Bow Drill Bearing Block

Last weekend I made a bow drill bearing block out of a stone.

Bow Drill Bearing Block

First of all you need to find a flat stone that fits nicely in your hand. The next thing you need to do is to start making a depression in it using some flint. 30 minutes later you’ll end up with a bearing block as shown above.

The advantage of a stone bearing block over a wooden bearing block is less friction. You want as much friction on your fire board, but a less friction as possible in your bearing block. Metal and glass are even better materials as a bearing block, but they don’t look as “natural” as a stone one.

Gathering Flint

A fellow bushcrafter, Mike – Survivalmike- , was looking for flint. To bad for him, in Austria there are very few sources of flint (if there are any). So he posted a video on youtube to ask for help.

Lucky for me (and for him) I live near an area full of flint (see previous posts). So I decided to help him out, and went gathering some flint to ship to Austria.

Flint & Steel + Horseshoe Amadou = Fire

Today I’m presenting to you a method of fire lighting, using flint, steel and some horseshoe amadou.

Not so far from where I live there’s a marl cave. There is an abundance of flint in those caves.
Marl cave

The firesteel or steel striker is made by Launditch who I met on

The horseshoe amadou I collected and prepared myself. I’ll explain in detail how I did this in a future post, but in basically you collect the horseshoe fungus, cut out the amadou, cut it into slices, boil it in water with ashes, flatten it with a baton and let it dry.

Artificial Fatwood

A time ago I was looking for fatwood, but i couldn’t find any. The only thing that I could find was really dry and porous wood. When I came home I decided to make my own fatwood. Fatwood is just wood and fat (resin 🙂 ) so it shouldn’t be so difficult to make it myself.

I took a small saucepan and filled it with paraffin which I saved from all the candles my wife burned the last two years. Once melted I dropped the pieces of wood in the paraffin.


The bubbles you see on the picture is not the paraffin that’s boiling, but the air that’s coming out the dried wood and being replaced by paraffin.

Once all the bubbles were gone I let the pieces of wood cool down, so the paraffin could harden out. A few hours later I tried the first piece of self made fatwood.

The first two times I tried to light the fatwood (and all other attempts after this video) were successful as of the first or second strike. Only in this video (which is uncut) it took me 21 strokes to get the fatwood burning. It just needs that one little hot sparkle…


Today I went on a small trip with my wife and son to collect some new pieces of flint. The previous flint I brought from this cave is broken into way to small pieces to use with steel striker.

Marl cave
On the left of this picture, you can clearly see the flint bank. It’s compressed between two layers of marl. The funny thing about these marl caves is that the flint is only a side product. People who were working in these caves were out for marl to build house and churches or to make cement. But just like our ancestors, the Neanderthalers, it’s the flint that brings me here.

Walking in a cave like this always smells like an adventure. It’s dark and cold, and you’ll never know who or what you’ll come across. The cave we visited is open for public and not very big. You’ll never get really lost in it.

To collect some flint I didn’t cut into the ceiling nor the walls. I prefer not to take the risk the whole cave would collapse. There are plenty of pieces of flint just laying on the ground. What can be easier than just picking them up?

However, I should have taken some precautions, like wearing gloves. I’ve cut my finger just by picking up a piece of flint. Didn’t they used to make knives and axes from silex 😉 ?
Finger cut

Making Fire With A Bottle Of Wine

Let me show you how to make fire with a bottle of wine.

Just like if you were using a magnifying glass it’s all about bundling as much as sun rays as possible and make them come together on one small spot. I used a small bottle of South African Chenin Blank from a local discount warehouse. I think it speaks for itself if I tell you that it will not work with red wine, as it will block to much the sun rays.

Probably I’d better drink the wine and filled the bottle with clear water, but that was not necessary for this small experiment.

Making Fire With A Bottle Of Wine

Making Fire With A Bottle Of Wine

Making Fire With A Bottle Of Wine

What you see is a smoldering piece of dried leaf. I have to admit I didn’t get any flames on my quickly gathered pile of tinder, but that would have only be a matter of time. I saw once a episode of href=””>’Survivarman’ Les Stroud in which it took him almost 4 hours to get a fire going using a lens from a broken video camera.

Cotton Balls And Petroleum Jelly

Cotton balls catch easy fire. Cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly keep easily fire. Below you can see a comparison video of two similar sized cotton balls. One of them is soaked in petroleum jelly. The regular one burns only for about 1 minute (even a little less) and the one with petroleum jelly burns almost 5 minutes.

Having some cotton balls in your fire starting kit is great, having a petroleum jelly cotton ball in it is even better!

Starting Af Fire With Birch Bark

Starting a fire with some birch bark is a piece of cake. Even when the birchbark is still wet, it will light as if it was a dry piece of paper soaked in gasoline.

When you are on a hike, and you plan to make a fire later the day, it’s a good idea to collect already some tinder when you find it. Collecting upfront birch bark when you are in a birch tree forest might look stupid, but can you imagine your frustration when you want to lit your fire and you are in the middle of a pine tree woodland, or desert and the last birch tree was 20 km ago.

Always be prepared!

Magnesiumstick And Sisal Rope

It’s friday, time to make some fire! Today we are going to use some sisal rope as tinder to start our fire. It’s pretty easy if you know how to do it. I’ll show it to you in a few pictures. The knife I’m using is a Frosts Mora Clipper. A very cheap (= inexpensive), but decent knife every wannabe Bush crafter must have! 😉

Or for those who like a video-demo:

Dryer Lint Tinder

Dryer lint makes excellent tinder. You have to clean your dryer’s filter anyway, and instead of throwing the lint away you could save it to use it as tinder. Put some of it in your emergency readiness or use it to light your BBQ.

Now how does this work? I’ll give you a small demonstration.

Take a piece of dryer lint and tear it apart. Try to make it as light as possible. Take your firesteel and after a few strokes you have your fire. Be careful not to inhale the fumes as they could be poisonous due to the type of materials used for your socs or t-shirts.

Even though you might not have any dryer lint with you in an emergency situation, you can always make some by pealing off little peaces of fabric from your socs or blouse. This video also indicates that dryer lint is highly flammable and can be ignited with only a few little sparks. Those sparks can also be the result of static electricity, so be sure to always clean your dryer and remove any lint from it’s filter.