Within a survival situation it isn’t always possible to have a survival kit at hand. Maintaining warmth is one of the key factors for survival and staying alive. Fire through friction is one of the most fascinating but primitive survival skills to master and is achievable with a little know how and equipment.
So what do you need? If you have items with you from a survival kit these are often the first things that can be utilised. Items such as paracord or a survival bracelet are advantageous, however shoe laces from walking boots and rope or cordage from a backpack can also be used.
So how does it work and aid survival? If you take the concept of rubbing your hands together in order to generate heat through friction this is what you are trying to achieve. The bow-drill is a tool that utilises this concept to start a fire and is made out of easily scavenged parts in a woodland area. The bow-drill or fire bow as it is sometimes called is made up of four basic parts. The bow (constructed of sapling and paracord), the bows handle (softwood), the drill (spindle) and the fireboard (softwood). Constructing the fire bow is a relatively easy task in any survival situation and the best material for a bow-drill is a light sturdy sapling with the length ideally longer than your arm from shoulder to fingertip which can be also viewed at http://survivalzone.co/. Take this sapling and tie the paracord to each end so that it resembles an archery bow. A softwood is then required to create the spindle, hand-hold and fire board.
I have most success when using a spindle no larger than six inches in length and and no bigger than � inch wide. It is important that that whatever you make the spindle from, it has to be round and straight. If the spindle is not straight it will not rotate correctly in the bow making the process increasingly difficult. Once selected carve both ends of the spindle to a blunt point.
The Hand Hold
Find something that is comfortable to fit into your hand. You will use this to apply pressure to the spindle in order to create friction against the fire board. Carve out a small notch to accommodate the blunted end of the spindle.
The Fire board needs to be in proportion to your spindle. The key requirement for this part is that it is flat. If you have something from your survival kit that you can use to anchor this down it could be useful at this stage. For a spindle of around six inches you should aim to make a fire board around half an inch thick. Again carve out a notch for the spindle. This need to be snug enough to hold the spindle in place but loose nought to allow it to rotate.
Putting it all together
Place the fire board onto flat ground and wrap the string of your bow around the spindle once. Insert the bottom end of the spindle into the notch you created in the fireboard and the top end in the notch created for the handhold. Move the fire bow backwards and forwards in a sawing motion whilst applying pressure downwards with the hand-hold. After a period of time wood dust will form and start to smoke onto the fireboard. This will be hot enough to ignite a tinder ball which is the first step in lighting any fire.
Of course the key to any survival situation is being prepared. A small survival kit previously prepared will aid you in starting fires or present you with the tools required to build items such as the “Fire Bow” which cannot be carried in a survival kit.