How to: Make Fire-by-Friction: The Bamboo Fire-Saw

Category: Fire / Difficulty Level: 1
Posted: 2017-02-20 00:06:59
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In this tutorialI will show how to make a fire-by-friction with the Bamboo Fire-Saw - in damp, drizzly weather. The bamboo fire-saw requires only 3 components: the hearth, hand-hold, and poker which also doubles as a tinder-holder.

Here, I show how to construct these components. I also stress the importance of having your tinder-bundle and fire-lay all set up, ready and dry especially under wet conditions, as well as the extreme importance of always sheathing or making-safe your knife or cutting tools after use.

A fire-saw is a primitive tool to create fire. It is typically an object "sawed" against a piece of wood, using friction to create an ember. It is divided into two components: a "saw" and a "hearth" (fire-board).

Two forms of the fire-saw have been documented in central and western Australia. One model is a split, notched stick as a hearth, and a knife-like hardwood stick as the saw. The other model makes use of the woomera weapon and defensive shield that natives carried.
In the Philippines and Oceania, a fire-saw from bamboo pieces is common.

I feel it is very important to study and understand primitive living skills from other regions. Bamboo is not native at all in my region of the upper Midwest.
However, I was able to procure a length of it from a local Asian market so that I could practice this ancient fire-making technique used in the tropics and jungle settings.

I found this fire-by-friction technique much easier to construct and produce an ember than others, such as the bow-drill, and hand-drill; the hand-drill being the most challenging, and the bow-drill needing the most "right" components.
The bamboo fire-saw only requires one component - dead, dry bamboo stalk. About forearm in diameter. In fact, the bamboo fire-saw even produces its own tender by scrapping up and down on the bamboo with a sharp cutting tool.
This method also seem to take less energy, thus calories to create an ember, provided proper technique is followed.

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