Complete Bow Drill for Beginners

Complete Bow Drill for Beginners

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For the bow drill this. Is my primary primitive. Backup to, all of my modern ignition, sources the reason being is because with the bow it gives you a mechanical, advantage if, you have moisture if, you have dampness if you have humidity you can overcome that because, physically, you, have an advantage mechanically. You have an advantage by using the pool of thumb is is that if you can take your thumb nail and, press. It into the wood and it leaves an indentation. Then. You. Know that wood said to be good, to try doesn't. Mean it's good to go there's a lot of woods that won't work well. Especially not for a beginner. That. You can actually dent with your thumbnail so. Anyway. Here we've got willow. We've got. Tulip. Poplar we've got cedar, and that's, really the the kind, of the the beginner, bow-drill. Woods that we have around here in the southeast. We. Some, places have cottonwood someplace in that basswood you get up into the Smoky Mountains and you start getting some more choices. But. You know out west you've got your cottonwoods, up in the Midwest you've got tulip poplars extremely, popular up there pop, poplars. Poplar, up there and. Up. Into North East we have Aspen, which, is a fantastic wood, if, I had to choose I would choose willow first as. Far as beginners you know because they're just an easier set to use I would choose Willow then follow, that with Aspen, if I can't get that then I would probably get a hold of. I'd. Go with bass, wood or, sorry, Cottonwood, Bass would then, probably tulip, poplar then cedar, cedar. Is not my favorite choice but that's what I have here available. And it's not good, specimen I actually harvested, this, chunk of cedar and you can see the Cedars got a lot of heartwood, the. Heartwood is the dark purple stuff and generally speaking that heartwood, is, is. A lot more dense than. The. SAP wood which is the lighter colored wood, on. The, outside a lot of SAP wood is what you want for, your bow drill kit however, heartwood. SAP. Wood I want more SAP wood but I don't have it we'll. Still be able to make it work look, at the components, of the bow drill so you've. Got a bow you don't really I'll go, you know armpit, to fingertip, armpit, the wrist that's about the size other, bow that I'm looking to get doesn't matter if it's straight doesn't, matter if it's bent I like a stick that is as, green, I mean and it's not dead so that it won't snap doesn't, have a lot of flex to it let's. Talk about how we build this this, bow real quick so what I like to do is, spend. A little time just like I do my tender bundles I like to spend a little extra time on my bow, I want this thing to work I don't want to be messing with this when I'm trying to focus on getting an ember you have to stop tighten your string up all the time and it's it's really good kind of an awkward.

Not, You. Know it's a tie on here if you don't make any notches, so what we're gonna do is is. We're going to carve some notches in here. To. Make it easier, so. That when we get going on this it actually stays put as. Best we can, so doesn't have to be perfect, but, what I've created is. Basically. A pot hanger notch that allows the string to rest in there and, not. Come undone on the other side what. I want to do is carve an. Elongated. Saddle, notch on, the. Top and. On. The bottom because. What I'm trying to do is reduce the amount of material that I have to bore through here in a second got an elongated. Saddle. Notch on this side. Then. What I'm going to do is flip it over to the other side and we're gonna match that I've significantly. Reduced. The. Thickness of that and, how far I've got to bore through. To. Make my home okay. So, I can, use this knife. Find. The center. And, I can start boring a whole. One. Side. In. The other. If. You have a Swiss Army knife, with. An awl on it or a multi-tool, it. Comes in really handy now quick that was now, I've got a hole through. My. Elongated, saddle notch this is a bowline. On this end that. Just. Barely slips, over top of that and it sits right in that pot hanger notch, just. Like that, come. Back to the other side once it's on there just, stretch it out to the other side I'm. Gonna go through my hole and. My. Elongated, saddle notch. Then. I'm gonna come around and I'm gonna come towards the inside, first. To. Trap that up, in. The. Saddle notch then. When I start making my wraps I try to keep my wraps in the saddle notch so that they don't slip. Off the end you know they're kind of held in place I'm. Just going to throw a couple of half hitches in here. One-and-two. All. Right doesn't. Have to be super tight the. Next two parts that I'm going to talk to you about are the hardest to reproduce, in the wild so a lot of times I'll carry things that, allow for. Me to not have to do this when I'm out in the wild so it's it's kind of a semi primitive, skill at that at that point you know it's easy for me to find a bow it's even easy for me to find a set sometimes, it's harder to find a, bearing. Block and harder to find the cordage or, the material to make cordage however, it's, all doable you can make everything from the landscape, the second part is is cordage, and, I've just got about a I don't know about a three-foot section maybe a four foot section of paracord. Here and. This. Particular piece I carry in my pocket doesn't. Take up much space and, then, I'm always prepared for something like this I can use it for other things as well but because.

It's Always in my pocket I've actually, soaked this one in beeswax it gives it a little more grip a bearing. Block is nothing, more than than another piece of wood that, you're using to, set inside your palm but. You drill a dividend that sits on top of the spindle and that's what you bear down with downward pressure my. Bearing block means, to be harder, than these two. Because. You're, at least harder than this because. When this sits up in here as I'm. Producing, friction, it's wearing away dust from. Both, the end of my spindle and, from. The hearth board I don't, want that friction up here I want this to be as friction, free as possible and if this is a softer, wood just like this is then, this will wear evenly. With this and I'll, get friction up here that. I don't want early. All right so what, I like to do and yes you can do that I could use the same piece I could use a cedar bearing block I just have to do a little more maintenance as I'm, producing, the Ember down, here in the south we have fat wood which. Has resin. It's a resin resin. Infused pine basically, but what that does is it actually as it heats up that, resin, turns. Back to a kind of a liquid state and that actually lubricates this. Really well so that fat would you. Know tends to tends, to have less friction when you're using it as a bearing. Block so anytime I can I'm going to use that one. Thing I have in my fire kid here where, I was talking about. You. Know the bearing block and the cordage being the hardest things to find so I carry little little, things that. I. Think are useful so, this particular steel, striker was made for me and. It actually has a small, bow drill divot in it. That. Was made for me by a guy named Patrick Farnham in a Valley Forge, anyway. It's also my my, flint striker. But. To. Make it more useful for me you know he added a bow drill divot so I used that quite a bit you. Don't have to have something like that it's just a nice to have but today we're going to be using some natural stuff stuff, and then you've got the fourth, component which.

