|Written by Thomas Conroy|
Introduction: The ability to start a fire with a hand drill is a most useful skill for those who tend to wander from the beaten path in the outdoors, and in an emergency situation can allow a stranded individual to stay warm, cook food and essentially survive. The materials necessary to successfully make a fire drill are readily available in nature for the most part, and simple common sense can guide an individual through the processes once they are understood.
Step 1: A fire drill is nothing more than using the concept of friction to produce heat, and thus a flame if given the proper fuel. The theory is very basic in it's implementation, and with a few tidbits of knowledge and a trick or two thrown in, starting a fire with a hand drill is much easier than one might believe.
Step 2: Several components are necessary to start a fire with a hand drill, beginning with a straight dry branch to serve as a drill, about 1/2 inch in diameter and about 2 to 3 feet long. A piece of hearth wood that is flat as possible and dry, stripped of bark and at least 6 inches by 3 inches is perfect for the task of starting a fire. Next, a moderate amount of tinder is required, preferably shavings of pine or cedar, but in a pinch dry grass or crumpled dry leaves or pine needles will work. A small stack of dry twigs about the size of a basketball is necessary to keep the fire going once it starts as kindling, and a good sized stack of fuel wood will keep it going. It is absolutely necessary to gather all of these items prior to even attempting to start a fire to optimize success.
Step 3: With the point of a knife or a sharp stone, carve out a circular depression in the hearth wood about 1/2 inch deep, slightly smaller than the diameter of the stick you will use for a drill. Place one foot one the hearth wood and place the drill stick into the depression you have made. Spin the drill quickly between the palms of your hands while applying downward pressure, when you view the wood begin to smoke don't stop, keep going for another 30 to 45 seconds. Inside of the depression on the hearth wood there will now be smoldering char, quickly dump the char into a small bundle of tinder (about half the size of a man's hand) and gently blow air onto the tinder until a flame appears.