Starting a fire with sticks is a big part of off-grid living.
It’s also a necessary survival skill for disasters and emergencies.
Luckily sticks are found almost anywhere.
When you are out camping, hiking, or fishing and lose your fire equipment, you can use sticks to start a fire.
Critical survival skills like starting fire or water procurement are worth knowing.
There are different ways you can create a fire with sticks.
Here is the bow drill technique…
Step 1: Choosing the Bow and Spindle
An outdoor explorer should always be ready with an emergency fire kit.
If you forget your matches at home, you should have an alternative.
To successfully start a fire with sticks, you need to pick the spindle and bow carefully.
Don’t pick a branch that is decaying or too dried to make your bow or spindle.
If it’s dry, ensure the wood you pick is very thick to avoid breakage.
Harvesting live wood can be challenging.
Sometimes you may not be permitted to hack at trees in the plot of land.
That is why it’s better to use deadwood.
However, deadwood may not provide enough flexibility for the bow.
But you can use a recently cut branch.
The spindle should not be too hard; it should only be strong enough to sustain the amount of friction you need.
Remove the bark on the spindle branch and shape it to fit in the fireboard.
Your fireboard should be as dry as possible. It should also be flat to avoid wobble movements.
Use a knife or stone to cut a hole on the fireboard for the spindle. Mount your bowstrings before you proceed.
Step 2: Gather Tinder and Kindling.
After you have your tools ready, the next step is gathering your tinder and kindling.
Do not underestimate this stage because it will determine your success.
For your tinder, gather anything fibrous and dry.
They should be able to catch fire with a simple spark.
The lighter the tinder, the better for your fire-making.
Tinder is the first thing you will burn; that is why they need to be dry and delicate.
Shredded plant fibres and dried moss are good examples.
Kindling can be a bit larger if you want.
Gather small pieces of food that you will add to the tinder once it catches fire.
Avoid the kindling on the ground because the wood can be moist.
Go for the tiny dead branches that are caught between trees.
They have to be very dry to burn well and support the tinder you have gathered.
Step 3: Find Larger Wood.
The tinder and kindling are not enough to sustain the fire for a long time.
You will need to add larger pieces of wood to keep the fire going.
You need a stack of wood ready before you start the fire.
The tinder will burn fast; there won’t be enough time to start looking for wood then.
The large pieces of food also need to be very dry. Look for dead trees because they are the best source of dry wood.
Once you gather the wood, don’t throw it directly on the ground.
Put a piece of cloth or paper to prevent wetness from the setting from getting to the wood.
Make a small tinder nest before you go on to the next stage.
Step 4: Start The Fire
This is the last step where it all comes down to.
You should go back to your bow, spindle and fireboard to make your fire.
Start creating massive frictions using the tools.
Ensure you maintain steady movements, and your fireboard and spindle should be firmly in place.
Repeat the friction until it builds up and turn the friction point into a hot ember.
Ensure you have enough spark to start a fire before you stop the friction.
Quickly transfer the ember into your tinder nest.
If you are successful, it will ignite the nest then you can start blowing.
Blow the nest to make the fire bigger and steadily add your kindling. After the kindling catches fire, you can start introducing the larger woods.
If starting a fire just with sticks seems like too much work you can choose one of the best permanent matches here.
Starting A Fire With Sticks…
This is the process you can use to start a fire with sticks…
- Choosing the bow and spindle
- Gather tinder and kindling
- Find larger wood
- Start the fire
All of these points are covered in detail in this post.
I am an independent safety and survival expert and consultant. I have over 15+ years of experience working with corporations and individuals to help identify, remediate and prepare for threats and and disasters. I help clients understand risks and blog about my thoughts and techniques at DisasterShelters.net