Bow Drill Fire

Fire by Friction

Fire by Friction

Rather than creating a spark into tinder, fire by friction causes the fuel to heat up until it reaches the combustion temperature and ignites. This is around 800 degrees fahrenheit. Moisture is the biggest obstacle to overcome when attempting to create fire by rubbing wood. Start with extremely dry wood and keep it dry to ensure success. In areas of higher humidity, more effort is required.

Following are some of the more common methods of creating fire by friction in order of increasing complexness. All of these methods create a coal of smoldering wood dust which is then transfered to waiting tinder to be coaxed into flame. They also employ one piece of hard wood and another slightly softer wood which wears away. Neither of these woods should be too soft nor too hard. Excessive resin in the wood will also cause failure since it will cause the wood to become polished and smooth.

These are simple introductions to each method. Individual success depends on strength, practice, materials used, and troubleshooting. These methods require a lot of effort and consistency.
Some woods to consider using:

Fire Plow

fire plow

Fire Saw

fire saw

Hand Drill

hand drill fire making A smooth, straight shaft of wood is spun between the palms of the hands, forcing the tip of it into the hearth wood, generating an ember.

Bow Drill

hand drill fire making The bow drill is the most common primitive fire making method demonstrated at shows and classes.

Move Along: Fire Pistons

Ask Campfire Dude

Find more Campfire Info at
boy scouts merit badges scout software listeria testing hiking
Campfire Home
Fire Physics
Why Fire?
Preparing 4 Fire
Fire Fuel
Laying a Fire
Lighting a Fire
Killing a Fire
Fire Starters
Fire Starting Aids
Campfire Cooking
Fire Options
Campfire Program
Campfire Magic
Campfire Links
About Me
Other Dudes