Making and Using a Hand Drill To Start a Fire

This post was last updated on July 1st, 2021 at 08:35 am

Hand Drill Fire Starting

This is a great way to make a fire in the wild. Learning this method will surely increase your bushcraft survival skills. I will also show you a little secret that will make this much easier than you could imagine. A fire drill is usually one of the most difficult ways to start a fire in the wild. Check out the step by step tutorial below and you will be able to make a fire using this primitive method.

Step 1).

Find 2 soft wooden sticks. These will need to be dead and well seasoned in order to work. You don’t want sticks with high (or any if possible) moisture content. Tie the 2 sticks together at the ends, they don’t need to be terribly tight together.

Step 2). Finding and Making your Hand Drill

This single piece of wood should ideally be made of a harder wood type than your bottom sticks.

  • Smooth any rough edges off your stick
  • Make sure it is as straight as possible: crooked sticks will rarely work well (if at all).
  • Cut a notch in the top of your drill
  • Round off the bottom so it will spin freely in the crack of your lower sticks.Step-2-fire-hand-drill

Step 3). Make a Hand Harness From Cordage

This is the often overlooked secret to making a fire using the hand drill method. By making a small harness to hold your thumbs, you can keep the drill in place as you spin it. Usually you will have to stop spinning in order to re-position your hands, which causes you to lose all of your heat creating progress. With this string in place, you can continue drilling and never stop because your hands stay in position. Not to mention, you can apply more pressure to create more heat.How to make a fire drill

Making the Fire

  • Place your base sticks on top of a sheet of bark to catch your coal and use as a base.
  • Find some easy starting tinder material, punky dry powdery wood, paper etc.
  • Place a bunch of your tinder under your drill and in between the crack of your 2 base sticks.
  • Drill like crazy until you see a small coal. If you have gloves I would advise you wear them. Blisters will come quickly if your hands are soft.
  • Add your coal to more kindling, blowing on it slowly and gently to help it along
  • Once you have a flame, place it below your tinder and fan until it is a full fledged fire.