9 Ways To Start a Fire Without Matches

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There is a
primal link between man and fire. Every man should know how to start
one. A manly man knows how to start one without matches. It’s
an essential survival skill. You never know when you’ll find
yourself in a situation where you’ll need a fire, but you don’t
have matches. Maybe your single engine plane goes down while you’re
flying over the Alaskan wilderness, like the kid in Hatchet. Or
perhaps you’re out camping and you lose your backpack in a
tussle with a bear
. It need not be something as dramatic at
these situations – even extremely windy or wet conditions can
render matches virtually uselessly. And whether or not you ever
need to call upon these skills, it’s just damn cool to know
you can start a fire, whenever and wherever you are.

Friction
Based Fire Making

Friction based
fire making is not for the faint of heart. It’s probably the
most difficult of all the non-match based methods. There are different
techniques you can use to make a fire with friction, but the most
important aspect is the type of wood you use for the fire board
and spindle.

The spindle
is the stick you’ll use to spin in order to create the friction
between it and the fireboard. If you create enough friction between
the spindle and the fireboard, you can create an ember that can
be used to create a fire. Cottonwood, juniper, aspen, willow, cedar,
cypress, and walnut make the best fire board and spindle sets.

Before you
can use wood to start a friction based fire, the wood must be bone
dry. If the wood isn’t dry, you’ll have to dry it out
first.

The Hand
Drill

The hand drill
method is the most primitive, the most primal, and the most difficult
to do All you need is wood, tireless hands, and some gritty determination.
Therefore, it’ll put more hair on your chest than any other
method. Here’s how it’s done:

Build a
tinder nest.
Your tinder nest will be used to create the flame
you get from the spark you’re about to create. Make a tinder
nest out of anything that catches fire easily, like dry grass, leaves,
and bark.

Make your
notch.
Cut a v-shaped notch into your fire board and make a
small depression adjacent to it.

Place bark
underneath the notch.
The bark will be used to catch an ember
from the friction between the spindle and fireboard.

Start spinning.
Place the spindle into the depression on your fire board. Your
spindle should be about 2 feet long for this to work properly. Maintain
pressure on the board and start rolling the spindle between your
hands, running them quickly down the spindle. Keep doing this until
an ember is formed on the fireboard.

Start a
fire!
Once you see a glowing ember, tap the fire board to drop
you ember onto the piece of bark. Transfer the bark to your nest
of tinder. Gently blow on it to start your flame.

Fire Plough

Prepare
your fireboard.
Cut a groove in the fireboard. This will be
your track for the spindle.

Rub!
Take the tip of your spindle and place it in the groove of your
fireboard. Start rubbing the tip of the spindle up and down the
groove.

Start a
fire.
Have your tinder nest at the end of the fireboard, so
that you’ll plow embers into as you’re rubbing. Once you
catch one, blow the nest gently and get that fire going.

Bow Drill

The bow drill
is probably the most effective friction based method to use because
it’s easier to maintain the speed and pressure you need to
create enough friction to start a fire. In addition to the spindle
and fireboard, you’ll also need a socket and a bow.

Get a socket.
The socket is used to put pressure on the other end of the spindle
as you’re rotating it with the bow. The socket can be a stone
or another piece of wood. If you use another piece of wood, try
to find a harder piece than what you’re using for the spindle.
Wood with sap and oil are good as it creates a lubricant between
the spindle and the socket.

Make your
bow.
The bow should be about as long as your arm. Use a flexible
piece of wood that has a slight curve. The string of the bow can
be anything. A shoelace, rope, or strip of rawhide works great.
Just find something that won’t break. String up your bow and
you’re ready to go.

Prepare
the fireboard.
Cut a v-shaped notch and create a depression
adjacent to it in the fireboard. Underneath the notch, place your
tinder.

String up
the spindle.
Catch the spindle in a loop of the bow string.
Place one end of the spindle in the fireboard and apply pressure
on the other end with your socket.

Start sawing.
Using your bow, start sawing back and forth. You’ve basically
created a rudimentary mechanical drill. The spindle should be rotating
quickly. Keep sawing until you create an ember.

Make your
fire.
Drop the ember into the tinder nest and blow on it gently.
You got yourself a fire.

Flint and
Steel Flint and Steel

This is an
old standby. It's always a good idea to carry around a good flint
and steel set with you on a camping trip. Matches can get wet and
be become pretty much useless, but you can still get a spark from
putting steel to a good piece of flint. Swedish
Firesteel-Army
model is a good set to use.

Read
the rest of the article

September
20, 2010

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