Is The spindle one. Thing that you'll read in the manuals also that's that's incorrect, and as a myth is it, says that you know you have to have a hard wood spindle, with a soft wood board and you read another manual, and you have to have a hard wood board. And a soft wood spindle, when you actually do this you'll find out that it can, be. Mixed. And matched or it can be from the same piece, 99%. Of the bow drill kits that I make are from the same piece of wood I myself once. I find a piece of wood that's good for either it's, good for both I'm not gonna spend the time going out and finding a different, species I like. To have mine be. About you, know thumb to. Pinky so probably, eight inches maybe 10 inches or so as. Far as the shape goes if you. Look at it as it is now think. Back to when you were in kindergarten, and, you had those big fat pencils, that's. Kind of what you're going for you know kind of the rule, of thumb like, a literal, rule of thumb that you'll see on the, bow drill is a, good place to start is some, thickness you, know some thickness for that. Thumb. Thickness for, your hearth board then. My hearth board is just, a rectangular. Board, I try. To go about four fingers wide so. That I can use both sides and. I. Try to go about thumb thick. All. The way around right, and, when. I'm shaping these you know I'm going to hammer this out of a full block, and. Then, I'm going to use a kind. Of an improvised plane I'm gonna use my knife and kind of shape it doesn't, have to be perfect but it does have to sit flat I don't want it to rock so. That's the shape that I'm going for that rectangular, shape rule. Of thumb about. The same, length. As your. Spindle because it came from the same piece of wood the. One last thing that I want to tell you about that you'll need is. A. Catch. Pan an ember catch so I've got myself a little catch pan first off you've, got to do a burn in and, to, do the burn in. What. You want to do is find, out take a look at your board and find out where you want to actually start where, do I locate this I don't want to be. Closer. Than a thumb. To. The end because. It may split out on me so at. Least that far in is. Where. I want to begin and the same thing for this edge I don't. Want to be right. On the edge, whenever. I'm starting to actually seat. My set and get it seated I want to go about at. Least half the distance of that spindle, in. And. At. Least the thumb away from here now I need, to make a divot so, what. You can do is I. Want. My the center. To. Be right there the center of my spindle so, what I'm going to do is choke up on the knife and when I mean choke up on the knife the edge is still away, from my fingers. And. I'm not using any part of my body as a backstop I poke the knife in there, and. I just kind of score around lightly. In. A circle and. Choking. Up on the knife allows me to have better control doesn't, have to be all that deep I've got this hearth board pretty thick you, know to give me some time to. Show you how to pick up on a Miss timber that happens. So. I don't have to worry. Too much. About, going too deep if you've got a thin board you'll. Burn through it pretty quickly. Especially. If you make this initial divot a, little. Too aggressive, you know you're cutting away, material. That, you don't have to reduce friction later. But. This one's plenty thick enough and all I'm doing is giving this. Drill. A place, to start so loading. The boat, obviously. Keeping in mind which end is forward, to, load the bow what. I like to do is you, want the boat to end up with obviously the eraser, side down. And. It has to be you know the line has to be wrapped around it, you. Also want to make sure that. The spindle is on the outside, of the string what. That does for you is allow you to use the full length of the bow if it's on the inside of the string when you end up being. Finished then, you're actually going to lose a, good three to four inches of your bow on both, sides and you're not going to be as efficient. As you would if, this is on the outside where you can use the, entire length of the bow.

So. To load it all. You have to do is. With. This, facing. Right. Just, facing up. Come. Towards the inside, because once I flip this I want it to end up on the outside then. You just wrap. This. Around. Until. You hear it snap then. What I like to do is pin it to the side of the bow with. My. Thumb just like that. Now. Body position, I try. To keep my board and, a. 90 at basically parallel keep my shoulders parallel to, my hearth board and my. Foot at a 90 degree perpendicular I, get, this in a spot where it sits nice and flat which I don't really have going on right here but I think we'll be okay I. Want. To set my foot as close. As I can to, that. Hole what. That allows me to do is when I lock my wrist on my. Shin bone I'm directly. Up and down with the spindle if I'm out too far I. Have. To reach over to. Have my spindle up and down and this is less stable I want to be able to lock my wrist in and have, that go straight up and down so, what I'm going to do is get, my foot as close as possible I'm going to turn a little bit. So, that you can see everything, we. Get my foot as close as, possible to, that edge. So. That when I lock my wrist in place. The. Spindle is straight up and down now it's very important on this bearing block that I also keep this bearing block parallel. Not, so much this way but parallel, as far as this face with this face to, the ground because if I turn any way shape. Or form it's, going to create shoulder, friction up here I want. All the friction down here I don't want the friction up here so, the first step that I'm going to do is I'm. Going to burn in it's called burning in basically I'm marrying, this bottom edge to, the, actual surface of the hearth board that divot I made as well as up, here, in my, bearing block, and. When. I'm doing this when I'm bowing I got. To start getting this thing to start marrying, up so I'm going to take little short strokes. Just. To get things going and. One. Of the keys that I want to talk to you about is. The. Mechanical, advantage of the bow drill depends. On you actually using the bow in the most efficient, manner, so. If. I'm short stroke in this, I'm. Less efficient. If. I'm using the full length of the bow I'm just maximizing. The efficiency of this type of a system. The. Other key thing is I want to keep the. Bow, parallel. With the ground, because. If I let, this bow. Tip go up you, can watch the string. Start. To climb up on. The actual spindle, and it will fly out if I let the bow tip down it'll, start climbing down and eventually it'll, go out all the way down to the bottom and lock out so I need to make. Sure. Move. It up to the center again. And. To make sure that I keep that parallel, now. What I'm going to do is I'm going to do about you know 10 to 15 strokes. To. Get that set warmed up. Notice. How my. Armpit, is locked, onto my knee, my. Bicep, is touching my knee I've, got my forearm, touching, my shin and I've got my wrists locked. Into my shin as well. All. Of those points of contact, make this much more stable this. Leg is out, of the way what. I need to be able to do is put downward pressure on this as I'm. Increasing. In speed here, as I'm actually bowing it's. A combination and a balance between. The. Actual speed of the bow and. Downward. Pressure one. Has to kind of play off of the other and we'll talk about that a little bit if you know for, some reason you're not strong enough to put enough downward pressure what. You can do is take this leg and. Drive. It back in the lunge. And. What that does is it brings my chest down and in. Turn drives, that force to give me more downward pressure first ten or fifteen strokes or so do nothing but warm up the set. And. You'll feel it start to change. And, you'll start to get little wisps of smoke and then you can just. Gradually. Increase your speed and downward pressure and. What. I'm watching for down here is I'm watching from a dust to start spinning and everything, to marry up nicely and start running smooth and you'll actually be able to hear it. So. Right now I'm not putting a lot of effort in it you should still be able to have a conversation, while you're doing this. Because. I'm not going for fire yet I'm just going for a burn in but, this also tells me whether or not this set is going to be good. I'm. Starting to change now. When. You hear squeaks like that it means you don't have enough downward pressure or you're starting to shoulder out in your. Bearing block up top here so. The. Key to that is increase. The downward pressure until you get that squeak out. If. It's because you're bearing block we'll fix that in a second. Now. I've effectively, burned, in and I've also if you noticed the top of this is smoking.

