How To Make Fire With a Hand Drill

The hand drill method of making fire is a survival skill used all over the world, probably one of the oldest. Although it’s not as easy as it sounds, with the proper procedure and the right kit, you’ll get a flame. You might one day get lost in a cold jungle  or forest without a lighter, you never know.

The following are tips on how to make fire with a hand drill

Collect the Right Materials

The first thing you need is a soft dry wood. Get a straight shaft to make the spindle, about 3/8 of an inch and 600mm long. If you can get Yucca, Mullein or Fleabane Horseweed the better. Find a similar (soft) wood that is about the thickness of your spindle to use as the fire board. Getting a flat surfaced board will make the whole process a lot easier and faster. If you find Cedar, Basswood or Weeping Willow you’ll be lucky.


Construct the Fire Kit

Select a dead dry drill and scrap away all the rough spots and carve off branches. Round both ends and assign the thicker end the friction role against the fire board.

Get a piece of wood or a dry branch to use as the fire board. Make it as flat as possible to make sure it doesn’t wobble when you’re using it. The flat surface makes it easy to create the drilling holes. Make a hole of about 1/8 an inch deep on one end of the board.


The Procedure

The procedure in friction fire making rotate around two primary principals; speed and pressure. If you have the right tools and apply both force and speed correctly, you’ll be able to start a fire. There’s no valid tutorial on how you can combine both principals effectively. It’s just about balancing, and trial and error.

Keep practicing. Concentrate on what drives enough downwards pressure and maintain speed until you see smoke. The smoke is a sign that you just need to refine your process a little more until you see an ember.

You’ll know you’ve achieved an ember by the plume of smoke rising from the board when you remove your drill. Don’t stop there as that ember will burn fast. You can now place a tinder bundle on the board and blow it gently until it turns into real fire. Try it until it works.

Knowing how to start a fire with a Hand Drill can be a  useful skill and who knows, you might need it someday.