Bowdrill from scratch.

I went into Wells State Forest in Massachusetts, a place I hadn’t been before, with just a knife and some cordage and got a fire from scratch.

I was in a forest of mixed red and white pine, oaks and red maple ( sorry no pictures, left the camera back home). I searched around for some dry materials, it had been damp recently, and found plenty of oak leaves still on the trees. Everything on the ground was damp. I then broke a dead maple branch in half lengthwise and came out with a ready formed depression for the handhold on the inside of a knot.

I then went to the top of a high rock ledge for the spindle and hand hold. As I thought everything was dryer up there and I broke some dead branches from the white pines.

I carved up the set and got the tinder bundle ready. I had picked up a bow stick and got that ready too. I used some pitch from the red pines to lubricate the handhold and started to burn in the hearthboard.

I struggled for a while with all the little things that can go wrong with a bowdrill. It seemed this set had every problem that any set I’ve ever used had, the spindle was tapered, my first notch was too wide and it burned out that side, causing the spindle to fly out most annoyingly, among others.

Finally after much cursing, on what would have been the last try, I got a coal and blew it to flame. It was a great feeling to be able to make fire outside of the comfort of the familiar.


2 thoughts on “Bowdrill from scratch.

  1. I cheated and used paracord. Next time, maybe in spring when the ground is not frozen I will try roots. By the way you are very prolific, and the stuff you make is beutifull. Andy

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