Fire. The element that has intrigued the human race since the beginning of time. The element that provides us with comfort, protection, ability to cook food and sanitize water that would otherwise render us ill. Without knowing how to make fire chances of survival are greatly reduced, especially in cold climates where you can quickly suffer from hypothermia and lose your life without the heat provided by fire.
There are MANY ways to make fire with the easiest and most common being with matches, a lighter or flint and steel. What if you don’t have any of those? How did man make fire before the invention of these methods? These 5 ways to make fire are the methods you can use in almost every survival situation. before you start building your fire choose a location that is going to keep the fire safe from the elements, mainly wind and water. If it is very windy you can build a rock/ stick wall or a sand berm to deflect the wind. Also dig a small pit to build the fire in to help provide ventilation.
Step 1: Gather material. you need three types of material to start your fire. 1. tinder 2. kindling 3. wood logs/ other large pieces of wood. Tinder needs to be fine pieces of flammable material such as grass, pieces of bark, leaves or moss. One of the best natural forms of tinder is the old flower spike of cattail. It closely resembles cotton and will ignite immediately when paired with a good spark or ember. Finely shred the tinder and form into a bundle to use to catch the ember to start your fire. Kindling is larger pieces of bark, sticks, and wood cut into pieces. when your tinder builds a flame you will slowly add kindling to the tinder to strengthen the flame. Once you have a strong flame you want to have large branches or logs to feed the fire and give it enough fuel to last.
Step 2: Starting your fire. The most common methods of this primitive way to make fire are:
1. hand drill, You will need a fire board( block of wood with a semi flat surface to use the spindle on) and a long(2-3ft) straight stick to use as the spindle. Cut a notch into the block to create gap that the ember created can escape through and land into your tinder. grasp the spindle with both hands and place tip of spindle into notch in your block and rub your hands together to make it spin which in turn causes friction to start the ember.
2. Bow drill, You will need a fire board,spindle, string/shoelace, Socket( wood or stone element to place over end of spindle. and a sturdy stick with some flexibility. Use the flexible stick and string to create a bow and wrap the string once around the spindle. once you have this place the tip of spindle in notch of your block then place the socket on the end of spindle and hold it in place with one hand. With your other hand use your bow in a front-back motion to turn the spindle creating an ember.
3. Fire plow , You will need a soft wood board/ split log( about 2 ft), and a hardwood stick that is sharpened. Create an indent down the center of your plow-board by either cutting it or scraping with a sharp object. Next lay the plow board on your thigh. or anchor it to the ground. Place your plow at a 60 degree angle to the plow board. Apply pressure to your plow and quickly slide it to the front of your plow board then releasing pressure on the up-stroke. The hot dust created by this motion will collect at the end of your plow board and when hot enough the pile will ignite.
4.Ice Magnification , If you are in cold climates finding good pieces of wood for the methods above can be difficult. There is a method of making fire by creating a lens out of ice to then be used to focus the suns rays to a point that will ignite your tinder. Much like a magnifying glass. The ice needs to be clear and free of impurities. Use a knife or rock to chip the ice down to a relatively flat round lens then use the heat of your hands to polish it smooth. Your fire by ice lens is now ready to use! Here is a video to show the process: