Author Topic: fiction fire issue  (Read 10423 times)

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Offline marianneg1973

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fiction fire issue
« on: March 24, 2021, 10:55:46 am »
I am new to making friction fire and I keep burning through my hearth board. I'm using horse weed spindle and white pine hearth board. I get good smoke but before I can get an ember I've went the whole way through my hearth board. Am I putting to much pressure on it? It's almost 1/4 inch thick. use free wheel generator to take complicated decision here
« Last Edit: March 25, 2021, 01:54:15 pm by marianneg1973 »

Offline Outbackbob48

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Re: fiction fire issue
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2021, 04:00:13 pm »
Marianneg1973, your hearth board should be at least the same thickness as your spindle, I have my best success with the same materials that you are using and my hearth board is about as thick as my little finger, I have only met one person who needed to back off on the down pressure, He was young big and stout. !/4" just seems a little thin. I used to try and muscle a coal out but have learned it is about finesse  and not all strength. I am 72 yrs young so strength is gone but last week turned a coal very easily. Long spindle and a couple of long easy passes to get heart and spindle warmed up, couple more passes to build dust up and 2 more with increased speed and down pressure when things are ready and a nice coal, Hope this helps Bob

Offline GlisGlis

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Re: fiction fire issue
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2021, 09:11:21 am »
Marianneg1973, friction fire (hand drill) is quite difficult. You need to learn the technique and the materials you're going to use
Be patient and keep practicing.   (=)

Offline StickMark

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Re: fiction fire issue
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2021, 02:33:51 pm »
Outback Bob is correct, in that form makes the fire. A positioning of the body that provides for as little tension allows longer, smoother strokes.
A fire board is wood, so not often 100% uniform density. A slight bend in cottonwood in one board I have yielded harder wood. I could get a coal easier out of that spot compared to the softer, and straighter wood, a few inches away/ Same fireboard, but a few inches mattered.

I worked as a guide, instructor, where the students started all fires by friction, and some flint and steel. If a fire set is not productive, make another, as wood varies not only between species, but in location and even in a few inches distance on a branch.

Keep at it. Check in and let us know how it is going.

Offline superdav95

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Re: fiction fire issue
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2021, 12:50:18 am »
Hello all I'm new to Primitive Archer. 


I would agree with all that has been said.  The
Íhand drill is difficult to master but when you do its a proud moment.  a friend of mine many years ago showed me a little trick that got me past my Handrill slump.  find yourself some mullen for your spindle. Horse whip will work too... preferably 2nd year stuff that is dead and dried up. it is sometimes referred to as cowboy toilet paper as the leaves are fluffy and soft.  the stalk is quite strong with a bit of sponge pith.  same rules apply and use a straight section about the diameter of baby finger that is long enough for you to get some good long passes on to get a hang of the technique.  once you get more comfortable try the float technique which allows you to stay on the upper third of the spindle.  the hearth board i typically use tulip poplar,  dead standing cedar or even willow.  these woods are not very hard.  but they will help you generate enough btus to get a coal. the trick is this... use a little pine sap or spruce sap and rub it onto the upper 2/3 of the spindle. Some use ash from the fire too but i find the sap little better. use a dried up piece of sap and rub it onto the spindle fast and hard like you would rub hockey tape on a stick. This will give you the purchase you need to put downward pressure on the spindle with control.  It will make a mess of your hands but something tells me if your trying to start a fire with sticks that you are not too worried about that. when im teaching a person friction fire with a hand drill this is the most common issue. Knowing how much pressure to put into the spindle.  if you hear it squeaking and to spindle gets shiny you will need to push down harder to get past squeak and you start to see smoke.  when you do see smoke ease up just a little and to gather a little pile of dark dust in you v notch.  if the dust is not dark brown to black and light in color you are not generating enough heat and may have a damp base or spindle or base is too soft and dead. you may need to heat treat your spindle a few times to get it dried.  this involves a using up a few holes in your board to burn in and then let sit to cool and become dryer and dryer as you do 4-5 burn ins letting them cool in between.  this gets the spindle and hearth dry and ready to get you an ember.  also i would personally not be using pine as it varies on sap content and acts as a lubricant and will not allow you to get enough heat generated. I know this sounds counter intuitive as fat wood is quite good for fire starting.  but in this case its acting like a lubricant. ill have my students use a piece of fat wood knot as a bearing block for this purpose when doing a bow drill.  I hope this helps you in some way.  cheers
Sticks and stones and other poky stabby things.