How to Create a Fire Without a Lighter or Matches

Steel Wool and Battery Make a Good Fire Trick

This is one of those forgotten skills that everybody should have. The ability to make fire without resorting to matches or a lighter. Here are some tried and tested techniques that can be fun to try

Using Friction.
We all know that rubbing things together makes them warm up and if you have ever watched any of the excellent Ray Mears Bushcraft TV series you will have seen Ray use a variety of friction based techniques. But be warned, some of these techniques can be hard work. But making fire using these basic bushcraft techniques can be enormously satisfying.

You will need two pieces of wood, one to act as a fireboard and another as the spindle. It is essential that the wood is completely bone dry. As for all of these firemaking techniques you will need to make a tinder nest using bone dry grass, wood shaving and other easily flammable material.

Cut a V shaped notch in your fireboard and place some bark under the notch to catch the smouldering ember. Carve another little indentation into your board at the point of the V for the tip of your spindle. You can use a bow to spin your spindle nice and fast to create a lot of friction. You can use the bow to spin the spindle really quickly, creating a lot of friction and heat. Hopefully you will soon see wisps of smoke coming from your fireboard. Once you have created a burning ember, transfer this to your tinder nest using a piece of bark. Gently blow on your tinder nest to turn the embers into fire.

Using Fire Sticks
In days of old people would often carry a piece of high carbon steel and flint to make fire. Striking the steel with the flint will create a spark. These days you can find excellent firesteels in many bushcraft supply stores consisting of a high carbon steel rod and hardened steel striker. Its also possibel to use the steel blade of a knife.
You will need to have made a nice dry tinder nest for your spark, but his method is much easier than the friction based method described previously.

Using the Sun

Everybody remembers using magnifying glasses to scorch things as children. This is another relatively easy way to make fire, if it’s sunny. However, we don’t all carry magnifying glasses with us wherever we go. But you may have a pair of glasses or even a condom and some water can be used to form a lens.

Using Electricity

This is a fun way to make fire that can provide a useful demonstration of the power and danger of electricity. To try this you will need a battery and some steel wool. The best batteries to use for this are the 9V variety. By rubbing the battery contacts on the steel wool it will heat up and begin to burn. Transfer your burning steel wool to your bone dry tinder nest and blow to start the fire. Hey presto, you’ve got a fire!

These firemaking techniques are great to try out when you are next on a family camping trip. Why not include a few fire-making tools with your camping equipment and let your children have a go. But be sure to take plenty of warm outdoor clothing because you might be a little chilly without a fire.

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