....so your question was a good one, I think about that often, but......I haven't found any easy way that is effective all the time, anywhere, in any conditions, with found materials.......a survivor will have had the best options available, JUST IN CASE.

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    Cool Hmmmm...

    Quote Originally Posted by Billofthenorth View Post
    I just meant in a training / preparation sense, obviously in an actual situation you use whatever is at hand but when I'm learning something I don't assume that I'll always have a book of strike anywhere matches and 5 gallons of gas so I can loaf on learning all the other fire starting skills.
    Nothing wrong with learning the skills you list, I just don't consider it cheating to carry a lighter and some Strike-Anywhere matches on my person...better yet, lifeboat matches. Remember, in any survival situation you need to conserve energy...how much energy would you spend on those primitive skills? You should also practice starting a fire with wet materials. Remember, even Cody Lundin failed on one of the episodes of Dual Survival with his primitive skills because the materials he was using were too wet. And "5 gallons of gas?" Who the he11 carries that? . Myself I carry both strike-anywhere & lifeboat matches, lighter, and a Doans Magnesium block along with some homemade fire-starters. The whole set-up fits inside a small waterproof pouch. If I need to use primitive skills I'll call Tonto! Right now though I couldn't start a fire anywhere outside as we've been hit by a whole bunch of rain storms and we have flood warnings all over the State! I might be thinking of making a raft or a canoe if this gets much worse.....
    SARGE
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billofthenorth View Post
    What techniques or methods have proven most successful for you to start a fire in the field...without bringing anything along, in other words just from found natural materials, that being a worst case scenario.
    It seems sometimes that there is a bit of animosity towards people asking questions about skills that can be difficult to acquire.

    Billofthenorth simply asked what technique worked best to start a fire with nothing and acknowledged that this would be a "worst case scenario".

    That being said if you can build a friction fire, even if everything you carried failed or was taken from you, you can still achieve your goal of fire.

    So, having this skill will have you making careful preps so that the hard one coal is not squandered. That is another big advantage to practicing these skills at there most basic levels.

    I practice primitive fire and carry many fire starting aids. I started the campfire Saturday night using dead grass and live oak twigs with some cabbage palm fronds and jack boots. Then we used live oak. We cooked all of our food on that one fire this weekend without needing a lighter of matches at all. Chicken, steak, sausage, hotdogs and hamburgers, bacon, eggs, corn, beans, poke salet, mixed vegetables, grilled peppers. All with a single flick of my bic.

    Nothing unusual there. Knowing how to build a fire, restart a fire, what wood is good to cook over are all simple skills. I have seen a bunch of people that don't properly prepare for fire or have any idea what kind of wood they have and if it is good for cooking with. That fire was permanently extinguished today after lunch.

    Do we tell people studying wild edibles that they need to keep a pack of granola in their pack and forget learning wild edibles?

    To the OP, I have had good success with willow spindle and willow hearth board. I also used willow for the bow. I used a shot glass for a bearing block. I tried using shells and the shot glass was just that much more comfortable. I am going to carve a bearing block out of Live Oak or West Indian Mahogany, both of which a locally very abundant and I think might work good. I have tried Cabbage Palm on Cabbage Palm with lots of smoke. But, I burn through the frond before I get a coal. I will keep trying. LOL

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Billofthenorth - now that I know better what you are asking.....

    Personally I have not been successful. Admittedly, I haven't put a lot of effort into it. There are a few guys that make it look easy. Here's one - he's posted a few times on this forum. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC2Yp...j8ZQg&index=14

    Here's another that I learned from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmipIIBpzMk
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    Quality Control Director Ken's Avatar
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    I only carry one tiny fire-starting tool with me.

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  17. #17

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    The hardest thing to find in the wild is cordage.
    And I'm thinking that anything I make would not hold up to a bow drill.
    What has worked for me is Egyptian wrap on the spindle with a shoe lace.
    I find a lace will work longer with more wraps on the spindle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by letslearntogether47 View Post
    The hardest thing to find in the wild is cordage.
    And I'm thinking that anything I make would not hold up to a bow drill.
    What has worked for me is Egyptian wrap on the spindle with a shoe lace.
    I find a lace will work longer with more wraps on the spindle.
    Good bootlaces seem to be the best if you don't have cordage with you, but I'd say it's worth practicing cordage-work and sourcing things from nature. You'd be surprised how well western red cedar works, for example, or if you aren't from the pacific northwest, I've heard that yucca, any variety of palm, cattails, or other such long-fibered plants will work pretty well. For practice with the basic technique, I suggest shredding some natural-fiber rope to the barest fibers, and try twisting them together by hand. You'd be surprised how quickly you can make a strong, robust, seemingly machine-made rope after just a few hours of messing around. Just be sure to use counter-twisted strands and bundles for it to stay strong.

    Regardless, bow-drills, while good to know and the best option if you have nothing else, are still a PITA without good cordage, so always have laced shoes or some cordage everywhere you go, and to be perfectly honest, if you don't have a lighter, ferrocerium rod, or matches with you at all times, you're going to have a hard time...
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    We wear leather boots in cowboy style ranchers because they are water proof and snake proof. But, we also wear pull on rubber pull on muck boots. Slipping a small hank of cordage in you pocket or pack is nothing and it leaves you boot lace alone. Course if you planned laced boots for a friction fire then you could have carried a hank of cord. If you carried a hank of cord then you could of carried a lighter. If you had a lighter you could also carry a fire starter like PJ balls. If you carry all that why leave the house with central heat.

    Take it down to the worse case scenario and you own the whole enchilada.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Batch View Post
    We wear leather boots in cowboy style ranchers because they are water proof and snake proof. But, we also wear pull on rubber pull on muck boots. Slipping a small hank of cordage in you pocket or pack is nothing and it leaves you boot lace alone. Course if you planned laced boots for a friction fire then you could have carried a hank of cord. If you carried a hank of cord then you could of carried a lighter. If you had a lighter you could also carry a fire starter like PJ balls. If you carry all that why leave the house with central heat.

    Take it down to the worse case scenario and you own the whole enchilada.

    ....Then add to you statement."Take it down to the worse case scenario and you own the whole enchilada".......under any conditions.
    The ultimate goal.

    I used to worry about this....but after watching Cody Lundin (fire master) fail a couple of times....cordage broke, too wet.....I just not gonna worry about it.
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