How to make fire by bow-shaped spindle


Let's say you go for a hike or nature and are fully confident that equipped with everything necessary. Unfortunately, you realize that you forgot the matches! The ability to make fire by friction can save your life in a situation of extreme survival.

Make fire by bow-shaped spindle

This article provides a detailed description of one of the most interesting and complex methods of making fire with bow-shaped spindle ("Indian Violin").


  1. Find tinder. As a rule — it is dry, fibrous, flammable materials by sparks (lint from clothes, feathers of birds, fine wood shavings, dry moss, shredded fibers dry plants, the inner layer of pine species, birch bark, spruce cones, pine needles, bracket fungus, burnt cotton and linen, waxed paper and dust produced by insect borers)
  2. Ignition and fuel.
    • Gather up a few handfuls of kindling. Best fit long dry twigs thick toothpick. Bars to gradually increase the thickness of a pencil.
    • Used as fuel wood. Solid hardwoods burn well, give a lot of heat and long smoldering. Soft conifers quickly burn and give off a lot of sparks.
    • Avoid wood lying on the ground (it is likely to be wet or podsyrevshey). Instead, collect firewood and kindling with deadwood. Look for dead branches that become entangled in the bushes or the lower tier of the trees. It should be noted that the mixed dry and damp wood burning for a long time, and released by smoke from the green wood will ward off insects.
  3. Make "Nest" for coal. Wrap a bunch of tinder more dense material such as dry grass or leaves. Make sure you leave a recess for coal and a small gap for ventilation.
  4. Of a flexible elastic wood (walnut, bamboo) do bow.
    • Beginners recommended bow length from 45 to 60 cm
    • If possible, use the finest bars to reduce weight. The lighter the bow, the easier to manage them and the less force required to rotate the spindle. However, make sure that the device is turned sufficiently rigid and do not bend during use. In addition, the bow should not be strongly curved.
    • Of lace, string, strips of leather or any cords do bowstring. Leave a little slack in the cord to wrap around the drill string (spindle).
  5. Wooden board. For the manufacture of the board are best soft wood, not containing juice. Select a light dry tree and give it a form in accordance with the following dimensions: thickness — 3.2 cm, width — 5.8 cm, length — at least 30 inches.
  6. Spindle (drill) recommended hardwood that does not contain tar or other juices. However, you can use the same timber as for the board. The main thing is that the wood is dry and light.
    • Drill diameter should be between 1.5-3 inches. When choosing a suitable stick you can focus on the thickness of your thumb or index finger. The minimum length of the spindle — 20 inches.
    • If possible, use a knife to get the straight and round billets. The upper end of the spindle must be sharpened like a pencil and make a rounded bottom. Make time for quality manufacturing spindle. Efforts will pay off!
  7. Find or make a top support spindle. The support block (socket) can be made of wood, bone or stone.
    • Look for a stone with a smooth groove. Ideally it should be the size of a fist and fit easily in your hand. Too small stone will heat up quickly.
    • If you can not find a suitable stone, the easiest way to make a support block of wood. He should be in good hands and be compact, but so that your fingers do not touch the spindle. For manufacturing unit use hardwood or use gnarl (wavy twisted arrangement of fibers in wood) in soft rocks. With a knife or a sharp stone, drill a hole no deeper than the middle of the workpiece.
    • Support can make virtually anything that can maintain a stable position in the narrow end of the drill and allow the spindle to rotate freely about its axis.
    • To reduce friction, lubricate the reference hole Resin or oil.
  8. Prepare garbage embers. For insulation from the cold ground and move the coals in a prepared socket can be used with tinder dry leaves, wood chips, bark, a piece of paper, etc.

