Hand Drill - Smoke no coal

ScatMan

Russell Coight
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Hi everyone,
I've been lurking in the shadows for some time now, learning as much as I can.

I've been very actively trying to learn the art of the hand drill and the 'float' technique for the past week, practicing each day.
I'm using a grass tree for the board and grass tree for the spindle. I'm getting smoke every attempt in about three minutes or so, but alas no coal!!
Am I possibly stopping too early? Any thoughts?

P.S I've also tried cassinia as a spindle and got same amount of smoke in a very similar way
Thanks :)



26987
 

Thrud

Richard Proenneke
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Pics look the biz. Once you start getting smoke give it a bit of extra for about 30secs at full throttle. Is it squeaking a lot? If so you could try adding a tiny pinch of sand.
 

Mozzie

Richard Proenneke
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if your getting smoke, you need to continue a bit longer so to build more heat and more dust, then a red ember should grow in the dust.

dont move the hearth board to soon to have a look you need to let the ember grow.

and what Aussie123 says ... go with a bit wider notch.

also is it dry weather where you are? if the air is dampish can make it a bit more challenging ;)
 

ScatMan

Russell Coight
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Thanks for the great advice everyone. I will give it another crack tomorrow. I tried tonight but the base board split between the 2 notches twice on me just as I was getting good smoke!!
 

Requiem

Malcolm Douglas
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When I first tried using burrawang stalks I found I eased so eager to dry out the hearth board that I split then down the middle resulting in two very thin boards. By the time enough material was generated I'd run out of board. Now I only lightly plane down opposite sides. Second, the notch matters as stated above. On top of wider, I also ensure it goes to the centre of the circle and is lightly tapered underneath. Lastly, start slow and light to warm everything up (as long as a minute in damp weather) , then press down hard, very hard, and make yourself a mountain of fluffy dusty material. When I see some smoke I'm usually tired so I slow down but press down harder to really grind and generate friction. When I'm done I gently tap the drilled hole with the spindle tip to force a little air puff down into to ember and leave everything as is. If I have to go again, i don't want the fluffy mound of dust to be disturbed. Is best to help yourself add much as possible to dial in what works best for you. Go ahead clamp the board down so you cam focus on drilling. Use a table to raise it all up so you can bear down more. Once you get it to work, challenge yourself to do it again in more difficult circumstances. Good luck.
 

Kindliing

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Sounds like a lot of good advice here.

When last in the tropics I tried to make fire with the grass tree stalk, I stuck it in the electric drill after much trying and still it didn't start.

Too much moisture I would guess, I've seen a lot of the so called survival experts on commercial tv challenges like naked and afraid fail trying to light primitive fire in the jungle.
 

Requiem

Malcolm Douglas
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I had a similar experience but with a fallen stalk I got off the ground. Once the base was split I found it was dry enough after spending a day in the sun (it's pithy so it dries quick). The drill on the other hand took two days. Until then I could barely get any smoke going. I guess it fits the observations of fire kits being stored and transported as dry as possible as opposed to the miraculous TV shows where they stumble upon bone dry balsa or fat wood.
 

koalaboi

Ray Mears
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I have found grasstree stalks to be the best but, that being said, you need to just get the right combination of stalks. Some are hopeless amnd others get a glowing coal in just a couple of minutes. They need to be very dry and well cured. Not too hard but not too soft. I recon the shot is to get a range of sticks to use and work on combinations. A mate showed me too that the notch needs to be perhaps a little wider at the bottom to ensure that the coal has space to form and plenty of air to ignite.
 

Timbo

Malcolm Douglas
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all good advice. I noticed when I used large grasstree stalks that if the middle is 'porous' for use of a better word, then I also got a lot of brown dust. it wasn't until I got to the harder outer layer that then heated up and produced a good coal. On another note I found something that increases your chances of success, it might be cheating but I've added a broken fidget spinner bearing set to hand piece.
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Boogers

Russell Coight
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all good advice. I noticed when I used large grasstree stalks that if the middle is 'porous' for use of a better word, then I also got a lot of brown dust. it wasn't until I got to the harder outer layer that then heated up and produced a good coal. On another note I found something that increases your chances of success, it might be cheating but I've added a broken fidget spinner bearing set to hand piece.
View attachment 27267
That's really clever, I'm guessing the hand piece would last a lot longer now?

Anyone know the best wood to use in Vic? I got lots of red gum and wattles. Most of the guides I've found so far have been for up north.
 

Timbo

Malcolm Douglas
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That's really clever, I'm guessing the hand piece would last a lot longer now?

Anyone know the best wood to use in Vic? I got lots of red gum and wattles. Most of the guides I've found so far have been for up north.
Yeah it's my lucky hand piece, the other hole was waxed, but it was getting on. Another advantage of the bearing is the 'spin' of the drill is alot more consistent.
 
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