Knowing how to light a fire and more importantly how to maintain it is a skill many people have forgotten. On every course we run, people are amazed that you don’t need a modern day lighter or box of matches, the one method that everybody relates to Bushcraft is Fire by Friction or (Rubbing 2 sticks together).

Selecting the correct pieces of wood is essential, there are many species of wood that will work but one of the easiest native woods is Sycamore. When you find a Sycamore tree you want to find a nice piece of dry dead wood and something that is still standing (not a piece thats been laying on the ground). When you cut it you should just about be able to make an impression in the end with your thumbnail. If its to dead and soft it wont work so dont waste time trying. Once you have chosen your wood it’s time to carve.

In the picture you can see the 4 main parts of the set that you need to make. The Bow, The Drill, The Hearth and the Bearing Block.

You want to use the same wood for your Hearth and Drill. The bow has a loose string that tightens when its wrapped around the Drill. The hearth needs to be about 2cms thick and as straight as possible.  The Drill needs to be carved nice and round about as thick as your thumb and about 12″ long sharpened on 1 end and blunt on the other.

The Bearing block can be any wood that is harder then the drill.

Once you wrap the bow string around the Drill and placed it all in place its time to ‘bed the set in.’ This means spinning the Drill onto the Hearth so that it creates a nice black circle. Once you have the circle it’s time to cut the notch out which will be where your ember will form. Cut the notch out of the Hearth 1/8th of the diameter of the black circle and ensure it goes to the centre of the circle.

Then it’s time to give it a go. Wrap the string round the Drill, place the Drill in its circle and hold it in place with the Bearing Block.

Now start off slow and move the Bow back and forth in a steady rhythym. You will hopefully see smoke fairly quickly. You should also see fine black dust falling into your notch. Keep going until your notch is full up and smoke is coming from it and not the bottom of the Drill.

Carefully move the Drill and Hearth away and your pile of dust should continue smoking.

This is your Ember. Treat it like a new born baby. CAREFULLY place your ember into a pre prepared bundle of Dry Grass and blow it into life.

Soon you will have Fire..