Bow-drill

A friend (Will) of mine was shown how to make fire by friction by Patrick Cave-Brown. He used a system based on the Egyptian Bow-drill. Will had made several different bow-drill sets on his pole-lathe and gave them to me to test. From those tests I designed a set specific for me which we then made and this is it.

The drill is made from Ash and has a tapered hole in the bottom into which a wooden plug is inserted. The plug in this picture is made from Hazel. The other end of the drill has been reduced in diameter and fits into a hole drilled in the bearing block (made from Yew in this case). The base of the bearing block sits on the “shoulder” of the drill and once a polished finish is achieved between the two pieces of wood an almost frictionless joint is achieved! The fastest I have produced an ember with this system so far is 10 seconds and have never failed to achieve an ember while using it. My preferred woods thus far are a Hazel drill tip and Cricket Bat Willow hearth.

I have now pressure flaked some flint “drill bits” and set them into wooden plugs using Lime bark cordage as a lashing and a mix of pine resin and bees wax.

The primitive “drill bit” is then inserted into the end of the bow-drill.

Here I am using it to drill a hole through a piece of antler and it works incredibly well.

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4 thoughts on “Bow-drill

  1. i like this very much..please could you show how you made it in more detail..i have several ways of being
    contacted,,,please let me know…ps do you know fredde?

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