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Thread: Long lasting string for a bow drill?

  1. #1

    Question Long lasting string for a bow drill?

    I've been thinking about finding a long lasting string for a bow drill (around 100 uses). I normally use paracord, but I would like to know if you have experimented with other materials: wire, leather, braided cord etc.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    SE/SW Wisconsin


    I would think that your paracord would give you the best life......

    Don't think I have ever seen or heard about anyone wearing out the cord on a bow drill unless its 100's of try's ....???
    I get using one for hours trying to get a ember...but most folks that are good at it... only takes a short time.

    Generally once you get a fire in one tend to keep going, even if just a smoldering coal.
    Light your camp fire and tend it for 2 weeks.....same fire.

    Leather shoe laces seem to work well...not real sure that new laces are real leather?

    Wire ...No way....doubt if it work once....doesn't lend itself to repeated bending and straightening.

    Natural cordage maybe one use only it it stays together that long?
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  3. #3
    Senior Member WalkingTree's Avatar
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    Jun 2015


    The pump drill variation makes a cord last longer doesn't it?
    The pessimist complains about the wind;
    The optimist expects it to change;
    The realist adjusts the sails.

    - William Arthur Ward

  4. #4
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Central Indiana


    I made a bow drill last year and tossed it in the back of the truck. I've used BICs so the string has lasted a loooong time.

  5. #5
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    KY bluegrass region-the center of the universe


    I have one with a leather lace that has lasted hundreds of fires.

    "Back in the day" it was claimed that possum hide made the best boot laces so I bet it would make a good fire bow string.

    Now all you have to do is find a good country road and a dead possum!

    Truth is that anything a possum can do a skunk can do better so a skunk hide lace might be just the thing.
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Antonyraison's Avatar
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    Jul 2016
    Johannesburg South Africa


    Paracord last rather long, but yeah I have had mine frey on the outter Nylon covering, then it wore out exposing the inner cords, then was no longer effective.. had to be replaced.
    Depends what cord you want, if you want natural or man made.
    Man made then Paracord seems to do the job very well, as does bank line.
    Natural; leather, sinew possibly.. other cordage made of other material like bark, or hemp and so on are fairly strong but all do eventually give in.. but yeah
    they will last a good few fires.
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