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Tips for starting off with bow drill/hand drill

JordyPordy

Russell Coight
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Hi,

I'm just getting into bushcraft and am wondering where to start with acquiring bow/hand drill skills. I don't have massive amounts of time during the week; any ideas? Should I practice carving my own set? Or just buy a pre-made one to start with?

Cheers
 

Thrud

Richard Proenneke
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Personally I would do it myself, that way you will know what to do. What you use depends on where you are based, I can only speak to WA where I used the spear from a grass tree. Some knives have bearing blocks built in, but making your own is easy. For the cordage, get starter cord. It is hard work to get an ember(at least for me)
The components are important, but technique and the little bits of extra knowledge such as using some grass or oil from the side of you nose to lube the bearing block, bracing against the ankle, using a bit of sand or charcoal if the hole is becoming too squeaky.
I know there are others on the forum who are far more expert than me.

Welcome to the forum and post a little about yourself on the intro page, it is a very friendly and helpful forum.
 

Taplow

John McDouall Stuart
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The wood type is key. Gum seems to be hopeless for most people - lots of smoke but no ember even after a lot of effort. If you can't find a grass tree spear, willow or pine have worked well for me and are easy to carve. I often use these as the bottom board even with a grass tree drill, as a thick grass tree stem that isn't too soft has been hard for me to find until recently.
 

JordyPordy

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Thanks guys. Hoping to get into this when I move out of the city into a bit more of a bush environment at the end of the year!
 

Mozzie

Richard Proenneke
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what the guys say above is sound re timbers you use but my one tip is,

you need to have a good nest of fine tinder and twigs to set your ember in, there are always two sections to fire lighting...

1: getting a glowing ember and 2: make that ember into flame.

Go with the bow drill first as it is not so hard on hands and arms.

read the threads in the "fire" section you have posted in and

watch youtubes, heaps out there.

one more thing, just give it a go and have fun, cant say you will get an ember first go but you could be lucky....even
the best of us dont always get an ember.

let us know how you go

Mozz

Timbers
-----------------------------------------------
Grass Tree / Black boy - Drill and hearth
Poinciana
Morton Bay Fig
Lantana
Pepper Tree - Drill and Hearth
Poplar
White Cedar
Black Wattle
Cottonwood
Mangrove
Tea Tree
Mango
Blue Gum
Crab Apple
Bougainvillea Vine
Morton Bay Fig
Lantana
Poplar
White Cedar
Black Wattle
Mangrove
Tea Tree
Blue Gum


Native Tinder Materials
----------------------------------------------
Inner bark of the Stringy Bark Tree
Eucalyptus rubida (candle bark)
Inner core of Aloe
Inner core of Grass Tree
Heads of Cattails
 
Last edited:

Tokoroanz

Russell Coight
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what the guys say above is sound re timbers you use but my one tip is,

you need to have a good nest of fine tinder and twigs to set your ember in, there are always two sections to fire lighting...

1: getting a glowing ember and 2: make that ember into flame.

Go with the bow drill first as it is not so hard on hands and arms.

read the threads in the "fire" section you have posted in and

watch youtubes, heaps out there.

one more thing, just give it a go and have fun, cant say you will get an ember first go but you could be lucky....even
the best of us dont always get an ember.

let us know how you go

Mozz

Timbers
-----------------------------------------------
Grass Tree / Black boy - Drill and hearth
Poinciana
Morton Bay Fig
Lantana
Pepper Tree - Drill and Hearth
Poplar
White Cedar
Black Wattle
Cottonwood
Mangrove
Tea Tree
Mango
Blue Gum
Crab Apple
Bougainvillea Vine
Morton Bay Fig
Lantana
Poplar
White Cedar
Black Wattle
Mangrove
Tea Tree
Blue Gum


Native Tinder Materials
----------------------------------------------
Inner bark of the Stringy Bark Tree
Eucalyptus rubida (candle bark)
Inner core of Aloe
Inner core of Grass Tree
Heads of Cattails
Hey mozzie
Is there a preference as which Woods to use as a hearth board? I am in central west nsw and a lot of those times are not readily available
 

Mozzie

Richard Proenneke
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Hey mozzie
Is there a preference as which Woods to use as a hearth board? I am in central west nsw and a lot of those times are not readily available
A good rule of thumb is to try any timber that is well dry AND pliable enough that you can make a slight finger nail mark in it.

If its the bow drill your trying the bearing block needs to be any sort of hard wood,
you dont want heat friction here, even a bit of squished green leaf can help in the bearing hole.

cheers Mozz
 

Aussie123

Never Alone In The Bush
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I'll go a bit further on what Mozzie says ... if you have some wood at home, start with that !
I don't think it matters what sort it is, just use it and have have a play.
It "probably" won't work (because the type of wood does matter), but the techniques for preparing it and using bow etc will teach you heaps.

Then when you get some "good" wood, you will already have some knowledge and experience
 

Tokoroanz

Russell Coight
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I've got some Cootamundra wattle for my hearth board and red gum for a spindle
I can get a bit of smoke so far
 
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