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HomeSurvivalFireBowdrill

Bowdrill

 
Introduction

The bow drill is the easiest method of primitive fire-making for beginners to master, even though it is one of the more complicated in terms of the equipment used. However, the equipment is easy to make and is relatively uncomplicated in terms of its construction.

The bow drill consists of a spindle that sits on a fireboard, held in place at the top with a hand-hold. This spindle is spun rapidly back and forth by means of a bow. The bow is a curved piece of wood with a piece of cordage attached at each end.

To learn more about the bow drill, have a look at the following pages...

 

 

Three detailed articles by Peter Moc covering the construction and use of the bow-drill:

Peter is shown here getting an instant fire from a cedar fence post with just a single stroke of the bow-drill! 
  
...just kidding!  :)

  

 

A Friction Fire Inquiry: Bow Drill (now only on the Stone Age Skills website)
by Storm

At Home In The Wilderness Part III: Fire
by Tom Brown Jr., from Mother Earth News, Issue #73

How to Make a Starter Bowdrill Set From a Cedar Fencepost
Walter Muma

Bow Drill Pictures & Movies - Techniques, tips, photos, and general information
Various pictures & movies of bow-drills being made and used

Bow-drills from scratch in the wild
This report shows bow drills being made and used from scratch in the wild. 
- adapted from the Wildwood Trackers meeting report (Nov 2001)

Bow Drill Strings

Bow Drill Fireboards

Bow drill variations 
Some interesting and unusual variations on the standard bow drill.

Mini bow-drills - smaller-than-usual bow drills!

Large size bow-drills
Larger-than-usual bowdrills!

"Egyptian" bow-drills
A special way of winding the string on a bow drill

Bow Drills in the Winter
Overview of the issues, plus articles by Allan "Bow" Beauchamp

Bow & Drill - How to Find Dry Materials
by Frank Sherwood & Debbie Skougstad, from The Tracker magazine, Nov 1981

World Champion Bow Drill Fire
World Champion bow-driller Dudley Winn Smith explains how he gets a bowdrill fire in 7 seconds! (1937)!!
(PDF file)

Bow Drill Miscellaneous Information and Tips
Various tips and tidbits about bowdrill technique, construction, etc.

 


(photo by Allan "bow" Beauchamp)

Allan "bow" Beauchamp:
"Here is a friend from Holland who asked to go out one day in the bush.
We went to this spot, and once there I took out my fire board kit. This is him making his first fire ever with a fire board. He did a great job, and got it on the first try!"