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Thread: Bow and Drill with Parachord?

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    Woodsman Adventure Wolf's Avatar
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    Default Bow and Drill with Parachord?

    Recently I've been learning to use the bow and drill technique to create a fire, and I was wondering if anyone has used parachord as the string when doing this? If so, what was the result?


  2. #2

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    I use para cord a lot. It works fine. Sometimes if you have a lot of friction on your bearing block or the spindle is really slick it might slip a little but that's an easy fix. I have a couple of river rocks that I've pecked sockets into that work great for blocks. They're almost frictionless. I also secure only one end of the para cord to the bow and put my first finger through a loop on the other end. I can control the tension on the string that way. If your spindle and hearth are well matched you don't really need a lot of tension and if the cord starts to slip just pull a little harder on the loop with your finger.

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    Senior Member DomC's Avatar
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    Paracord is good to go. I also tried #36 "Tarred" Nylon Seine Twine made by Catahoula Manufacturing Inc. http://www.houla.com/tarred.htm and it works really good too.
    My hand hold is made of Australian Pine (aka iron wood) and I use bar soap as lubricant to reduce friction...
    DomC
    Last edited by DomC; 06-15-2014 at 02:55 AM.
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  4. #4

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    That's what I do. I control tension with my fingers. Too tight and the spindle will fly out and too loose and it will slip.

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    550 paracord works excellent for bow and drill cordage. I get 40 or more embers per cord. I tie my cordage solid to a stiff bow using a quick adjust method of tieing. If the spindle starts slipping during the "bowing" I reach my fingers out and grab the line near my grip and pull it to the grip thus tightening the line. It can be done quickly without hardly "breaking stride".

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    Member Lil K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winterhorse View Post
    I use para cord a lot. It works fine. Sometimes if you have a lot of friction on your bearing block or the spindle is really slick it might slip a little but that's an easy fix. I have a couple of river rocks that I've pecked sockets into that work great for blocks. They're almost frictionless. I also secure only one end of the para cord to the bow and put my first finger through a loop on the other end. I can control the tension on the string that way. If your spindle and hearth are well matched you don't really need a lot of tension and if the cord starts to slip just pull a little harder on the loop with your finger.
    Interesting way to use your finger, I'll have to try this sometime.
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  7. #7

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    Paracord works well. I've tried bankline but it breaks after a short time.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    What weight bankline were you using? They range from the lightweight to the super duper heavy duty.
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashdive123 View Post
    What weight bankline were you using? They range from the lightweight to the super duper heavy duty.
    I have a couple, but I think that time I was using the lighter stuff, like the 96 lb line or something.

    It was my first try and I didn't have the set done right, so I was over-stressing it and it frayed and broke. It could work if you had everything perfect, at least for the first few goes at it.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    I know they make an 800 lb bank line. I haven't used it though.

    It's important (I think) to remember that the tensile strength of cordage does not necessarily translate to its ability to resist abrasion damage. I recently picked up a spool of Amsteel 7/64" that has a tensile strength of 1600 pounds, but would be leery of its ability to resist abrasion when used for a bow drill application.
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by crashdive123 View Post
    I know they make an 800 lb bank line. I haven't used it though.

    It's important (I think) to remember that the tensile strength of cordage does not necessarily translate to its ability to resist abrasion damage. I recently picked up a spool of Amsteel 7/64" that has a tensile strength of 1600 pounds, but would be leery of its ability to resist abrasion when used for a bow drill application.
    I don't use the tensile strength for anything other than determining what cords are stronger than others. Somebody said paracord wouldn't work on a hammock. I weigh less than 200 and it's rated at 550. Apparently knots weaken it as well as dynamic stress from inertia. Also the angle at which the stress occurs factors in too. Then you have abrasion issues to contend with.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Paracord works for hammocks, but you have to contend with stretching. That's why I picked up the Amsteel. I made a set of Whoopie Slings and several soft shackles for hammock use. It's lighter than paracord and floats too. I'll probably give it a try on the bow drill to see if it works. For the record, I have broken paracord while using it on a bow drill. Not on its firs use, but it will break eventually.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ninjasurvivor View Post
    I don't use the tensile strength for anything other than determining what cords are stronger than others. Somebody said paracord wouldn't work on a hammock. I weigh less than 200 and it's rated at 550. Apparently knots weaken it as well as dynamic stress from inertia. Also the angle at which the stress occurs factors in too. Then you have abrasion issues to contend with.
    Funny you mention the hammock thing... I just made one out of. 550 paracord and 1" pvc pipe. I ain't got it put up yet. Guess that's a project for this spring beings winter is upon us. Lol

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    Junior Member Tokwan's Avatar
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    Yep..550 paracord works...but need adjusting from time to time...
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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by amateur survivalist View Post
    Funny you mention the hammock thing... I just made one out of. 550 paracord and 1" pvc pipe. I ain't got it put up yet. Guess that's a project for this spring beings winter is upon us. Lol
    ***Update*** figured I'd do a test run before spring... did a quick hang between a tree and my wood truck. We put me wife and my. 9 & 4 yo girls on it dog pile style. It held a little over 450 lbs...

  16. #16
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    550 and me.. well I have a couple pieces that got really shredded. A natural coarse fiber or a whole weave rope work better for me. Also of note is that I'll try just about any wood for kicks, so if you don't have the right combination of materials, it won't last through many tries, but neither will a cotton rope. Cotton will grab the wood well, where poly will slip. All things considered, if it's what you have, it'll work several times when experimenting, and with the right combination of materials you'll get fire quite a few times before it needs replacing.

  17. #17
    Senior Member DomC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by your_comforting_company View Post
    Cotton will grab the wood well, where poly will slip.
    You can reduce slippage by carving facets in the spindle.

    DomC



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    "A knifeless man is a lifeless man"...Nordic proverb.
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    "Survival is about getting out of the wilderness ALIVE, Bushcraft is about getting into the wilderness and THRIVING."

  18. #18

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    ive always use the bottom half of my t-shirt right above the stitching poke a hole then rip it all the way around. it has always worked good especially if ya twist the strand a bunch of time then attach to the end of the bow, and you can still wear the shirt
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