I've had many a bow drill fire attempt failure in my time and it always leaves me wondering why? For that reason, if I learned anything by it, it is not really a failure, just a different kind of succeeding.
I will admit that this last Saturday, conditions were not at their best. In fact, the temperature was hovering around 8°F with a wind chill factor bringing it down to -10°F. Needless to say, this was working to quench any creative muse I might of had.
I so wanted to make a nice video, work at using my new knife, maybe get an ember from the newly made bow drill set made from materials on site, or get a set of curls with the new blade and set them on fire with my gloved hands and my fire steel. But it seemed like everything was working against me.
Just one day before, it was 37°F and it rained all day on Friday. So I figured that any wood that was exposed to such conditions, if laying even a little sideways, rather then standing straight up, would be a challenge to get to work as a bow drill spindle or hearth board.
With all the time I have spent recently, practicing firecraft in my little woodlands, I have discovered that if conditions go from rainy to snowy and then to freezing and back again, any wood you find may feel dry in its frozen state, but will be moist or damp or wet once it begins to thaw.
To attempt a bow drill fire in these conditions demands the driest wood you can find. Spindles made from the deepest parts of the stock and then means batoning to the heartwood of dead standing and thick trees.
On this day, I did not take the time to find such materials. I will the next time. I am determined to get a bow drill fire going in the snow, but it will be a large challenge knowing the conditions.
In the end, what made for a good adventure anyway, was the sudden appearance of my friend "Steene", a Minnesota member of BushcraftUSA. He showed up about an hour and a half after the usual meeting time and found me practicing at trying to light some shavings and curls with my firesteel, without taking my gloves off.
We had time for a short trip and fire and a hot brew and in the end, after the wind chill had gotten the best of us, we called it a day and headed back.
Here is the video of my Saturday adventure, half of it solo and the other half enjoying it with a good friend.
I have to say, that after my friend Wade showed up, I started to find my creative muse and I did finally come away with another adventure and a good time. Thanks Wade. Until next time, Happy Exploring.