Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Great Balls of Fire!

If you've been following the blog along lately, you'll know that G has been learning the craft of primitive fire making, largely by trial and error. Well, tonight we dropped in on the Tararua Tramping Club to see a presentation and demonstration on the bow technique for fire making - G's method of choice.

After showing us a short video of himself doing this at home in daylight, our instructor Steve took the crowd outside so he could try to replicate his success live. He also had extra sets of materials handy, so some of the onlookers could also give it a try. The materials consist of a bow (slightly flexible stick and nylon cord), base (mahoe), spindle (kaikomako), and top grip (green hardwood).
He began by drilling into a slight depression in the base until it began to smoke, then cut a groove in the side to let the hot dust gather. Once it was smoking a lot, he gave it 30 or 40 strokes at high speed until there was an ember to dump out.
He used his hand to fan the ember for a minute or two before transferring it to a sort of basket made of sturdy grasses, and containing dry tinder. The idea is to swing the basket around so that air is forced through, helping the ember to light the tinder.
Eventually... well, you saw the photo at the top. Fire! We didn't take it any further because we were not in a particularly fire-friendly location. But at least one of the other people who tried it afterwards also got a flame. So at least we've seen for ourselves that it can be done!


Outdoor Culture said...

(Wo)Man make fire. It's really quite primal and very satisfying. I've learned a few bushcraft skills lately (see my blog at www.outdoorculture.com) and they do give you more ways to enjoy the natural world. Wild camping's definitely more fun if you can sit around a fire for a few hours, although you do need to wash all your layers when you get home ...

Thanks for a great blog Michelle.

Al x

Ron Bloomquist said...

Makes me think of Tom Hank's efforts in the movie "Castaway".

Just a movie but still....

when the smoke starts and the fire finally appears, Hanks beating his chest and hollering "Fire!!"


http://theadventurechannel.blogspot.com/ said...

Tried it ones myself making fire that way.
Isn't easy at all, but you'll enjoy the fire twice as much after worts ;)