Make fire

  1. Determine place on the board, which will rotate the spindle and make a mark at a distance of about one and a half diameter drill from the long side of the board. Drill here funnel depth of about 5 mm. and the width approaches the diameter of your spindle. Below, under the groove, you can cut the cavity for tinder.
  2. Burn hole.
    • Place the board on a flat piece of land.
    • Put your left foot on the board at a distance of 2-3 cm to the left of the marked funnel.
    • Stand on the right knee and make sure it is far enough behind the left foot to form a right angle.
    • In his right hand holding the bow, and the left — spindle.
    • Place the top of the spindle bowstring so that the end, pointed like a pencil pointing to the right. Then tighten the drill bit into the bow, creating a loop of string. If it is too difficult to do, then slightly loosen the string tension.
    • Rounded end of the drill, put in the groove on the board. Overlay on top of the spindle support block.
    • Grasp the end of the onion and gently pressing down on the support, move it back and forth.
    • If all goes well and the spindle begins to "drill" board, increase the rotation speed and the pressure on the jacket. Soon, around the drill bit, a black wood powder (excellent tinder) and begins to smoke. Excellent! Now stop and lift the board.
  3. Cut out chimney. Make a V-shaped propyl almost the middle of the funnel, you just burned to the board.
    • One of the most important things — to make sure that propyl turned out not so broad as to spindle rotation, slips out. Size "the sixth part of the pie" will be very time.
    • Do not make the kerf to the middle of the crater, and even more so on.
  4. Make wigwam or "house" of wood. Note the order: tinder, kindling, and fuel. Should not be used once all the available material — leaves a small gap between the bars so that the flame could "breathe." At the future site of the fire can be made of dry wood flooring, which will absorb moisture and the cold ground, which is especially important in the winter. Do not forget to leave a passage, which will be placed coals.
  5. Get ember. It's time to make fire! Do everything the same as during the burn holes, but do not forget to put the garbage charcoal chimney under the cut.
    • Uniform back-and-forth motions of onions start drilling the board, pressing down on the spindle supporting unit. When you get into a rhythm, strengthen the pressure on the spindle and increase the speed of its rotation.
    • After a while the V-shaped groove will be filled with black wood powder. Go ahead and will soon be smoke.
    • When the tinder starts to smoke everywhere, then most likely you have been successful and have received coal. If you are not sure — continue rotating spindle, before it will lack strength. If it starts to grind (food) — then you need to polish the installation and increase the pressure, while maintaining speed.
    • If the tinder is white (or dark, red), then you know for sure — you have coals.
  6. Carefully remove the spindle and slide the board. If the embers required additional support of oxygen, it is very gentle strokes of one hand, create a weak air flow over them. Blow on the smoldering bodies, this is not recommended that you do not accidentally obranit it on the cold ground. Once you feel that the coals are stable and will go out — move them to the nest with a tinder.
  7. Begin gently blowing on the coals and gradually surround them tinder. Continue this process until there are actual flames. Burning tinder put in a prepared lodge of wood and then blow by placing small twigs in fires.

Voila! Now you can relax and unwind next to the long-awaited fire …

Possible problems and their solutions

  1. SvilUbedites that your body is in the correct position. For right-handers:
    • The left foot is on the board at a distance of 2-3 cm from the spindle.
    • Angle below the left knee is approximately 90 degrees. Angle of the left foot with respect to the right — 90 degrees.
    • For balance, turn the right foot against the left. (It opens your body to the right.)
    • The left hand holds the jacket and should be pressed to the lower leg (as if you embrace the knee). This will help you keep the upper part of the drill in the same position.
    • This position will make you rely on the entire system and will use the weight of the upper body (not just the strength of your hand) for the pressure on the spindle.
  2. Adjusting the string: it is important to maintain tension string to keep it from slipping on the drill. But the string is too tight can destabilize veretana so that it will jump out of the jacket, or going into the board. There are several ways to control string.
    • Stretch the string tight enough, hold the very end of the bow, and when you start to "cut" back and forth, push the string to it. Even if you are the first time to optimally configure the string, the tension is likely to weaken in the process of making fire, so it is advisable to master this technique before. If necessary, move the brush up on the bow to adjust the tension. This is a good opportunity to have a long (about 60 inches) bow.
    • The other way — towards the end of the bow to tighten the noose even one stick and rotate it to the string tension.


