How To: Start a fire with the hand drill

Start a fire with the hand drill

John Campbell instructs the audience on using the hand drill method of starting a friction fires. First, you can use a piece of cottonwood as your fire-board (in his opinion, cottonwood is the best). You need to carve a small round hole about a quarter of an inch away from the edge on the fire-board. Then, you get the spindle going (take a sturdy stick and rub between your hands, scraping the stick across the board). This helps you create a good indention, where you can carve a deep notch into the center of the hole, so it can hold more dust. Next, you need your tinder bundle. It's a mix of dried grass and bark, and you should work it in your hands until it's broken up and feels soft. Then, roll it up to make a bird's nest shape. Then, place under piece of cotton wood under the first piece (with the hole). Then, put your knee on the board, or sit and put your foot on it, to steady the board. Then you need to rub the stick between your hands. Start out slow, be patient, and let friction build up. When it starts to smoke, increase your speed and pressure. Keep going, and when the pile starts to smoke on its own, fan the ember, then put it into the tinder bundle, and blow gently on it until you can see flames.

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