If you're stuck outdoors and need to set a fire but forgot to bring matches or a lighter, there is no need to despair. There is a way to make a fire using materials lying around; it may take some hard work and time, but the results will be worth it and you will have learnt a new practical skill. Follow the steps given below on how you can start a fire with only sticks.
What to do?
- Pick sticks - Choose thin sticks; collect bark, dried grass, small twigs and other flammable debris lying around. Avoid damp wood as this is very difficult to burn.
- Things you will need - To start a fire, you need a friction stick, a slightly bent piece of wood which can be shaped into a bow and not break easily, a fireboard and a drill. Other things to collect are a knife or a sharp stone, a socket made from a smooth rock or piece of wood, some strong string-like material such as a long lace and tinder material - dried grass, pieces of barks, small twigs, etc.
- Build a fire pit with the kindling material collected with a space in the center. Prepare a bow with the string or shoelace and a thin, slightly bent wooden stick which should not break easily.
- Prepare a fireboard out of wood which is light and dry, without any sap and soft to poke through. The fireboard should be approximately an inch thick, 2-3 inches wide and 10-12 inches long.
- Make a drill with wood as similar as the fireboard; shape the stick just like a pencil, with one sharp and pointed end and one blunt end. For the socket look for a rock or even bone or wood which has a slightly hollow or concave centre where the sharp end of the drill can fit.
- On the fireboard mark a spot on one of the longer sides which is about one and a half times the diameter of the drill stick. At this spot make a hole about a quarter of an inch thick and with the same width as the drill.
- Place the fireboard on a flat surface on the ground and put your left foot arch on the left side of the hole you've made. Kneel on your right knee; hold the bow in your right hand, the drill in the left. Put the drill into the bow string and twist with the blunt end of the drill on the hole created. Close the other drill end with the socket.
- Holding the end of the bow, create downward pressure by twisting the drill back and forth. As you continue with this motion, you'll find some black powder collecting in the place you've drilled your hole followed by smoke. Once it starts smoking and catches a spark on account of the friction remove the drill and fireboard carefully. Blow slowly or use a fan to start fanning the small flame and add tinder to keep the flame burning. Keep adding small wood pieces until they've fully caught the flame and you have the fire you need.
Not an easy task, but the result at the end of it will thrill you. It's a practical skill which requires frequent practice and learning by trial and error, but one worth the effort and patience.