Being able to light a fire from scratch is something we always associate as the ultimate measure of a man. But seeing as none of us have ever, or probably will ever, be in a position where we would need to light a fire using only the tools nature gifts us, it is a skill that has well and truly died out.

Knowing how to light a fire without matches is the ultimate survival skill. You never know when you might find yourself in a situation where you’ll be required to light one. Being able to create fire with your bare hands is also just a great way to embrace that primal link between mankind and nature.

Friction Based Fire

If you’re ever prepared to try out this method, be warned, it’s going to take some serious determination, tireless hands, and a bucket-load of patience. There are different friction techniques you can use, each with varying difficulties and requiring various materials.

To make a friction fire your wood must be completely dry. If it isn’t dry, you’ll have to take the time to dry it first.

Hand Drill

  • To begin with, you need to prepare a tinder nest that will create the flame once you have a burning ember. Build your nest out of anything that catches fire easily, like dry leaves, grass and thin bark.
  • Your fireboard will need to have a long groove cut into the surface with a small depression adjacent to it.
  • You will need something underneath the notch to catch your embers from the friction. A piece of bark is the best thing you’ll find out in the wild.
  • Place the spindle into the depression of your fireboard. Having a spindle around 2 feet long will help it work better. Maintain pressure on the board and start rolling the spindle between your hands, running them quickly down the spindle. Keep going until an ember is formed.
  • Once you have created enough friction you will have a glowing ember, tap the fireboard to drop your ember onto the piece of bark underneath, then transfer this to your tinder pile and gently blow until you see flames.

Try out your new technique with some kiln dried firewood from Pearson Fuels coal merchants Stockport.