Being able to start a fire without matches or even more modern firestarting devices is a skill required whenever one heads out and attempts to live with nature in the wilderness. Starting a fire in ideal conditions can be particularly challenging especially to the newbie. What more in more challenging environmental conditions? Regardless, learning the different firestarting techniques should help you prepare for an adventure in the wild.
The Hand Drill Method
This is one of the simplest, albeit trickiest methods of starting a fire. Perhaps it is because you are alone when accomplishing this technique and that the key is in a constant high speed rotation of the spindle. Any change in the speed as well as positioning of the wooden spindle can adversely affect the heat being generated. As such, this should only be used in dry climates.
- Create a V-shaped indentation on your fireboard. Also create a small depression near the notch. Place a piece of dry bark just under the notch. This will catch the ember.
- Place the tip of a 2-foot long wooden spindle into the depression and roll it in your hands, maintaining constant pressure, and running it as quickly as you possibly can. Constant speed and pressure is the key to make this work. Once the tip of the spindle glows red, it should already form bright glowing embers.
- Carefully tap the fireboard so that the embers will fall directly onto the dry bark. Carefully transfer the embers onto a bundle of tinder then judiciously blow into it to produce flame.
The 2-Man Friction Drill Technique
This technique can be regarded as a variation of the Hand Drill method, albeit easier since there are two operators working on starting a fire. One will be applying constant downward pressure while the other will be spinning the spindle with his hands. In other variations, the spindle can also be attached with thongs or even shoelaces to help rotate the spindle, minimizing fatigue for the operator. The steps are essentially the same with the Hand Drill method, nonetheless.
The Fire Plough System
One issue with the Hand Drill is that you can easily get tired of spinning the spindle. That’s why a better option will be to use the Fire Plough system instead. It consists of rubbing a harder wooden shaft to and fro on a groove. This is best used on softwood as a fireboard.
- Create a groove in the fireboard. Remember to use only softwood for this purpose.
- Rub or plough the tip of a wooden shaft through the groove in an up and down or to and fro motion to create friction.
- Dusty particles will be pushed out of the fireboard. And as the temperature rises, these particles will ignite.
- Transfer these to your bundle of tinder and carefully blow into it until flame is produced.
These are just 3 of the simplest and easiest ways to start a fire without resorting to matches and other types of modern devices. There are other ways to start a fire. For now, it’s best to master these first before moving on onto other methods.