Your notch is carved out. You’re burned in.

Before we get going it’s good to understand what we’re doing with the bow drill method.

It’s best to think of this in steps.

Step 1. Get burned in.

Step 2. Carve your ignition notch.

Step 3. Filling up the notch with fuel.

Step 4. Lighting the notch without stopping.

With step 3 and 4, it’s all about keeping the momentum going to maintain heat.

If you stop, you’ll lose all of that heat and essentially have to start over.

So we need to get setup to make sure there’s no hitches along the way.

We’re going to check on our bearing block, shoulder friction, string tightness, etc. So you ultimately set yourself up for success.

STEP 1. TRIM BEARING BLOCK

  • You’ll have burned into the bearing block with the previous step.
  • This creates a lot of unnecessary friction as your drill will rub into the shoulders of the bearing block.

  • Take your knife and baton off a small part of the bearing block.

 

  • Not too much. There should still be a hole right through the material you chop off.

  • Your bearing block should look just as pictured.

STEP 2. TRIM DRILL

  • You also want to trim the “pencil tip” of your drill.
  • The point is to have the least amount of friction possible at the block bearing portion. Which means the least amount of contact between the bearing block and drill.
  • Keep in mind, the tip of this has been blackened from the burn in, which makes it stronger. Preserve that blackened tip as best you can. But, keep it thin so it doesn’t shoulder out.

  • Here’s the point you’re looking for.
  • Notice the small amount of burn left at the end.

  • The goal is to have your ‘pencil tip’ and bearing block to resemble above.
  • It will be a long time before this tip dulls out and fills the divot in the bearing block, causing it to shoulder out again.

STEP 3. TRIM OFF YOUR ERASER

  • Completely remove the burn on the “eraser” end.
  • Remember, you’re trying to produce dust from the bottom. If it’s hardened and glossed over, it will slide rather than produce friction and grind the material (the dust that you want) off.

STEP 4. TIGHTEN YOUR BOW

  • While you’re prepping, this is a good time to tighten up your bow as well.

STEP 5. THE CATCH PAN

  • Take your catch pan (sliver of kindling) and place it under your notch.

  • Position as pictured.

In the next guide, we’re going to discuss what to expect when you get going at full force on trying to start your fire.

Specifically reading the cues of your bow drill.

So you know when to apply more pressure, speed up, slow down etc.

These are all tips and tricks discovered by a professionally trained survivalist, after practicing and perfecting this method over many years.

So don’t skip the next session!

 

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