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Flint and Steel and Other Primitive Methods to make Fire

Posted by Jamie Canterbury on September 14, 2018   •   fire starting, flint and steel

Fire starting with Primitive Tools like Flint and Steel

Fire from nothing. It’s the challenge to all survivalists and bushcrafters. Can you bring fire to life without the conveniences of modern technology? Are you equipped with the knowledge to start a fire with flint and steel instead of your lighter?

In certain survival situations, it can be essential to know how primitive methods of starting a fire. Should your modern firestarter fail you in a live/death scenario, you will want to know how to start one on the old-fashioned way. That's because these methods are tried and true and will last the test of time in emergencies. 

Let's look at some of the most primitive fire crafting methods and maybe you will begin to incorporate them into your survival process.


Flint and Steel

Flint and steel is an extremely reliable way to start a fire. This is the reason why it is also one of the most popular ways. Flint and a steel striker is always a great tool to have on hand but sometimes you don't have that luxury. In certain situations, you may need to identify flint and steel (or a steel-like metal) in the wilderness to make a fire. Flint is a sedimentary rock made up of quartz that is categorized as chert.

With your flint and steel, begin to strike the natural metal with the flint rock over some dry tinder and try to catch the sparks in the tinder. This method usually doesn't take a lot of effort if you have equipped yourself with the right materials. 

Being able to identify the type of flint rock, whittle it to a sharp tool and collect natural iron to build a fire is invaluable knowledge as a survivalist. 

Fire Plough

To go back even further in terms of primitive fire we can look at something called the fire plough. This fire-starting method requires a bit more work than flint and steel. It requires raw manpower and, to be frank, is not a lot of fun. The fire plough operates on one simple idea and that is friction.

You are going to want to create a fire board out of softwood like pine. This is a just a flattish surface with a long trench carved down the length of the wood. You will then get yourself a nice hardwood branch or stick, sturdy, and begin to run that stick back and forth through the trench. If you do this hard and fast it will begin to collect the rubbed off materials at one end of the fire plough and before long that material will begin to smoke and glow.

Hand Drill

The hand drill operates on the same softwood base, hardwood drill concept as we used in the fire plough. The difference is the motion. Instead of running the stick along a trench you are going to create a V notch at the edge of the softwood and at the point of the V you are going sit the hardwood drill.

You will spin the drill in your hands and create friction by adding pressure at the point of the V. after a lot of sweating and some readjusting you are going to have an ember in that V that can easily be dumped into a tinder bundle. It's best to lay that bundle under your softwood.



These methods discussed above are going to give you an edge in the worst-case scenario. You never know how bad it can get out there and you better be prepared to take advantage of the natural world.

Beyond using these natural methods of fire crafting to your benefit I should add that there is no better way to get the attention of the tech-hungry youth than by showing them how to make fire using sticks and friction. 

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