And. I've. Also really. Worked out that divot up there. So. - squeaking that you're hearing. Is. Likely. Up top here where I have shoulder friction and I don't want that but. What. I'm trying to accomplish is a burn in right, now, so. That. Part is done and I, can fix this before I go back to starting my divot is now burnt in, and. I'm going to use that as a gauge, to. Carve my actual notch so the first thing I've got to do is, actually. Take a little bit of time and score that notch and that not. Like. I said is going to go about. You. Know maybe 20%. Maybe. 30%. Into. Scored. Those lines. And. What I'm going to do is take those lines because I've got a triangle this way I also want a triangle, this way because. That allows maximum. Air flow and, that, pyramid type structure, will. Help my dust stay together in. A nice pile, so. I'm going to take those, I've. Got those lines there. I'm. Going to transfer, those down to. This other edge we've got. Now. I'm just going to carve those out. Using. My knife. Burned, in got, my notch carved out. Now. As I'm carving my notch I've lost all, the heat that I've generated before. So, essentially I'm starting over but now I have a notch that I'm gonna fill with, fuel. Because. I'm going to go from, this, step to. Actually, filling the notch with. Fuel and then, actually lighting the notch after. That without stopping, I need to make sure that my set is in, complete working, order as if I'm starting from scratch so. That I don't have to stop, Midway because, you. Know my, bearing. Block or whatever I've got too much shoulder friction or my string gets loose or, something that effect so I'm gonna set myself up for success, by. Taking care of that stuff again before. I get back into this a couple. Things that I'm going to do to dress this up, to. Kind of touch this up before I get going again is I. Don't want this so deep because, that allows the shoulder to touch what. I can do is. Take. Just kind of like a small. Sliver of that and. I, can cut that off. Now. What I've done is reduced, it back down to that small little hole and I've actually got some some, fire hardening, going on there and. Then you know that takes care of all of that on the end this is no longer a point this is kind of blended off so I'm going to take the time before I get going to tell how somebody I'm it's hot out here and. I'm, going to take the time to. Resharpen. This, so, that when I get going again I have. The maximum amount of time. Before. It starts shouldering out again and producing. Friction up top where I don't want it keep. It in mind that the very tip of this has, also been blackened. From, the heat which. Makes it stronger so I'm trying to preserve that. Blackened, tip. And. The mess I can now what it's it's in there you know I've got the maximum, amount of time before these shoulders, get, up into the bearing block and, start causing me problems looking, at the bottom the, bottom of it's also hardened, I want, that to. Not be hardened when, I start back up because, I'm trying to produce dust. From that bottom and if it's hardened and glossed. Over it'll, slide rather. Than produce friction and actually grind, the. Material, off the dust that I want I'll go ahead and tighten that, before. I get started again just because it's a good habit to get into I. Want. Everything to be right before I go again because I'm going to go from filling this notch to lighting it and. I, don't want to stop because every time I stop it. Reduces, the. Heat that I've already generated, you know take me more effort. To. Get that heat generated, again. My. String. Is. Tightened. Up my, spindle is dressed up my, bearing block is touched up I've, got my notch carved, in I'm burned in now, I'm gonna place my catch pan, underneath. The notch so, there's a dust that's collected will. Build up on there and, get myself set back up in my position. Locking. Everything in. And. I get everything running smoothly again. Use. The full length of your bow keep. The bow parallel, to the ground and I'm, watching for dust to, start spilling, into, that notch. Which. It's doing now and right. Now you. Know I'm not going crazy I've, got a little bit there. We go you. Get a little more downward pressure on that, to. Get that squeak out once I start generating dust I'm just going to keep that pace, nice. And slow until, that, notch gets reasonably, full.

