anyone ever start a fire using a firebow? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

I'm logging this under "spiritual readiness"since I have over 10,000 wood matches.But as far as maintining a positive mental attitude,knowing that one can make fire with nothing but a knife for tools can be very encouraging and empowering.I've got a great book on primitive wilderness survival skills,tanning hide and knapping flint as well as other craziness,including fire bows.ever tried it?I'm going camping this weekend and I'll give it a try this weekend as well as my magnesium sparker,but hey matches are where it's at.

-- zoobie (, August 28, 1999


Had to start a fire with no matches once when taking a survival class taught by the Appalacian Mountain Club (the instructor wasn't a tree hugger, though, an ex-Green Beret). After slapping a flint over tinder for 5 hours I'll never go in the woods without a Gerber Blastmatch, Trioxane fuel tabs and about 1200 matches. BTW, most of those $&@%^$!! "waterproof" matches are useless, as they require the package friction pad, and the pad falls apart after like 4 strikes. Same thing with those matches that BQ sells that come in a sealed white film-can like package.

Using a bow to start a fire is a real skill, like playing a musical instrument well. It is REALLY hard to do. Even in cold weather, energy is often better expended building a warm shelter.

Build an ember container from an old can if your in that dire a situation and carry the fire.

Supposedly our brothers in the arctic circle can start a fire by making a lense with thier hands, and igniting tinder with it. I would pay real money to see someone do that.

-- Retroman (, August 28, 1999.

I recently bought a magnesium fire starter, but haven't tried to use it. Of course we have matches, so hope the magnesium isn't necessary.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (, August 28, 1999.

I have a magnesium bar with a strip of flint on it. I have always been able to start a fire within 5 minutes, assuming I have dry tinder (toilet paper is ok but dryer lint or cotton is better). If there is a breeze I put the tinder in a can so it won't blow right out. (Ever notice how the breeze always picks up JUST as you are trying to light something?)

Some pieces of steel make more sparks than others. The back of my Buck knife is good. Also note that the flint won't last forever, mine is slightly worn already just from practicing.

-- biker (, August 28, 1999.


Yer' readin' it from the horse's mouth: I started fires with a 'fire bow' probably 3-4x on my own, then many more times when I taught it as a Boy Scout counselor, back before WWII. The secret is having good, dry tinder, and no wind.


I have a lot of mag fire starters stored away, from back in the mid-80s...took them out of the packing boxes last week: all were in good shape, except one brand -- where the mag bar had pulverized into dust!


-- William J. Schenker, MD (, August 28, 1999.

Zoobie, I've only seen it done once and that was on tv. I did not take the guy long at all, but conditions were good.

The secret was tinder. The guy had about 4 different grades of tinder. This guy was totally primitive. The only industrial age item relevant was a knife. Back to the tinder, the first tinder was some kind of plant fiber. Almost looked like cotten candy. He got this smoking, and then moved up to a stouter tinder, etc. until he eventually made it to small sticks.

The time consuming part was not the bow work. The time consuming part was nursing that tinder, gently blowing on it and working in the next grade of tinder. Definitely an acquired art.

-- Puddintame (, August 28, 1999.

let's hear it for matches!

-- zoobie (, August 29, 1999.

I was an instructor on a wilderness course for problem youth. The course ended with a 3 day "solo" where the only food they had required cooking (rice and lentils) and they were given no other way to start a fire other than the bow-drills we taught them to make and use. Most of the youth ended up fasting, because it is THAT hard to make a fire with a bow-drill. On my first course I had to do the same "solo" as it was required for new instructors too. I managed to get a fire going that way. The best way to do it is to have all the right materials you expect to need (and even more tinder than you expect to need) and take plenty of time getting set up prior to starting. Using the right kind of wood is vital too. I knew the kind there to use (Bloody Basin, Tonto National Forrest, Arizona) but not what would be best here (central Michigan). I guess I would try dry cedar here, not that I expect to ever need the skill.

-- Gus (, August 29, 1999.

Its quite easy to do with a magnifying glass, but I've heard it is almost impossible to do with a bow and spindle. And to believe some people can make a fire with just spinning the spindle between their hands.

-- thinkIcan (, August 29, 1999.


At one time or another, I have done all of the above. They all work. I was forced into using a bow by parents that said I had to finish the Boy Scout routine. I still have a scar on my finger from the flint and steel thing. I would go with matches first.



-- Z1X4Y7 (, August 29, 1999.

In Susan Conniry's "urban preps" workshop, Tom Beasley goes through many of the options for "Fire", including a magnifying glass and good ol' flint-and-steel-wool.

He points out that one of the simplest, cheapest, and most durable fire-starters is a Zippo lighter! "Buy a whole mess o' these. They're cheap, lightweight, and will provide thousands of starts." He recommends that you wrap a rubber band around the one you're carrying, to keep it from sliding so easily out of your pocket.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), August 30, 1999.

10-4 on the lighters! I've bought probably 50 of the bic lighters in the supermarket (10 to a pak or whatever). Also, tons of wooden matches. The heck with the cave-man routine. If things get that bad, most of us will probably be dead anyway.

-- bob (bob@commonsense.duh), September 02, 1999.

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