Bowdrill success - fire! An ember from the bowdrill method of making fire Father and son bowdrill Various tinder types on our fire by friction workshop

Making Fire By Friction (Bow Drill) Workshop

Crazy though it sounds to those of us who live in a modern age of disposable lighters and self-igniting gas stoves, rubbing sticks together does actually work. You just need to know which sticks, how to prepare them, exactly how to rub them and for how long.

The bow and drill method has been used in many environments around the globe for thousands of years. The basic principle involves one dry, seasoned wooden component rotating fast or in some other way being worked equally as speedily into another dry, seasoned wooden component. The two surfaces wear each other away creating very hot, blackened wood dust which is purposefully caught in a notch or groove carved into a wooden hearth board. The continual movement of one component working against the other at speed also serves to keep these tiny, hot, wood dust particles at a very high temperature. So much so that eventually they smoulder and begin to ignite.

Individually these particles would burn out in the blink of an eye but working together in a cluster, their heat spreads and grows stronger, feeding and fusing the little heap of black powder into a single, glowing coal or ‘ember’.

This small glowing ember is placed carefully inside a bundle of dry, fine tinder material and gently fed with oxygen by wafting or blowing until the diminutive heat source spreads to the fine tinder surrounding it, creating flame. The flaming tinder is introduced to your prepared kindling and bingo! 

Fire means warmth, protection, safe drinking water, cooked food and light. It can be used as a tool to harden wooden points, burn out bowls, preserve foods, signal for help – the list goes on and on.

During this one day workshop, you’ll make your own bow drill set from native woods and create fire from it.

Learning to light fire by rubbing sticks together takes the craft of fire lighting back to it's most basic, encouraging the practitioner to pay close attention to the tiniest detail in order to achieve success. In doing so, you'll truly understand how fire works and what NEEDS to be done when you really need it.

All tools, equipment and hot drinks are provided but you must bring your own food for the day.

Arrival 9am sharp on the Saturday morning. We'll finish around 5pm.

Why not make a weekend of it and join us on Sunday for the Wild Food and Foraging Spring Walk?

Making Fire By Friction (Bow Drill) Workshop

Fire By Friction Workshop

1 day

25-May-2019 to 25-May-2018

Start 09.00

Finish 17.00

£90 per person

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