I'm. Gonna get some smoke but I'm not worried about that because I'm not ready to, light that yet. Looking. At the color of my dust. Good. Dark chocolate, color. At. This point I've got quite a bit of smoke but I don't have a full not yet. But. It is nice and clumpy, and nice and dark. So. I'm just gonna build up some of that. Now. Looking at this I. Can. Tell with, this dust building, up around the outside rather. Than in the knotch that that tells me that my notch is a little bit too shallow so. What I want to do is move, that good, dust you can tell how clumpy that is. Down. Onto my catch pan. Because. Essentially, that's that's fuel, that's firewood you know if you think of it that way but. I want to make this notch a little bit deeper. Before. I really get too far into this. And. These are some of the things that you gain more experience that, you'll start to notice and not, waste a lot of effort, when. You can make a little adjustment, and it'll make all the difference so it's. Just a little, too. Shallow, so I need that'd be a little deeper without, making it wider I just need to go a little deeper so that that dust falls more freely. Into. The knotch all right took, that a little bit deeper. I'm. Gonna set that right back down where it was because that dust that I've already created is good, dust and all. I'm doing right now is generating, dust to, fill that notch so I'm going to use that to my advantage, since. I stopped I'm going to take advantage of the, opportunity, to reduce, that friction up top again. Before. I get going. So. The key takeaway from this is every time you stop you're losing heat. But. I'm doing this in stages and. Right. Now I. Want. To reduce. Take. This opportunity, to reduce this friction up top so. That I don't have to do it when, it actually matters what. I'm actually trying to go forward here and the. Cues that I'm looking for when I get going again is wine. I've got to build up the heat once. Again. To. Is, everything. Has, to start running smoothly that's, kind of my second cues when it kind of the sound changes and I can feel it go from kind of choppy till running really smooth that's my second cue my, third cue will. Be that I start to get a little bit of smoke that cues me in that I can increase the speed and possibly. Increase the pressure each one of these cues is going to let me know that I can do that so once. I get everything kind of running, smoothly again and the, sound changes, then, I can oh I can increase the speed a little bit in the downward pressure gradually. I'll. Get a little bit of smoke that tells me it's ready for the next step which means I can give it a little more speed, and a little more downward pressure then. I'll start getting a lot of smoke. Before. I get to that I'm gonna be watching the front side of my notch here and make sure that it's full it doesn't do me any good to go all out and try to light this if I don't have any fuel in here, it's essentially, like you're trying to establish. A small little fire lay right. Down here in the in the in the notch. So. Probably. Once I get up to that step to where I'm getting a little bit of smoke and it's running smoothly, I'm going to continue to bow, until, that notch is full, once, that notch is full then. I can start looking for the next cue and I can give it a little more speed and downward pressure I'm going to get a lot of smoke at that point and from, that point on I'm going to gradually inky increase, the speed and pressure until.

I See the, smoke pouring out of the front side of the dust that's coming out of the notch and then I'm going to stop, nice, and slow take my time ease my foot off no I'm telling you that now because, once I get going on this you, know it might not be as evident. Carefully. Lift your foot off I can. See the smokes rolling out the front I want. To get that off there so I can get some air to it. Then. What you can do because there's so much heat built up in here. And. I'm constantly losing heat I, can. Lift that up and set that right up on top of there. Now. It's the time to catch your breath. There. You can see. I've. Got a pile there that'll last 10 to 12 minutes of smouldering, at this rate. And. What I'm trying to do is let that fuse. Into. A coal and I want that coal to be roughly, the size of my, my. Pinky nail, maybe. Even my thumbnail before I transfer, that over, so. You got time to catch your breath now get everything prepped. Let. Me get this out of the way. Now, the, wind is blowing this way and. I want to use that to my advantage, I'm. Going to bring my tinder bundle. To. Here. Get. All this out of the way. Now. Just. So you can see. How. Much time I've got. It's. About the size it needs to be to transfer it over and. This is one of the reasons because that fine dust is what this is actually. Using as fuel right now that's one of the reasons we make the. Inside of our tinder bundle, such. An a. Such. A super, fine mesh. So. That when I transfer, this over it doesn't just fall through the tinder bundle. Once. It's big enough and I've caught my breath I know the wind is going this way so I'm going to use that to my advantage I'm. Going to pick that coal up. I'm. Going to actually marry those two together. I'm gonna let that sit again for a second. Because. I want that coal. To. Start fusing again. No. Reason to get in a hurry yet. Now. What. I'm going to do is I'm going to try to get this over, here I want. To gently. Fold. This kind of in a taco. Because. I want, my. Superfine, tinder to be in contact, with that coal but I don't want to crush it. We, kind of fold it a little bit. And. Then I'm going to hold it up and have. This open in the back and. I'm giving it long slow breath. Well once I start getting smoke to go through the backside I know I can blow a little bit harder. And. Once it burns I know that fire likes to climb I'm just going to start turning it on its side so. They can catch the rest of that tinder bundle.

Now. I've got all my, little. Shavings I can toss on there. And. It won't be long before, I'm headed towards a nice, sustainable. Fire.

2018-10-29 18:07

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In the interest of keeping this thread organized for those who view and read the comments section and are hear to learn, please drop all contributions to the discussion that have anything to do with "why not just use a lighter" in this thread. Everyone already knows it is easier to just use a lighter. This is for folks who also know that its possible to not have a lighter 100% of the time. Thanks!

From one friction fire practitioner to another, I agree with this comment. While I'm all about being prepared I also appreciate the skills necessary to create fire from sourced material. Being too dependent on modern technology can be fallible. Please, continue to make quality videos and ignore the trolls.

Nicely done I watched a few videos no one ever said you had to fill up the whole thing with dust great job.

Very good demonstration Greetings from a Belgian bushcrafter

Probably one of the best video I 've seen about the bow dril techniquel, THANK YOU, a big thumb up...

Josh, great video!!!!!!

Hello Joshua, great beginners demonstration video . Nice attention to detail , best I have seen in a while . Thumbs up . Atb Darren.

Extremely informative and thorough .Best explanation of a bowdrill set in a long time looking forward to some more videos and technique differentials.


I would enjoy some videos on what weapons you think would be best in a survival scenario!!! Or you real life experience on effective weapons

I try and stay away from getting into weapons on the YouTubes, they don't care much for that and they can really put the brakes on a channel for it. I prefer Glock 19 and LWRC, but have actually used a ton of AR's that work well. I also prefer Remington 700's for my long gun in .308 and 12 gauge for the shotgun.

thanks for your service and thanks for the vids take care

I didnt know u had a channel Josh ! Awesome my friend great to connect on facebook the other day ! WEATHERWOOL ARMY !! ;:,:,; Spook

Yeah bro! Love my WeatherWool! Welcome to the channel!

