Bod,Originally Posted by BOD
I think a firesteel will not work because it's too blunt. My theory is that the sparks are tiny pieces of bamboo, sliced of by the flint. If this is correct any material that's hard & sharp enough will do the trick. My scarce resources mention flint, china pottery (porcelain), glass or iron so you were probably right in trying out your parang to strike sparks.
Well that's my hypothesis but I might be wrong so don't let it stop you trying out a firesteel!
Beccari is not very elaborate in describing the uses of the bamboo species so I don't know of the next will be of any help:
Bulu pretja (a slender type) Beccari used for "making cane frames for the rearing of silkworms" later he found bulu kassa preferable for that purpose ("being still more slender and very like the reeds we use in Italy")
Beccari says the bulu gading ('ivory bamboo') is a sacred plant for the land dayaks but he gives no uses for it.
He also mentions a spring bamboo trap ('petti') that he land dayaks use too catch wild pigs which "consist of a horizontal bamboo stake (('jerunkan') driven by a strong spring".
In contrary to the meagre descriptions above, the book abunds in plant lore and Beccari mentions a lot of wildlife. There is also a description of how the natives make a sumpitan (blowpipe) but that's in one of the last chapters of the book I still have to read.