The World's Smallest
Bow Drill Fire-by-Friction Set Challenge



Let's see who can make the world's smallest fire-by-friction set.
The rules are:

1. The set must be reasonably reliable at creating a glowing ember.

2. The honor system holds. No cheating!

3. Submit a photo if you can.

4. Submit the dimensions of your miniature bow drill in the following format (see below).

5. .The criteria for winning are very arbitrary.

6. To avoid embarassing the winners by forcing them to accept prizes they don't really want, there won't be any.



From Palo Alto, California (United States):

Submitted by Dick Baugh, March 22, 1998 :

Spindle: Baccharis viminea (Mule fat ),
.315 in (8 mm) diameter X 3.30 in ( 84 mm) long

Hearth board: Calocedrus decurrens (California incense cedar),
4.0 in (100 mm) X 1.25 in (31 mm) X .35 in (9 mm)

Socket: Arctostaphylos sp. (manzanita),
2.1 in (52 mm) X .75 in (19 mm) X .45 in (11 mm)

Bow: Showy bottlebrush,
9 in (230 mm)


From Nelson Bay, Australia:

Mike Smith of Nelson Bay, Australia, submitted the following fire by friction set. He also sells a bow drill fire set known as "Bandicoot Bill's Bush Matches."

Richard Baugh I think I've gone one better. Inspired by your challenge, on the 25th of April 1999, I constructed the following bow drill which achieved flames.

Spindle: Flowering spike of the grass tree, xanthorrhoea resinosa,
47mm long, 10mm diameter.

Hearth board: Flowering spike of the grass tree, xanthorrhoea resinosa,
50mm long, 17mm diameter.

Socket: Seed case of the woody pear, xylomelum pyriforme,
47mm X 37mm X 15mm.

Bow: Black wattle, callicoma serratifolia,

From Flagstaff, Arizona (United States):

Randy Haas Jr. of Flagstaff, Arizona, submitted the following fire-by-friction set.

From Canada:

Dick, I just found out about the smallest bowdrill competition. I am a survival instructor in Canada with Survival In The Bush Inc. This is my smallest set which I can produce fire on on a regular basis.

Bow length total: 12.2 cm

Lentgth from string to string attachment: 6.7 cm

Spindle - horsetail- length:12 cm, width 8 mm

Fireboard - catalpa: 7 mm thickness

Both the handhold and bow were made from osage orange.





E-mail your comments to "Richard A. Baugh" at
E-mail questions answered about fire-by-friction.

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