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Thread: A new Milestone for an old Florida homeboy

  1. #1
    Senior Member DomC's Avatar
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    Two weeks ago my son Nick and I ventured into the Florida scrub with the intent of producing an ember using material from the Florida state tree The Sabal palm. We watched a video of Gundog5 entitled "Bow Drill fire-All Sabal Palm Success". My son said "hey that looks easy I wanna try that" I looked at him and thought to myself "easy my a$$".

    Now you see I have never been successful in making fire with the bow drill cause i never really persued it. It always seemed to me like a waste of energy and it was easier to use a Flint & steel, ferro rod, matches or my favorite a Bic lighter. Well, my attitude changed after seeing my son struggle with the bow drill two weeks ago. I felt that I needed to learn this after my son failed and became angry that it didn't work and that it was useless and a waste of time. I went back and researched the web at all the bow drill instructions and videos till I was practically blind lol. There's alot of good info out there BTW.

    Well I went out and found some really dry Sabal palm fronds and some dried Brazilian Pepper tree limbs. My plan was to use the Brazilian pepper as a drill and Bow & sabal palm for the hearth and handhold. I found a piece of Brazilian pepper with a nice shallow bend and fashioned it using 550 paracord for the bow string. A straight piece of it became the spindle.

    I made a handhold of dry Sabal palm boot and the hearth was a piece of really dry palm frond. My first attempt was a failure after numerous attempts. I took a breather (I was breathless and my old knees were cramped up).
    After a 20 min respite I made another divot and notch and gave it a go. I cranked that bow till I almost collapsed and Viola there was a waft of smoke coming from that pile of dust. I almost passed out...I could'nt believe it! MY FIRST EMBER WITH A BOW DRILL!! ESTATIC isn't the word, Happy, Happy, Happy is more like it! At 61 years of age I felt like a youngster with his first real knife!

    So far I've been successful at 3 attempts after that first intial success! I have some pix to share...sorry I was solo so I have no pix showing the actual work, only pix of the embers (3 different ones)... some are blurry as I had noodle arms after generating tremendous energy whew!

    Guests can not see images in the messages. Please register in the forum. My first ember.

    Guests can not see images in the messages. Please register in the forum. My second ember.

    Guests can not see images in the messages. Please register in the forum. My third ember.

    Guests can not see images in the messages. Please register in the forum. My Drill set.

    Guests can not see images in the messages. Please register in the forum. My Drill set

    Thanx for looking!

    Dom
    Last edited by DomC; 03-08-2014 at 11:32 AM.
    "There are only 2 classes of ships in the Navy...Submarines and Targets!" RM2(SS)
    "A knifeless man is a lifeless man"...Nordic proverb.
    "No man's knowledge can go beyond his experience." John Locke.
    "Survival is about getting out of the wilderness ALIVE, Bushcraft is about getting into the wilderness and THRIVING."


  2. #2
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Congrats man......make you glad they invented matches and Bics.....after all that work, and aren't sure it will work, or correct materials around, bad conditions.......etc.

    Thanks for sharing your success......Rep your way.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Great post. Glad you were successful.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Well done.
    Can't Means Won't

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    Senior Member natertot's Avatar
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    Good job! I hope to accomplish that feat..... one day!
    ”There's nothing glorious in dying. Anyone can do it.” ~Johnny Rotten

  6. #6

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    Good Job Dom!

  7. #7
    Super Moderater RangerXanatos's Avatar
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    Great job! That first ember is always going to be one you'll remember.
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    Member Lil K's Avatar
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    Excellent work Dom!

  9. #9

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    Great Job!!! Thanks for posting!
    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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    Resident Wildman Wildthang's Avatar
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    You are the new Bear Grylls of WSf, but seriously, congratulations man!

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    Alaska, The Madness! 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Very cool. Congratulations.
    Why do I live in Alaska? Because I can.

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  12. #12

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    The first one you never forget,
    nice work and congrats, it's nice when the effort pays off.

  13. #13
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by natertot View Post
    Good job! I hope to accomplish that feat..... one day!
    OK Nate, we are going to have to plan an intense "skills session" in the near future!

    If I had known you never started a fire with a bow drill we could have done so at either of the jamborees. I carry my kit along for each of those meets.
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  14. #14
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    We'll do a friction fire party at the next one.
    Can't Means Won't

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    I would also like to be a willing student........
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
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  16. #16

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    Woooooo-Hooooooo!! Way to go!

  17. #17
    Senior Member DomC's Avatar
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    Yeah I woke up the day before Fathers Day (14th) and bow drilled another ember within a minute and a half! But being able to get a coal in your backyard on a sunny day with a proven bow-drill set does not mean that you would be able to get a fire started in an actual survival situation. There are numerous variables that will make getting a coal alot more difficult. For instance, you must be able to get a coal with a variety of woods, in a variety of conditions. The wood may be damp, you may not have a knife, you may not have any cordage or you may already be tired. For these reasons, it is good to practice dealing with each of these factors, first separately, and then bring them all together. The quest doesn't stop it keeps going and now you have more challenges to overcome...just make sure to carry alternative methods of fire starting. As far as I'm concerned; primitive friction fire for me is a last ditch option. At sixty one years of age, a ferro rod, UCO Storm matches, or BIC lighter seems the way to go if calories are at stake...jmo.

    DomC
    "There are only 2 classes of ships in the Navy...Submarines and Targets!" RM2(SS)
    "A knifeless man is a lifeless man"...Nordic proverb.
    "No man's knowledge can go beyond his experience." John Locke.
    "Survival is about getting out of the wilderness ALIVE, Bushcraft is about getting into the wilderness and THRIVING."

  18. #18
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    Congratulations. I know exactly what you mean about the excitement. It is sooooo rewarding when you get that first ember.

    Proper form is HUGE to bow drill success. Once you can learn to employ proper form you will not only see much greater success rate but you will find that it is MUCH less strenuous. On average, it takes me 30 seconds or less of drill twisting to produce a viable ember. I'm not trying to be fast. I'm just performing at a comfortable pace. I'm also just saying how key, proper form is to success. The following video demonstrates proper form far better than I could plus she is better to look at then I am.

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