The Bow Drill is a primitive method of creating fire without the help of matches or a lighter. Although the equipment used seems complicated it is actually quite simple to construct. It consists of a spindle that sits on a base (fireboard) while the spindle is rapidly spun back and fourth by the bow. The bow itself is usually curved with a piece of cordage attached to each end. The friction developed by the spindle and fireboard generates heat and from heat, fire.
I enjoy spending as much time outdoors as I possibly can, this includes fishing, bird watching, camping and roasting marshmallows over the campfire. I have attempted the bow drill method of starting fire with no success. I found it time consuming and frustrating, eventually ending with me giving up and with a single flick of my Bic the task had ended.
Due to modernity and it’s convenience we take things for granted, taking the easy and technological approach to nearly everything we do and need. Spending time outdoors and returning to our traditional methods we can develop an appreciation for how we came to be.
Recently in the kids calendar of the latest issue of Dan’s Papers I noticed a listing entitled Fire By Friction: a bow drill fire making demo and practice. I was excited when I read the quoted words “Yes! YOU will get to try it!” The ad stated “ages 8 and up with a limit of 10 students.” As a 28 year-old young-adult I envisioned a mental picture of myself surrounded by elementary school students all wondering why an old man attended their weekend field trip. The listed event was scheduled for a Saturday in Sag Harbor, details that sound like a great outing for any age group. I called the number provided in the listing to seek information regarding my age.
I reached the friendly Chandra who, after having a chuckle at my age, admitted that she has had no children signed up, and because of this may have to postpone the hands on demonstration until April. To register for this skilled learning demonstration please contact Chandra or Ben at 631-678-3010 or 631-678-3011 Saturday March 24, Price: by donation. If enough kids register you just may see one big kid there.