Australian Bow Drill

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AussieFireBowFireLightingUsingaFireBowDrill ByDaveLittledlittle42@optusnet.com.au (Brisbane,Australia) ThiswasthemethodusedbytheAmericanIndians&alsobytheancientEgyptians&others.Stoneagesurgeonsusedthis systemasaskullbonedrill. Drillsticks,Hearthorbaseboards,Sockets,Bows&Cordage. Frequentlyupdated,morephotostofollow. ThispagehasbeencompiledspecificallytogiveinformationinsomedetailonsuitableAustraliantimbersaswellastimbers occurringinmanyotherpartsoftheworld,plussomemethodsnotdescribedanywhereelse,thatIhaverediscovered.Forthings thatarewelldescribedelsewhereIhaveprovidedlinks.

UsingaBowDrillInStandingPosition. Whybother: WellformanyyearsIwasasmalltimeminer&prospector,&actuallyusedtheoldaboriginalhanddrillmethodoccasionallyinNorthWestQueensland,intheGulf country&aroundMountIsa.IdiscoveredthattheKalkadoonsusedtouseapeabush.Idonotknowthescientificnameforit. ItistheonlytimberIhavebeensuccessfulwithusingthehanddrillmethodthoughIhavenottriedmany.Itisdifficult&veryhardonyourhands.Importanttonotusetoo slimadrillasifyoudoyoutendtorubyourhandstogetherasyoudrill&getblistersevenquicker.Alsoyourdrillstickaswellasbeingstraightneedstobeaminimum 500mmlong&morethanthatevenbetter.Asyourotatethedrillyouarealsopushingdown.Yourhandsworktheirwaydownthedrill&youhavetoquicklymove thembacktothetop&recommencedrillingbeforetoomuchheatislost.Twopeoplealternatingcanmakeiteasier. Thebowdrilloncemasteredismuchsimpler&enablesyoutouseawidevarietyoftimbers. Anyway,IcannotenvisagewhyIwouldeverneedtheseskillsnow,livinginsuburbiainSouthEastQueensland,butithassomeprimitivefascination&givesan unreasonabledegreeofsatisfactionwhenyouachieveaglowingcoal.Acoalisonlythefirstcrucialsteptoaflameofcourse&youneedtodevelopfirelightingskills usingonlybushmaterialsinyourbackyardBarBQbeforetryingtoimpressanyone. Therearemanywebsitesdevotedtothisfieldofendeavour.AlmostallfromtheUSA.Idecidedtolearnthetechniques&cataloguethetimbers&methodsthatIfound successful.Ihavefoundittobeafascinatinghobby,collectingthevarioustimbers&learningtoidentifythem.Itreallyaddsinteresttoaweekenddriveifyouareonthe lookoutforsuitabletimberstotry.Thenitisnecessarytoidentifyyoursampleasitisnotmuchuseforfuturereferenceotherwise. Aswellasaddinginteresttodrivesitalsomakesawalkinthesuburbsmoreinteresting.Ihaveneverbeforetakenmuchnoticeofthehugevarietyofplantsgrowinginour streets,parks&gardens&whocaresifyoupickupadeadstick&carryithome. Soyouhavemoreincentivetogoforaregularwalkifyouarelikeme&reallyneedtheexercise.Thentherealexercisecomeswhenyouaretryingtoconqueradifficult wood. Methods&Materials Alltheliterature,bothprinted&onthewebthatIhaveseenshowsthesubjectkneelingonthegroundwithoneknee&thefootoftheotherlegholdingdownthebase

