Bow Drill

Of all the friction -fire-starting methods, the bow drill is the most efficient at maintaining the speed and pressure needed to produce a coal, and the easiest to master. The combination of the right fireboard and spindle is the key to success, so experiment with different dry softwoods until you find a set that produces. Remember that the drill must be as hard or slightly harder than the fireboard. Step One Cut a notch at the edge of a round impression bored into the fireboard, as you would for a hand drill. Loosely affix the string to a stick bow, which can be any stout wood. Step Two Place the end of a wood drill the diameter of your thumb into the round impression, bear down on it with a socket (a wood block or stone with a hollow ground into it), catch the drill in a loop of the bowstring, then vigorously saw back and forth until the friction of the spinning drill produces a coal. Step Three Drop the glowing coal into a bird's nest of fine tinder, lift the nest in your cupped hands, and lightly blow until it catches fire.

bow drill