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Hand Drill
A hand drill is a simple tool used to ignite a pile of dried tinder. Because hands create less friction than a bow drill, this method is only effective in hot climate when wood is very dry.

Steps to Make a Hand Drill

Set Up (Starting your Fire)

Steps to Make a Hand Drill:
  1. The drill is cut from a straight, dry piece of hardwood such as ash, birch, hickory, maple or oak. The strong stalk of a bull thistle, a sunflower, or a cattail plant can also be used. Avoid gummy or resinous woods. It should be about 15 in long, 2 in thick, and as round and straight as possible to minimize wobbling during rotation. Round on end and carve the other to a sharp point.
  2. Choose a piece of softwood such as cottonwood, pine, or poplar about 6 in wide by 12 to 18 in long by 1 in thick for the fireboard. On one of the long sides of the board, well towards the end, cut a v-shaped notch about ½ deep into the center of the board. Then dig out a small hole about 1/8 in, or less, from tip of notch for the drill point to fit into.
Set Up (Starting your Fire):
  1. Set the fireboard on a smooth, even surface where it will not slip. Place a small pile of tinder under the notch in the side of the board.
  2. Set the pointed end of the drill in the hold near the notch on the fireboard. Gently roll the drill back and forth in your hands until the drill begins to bite into the fireboard. Covering hands in pine pitch from cut branches or pine cones may help the drill roll more easily over hands. A hot black powdered wood known as char will fall through the notch onto the pile of tinder. As smoke is produced, spin the drill faster. Never allow the tip of the drill to leave fireboard as the air will cool the drill hole immediately. Always maintain a constant downward pressure.
  3. When you have a considerable pile of hot char on your pile of tinder, move the fireboard away and gently fan the pile with your hand until you have a bright glow. Add more tinder and blow until the tinder bursts into flames. Begin adding kindling as your fire grows.

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