Another great video, this and navigation is what worries me most about Basic Class...

Don't let that bother you, you wont need this until Pioneer/Scout

Great tips, now I know what i've been doing wrong!

Thank you for level of detail that you verbally add. So many things that would go un-noticed, you verbalize. An example is how you lock your armpit over your knee. Love the verbalized detail. I'm glad I connected with your channel and I'm Really happy to see your growth in subscribers. Good luck and God bless.

Thanks Bill! This is a particularly long subject so I appreciate you watching it.

Excellent!!!! Best tutorial video I've seen yet to learn how to make and use bow drills! Anyone can "show" (and many do) how to make fire with a bow drill set. Not many if any at all have been able to do what you have done. You have answered/addressed many of the questions I've had for troubleshooting and difficulties during the use of a bow drill set. Thank you so much for this video! Keep up the awesome work!!!!

Glad to hear it! I appreciate that!

Thank you for your service to our Great Nation!

Great video. Nice explanation.

Good to have a backup, must practice more. I've like a 30% success in I give up 70% of the time

Haha I have been down that road a time or two myself.

one trick I learned from NWPrimate is to continue the notch underneath and out the back of the bottom of the board. Only a small amount 1mm or so but it allows air in from the back. Chapstick or a few fatwood shavings in the bearing block, if it's not already fatwood like yours, is what I like to cut friction up top.

The most comprehensive video I've seen. Thank you!

Awesome, let me know when you get one!

Top shelf, bud! The little nuances you taught are always helpful to the beginner and experienced woodsman. A wood I recently began experimenting with, which David West introduced me to, is the invasive Chinese Privot. It twirls up very fine, black char dust. Thanks for sharing the great tutorial!

I will have to keep my eye out for that one. I like trying new species.

Well done and very clear. Great job.!

I enjoyed this video, im going to try this which probably will make my adhd go into over drove filling up thst notch

Josh is a bow drillen master! Well done

Thanks Tyler!


Great info... I learned several things, that I have been doing wrong and why I haven't been successful with this method of fire starting.

+The Gray Bearded Green Beret I will. I learned that my hearth board was too thin, my spindle placement needed to be on the outside, why my spindle would fly out due to my bow not being parallel, and the constant squeaks. Oh and the bees waxed paracord... I can see the fire in my mind now

Awesome! Let me know when you get one!


This is an awesome video. I have heard of this being possible but it never occurred to me that it would take that many steps. If there isn't any string, would it be a bad idea to use a shoelace? It doesn't look like the bowstring is under a lot of pressure but is it more important to have good footware and so using a shoelace is a bad idea?

+The Gray Bearded Green Beret I would love to see a video on making natural cordage. Great job on this video.

Replace your shoelaces with paracord so you have good strong cordage to use.

Not a thing wrong with using a bootlace. I purposely change out my laces with paracord for that reason. You can also use the bottom edge of your T-shirt below the seam and it doesn't really sacrifice the clothing. Normally before I do either, I will just make natural cordage and use that, but yes those are options

Awesome video! I feel like I have attended an outdoor seminar on primitive fire making techniques, not just a youtube vid I was really into it great job.

Good to hear, I appreciate the feedback.

Well taught

The way you used that knife as a plane was something I'd never seen before. I'm gonna have to try that techinque. Thanks for showing it!

Perfect, this is the next item on my bucket list to work on. Thanks for the tips and tricks.

Extremely thorough demonstration brother! I enjoyed seeing how you did your bow. Slightly different from how I tend to do mine but I am definitely interested to try your method. Especially on the back end with the elongated saddle notch and drilling the hole through. I also noticed you had your board positioned with the notch at the top. I started doing this a while back when I realized I could watch the notch better for cues and see when the notch was full. Looking forward to the next one!

Right on brother! Yeah for me I started doing the both on the far side so students could see it fill better. The hidden benefit I found to that was at my height, it was easier for me to see it as well!

I've done bow drill in scouts and as an adult with professional instructors. This video covers everything concisely but with everything you need to know. Great video.

Using a slug or some green leaves would help with reducing friction on that top bearing - having said that, this is probably the best bow drill video I've seen yet on YouTube! Keep up the great work mate! All the best from the UK

I appreciate the feedback, I was using resin-infused pine (fatwood) which is self-lubricating, but this particular chunk of cedar was exceptionally hard since I had to use mostly heartwood (I don't mind the challenge). One of the squeakiest sets I ever used and it was boring into that fatwood for sure

Excellent instructional video. Bookmarked!

Great tutorial - thanks!

It's a LONG, but very useful and descriptive video and my only question is this:- how the fook did 'Homo erectus' work this all out over half a MILLION years ago without the help of YouTube Tutorials. LOL.

Bowdrills are probably ancestors to stringed instruments and even Stradivari Violins play differently for each musician. One of my early teachers is Peter Bigfoot  at REEVIS MOUNTAIN SCHOOL in AZ. He was the first instructor who gave my friend success after explaining you have to adapt your muscles and pressure to every component composition. We're driving home and all he could do was complain about the 'New Age' atmosphere and campfire talks about reincarnation. I think he missed something there. This is a 'Hot' demonstration.

Keep them coming please Sir. We really appreciate your videos.

now THAT is a bow!.. and THAT is some proper bow drill instruction.. i am going to memorize every point. what is subtle is that you show and correct common mistakes we all make .. well done...

Really appreciate you taking the time to make this video. You gave details I have never seen before!

Excellent explanation of the mechanics behind the procedure. Can you video the filling of the notch and subsequent lighting of the material? Thanks!!!

The filling and lighting starts at 29:14 in this one

1st class instructions and video Brother!!! This is why I subscribed to your channel ! Thanks waiting for the next one !

