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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Creating “The Plan” – Food – Part #4

Let’s continue on with methods of creating fire without matches or a lighter.

Primitive people have been using and making fire without modern assistance (e.g., matches and lighters) for a very long time.  The very first way that fire was made was through natural means like from a lightning strike or from the Sun rays starting a fire from dried vegetation or plant matter.  Primitive humans discovered fire in this way and then carried it with them wherever they went from that time on.  However, their fires sometimes went out and without another natural occurrence of fire spontaneously starting early humans needed to find a way of creating fire whenever they needed it.  The methods created by these early and primitive humans (our ancestors) are still valid and very much useful for us especially today.  The two basic fire starting methods they used are: friction-based and spark-based.  I will cover some other fire starting methods later on in this BLOG posting; but, for now let’s concentrate on these two methods for getting a fire started.

Friction-based fire starting is basically “rubbing 2 sticks together” in order to generate enough heat (from friction) that the wood starts to burn and you can obtain a small ember that is put into some tinder and nurtured until it turns into fire.  Friction-based fire starting can be done by one person or by two people working together.  The most common methods of friction-based fire starting are the “drill” methods and the “plough” (aka: “plow”) method.  All these methods require the use of Tinder as discussed in the last BLOG posting.  Let’s start with the plough method first and then discuss the drill methods later since there are variations on the drill method.
  • Plough (or Plow) method – This method requires two pieces of wood.  The first piece of wood has a long, shallow groove cut into it running the length of the piece of wood.  The second piece of wood (or stick) has a somewhat sharpened point on one end of the stick (but not a sharpened pencil type of point – it’s more rounded).  The principle behind the Plough method of fire starting is that the long piece of wood with the groove cut into it is placed down on the ground in a firmly supported and secured position.  The second piece of wood (the stick) has its pointed end inserted into the groove of the first stick.  Now all that needs to happen is forcing the second (pointy-end) stick back and forth inside the groove in a constant and fast movement.  The two pieces of wood (if relatively dry) should generate enough friction to create a small ember that can be tipped into some tinder to start the fire.  Sounds easy; but, it is a lot of hard work to get a fire going this way – so don’t give up too early – keep trying until you have fire.
Plough or Plow Method

  • Drill method – There are several variations to this method, some of which use two people versus the solo method.  I will mention some of the variations by name; but, will only talk about the process in general since they all share the process in common.  There are the “Bow Drill” (with 1 or 2 people), “One Person Friction Drill”, “Two Person Friction Drill” and the “Fly Wheel Friction Drill”.  Probably the two most well known (heard of) friction drill fire starting methods are the “Bow Drill” and the “One Person Friction Drill”.  Some diagrams included.  The process involves 2 pieces (or 3 pieces if Bow Drill method) of wood that are used to create enough friction to generate a small burning ember.  One piece of wood has a shallow depression (bowl shape) in it.  The second piece of wood (stick) has a slightly sharpened, yet rounded end to it.  The stick (sharpened end) is placed into the shallow depression (bowl) of the second piece of wood and held in a vertical position.  While the two pieces of wood are together the “Stick” is spun around in a fast and firm manner inside the bowl of the other piece of wood.  Eventually, this method will generate an ember from the heat created between the two pieces of wood.  The ember is then put into some tinder to start the fire.  In the movies this method always seems to make a fire very quickly; however, that’s a movie and in reality this method is also a lot of work – don’t stop until you have created fire.

Bow Drill Method

One Person Friction Fire Drill Method

Two Person Friction Fire Drill Method

Spark-based requires the use of two items that will create sparks when they are struck together.  The sparks are directed into the dry tinder and eventually start a fire in the tinder.  Sparks can be created when metal (e.g., steel) is struck against another hard surface like a rock (e.g., flint).  You can also purchase these types of fire starters from a camping supply store for usually less than $5.  One of the most common types is a magnesium bar with an embedded piece of flint on one side.  The idea being that you scrape thin slivers off of the magnesium bar and then ignite them with the sparks generated from a knife or other piece of metal striking the flint side into the shavings and subsequently setting fire to your tinder which is then used to get your fire going.
Fire Steel and Tinder

Magnesium Fire starter Bar

Solar Fire Making utilizes the Sun’s rays to create fire.  The two basic ways of using the Sun’s rays are either by using the Sun’s rays through a lens (e.g., Convex or Fresnel) of some material (e.g., glass or plastic) or by using a parabolic reflector (like the inside of a flashlight – reflecting “bowl” – with the tinder sitting in the hole where the light bulb would normally be) – both methods focus the Sun’s rays into a much narrower beam that is much hotter than normal creating fire.

Solar Fire Starting Method with Lens

Solar Fire Starting Method using a Flashlight Reflector

Battery and Steel Wool method – Believe it or not you can actually start a fire going by using a 9-Volt battery and some Steel Wool (minus the soap).  The method is actually extremely simple.  First gather all your fire making essentials (tinder, kindling and firewood) together.  Next “fluff up” some steel wool so it is not so tightly spun together and place it between some of your tinder with some tinder on top and some tinder underneath the steel wool.  Now gently touch BOTH ends of the battery to the steel wool and watch as the steel wool heats up, begins to glow and then sets your tinder on fire.  Remove the battery and steel wool from the fire and quickly feed your newly started fire with kindling and wood.  No fuss, no muss – just like magic.

Steel Wool and a 9volt Battery can be used to start a fire.

Pyrochemical fire starting will not be covered in this BLOG posting; however, you can try looking for the Discovery Channel’s “Man Woman Wild” show that takes place in Tennessee where it is demonstrated.

Dakota Fire Hole

Fire Pit with Rocks

Stay tuned for the next BLOG post that will continue with the skeleton framework and will discuss #4 on the list: “Health/Medical”.

Survival is a combination of preparedness plus a survival mindset. If you have the WILL to survive, the skills/knowledge to survive, as well as, some planning and preparation ▬ then you will ultimately survive. Don't wait until it is too late or your chances for survival will diminish accordingly. As always, good luck and know I am on your side. ~~ The Survival Guy