  • Practice. Practice at home in their spare time to develop the experience and habits.
  • If you got a good hot charcoal, then rub in your hands literally break out, so always prearrange kindling and firewood.
  • The form of the chimney is important, but not essential, provided that it is slightly wider at the bottom than at the top. It is recommended to use a narrow chimney with a corner cut about 60 degrees (1/6 of the pie) and U-shaped, but the V-shaped notches are working. Chimney — a place where going to the hot wood powder and mixed with air, which allows him to turn into ashes. Wider chimney usually means that you have to create more tinder (hot charcoal powder), but on the other hand it will increase the flow of air.
  • Keep the bow relative to the center spindle. If the string is moved closer to one end of the drill, there will be an imbalance of forces and moments of the drill is likely to pop out of the socket (the jacket) or a hole in the board. To return the string to its original location, change the angle of the bow when moving back and forth. String should always be parallel to the ground and perpendicular to the drill. Never point the tip of the bow in the earth or in the sky. Learn how to manage a bow in the horizontal plane.
  • The hole in the board and the tip of the spindle, which there is, must be rough, not shiny and smooth. Roughness increases the friction. If they become smooth, then Sprinkle some sand into the hole. This is an old Indian trick that many settlers overlooked.
  • If you are tired, do not be afraid to make small breaks. The process of making fire by bow-shaped spindle takes a lot of energy, unless you are one of those people for whom this activity is a natural and everyday. If so, then you're in luck. For the rest of us, rest breaks can mean the difference between a warm, cozy night in the friendly environment of the forest and the cold, dark night in the wild, inhospitable. Try to almost completely fill the Chimney-cut dark wood dust, and then take a break or to pass on the baton to his partner, while still warm chips.
  • If there are two people can act in tandem. The first person is the main (or host) and set the pace of work, and the second adds force to every movement. Such cooperation facilitates the taking embers, especially for the first couple.
  • It has been found that is easier to work when your hands are a little sticky (eg, resin).
  • Place the tinder nest with a flue hole and you do not have to take risks when moving coal. This technique will significantly reduce your efforts.
  • If you know you have a fire in this way and you do not have a flashlight, make sure you took a long time for this procedure with the calculation done before nightfall. Experienced campers are doing it for years and still have difficulties when working in the dark. Even if you have a flashlight, do it in the daytime. You'll be glad you have done so.
  • Do not let the rocking board during drilling.


  • Spindle and the socket board very hot.
  • This way of making fire does not always work and takes a lot of time and effort.
  • If you no longer need a fire, then cover with ashes and make sure that it is not harmful to the environment.
  • Be very careful about the kind of wood / leaves / branches you burn. For example, the rhododendrons are very poisonous, so make sure you do not use it as fuel. Do some research to know in advance that you can (and can not) burn.

Tools required

  • Knife or sharp stone
  • Tinder
  • Board, made of soft wood (such as cedar or lime)
  • Spindle (drill), made of the same or soft wood (such as the root of poplar)
  • Bow elastic wood (walnut, ash, acacia (wattle), mulberry (mulberry), McClure or "tree bows" (osage), yew, bamboo)
  • Rawhide or durable cord parakordovy
  • The support block (socket) of something smooth, solid piece of wood or stone with deepening.

The English word terminology wattle is the common name of trees and shrubs in the genus Acacia (Acacia), growing mainly in Australia and South Africa.

Osage or Osage-Orange (American inedible orange) — a tree, from which the American Indians made their bows. Considered the best wood for making homemade bows. On its mechanical properties close to yew. Other names: Bois d'Arc (tree bows), Maclura aurantiaca (McClure orange) or Maclura pomifera (McClure yablokonosnaya), Bow wood, Horse-apple, Pomum adami, Lzheapelsin. McClure fruits are widely used in traditional medicine.

The best combination of "drill-board":

  • Willow — Lipa
  • Iva — Iva
  • Hazel — Lipa
  • Willow — Maple

Great video from the transfer of Ray Mears survival skills, where Ray produces fire from the "Indian Violin" (Download an excerpt 44Mb):

On materials

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