Alright, now it’s time to shape the spindle.

This is essentially the ‘drill’ in your bow drill kit.

So, you do want to spend some time on this to make sure it’s done right. Otherwise, it’ll make your job of starting a fire much harder.

STEP 1. THE SWEET SPOT

  • Find the area you feel will be large enough for your Spindle.
  • Make sure to go a little larger than you need, as you can always trim the spindle down to size.
LONG-TERM? Make the spindle a little longer, and wider than shown in this guide if you’re going to use this kit long-term. I will certainly begin to wear away after enough wear and tear.

STEP 2. HAMMER THE KNIFE

  • Baton your knife through the log to remove extra material.
  • You should be quite familiar with batoning at this point.

STEP 3. PLANER

  • Set up the same planer system as you did for shaping the hearth board.
  • Rotate your spindle around.
  • You’re obviously aiming to make this as round as possible.

STEP 4. CHOP EXTRA MATERIAL

  • Every once and a while you’ll want to chop off extra material that piles at the bottom of your spindle.

STEP 5. ROUND OUT   

  • Continue the process of rounding out your spindle.

  • This is what you want it to look like before proceeding to the next step.
KINDLING: You’ll have a lot of kindling at this point. Make sure you’re stacking this away, and keeping it dry for later use.

STEP 6. FINISHING TOUCH  

  • The planer is great, however it’s not built for precision.
  • Take your spindle, and place it against your leg.
  • Anchor your hand with the knife along the top of your thigh, with the blade touching your spindle.
  • Pull the wood back into the blade.
  • Continue this method around the wood to round it out.
KEEP IT NICE: Spend some time making this smooth and as round as you can. Why? Because your string goes around this part. If it’s too rough, it will rip up, and even sever your string. Last thing you want to worry about!

STEP 7. MEASURE   

  • Once you’re done, it should be the length of your hand from the tip of your thumb to the tip of your pinky.

BACK TO SCHOOL: The easy way to imagine the next steps is that you’re going to take your current material, and turn it into a large Kindergarten pencil.

STEP 8: PENCIL TIP

  • Take one end of the spindle and carve it to a point.
  • You’re aiming for it to look like a pencil tip.
  • Use the traditional carving technique of flicking the knife away from you.

  • Here’s what it should look like when you’re done.

STEP 8. THE ERASER

  • Flip the spindle and begin working at the other end.
  • You’ll be carving this into a “dulled down eraser”.
  • Set your knife back about ⅝” back from the tip, and carve away from yourself using the same technique as the previous step.
  • Continue this process the entire way around the tip.

  • This is what it should look like once you’re done.

  • Then move your knife about a third of the way towards the tip, and repeat the process all the way around for a second time.

  • This is what it should look like again.
  • Repeat the process by moving the knife a third of the way up the tip again.

  • Once it looks like this, simply trim off the tip to round out your “eraser”.

  • So it looks like this.

This is your finished spindle.

It should look exactly like a fat kindergarten pencil.

Now in the next step, the drill’s gonna meet the spindle and we’re gonna start discussing the proper techniques to get a fire going!

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