This might be a situation you never thoughtcould happen, but here you are cast away on a deserted island with nothing but the clotheson your back.
In this project we’ll be making a survival fire by rubbing sticks together, because if you can do that, you’ll have a much better chance of being found alive.
Looking around the island, the first thingyou notice are plenty of coconut trees and at the base are some old coconut husks.
Thosemight come in handy.
There’s also plenty of wood lying around, so you just need to finda dry piece of a soft wood, like this branch from a hibiscus tree.
Hibiscus is a very lightweightwood and when it’s this dry, it’s a great choice.
Your old coconut husk will make agreat tinder bundle because it’s packed with very fine fibers that should burn easily.
Ok, to prepare these sticks for a friction fire, it’s important that both sticks comefrom the same branch.
A sharp rock can be used to fashion some of the wood into a longnarrow stick, cutting the tip of the stick so that it’s slanted at a 45º angle on bothsides.
When it’s ready, it should look like something like this.
Now use your sharp rockto carve a flat spot into the other piece of wood, knocking it down until you’ve gota surface at least 8 inches long, then make a groove down the center to act as a trackfor guiding the other stick.
Ok, the last step is to wedge anything you can find underthe base to help stabilize it, then go sit down on the back.
It’s time for the action.
Taking the shorter stick in your one hand like this, place your other hand overtop sothat the stick nestles in securely at the base of your thumbs.
Ok, when you’ve got thetip set firmly in the grooved track, try pushing it back and forth, keeping it at a 45º angleto the base.
Not much pressure is needed yet, so don’t worry about putting too much effortinto it.
When the heat of the friction builds to where the wood is ready, you’ll noticea change in how it feels and might even see a little smoke.
At this point, push a littlefaster, and use your strong hand to pull down, adding pressure to the tip.
You should seea lot more smoke now, and bits of charred wood dust starting to pile up at the top.
Put your back into it and increase the pressure, making sure the tip is stopping just shortof the pile.
It looks like you’ve got a little ember burning now, but let’s continue justa little longer to be sure.
Hopefully when you stop it will keep smoking.
Ok perfect, you’ve got a nice little coal.
Now, go turn it into a flame.
This is a good time to getyour coconut husk ready by pulling apart the fibers.
The fluffier they are, the better.
Transferring the coal is a delicate process, so try pressing the husk right up to the coal, then turn the ember base over and tap the bottom with a stick to make sure all the emberstransfer out.
Nice, your coal has been captured, so loosely cover it over with more fibersso that it’s protected from the wind, and continues to smolder.
Patience is a virtuehere.
You don’t want to pinch it too tight or you’ll smother it out.
Too loosely andthe fibers won’t burn.
The heat needs to build slowly, so try to balance the amount of airthe coal is getting, with the quantity of tinder it’s exposed to.
The amount of smokebeing generated is a good indication of how well you’re doing, and sometimes blowing gentlycan help speed the process.
When the smoke is thick and you can start to feel the heatradiating, it’s time to get a little more aggressive.
Waive the bundle around to getsome more airflow, and blow right into the center of the coals.
Just a little more airnow, and success! There’s your flame! The hardest part is over, but don’t pat yourselfon the back just yet because by the time you add some wood shavings, your flame may begoing out.
Not to worry though, because as long as the smoke is thick, there’s stilla good amount of heat, and the same techniques can be used for blowing the coals back intoa flame.
Well there you have it.
Now you can start a fire by rubbing sticks together, nowbest of luck getting rescued.
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