Very thoroughly explained.

Picked up a couple more tweaks I can implement (like the bow notch and saddles\hole). Great tutorial! I like that you took the time to stop and diagnosis the notch when you saw dust was not filling the notch and gathering on the hearth board. Alot of times, videos show a person getting an ember on the first shot, or it jumps to a later attempt when the person finally does get an ember. From my experience, most of the time there are small adjustments that need to be made on the fly and that's just part of the process. It was nice you showed and explained those extra steps which really make things easier overall vs. fighting through it and being expended at the end or worse yet, without an ember.

this guy is fucking awesome just more time before u got million of subscribers lol

I appreciate that, Johnny!

Nice long video with good info, well done.

Joshua, thanks for sharing, excellent instructional videos, always appreciated . Thanks for your time and effort ! This was the best presentation I've watched

Good show...!! Do you always have your notch away from your body?? Thanks...!!

Usually I do, I am normally teaching this to others in person so I have the notch out so students can see it fill and light. Plus I ma tall so its easier for me to see down into it on the front side.

Very glad I found your videos

It's those little details most people don't teach you, like how to redress your set between burn-in and the final run, which make the difference. More good data, as usual, brother.

This is Magic......

It's not rocket science .

Use ear wax to lube up your bearing block, Would aspen board with birch spindle work? im working with Finnish wood species

Just use an aspen board and aspen spindle, no reason to change species. Usually birch is too oily to get good friction and it will glass over.

It is a feeling like no other when you get a fire going with primitive tools.

this is the best tutorial for a bow friction fire i have ever seen. I have watched so many over this past year and you have explained and demonstrated the mechanics and construction perfectly! thanks Green Beret!

I particularly like that he doesn't do this in his backyard. I can't stand videos of people acting like experts when they only demonstrate fire making skills at home. Such a refreshing change.

May you be blessed for really taking out the time to teach these invaluable lifesaving skills. Shalom

a skateboad wheel bearing pressed into the bearing block works great

The bearing trick is good for practice the concept of a bow drill, and then when you have enough mussel memory you can take it a step up

As long as you are also able to use natural materials if you really had to. Nothing wrong with stacking your kit to make things multi-use (like I did with my steel striker with a bearing block). I may have that, I may not, doesn't matter because I am comfortable using both. In my opinion, as easy as a wheel bearing is, I would want it pressed into something that is also useful for other things to make it multi-functional.

+Master Tracker he clearly stated he brings his bearing block with him many times because its harded to find a good one. So its not insane to press an actual bearing into it at home to take with you.

Its a bit of a cheat, but works well! A little tip I picked up from Survival Lilly....

HAHA! those people over there are kind of jerks anyway

Go to the bushcraft "usa" forum . There is lots of information there on how to grow skateboard trees .

Master Tracker How deep should a skateboard be planted to grow skateboard trees ?

Yes it does and I have skateboard trees on my property .

The Gray Bearded Green Beret I really would love to take a good survival course. You would think Alabama would offer a lot of these courses , but I can’t find anything. What would you recommend? Thanks I’m a new subscriber to your channel “ Great information “

+Know, Survive & live this was filmed in coastal NC. I m normally in the Adirondacks.

The Gray Bearded Green Beret Where are you located in the South? I’m from Alabama

Wicked thorough & detailed explanation, sir!! One of, if not, the best I've ever seen on YT I have a dickens of a time doing this and can spend lots more time & sweat. Favor to ask, if you have time & energy, would you consider showing how you carve your spindle, top, middle and bottom? Showing the angles you make and how much point, or not, you aim for on each end. The pencil rule was quite helpful. Thanks!!!

I plan to do a followup on this for knife skills involved in making the kit, this footage was well over an hour long and I had to really cut it down for what is still a long video. I am editing two more videos out of this to complete the picture a bit better for folks that are interested.

a very nice demo as always. I now know something new I didnt before. i did have 2 questions. feel free to send an internet forehead flick if they seem too dumb lol. First is it possible to use this method to touch off a man made fire starter like a tinder quick or greased cotton ball? If so at what step and how would you go about it? Second is there a bow drill posture that would work with one or both legs being less then 100% functional? say a leg in a splint or otherwise unable to kneel properly. a fleshed out scenario might be a hiker takes a bad fall, looses most of his gear and breaks a leg, splints it himself but needs fire for signaling or to keep predators at bay and this is the only method. I know its a 'what if' but the leg issue hampers alot of outdoors enthusiasts like myself who are maybe 50-80% functional. I can walk limited distance but still cant kneel properly.

Not likely and Yes! You would not be able to light a fire tab or greased cotton ball with this method UNTIL you blew a tinder bundle to flame with it (at that point you would no longer need the emergency tinder). For either of those to work, the oil/wax needs to be heated to the point of turning back to a liquid before it can ignite, and that would likely snuff your ember out. I suppose it would be possible to use the ember to get either of those smoldering and introduce air into them and possibly get then to ignite, but then you would have to transfer that to a tinder bundle to get that going so it could then transfer to your kindling and on to your sustaining fuel, which the ember will do by itself, making the man-made tinder just an extra step that isn't needed. For folks that are not comfortable kneeling or have injuries that prevent comfortable kneeling or applying downward pressure, I teach two techniques: one is called "Sit-busting" that allows you to do this from a seated position ( I will have to do another video on that one) and also rigging up an apparatus similar to a Siberian Deadfall, but modified to use as a bow drill (yet another video). Both have worked for folks that have been taught the techniques.

I subbed you about s week ago. Phenomenal work you’re doing sir. Thank you for your time and great info.

Thanks and welcome! Glad you are here.

You hit on several important details.... thank you

knowing the 'why' makes learning 'how' way easier

that thing spins so nicely, that it looks like it was turned on a lathe! excellent craftsmanship! very impressive a man's gotta ALWAYS do his best!

Great video, glad I found the channel took your bow drill class at the gathering and been working slowly to get consistent. had a few good embers but still not enough to say I own the skill.

