Making a Fire: Use Drill and Bow

One of the oldest firemaking methods that huntsmen have been using ever since the medieval era is the bow and drill method. It was essential for hunters to know how to make fire back then because they would stay in the forests for many days and would always opt to cook their game after they catch it. Today, it is still a widely used method by our modern day hunters when they need to make a fire in the woods. The big question is, how do hunters make fires with just their bow and a wooden drill?

Bow Drill MethodPhoto Source: http://www.survivalsullivan.com

Setting up your kit

In order to use this method of firemaking, you must first have a kit with the necessary equipment and materials. In your kit, you will be needing a fireboard, a wooden drill, a handhold, a bow, a coal catcher, and a tinder bundle. Once you have all of those things ready in your kit, you are good to go.

Creating a fire

The first thing that you have to do is carve a small hole in the fireboard, preferably somewhere near the edge. After that, you have to tightly coil the drill with the string that came from your bow. Once the string has been tightly coiled around the drill, place the tip of the drill on the hole of the fireboard. Take out your handhold and place it on the top of the drill to keep it steady. Always remember to keep the drill erect and upright.

bow and drill methodPhoto source: http://survivaltek.com

Once everything is in place, step on the fireboard with your left foot and tightly grip the handhold with your left hand (put your right foot on the fireboard and grip the handhold with your right hand if you are a lefty). Make sure that your wrist is touching your shin so that your grip will have more support. After that, place your right knee on the ground so that your body will be closer to the drill. Once you have placed yourself in position, then hold the bow tightly with your right hand and do a push and pull motion with the bow. It is best to start slowly and then speed up as you get more used to the motion. When you go fast enough, you should be able to see at least some smoke coming out from the connection of the drill and the fireboard. You can stop first at this point.

Next, take the drill away and leave the fireboard in its place. Create a small hole on the fireboard where the drill was pointed at. By doing this, you will be collecting the wood dust that comes from the drilling. The wood dust will not exactly be wood dust anymore but will become coal that can be used to ignite a fire. Put the coal catcher under the hole so that you can get the coal while you drill. Now, keep on burning the fireboard until you see dust that actually has smoke. This is a sign that the dust has been turned into coal.

After some time, you are going to collect a lot of coal in your coal catcher. Let the coal keep on burning until it is already glowing orange. After that, put the coal into your tinder bundle and slowly blow at it. In a while, fire should appear on the tinder bundle.

Choosing the Right Wood

When you get your fireboard, you have to make sure that you get good quality wood that can burn easily. Some of the trees that are know for providing good wood that burns right away are cedar, willow, juniper, basswood, and cottonwood.

Although this is one of the most primitive methods of firemaking, it is in fact still the most effective and most useful if you are not carrying any matches or lighters with you. If you are a hunter that often hunts for the game in the forest for games, then learning the bow and drill firemaking method is a must. At the very least, you have to know how to keep warm and cook food with whatever limited resources you have with you. Of all the firemaking methods available, the bow and drill is the most efficient.

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