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As the name suggests, primitive methods of starting fires are about using items found naturally in the environment and crafting contraptions that aid in igniting a fire.


This method of lighting a fire basically uses friction. In this method, a hardwood shaft is used for rubbing against a base of softer wood. Start by cutting a straight groove in the soft base wood, then using a hardwood stick; plow the tip up and down the groove. The plowing of the shaft creates small wood fiber particles, and as you continue to apply pressure with each stroke, the friction created ignites the wood fibers to ignite the kindling or tinder.


This technique is slightly more difficult than Fire- Plow and requires a bit of patience, but once you figure it out, it’s perhaps the best primitive way to start a fire. This particular method uses a bow and drills. The items you need are as follows.

• SOCKET: A socket is a piece of hardwood or stone you can easily grasp in one hand, and has a concave depression on the other side which holds the drill in its place, along with allowing the holder to apply downward pressure.
• DRILL: The drill needs to be a seasoned, straight hardwood stick that’s about 2cm in diameter and about a foot long. Ideally, the top end of the stick, which will fit in the socket, should be round and the lower end should be a blunt uneven surface, so it can produce the appropriate friction needed to start a fire.
• FIRE BOARD: The size of this board is up to you, but the wood should be seasoned softwood no thinner than 2.5 cm. Create a depression of 2 cm on one side of the board’s edge, using whatever tools you have available. The depression should preferably be of V-shape from the edge.
• BOW: Lastly, the bow is a green stick about 2.5 cm in diameter and about 1.5 feet long. Take a piece of string and bend the stick in a bow-like fashion and firmly tie the string on both ends to create a bow.

Once you’ve accumulated the items required, first prepare a fire lay. Then place the v-shaped end of the fire board on top of a bundle of tinder. Now put one of your feet on top of the fire board, loop the bowstring with the drill and place the blunt end on the depression you created on the fire board. Use the socket to hold the drill in place and press down on it.

Now use the bow just as you’d use a saw, back and forth to twirl the drill. Once the drill gets in a smooth motion, apply more pressure on the socket to create a downward pressure and move the bow faster. This action will create a hot black powder in the tinder which will cause it to catch a spark. As soon as that happens, blow on the spark until the tinder ignites.

This concludes the chapters of how one can gather, create, and ignite a fire. Hone your skill in these techniques to best prepare yourself when disaster strikes.

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