streets,parks&gardens&whocaresifyoupickupadeadstick&carryithome. Soyouhavemoreincentivetogoforaregularwalkifyouarelikeme&reallyneedtheexercise.Thentherealexercisecomeswhenyouaretryingtoconqueradifficult wood. Methods&Materials Alltheliterature,bothprinted&onthewebthatIhaveseenshowsthesubjectkneelingonthegroundwithoneknee&thefootoftheotherlegholdingdownthebase board.Wellthatposturerulesmostofusoutforastart.LetssayI'llneverbemistakenforagyminstructor.Iliketostand.Itsmucheasiertogetup.Ithinkitisalsoa factorinmysuccess.Aboutfoursuccessestoonefailure.Mindyousomeofthesuccesswerehardearned. Useastableoldchairorexteriorstairsthatyoucanstandalongside,orasawhorselikestructurewithatleasta200mmwideplank.Putyourbaseboardonthisraised platformorifinthebush,onalog.Liftyourleftfootupandplantitonthebaseboard.(Ifyouarerighthanded)Inthebushitcanbeeasiertodigaholeforyourright footinsomesituations.Anyway,youdonothavetokneelontheground. Tolearnthemethods,beeasyonyourselftostartwith.Youdonotwanttogooffintothebushwithoutevenaknife,makeadrill,baseboard,socket,bow&cordage onyourfirstattempt,thoughallthisispossiblelater. Foryourfirstseriousattemptwhenyoufeelyouhavealltheingredientsforsuccess,chooseacoolmoonlightnightforreasonsexplainedlater. 1/Chooseaneasymaterialforyourhearthboard&drill,locallyavailable,fromtheinformationbelow.Onceproperlysetupthisshouldgiveyouacoalinthirty seconds.Progresstothemoredifficulttimberslater. 2/Findwherethedogburieshisbones,digoneup.Startwithadogbonesocket.(Actuallyabeefroundboneorfemur,onecorrespondentaskedifheshouldask avetforadogbone)Onceyouhavemasteredthemethodusingabonesocket,tryabottlecap.Getashortstickabout25mmthick.Splititinhalfthenpressthe serratededgeofthebottletop(preferablybeerbottletop)againstthewood.Thepointedtopofyourdrillquicklyindentsthecap&formsanexcellentsocket.Youuse yourfingerseachsideofthedrilltoholditinposition.Ittakespracticebuttheresultsaregreatasthereisvirtuallynofriction.

ObtainingASocket 3/Obtainabout1metreof5mmrope.Ipreferthecommonlyavailableextelecomblue&whiteropeusedforpullingcables&thensoldoffinfleamarkets.Inanycase ropethatisnotfurryorstretchy.Youcanadvancetoshoelaceslater.

BottleTopSocket 4/Findagreenspringybranch.Wattleisgood.Preferablyabout900mmlong&about15to20mmthicktolearnwith,thoughlateryouwillfindthata300mmorless lengthbowcanworkwell.Ifpossiblecutthebranchoffleavingasmallforkinthethinnerend,theeasiertotietheropeto. Atthethickerend,useahacksaworthinsawblade&maketwocutsabout3mmapart&15mmdeep.Removethecentralpiecetoformaslot.Ifyoudonothavea knifeorsawblade,splittheendofthestick,wedgethesplitopenwithsomethingwhileyouputthecordinthenbindabitofthincordaroundthesplittostopitrunning furtherdownyourbow. Tieyourropetotheforkedend.

BottleTopSocket 4/Findagreenspringybranch.Wattleisgood.Preferablyabout900mmlong&about15to20mmthicktolearnwith,thoughlateryouwillfindthata300mmorless lengthbowcanworkwell.Ifpossiblecutthebranchoffleavingasmallforkinthethinnerend,theeasiertotietheropeto. Atthethickerend,useahacksaworthinsawblade&maketwocutsabout3mmapart&15mmdeep.Removethecentralpiecetoformaslot.Ifyoudonothavea knifeorsawblade,splittheendofthestick,wedgethesplitopenwithsomethingwhileyouputthecordinthenbindabitofthincordaroundthesplittostopitrunning furtherdownyourbow. Tieyourropetotheforkedend. Tosetthecorrectlengthfortherope,leaveaslightamountofslack&laytheropethroughtheslot.Notethepointwhereitgoesthroughtheslot,removingitfromtheslot &tieasinglesimpleknotinit.Sititbackintheslot. Whenyoutwistyourdrillthroughtherope,itshouldtakeuptheslack&causethebowtoholdittight.Ifnot,movetheknot.Ifthecordisthin&youareafraiditwill breakwhenyoufirstputthedrilltoit&applythetwist,startwiththedrillalmostparalleltothecord&gentlyapplythetwistingforcewhilerollingthedrillbackwards& forwards.Graduallybringthedrilltorightangle.Doingthisyoucanendupwithamuchtighterbowstringwithoutbreakingit.Thestringorcorddoesnotneedtobe excessivelytight.Youincreasetensionasrequiredbydepressingitwithyourfingersifitbeginstosliponthedrill.

