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What is your preferred method of fire lighting.

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by sticks65, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. DomC

    DomC Monkey

    Two weeks ago my son Nick and I ventured into the Florida scrub with the intent of producing an ember using material from the Florida state tree The Sabal palm. We watched a video of Gundog5 entitled "Bow Drill fire-All Sabal Palm Success". My son said "hey that looks easy I wanna try that" I looked at him and thought to myself "easy my a$$".

    Now you see I have never been successful in making fire with the bow drill cause i never really persued it. It always seemed to me like a waste of energy and it was easier to use a Flint & steel, ferro rod, matches or my favorite a Bic lighter. Well, my attitude changed after seeing my son struggle with the bow drill three weeks ago. I felt that I needed to learn this after my son failed and became angry that it didn't work and that it was useless and a waste of time.

    I recall that it was a very humid day 'cause it had rained the day before. So I deduced that everthing we found had some moisture content in it. I went back and researched the web at all the bow drill instructions and videos till I was practically blind lol. There's alot of good info out there BTW.

    Well I went out and found some really dry Sabal palm fronds and some dried Brazilian Pepper tree limbs. My plan was to use the Brazilian pepper as a drill and Bow & sabal palm for the hearth and handhold. I found a piece of Brazilian pepper with a nice shallow bend and fashioned it using 550 paracord for the bow string. A straight piece of it became the spindle.

    I made a handhold of dry Sabal palm boot and the hearth was a piece of really dry palm frond. My first attempt was a failure after numerous attempts. I took a breather (I was breathless and my old knees were cramped up).

    After a 20 min respite I made another divot and notch and gave it a go. I cranked that bow till I almost collapsed and Viola there was a waft of smoke coming from that pile of dust. I almost passed out...I could'nt believe it! MY FIRST EMBER WITH A BOW DRILL!! ESTATIC isn't the word, Happy, Happy, Happy is more like it! At 61 years of age I felt like a youngster with his first real knife!

    So far I've been successful at 3 attempts after that first intial success! I have some pix to share...sorry I was solo so I have no pix showing the actual work, only pix of the embers (3 different ones)... some are blurry as I had noodle arms after generating tremendous energy, whew!
    [​IMG] My first ember.
    [​IMG] My second ember.
    [​IMG] My third ember.
    [​IMG] My Drill set.
    [​IMG] My Drill set.
    Definitely not a preferred method but nonetheless a method good to know...I can scratch this off my Bucket List now. But I will practice it the rest of my life!
    Thanx for looking!
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
  2. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Nice job, and a good skill to have.:cool:
  3. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Potassium Permanganate and Glycerin is fun.
  4. KAS

    KAS Monkey++

    all that work and we didnt take a picture of the flame ...
    Nice work thought ...
    im with u i like the bic lighter
  5. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    I am still perfecting my skill but this is my new bearing block.
    nylon with a ball bearing in the base.
    I have more nylon,if some one want's some.
    DuxDawg likes this.
  6. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    propane torch
    Ganado likes this.
  7. MountainMariner

    MountainMariner Clearly Ambiguous

    Lightning Strike Fire Starter

  8. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    Flint and steel otherwise known as a Zippo
  9. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    If you rub a liberal and a conservative together, which do you suppose will light up first ?
    Cruisin Sloth likes this.
  10. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    That is easy, librerals are clearly more volatile. Conservatives are sharper, less forgiving, and more likely to throw sparks, since they are made of harder stuff.
    DuxDawg likes this.
  11. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    I have a ton or two of what the yanks call fat wood
    I call it lighter pine, Works all day long.
  12. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    I'm getting smoke out of the bamboo saw but no ember yet.
    DuxDawg likes this.


    I don't know exactly what they put on the heads of "strike anywhere" matches. But it certainly isn't white phosphorous, which ignites when exposed to air. See MSDS #M7588
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
    DuxDawg likes this.


    I don't know exactly what they put on the heads of "strike anywhere" matches. But it certainly isn't white phosphorous, which ignites when exposed to air. See MSDS #M7588
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016


    For starting fires, I carry several fire kits consisting of a ferro rod, dryer lint and a mini tube, (which I make myself), of vaseline in a waterproof box.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  16. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    White Phosphorus was dropped from Matches in 1906, due to it's Toxic Properties. It was replaced by a Red Phosphorus/Sulfur compound in "Strike Anywhere" Matches. It is mixed with Potassium Chlorate (Oxidizer) and Antimony (III) Sulfide, (Fuel) which provide the Fire, once lit. The wooden Match Sticks are soaked in Paraffin, to also provide fuel, for the Burning. Less and Less Phosphorus is used each year due to the Costs Per Match. The minimum amount that will sustain 95% lighting success is what they use, today.
    DuxDawg, ghrit and VisuTrac like this.
  17. Shotgunpapa

    Shotgunpapa Monkey

    I use flint and steel also and have used a bow drill i like the flint and steel though i also carry a Ferro rod and a lighter. I also carry pine pitch and cotton balls to help it alone.
  18. runswithdogs

    runswithdogs Monkey+++

    I vote for a flamethrower!:D
    DuxDawg and Ganado like this.
  19. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    M-240 of course..... Is there any other way?

  20. avagdu

    avagdu Monkey

    I prefer to use a ferro rod if I have good tinder which I almost always carry with me. If I don't have good tinder and can't get natural materials to light with a ferro rod I'll use a lighter. Something I don't see mentioned often is if you have a stove you can spark light (i.e. denatured alcohol, isobutane, propane) you can then light tinder or twigs off that to start a campfire. Haven't done that much but seems obvious enough. I'd like to practice more primitive methods but I haven't got there yet.
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