This post was last updated on July 1st, 2021 at 08:35 am
When you are freezing cold and need a fire, there a few ways to make one. This is just another example of a relatively easy way to make a fire. A bow and drill can be made in just about any type of forest habitat. During survival, the ability to use this method could mean life or death!
The first thing you will need to find is a softwood log. This one was quite dead, and standing right on the side of the trail. It had been picked at by woodpeckers for quite some time it looked like. As you can see I split the log in half and made a couple of holes in it for the drill to set into. This should be pretty easy to do with just a couple minutes and any knife. The core of this log was still quite hard, which is what you want.
Here you can see the bow I have made out of tag alder. Any type of flexible wood will work for this.
The bow string is not very tight. If you have the string too tight it will be too much pressure and your drill won’t turn. The stick on the bottom of this picture is the drill. This has to be a harder wood than your base wood. Mine is oak, so we should have no problems there. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a very straight drill stick. Even the slightest curve will make this process very difficult. You will need to make the ends of your drill stick somewhat rounded, this way it will spin easily in its designated spot.
Foot rested on my base I begin to do some drilling
You should have some tinder placed into your base piece. Here I have used the chips and dust from the holes I carved into my parts. I also added some shredded birch bark. You don’t have to push downward hard. Its all about consistent pressure and speed. Make sure you use good cordage for this project. I used fairly cheap string and the outer layer frayed badly. Fortunately the inner core was much stronger.
Practice makes perfect when you are learning to make a fire with the bow and drill. One of the most delicate parts of this process is transferring the hot coal into your birds nest or bundle of dried grass etc. I can’t express enough how important it is to make sure you have dry easily lit material ready before starting to drill. Once the hot ember is in contact with your dry material you will have to blow very carefully to expand the fire. You will have trouble with this at first, but keep at it. Learning how to make a bow and drill is a great way to keep you alive if you ever get into trouble.