Italian industrial designer Francesco Faccin, who teaches about “objectness/project making”,  made a beautiful little video of the “bow drill”, a device he designed to start a fire manually, using the principle of rubbing two sticks together.

“…a beech spindle is rotated within pre-formed holes in a board made from linden wood…The user kneels on the board to weigh it down and keep it in place.

The friction created by rubbing a soft wood against a hard wood produces glowing ashes that can be used to light straw. You might wonder why one would need a kit to do such a simple obvious thing and why it interested us.

Francesco Faccin via Dezeen
Francesco Faccin via Dezeen

Watching the video, we feel something like Faccin felt: “When I actually managed to create fire with my own hands, I was overwhelmed by a powerful sensation of self-sufficiency and independence,” said Faccin.

Francesco Faccin via Dezeen
Francesco Faccin via Dezeen

His kit comes in an aluminum tube comprised of a “A walnut bow is used to spin the beech stick fast enough to create a spark. The spindle is stayed using a hole made by a loop in the rope, held in tension by a brass screw, then rolled back and forth.”

Seeing all the elements at work helped us UNDERSTAND now how to light a fire, something utterly elemental that we realize, we did not know…

via Dezeen


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2 replies on “The Modern Primitive’s Guide to Starting a Fire without Matches

  1. I ‘m thanking you for the many, many days of insightful, interesting topics and information that you bring to my days. Thank you.

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