View Full Version : fire drill variation
while looking through a book on north american tribes i found a fire drill set that was like a bow drill exept ther was no bow , instead there was a thong with toggles each end and you pressed the bearing block down by holding it in your teeth and used the thong 2 handed, has anyone ever tried this method? seems like it would be hard going ,maybe someone tried to be clever and re invent something that didnt need touching ,how rare :wink:
Not seen that one.... what was the book?
cant remember at the mo , i`ll get the info when i get home, tribe etc and isbn,its very good though, it just seems a wierd way to go about making fire
The Inuit used that technique.I dont see any advantage to it over using a bow.Maybe the lack of wood for the bow?Seems to be a good way to lose some teeth though.
If I remember correctly this technique was more commonly used for drilling holes using such as a flint for the drill tip. Couldn't you just use a rib instead of a piece of wood?
its a technique employed by people who are unable to secure wood sutible for a bow such as the inuit
Sounds like a variation of the archimedes drill. Quite effective for drilling so sounds quite feasible to adapt for firemaking.
Might have to take a trip to the shops...
I've got a book from 1898 on native cultures. In there there is a drawing of two inuits who use the toggle thingy for making fire - one use the toggle while the other add pressure to the bearing block. I've also seen old photos of inuits use the same metod with firesets slightly different than the ones shown in the book.
I think a rib would work if it was long enough.One would get a longer time of the spindle spinning with the toggle set up.More results with less work if you get my point.I made a short bow for a bow drill. Alot of extra work.Armpit to finger tip is the right size.
the book is called The Native Americans: the Indigenous People of North America.
Taylor, Colin F.
ISBN 1859270913 and the people were the ingalik , these http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/cultural/northamerica/ingalik.html just found 2 second hand copies here http://gb.bookbutler.info/Crawl.po;jsessionid=nRNAaCcCCd ZIgp73tOo4Gvxx?typ=i&lng=2&in=ISBN+1859270913+
Sounds like a form of drill known as a fire pump - this is usually a ceremonial way of lighting fire and would have been used by native americans for similar ceremonioes as the CELTIC IMBOLC (Spring time renewal ceremonies) as a ritual method I would imagine it to be fairly good (the shaman cant afford to fluff it now can he?) but I have also heard it to be crap - only one way to find out!
there is no pump involved in this one , you mean like the pump drill? this is a one person operated thing, drill and hearth and bearing block the same as a bow drill ,hold bearing block in mouth and use toggles to rotate the drill as you would the cord on a bow drill, its the only one in the book , the rest are either normal hand drills , small pump drills or normal bow drills, its a great book with lots of examples from different tribes ,good to see slight variations on things
An example of a pump drill is given here:
Pump Drill (http://www.nps.gov/tuma/Pump_drill.html)
It looks like quite an interesting design - might have to have a go at making one!
this technique can be a 2 person jobby, one person holds the toggles and rotates the spindle on the hearth with the thong (effectively he is the bow and the elbow :wink: ) and the other holds the bearing block and controlls the downward force and steadyness of the spindle. saves your teeth :biggthump
This past spring I conducted a fire piston demonstration at a primitive skills gathering hosted by Cornell University cooperative extension. One of the more interest activities was making fire by bow drill...using a fence post as the spindle. The post was wrapped Egyption style and teams of young people heaved back and forth on the rope ends until the coal formed - sort of a giant version of the toggle set up described above.
:biggthump Brilliant idea! did a good coal form?
They made a coal everytime. Two men wielded a yoke arrangement to provide downward force on the spindle. A plank, split from a cedar log, was the hearth board. Once the teams got their "Heaves" and "Ho's" coordinated the smoke was really rolling and a good sized handfull of char was formed in short order. I have a couple of photos if there is an interest in seeing. I thought it was a great activity for a youth camp etc.
Yeah id love to see them Jeff great idea for keeping the younguns amused!
Sounds like an event for the next BCUK gathering!
Can we go further and use a telephone pole? :rolmao:
Sorry for the length of this quote, but its all interesting stuff, referring to the tradition of 'need-fires' at Celtic/Northern European festivities, such as Beltane, Imbolc etc. The tradition was to extinguish all flames in a village or town, and then ceremonially gain a fire from a fire drill or similar ancient method (something the Beltane Fire Society in Edinburgh still do - the task now being mine since I learnt the art of the bow-drill!). The description of the number of men involved is most impressive - sounds ideal for the BCUK meet-up!:
"Two poles were driven into the ground about a foot and a half from each other. Each pole had in the side facing the other a socket into which a smooth cross-piece or roller was fitted. The sockets were stuffed with linen, and the two ends of the roller were rammed tightly into the sockets. To make it more inflammable the roller was often coated with tar. A rope was then wound round the roller, and the free ends at both sides were gripped by two or more persons, who by pulling the rope to and fro caused the roller to revolve rapidly, till through the friction the linen in the sockets took fire. The sparks were immediately caught in tow or oakum and waved about in a circle until they burst into a bright glow, when straw was applied to it, and the blazing straw used to kindle the fuel that had been stacked to make the bonfire....
In the western islands of Scotland the fire was kindled by eighty-one married men, who rubbed two great planks against each other, working in relays of nine; in North Uist the nine times nine who made the fire were all first-begotten sons, but we are not told whether they were married or single...In Caithness they divested themselves of all kinds of metal. If after long rubbing of the wood no fire was elicited they concluded that some fire must still be burning in the village; so a strict search was made from house to house, any fire that might be found was put out, and the negligent householder punished or upbraided; indeed a heavy fine might be inflicted on him."
Sir James George Frazer - The Golden Bough. Ch 62, s. 8 - "Need-Fire"