Wildwood Survival website

Tracker Knife
Pitch & Glue
Lyme Disease
Native People
Emergency Prep
Young People
Wilderness Mind
Site Disclaimer
About this site
Use of material
Privacy Policy

Hand Drill Pictures & Movies

Techniques, tips, photos, and general information


Hand Drill set made by Anthonio Akkermans

Photo and set by Anthonio Akkermans

Here's a photo of a hand drill set. There are 2 drills shown along with a fireboard.

Notice that the drill on the right has had a "bit" fixed to the end of the drill. This is done when it is hard to find a piece of wood, or other suitable plant, that is long enough for the drill. In this case a shorter piece of the suitable drill material is affixed to the end of a longer piece of wood. This longer piece of wood might be of a type that is not suitable for creating the friction necessary to make a coal. 

When the drill bit wears out, the worn piece is removed and another, fresh piece is attached. 


These hand drill are made from local materials found in Ontario
Photos and movies by Walter Muma

The following picture and movie were taken at the Wildwood Trackers meeting in February 2002.


Peter Moc is demonstrating...
Note his position, how both legs are kept out of the way of his hands.


Click on the small photo to watch the hand drill in operation

Windows Media format (WMV)
320x240, 351 KB


This movie was taken at the Wildwood Trackers meeting in June 2002.

Again, it's Peter Moc who is demonstrating.

Click on the small photo to watch the hand drill in operation

Windows Media format (WMV)
320x240, 633 KB

Hand drill made in Arizona, from sotol, by Rob Bicevskis

Hand drill, demonstration, photo and movie by Rob Biceviskis.

Click on the small photo to watch the hand drill in operation

Windows Media format (WMV)
320x240, 1.6 MB


Photo by Rob Bicevskis

Here is a photo of Sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri).  One of the common names is "desert spoon."

Photo by Anthonio Akkermans

Here's another hand drill position.

Making the Hand drill easier

Get a long straight stick, notch the top to allow a string to fit in it.  Take a long string, about 1 and 1/2 times as long as the stick.  Tie 2 loops in the ends that are big enough to slip over your thumbs.  Don't use slip knots!  Put the middle of the string in the notch, put your thumbs in the loops then pull down and twist the stick back and forth.  The string should allow good down pressure while keeping your hands from slipping down the stick. 


Mouth-assisted hand-drill

Photo by Daniel Spuhler

The hardest part of Hand-drill is in getting enough downward pressure on the drill to make enough friction to generate heat.

This photo shows one method of easily achieving this. The top of the drill fits into a socket in a small piece of wood, which is then held in the mouth. A suitable "handle" is made on the top of the piece of wood. This is being demonstrated here by Kristy, an instructor at the Tracker School.

BE CAREFUL using this method, that you don't injure your mouth or damage your teeth, which could happen if the drill slips out of its socket!!


Mare's Tail
Photos by Walter Muma
Mare's Tail is a weed that is very effective as a hand drill when dried. It grows almost everywhere. It is usually found in open fields, and is about 3-5 feet tall. Here are a couple of photos of it.

This plant is also known as Horseweed (Erigeron canadensis).


Here is a photo of the upper part of the plant.

There's also a few photos of it here.



A closer view of the flower/seed head (this one has gone to seed).