LargebowwithDogBoneSocket,Drill&BaseBoard

SmallnaturalBow,Barkcord,BottleTopSocket,Drill&Hearthboard(Lantana)

5/Drill:ItisCRITICALLYimportanttostartwithadrillstickthatisasstraightaspossible,about250mmlong&about15or20mmthickformosttimbers.Ifthedrill stickisnotstraightitwillwobbleallovertheplace&willbeverydifficulttocontrol.Useaknifetocutthedrillendtoaveryshortconepoint.Aslightlycurveddrillcan usuallybecarvedstraight.Itismuchbettertocompromiseonthelengthofthedrillstickthanthestraightness.Ihavelitplentyoffireswitha100mmlongdrillbutvery fewwithabentone. Thesocketendwantstobecutbacktoaboutpencilthicknessforabout50mmalongthelengthtoplaceinthesocketholeifyouareusingabeefshinbone.Canbelessif youuseavertebraeorabottletop.Donotcutittoasharppointasitcouldburnaholeinthebone&itisnotnecessary. 6/Splita20mmto30mmthickby150mmlongstickinhalflengthwise,orslicethetophalfoffabout50mmfromoneend.Youdonotwantmorethan10mmof baseboardbeneathyourdrillorittakestoomuchpunktofilltheslotuptothedrillinterfacewiththebaseboard.Usingthepointofyourknife,startasmalldepressionto takethepointofyourdrill.Don'tuseapocketfoldingknifewithoutbeingawarethatifyouarenotcareful,whenyouputpressureonthepointitcansnapshutonyour fingers. 7/Placethehearthorbaseboardonyourraisedplatform,aboutkneeheight,withtheendtobedrilleddirectlyawayfromyou&placeyourleftfootonit.

baseboardbeneathyourdrillorittakestoomuchpunktofilltheslotuptothedrillinterfacewiththebaseboard.Usingthepointofyourknife,startasmalldepressionto takethepointofyourdrill.Don'tuseapocketfoldingknifewithoutbeingawarethatifyouarenotcareful,whenyouputpressureonthepointitcansnapshutonyour fingers. 7/Placethehearthorbaseboardonyourraisedplatform,aboutkneeheight,withtheendtobedrilleddirectlyawayfromyou&placeyourleftfootonit.

Iliketostand.Itseasiertogetup. 8/Putyourdrilltothebowrope&twisttheropeinasingletwistaroundthedrill.Restthepointinthedepressionyouhavemadeinthehearthboard.Havethebow stringfacingyourlegwiththebowwoodhorizontal&awayfromyourleg,theropepointinginastraightlinealongthehearthboard,otherwisethedrillwillkeepjumping outofthehearthboardbowelthatformsorbreakoutthesideofyourboard.ThedrillMUSTbeontheoutsideoftheropeawayfromthebow&Ifindbest,withthe ropeatyourhandleendonthehighsideabovethetwist.Thisallowsyoutoholdtheropeupwithyourfingers&keepanupwardpressureonit.Ifindthiseasierthan thereversewhereyouhaveitonthelowerside&depressitasyournaturalgriponthehandleendcanbeusedtopressupward.Thispreventstheropeabradingagainst itself.Ifthedrillstickisinsidetherope,itwillquicklycuttherope.Eitherretwistthedrillorendforendthebow&turnthedrillthrough180.Youwillsoonlearnthe trick.Forstability,holdthesocket&drilltopinapositionthatallowsyoutolockyourwristhardinagainstyourleftleg,thenbeginagentlesawingmotiontobedthe drillin,keepingthemotioninthesamelineasthehearthboard. 9/Afterthebedorbowlisproperlyformed,cutanapproximately5to7mmwideslotinonesideofthehearthboardrightthroughuntilitpenetrateswellintothebowl &verticallydownthroughtothebo