How to Starting a Fire With Friction

 Have you ever heard about using sticks to make fire when you’re in the wild? What is the first thing appears in your mind when you hear the phrase “Wilderness Survival”? Maybe you’ll think of something like water or food, but I bet you the first thing came to your mind is also the fire. Because fire can give you the things that water can’t give, like warmth, signaling, cooking, protection from wild animals and the most crucial thing, I think, is hope.

The relationship of fire and life is just like the flowers and sunshine. Without sunshine, the flowers will not grow up well, and without fire, your life will lose some color. Imagine that, when you’re lost in the wild and the sky is getting dark, you may be scared and don’t know what to do, your mind is blank and your body is shaking because it’s cold, at this moment, the flames come into your eyes, you’ll feel power and hope in your heart, this is the strength of the fire. If you can make fire, you can make it. The fire controlled a kind of natural forces, thus the person is since the animal kingdom disconnect opened.

How to start a fire by some fire starting tools is what I want to talk today. And we can discuss what is the best survival fire starter. Hope this essay can bring you some ideas that you can use when you’re in the wild.

These methods may seem as simple as turn on your light, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. When you begin to do that, you will find how hard it would be. Not only will the contact point become hot, so will your hands. If your hands can’t stand this kind of abuse, they will become bloody quickly. But if you give up at this time, all the effort will be in vain. And when you are really in the wild and you need to start fire to survive, at that time, you will ask yourself why can’t I persist. If you can practice in your daily life, you will be calm when that moment comes. Remember this, practice makes perfect and you can survive.

Fire Plow

Fire Plow


Fire Plow

   A fire plow uses the physics of friction in a special way. As we all know, the friction is often made by rotation, but in this way, the friction develops from sliding back-and-forth.

  • Use softer wood to form a flat plow board which is a couple inches across and 2 feet long.
  • Use harder wood to form a plow stick with a sharp tip.
  • Rub a groove about 6 or 8 inches in the board. This groove is where you’ll scrape the stick.
  • In order to keep the board steady, you should hold the board firm as shown. If the board is long, you can also kneel or sit on it.
  • Put the stick into the groove at about a 60 degree angle and push it forward at full tilt.
  • Release the pressure and pull the stick back.
  • Repeat the action quickly, push and pull, creating some wood dust and let the dust accumulate at the end of the groove.
  • Finally, the wood dust will be on fire.
Fire Saw

Fire Saw

Fire Saw

   This way is easy to execute but you need great effort to make fire. It’s hard to start fire in this way, but no pain, no gain, when the fire is on, you will feel powerful.

  • Put a small peg or pebble in the end of a softer wood stick which cracked along its length so that it can hold the two halves apart about a quarter inch.
  • Stuff the tinder in the crack.
  • Use a sharp harder wood stick to saw back-and-forth across the crack perpendicularly.
  • Sawdust will drop into the tinder, and you can heat it to develop a coal.
  • You can also use dried bamboo stalks for fire saw.


Hand Drill

   This method is the easiest one. It might be the first method to start fire. It’s an ancient way for human to start fire to cook and warm. Human’s brain is the smartest in this universe which we’ve known so far. High speed can be difficult to maintain because you only use your hand to rotate, you can place your foot on the fire board to keep it steady.

With this method, the fire is made by rotating the stick while adding pressure through stick into the board at the same time.

  • Find a harder-wood stick which is straight with few side branches, better none, and 18-24 inches long, a quarter or a half inch wide will be good.
  • Smooth all the dumps, knobs and roughness so that it can not hurt you.
  • Make a half inch think and 1 inch wide board with a fairly flat surface by cutting a piece of softer wood.
  • Cut a 1/8 inch groove from a side of the board in the top where you’ll seat the drill.
  • Keep the board steady with your foot and place the drill in the groove.
  • Rotate the drill with your palms to wear out the groove and make sure that the drill seats firmly.
  • Cut a notch half way in the groove from the edge to the center. When you twirl the drill, the dust will collect in this notch, so you can place a piece of bark to catch the dust which is fell.
  • Now spin your drill, repeat the same action at the top while the drill work its way at the bottom.
  • The wood dust will accumulate and the smoke rise, then put it into tinder.


Bow Drill

Bow Drill

Bow Drill

You may see this method in some movies, some heroes will use a bow to start fire. Of all these fire starting methods, the bow drill is the most efficient and effective which has a maintaining speed and steady tools to start fire, it’s also the easiest method to master. The right combination of fire board and spindle may help you start fire effectively, so search for different dry softer wood until you find the perfect one.

  • Use the flat softer wood to make the fire board, and cut a notch like the hand drill.
  • Use a smooth and straight harder wood stick to make the drill. The top of the drill should be sharp and the end should be rounded.
  • The bow must have a cord and wrap one around the drill.
  • Find a socket so that you can hold the drill in position and make a downward pressure. It also should have an indentation so that the drill’s end can seat nicely. Use resin to lubricate. (if you can’t find resin, you also can use the oil from your skin)
  • Press down on the socket, meanwhile, move the bow back-and-forth, let the drill burn.

Collect the ember and then you can start your fire.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top