Hand Drill Fire-Making TipsNo one knows for sure what 2012 may or may not bring, but it is always good to be prepared.
Fire is necessary for many things from cooking, keeping warm, and warding off unwanted hostile animals.
Here is an idea to make a hand drill for making a fire
The hand drill friction fire-making method was a popular fire-starting technique of hunter-gatherers worldwide.
It consists of two parts (a drill and fireboard), where the drill is made of a dead plant stalk, and the fireboard is constructed from a dead branch or piece of wood.
At its most basic level, the technique consists of spinning the drill between your hands on a notched fireboard to create enough friction to create sawdust, extreme heat, and then a coal.Basics
Collect a straight section of a dead plant stalk or tree/shrub branch that is approximately the width of your pinky finger.
The best woods to use have a small pith (soft section in the center).
Cut the drill down to a length of about 18 inches.
Collect a branch or piece of wood from a medium-softwood tree.
A simple thumbnail test can be done to check the hardness of the wood.
Press your thumbnail into the wood.
If you can't make a mark, the wood is too dense.
If your thumbnail easily makes a big deep mark, the wood is too soft.
If your thumbnail makes a small indentation when pressed onto the wood, the density is correct.
Some of the better woods include: western red cedar, quaking aspen, and black cottonwood.
Cut the wood down to the same thickness as the width of the drill (approximately the same width as your pinky finger).
Carve in a slight indentation to serve as a guide for the drill, about half a drill width in from the edge of the fireboard.
The basic drilling technique is to put the large end of the drill into the indentation on the fireboard, clasp the drill between your hands and spin it by moving each hand forward and back while putting a lot of pressure inward on the drill and downward towards the fireboard.
This often results in your hands slipping down the drill as you spin it.
The first step is to slightly burn in your drill into the fireboard. Once this is done the notch can be created.
Now that the drill has been slightly burned into the top of the fireboard you can carve the notch.
The notch should extend from the edge of the fireboard to almost all the way to the center of the drilling hole (but not to the center).
The width of the notch should be about a 1/8 pie slice shape (about a 45 degree angle).
The size and shape of the notch is extremely important, as this is what allows the correct mixture of sawdust, heat, and oxygen to combine to create a coal.
Take your time to carve the notch properly.
5...Making a Coal:
Now your "contraption" is ready to make a coal.
The drilling technique is now very important and the goal is to create sawdust and lots of heat.
Success depends on creating just the right mix of speed and pressure.
Drilling at a high speed without enough downward pressure can cause the board to glaze (become shiny and slippery) with no dust being created and little heat created.
Too much downward pressure can cause the drill to quickly bore through the fireboard without creating enough heat.
To successfully create a coal you want to begin drilling at a comfortable, jogging-like type of pace.
You want to see some smoke coming out of the notch area, though your primary goal at first is to fill the notch with dust.
Once the notch is filled with dust it is time to switch into a vigorous, sprint-like pace, where your goal is to increase speed and downward pressure (and thus heat), so that smoke billows out from the notch, extreme heat is created, and the dust ignites into a coal.
Once the coal is created, it can be put into a tinder bundle and blown into a flame.
Try to use the entire surface of both of your hands (from finger tips to the bottom of your palm) and use both hands equally.
This gives you the most rotations before needing to change direction.
Using just a portion of your hands to drill or primarily using one hand or the other can be a hard habit to break.
You also want to move your hands back to the top of the drill quickly without taking the drill out of the notch (this helps maintain heat in the notch).
Learning this technique can take lots of practice so please be patient.
Practice a little bit each day and stop before you develop blisters.
If you do get blisters, let them heal and wait a week or so before practicing again.
This skill can take persistence but may come in very handy if 2012 is not nice.