Awesome! Keep at it, you will get it!

+The Gray Bearded Green Beret Boggy creek beast was using Chinese Privot for hand drill friction fires way back years ago before anyone knew what it was. Privot is a woody plant so I think most people would prefer using it for the bow drill as it is easier to perform that method.

Bulgarian Organic Smallholding I guess the key, reflecting homoerectus to man, is evolution not revolution. First it was spindle 'twixt palms spun to an ember, then later or gradually the bow was introduced to optimise the method.

+Know, Survive & live I am partnered with a school called American Survival Co, they have a venue in SW MO/NW AR that may be close to you, they are great and are probably fairly close to you:

Well done sir. Thank you for the video


This is a great demonstration and very informative. Thank you for the step by step instructions.

This is why I always remain open to learning new things. I've been playing around with bow drills for years, but I've never even thought about paying attention to whether the spindle is on the inside or outside of the cord. I'm surprised I have overlooked such a simple thing. I also really liked that method of carving the bow and attaching the cord, it's better than how I normally do it.

+The Gray Bearded Green Beret hand drill is next on the list...finding a good drill around here is took me a couple days to find the right spindle. It would've been quicker had I checked the wood pile first...

GatitosWorld having a rough divot and a rough spindle will absolutely help you break the grain and get it faster. I do that with a hand drill to speed up the process also

+The Gray Bearded Green Beret If the old way didn't work....of course I'll try something new... One thing I did to dress the spindle after burning it in was to rub the end on stone, or in my case at the moment, Worked like a charm! It was quick, and roughed up the end nicely to provide better friction. I was thinking that's why I got an ember so fast, but I'll dress it up with my knife next time to see if there's any difference. Gotta experiment....

YES! YES! YES! That is my favorite thing to hear! Excited for you and proud of you for being willing to try something new.

+The Gray Bearded Green Beret I wish I could put the pic in the comments.... I made another spindle(my son ran off with the and a new bow...following your instruction. New hole in the hearth board, better notch, new positioning while working the bow.....and.. BINGO!! Had and ember in less than a minute!! 1st successful friction fire!! Thank you for this great video!!

Thank you, Mr. Enyart!! That would be great & I'll look forward to it. Especially interested if you try to get close to a smooth & even spindle middle or if you leave some flats for the cord to grab onto. Also if you make any thinner, wasp waist like to center that cord. Thank you for your reply and taking time to make such a detailed presentation. Good teacher!!

Who could not like that video? Extremely informative and displayed well with all the finer points of field manufacturing necessary products for survival. Ancient technology and skills that work. Excellent video, thank you for the lesson.

+The Gray Bearded Green Beret I posted the pics in the Pathfinder Learning Center group....

that striker/scraper/drill socket is epic, trying to get the guy to make me one! what about this idea for the hardened tips of your spindle: score crosshatches across the tip of the spindle where it marries to the hearth board to generate more friction?

Thorough and well done; clearly you have done this many times. Glad to have found you, and will be looking at many of your other works. Having experienced and taught outdoor survival, this is the best I've seen, It also speaks of the quality of people in our special forces.

Fantastic beginner video

Thank you for making probably the best bow drill tutorial on youtube. The detail you go into and trouble shooting faults will help many folks I am sure. I have made several bow drill fires inspired from youtube instructional vids made by others but it was a frustrating and slow learning process with far more failures than successes, without all of the secrets laid out so transparently and thoroughly as you have taken the time to show us. I would fail repeatedly without understanding why and what to correct. I learned a new way to tension the bow string from this tutorial. You deserve 10 million views! Very well done sir! Subscribed.

Thanks, Woodsmoke, I appreciate that. This footage was originally over an hour and it was hard to narrow it down to a long but hopefully digestible video. Glad to hear it came across how I wanted it to and might have helped someone else.

I would have to try it to say for sure if it was necessary. I have had success leaving the tip and the accompanying divot that I am trying to marry it up with pretty gnarly and rough, it tends to break the grain and start producing better dust quicker.

Thanks, Happy Days!

Spinal from a Yucca plant is the best I have used. I keep one as part of my kit. The stem that comes up in the middle of the Yucca plant that has the blooms. Late Summer the blooms begin to drop off dry and the stem drys. It is Usually about the diameter of a large finger and very tough. This material for a spinal is impressive

I liked this video. You are not a fake.

Excellent presentation, thank you

Absolutely great demo! My success rate is usually about 50%,, with better success using white poplar, so I definitely appreciate the very fine detail you included here. Really helpful!

Well done brother indeed !!!!!!

You are a fine instructor. I enjoy all your videos. You always show best practice and use proper terminology. Good work!

If you have access to a fruitwood tree they have natural oils in them and are traditionally used for bearings. You can also add a little beeswax, tallow or what you may have on hand. Roller bearings are a Cadillac improvement for sure.

Really like your channel man, keep up the good work)

I can see why you have been building subscribers so fast. Great video and channel

*****excellent, thank you

I absolutely love the innovation. Too many times does the "old-guard" frown on and mock innovators, because of their "breaking" with tradition. A true master never forgets his/her "beginner's mentality." It leaves their minds fresh and their eyes open, to change, in light of new information.

I've seen other people carve a notch around the spindle for the string to travel in. What do you think of this?

It is not always necessary if the spindle is shaped properly and bowing technique is good. I use it as a troubleshooting step on my kit if the string continues to ride up despite me having proper bowing technique. That tells me the spindle shape is causing it, and rather than re-carve a spindle I will notch the spindle I have to fix that. I omit the step in the beginning because it isn't necessary with a properly shaped spindle and good bowing technique. I would estimate I have needed to do it maybe once out of every hundred bow drill sets

+Noah Freeman I wasn't trying to "trigger" you, I considered it a "teachable moment." In survival you need to keep your emotions under control. It's a proven fact, when your adrenaline starts pumping, you lose your higher cognitive functions and resort to your more primitive brain. You miss details, make mistakes, and burn calories and water that you don't need to...all of which speeds you faster towards your own demise. Even when not in survival situations, it is healthy and tactical to keep your cool and have a sense of humor. Peace, my brother...

