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A Thought on Friction Fire

August 13, 2016

Having tried out a bow drill friction fire starting method and recently the fire plow friction method, I would have to admit that if I'm stuck with no other means of getting a fire going I would put the time into building a bow drill over the fire plow unless I knew I had optimal materials on hand.

I found the bow drill to be more time consuming to construct having to carve the drill, the socket, the plate then string the bow before you go work. The fire plow only needs the plow and the plate but the overall amount of energy expenditure wasn't worth the short cut to use the plow. One has to practice with many different types of wood to get an efficient marriage to get a quick coal built up. I tried an aspen plow on willow, aspen plow on pine, aspen plow on aspen (worked well with the bow drill) and a pine plow on willow. I had the most success with the last configuration, getting a decent plume of smoke going but I physically wore out before an ember would form.

A thorough understanding of softwoods and hardwoods is essential to get a friction fire process to work and I will play around with different recipes and post my findings for the area I live in. Would love to get some feedback and stories of what other folks have tried!

Cheers!

Kev.

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