+John Smith are you my 6th grade English teacher? Man I really hated you back then, probably hate you more now.

+Noah Freeman Only if you can spell it, Noah. Otherwise you'll probably just end up with a "barring" and that won't help anybody. Details = survival... xD

After you survive the plane crash you can dismantle the engine with your snap on tool kit and retrieve a skateboard barring.

You have a gift for explaining in detail without being winded.

I like how you said in another thread “hopefully if I’m using primitive fire techniques, it’s with a lighter in my pocket.” I for one, and thrilled with the content of this video! I’ve thought it was an important skill for me to develop for a long time now, but good instruction is hard to come by. Please continue this excellent work! Thank you so much for everything you do! hashtag trollpatrol

Okay, that actually explained a few of my common mistakes. I do have a question about burning in the hearth board. If the spindle and hearth board don't burn is it too little downward pressure or wrong wood selection? It happens more often with the hand drill method but has happened with the bow drill. Thanks, atb Sean

+The Gray Bearded Green Beret Ah, okay. I figured the problem was somewhere along those lines. I just need more practice. Thanks! Atb Sean

It could be both, but usually it’s not enough downward pressure (or moisture or oil/resin in the set reducing the wanted friction).

This is the most informative and useful video re: making and using a bow-drill set for firemaking on YouTube. Thanks a ton.

This is great stuff - very systematic techniques and thorough explanations. I would love to know which woods you would favor in say VT or CT to build your set from scratch.

Aspen and Willow up in the NE are hard to beat

people are so ignorant. if theyre asking questions like that, not only are they truly un interested in gaining this knowledge but the'yre not worth the energy. any real outdoors man seeks to know how to do these things by any means and materials that arent modern. why? man made things are always temporary but knowledge and natures natural creations are eternal, or at least, in an abundance that far outweighs the volume of modern means.

Which do you find works the best paracord or bank line #36? Really like the video Extremely helpful.

The #36 is a heck of a lot grippier on the spindle so I favor it. Both work fine.

This was an awesome video

They're hammering with ads, make sure your gettin' paid! Great content!

Haha I believe it. Especially on the long ones

Awesome tutorial Josh. I saved it for later use. Thanks for sharing pal.

It's crazy that you need to post this, but a lot of people just don't get it. One thing that I do really appreciate about your approach here is that you don't just stick to one type of hearth and one type of spindle, but talk about the properties that make good spindles and hearths. Learning to make primitive fire can also teach you to pay attention to the properties of materials around you. Those observations can be valuable far beyond the making of fire....... Thank you for your very concise and informative teachings.

+SAR TRACKING he clearly stated he brings his bearing block with him many times because its harded to find a good one. So its not insane to press an actual bearing into it at home to take with you.

What an excellent video man. I have never seen the bow drill explained in that much detail. I have learned so much from your channel. Please keep them coming!!!!!!!!!

Thanks Steven! It was a risk leaving it this long but the reality is it takes a long time to actually teach it. I want people to be able to do it, not just watch it. That was more important than the view count for me.

+Mister Twister I am partnered with a school called American Survival Co, they have a venue in SW MO/NW AR that may be close to you, they are great and are probably fairly close to you:

+Mister Twister this was filmed in coastal NC. I m normally in the Adirondacks.


Sorry to get off topic, but do you have any gas mask videos? Would love to hear your take on them! I own a Mestel 400/3 and love it.

+The Gray Bearded Green Beret if you would like any feedback on the mask I have, let me know I'll give you any details. I've done some pretty cool test with it already.

I don’t have any of those, no. Might be a cool video down the road

I just watched my first video on this channel and I had to subscribe

Thanks brother, always learning something extra. Good job!! Sometimes opening the bottom of that notch helps us to get air to that dust while we in the ignition process. Great video and great job!!


Another great video, thanks. This was really informative and cleared up a lot of the fuzzy parts of bow drilling for me. I have run quite a few sets and had limited success, your pointers are spot on to what I was missing. Thanks again. Really good content.

Very good video on how to do this.Thank you.

Thank you for serving, and thank you for sharing what you know. I've wanted to know how to do this my entire life and this vid makes me feel like I can go out and figure it out now. Thank you!

Excellent step by step tutorial! Best I’ve seen. Many Thanks!

Hope it helps out

Years ago on T.V. before cable I saw a program and a guy was packing up his overnight camp and he took a hot coal wrapped it in some sort of nest then tied bark around it and carried it all day until he set up camp again,He unrolled the bundle pulled out the coal and started his fire.Have you ever heard of this ? It wasn't a movie so I figured it was real.

That tool your buddy made is very impressive and follows the k.i.s.s. rule in my eyes

+The Gray Bearded Green Beret thank you for that info sir!

It's a great multi-function tool. There are a couple of commercial versions I have tested, both really good. The "ESEE Fire Steel" is good, and the "Pathfinder Multi Fire Tool" is great (I give it an advantage on being able to dissipate the heat that you feel on your hand better). Patrick may make some of the custom ones he made me available if you connect with him at Valley Forge (@PatricksValleyForge) on Facebook

Dave Andrews Yes they are!

What knife are you using in this video?

nice tutorial thank you for the detailed explanations. i think i will get one of those roller ball bearing (bearing blocks) to keep in my fire kit. that way there wont be any friction on top and i dont have to worry about the shoulder on the top. should make the rest a little easier. of course in my fire kit i keep a tin with charred cloth, a tin with pine sap, two new bic lighters, 2 ferro rods with strikers, 2 magnesium fire starters, an evermatch and a good magnifying glass. the magnifying glass being my first choice if i can , as it uses no resources. but no matter what eventually something cant be used or it runs out so i needed to know how to do this. again thank you

Super info well explained

You are a good teacher.

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