On our recent trip to the Isle of Arran we were able to try out some different materials for fire by friction. I’ve written previously about constructing a set and bedding it in, so take a look to find out more about that.
Mark, our host, had some Sitka spruce and hawthorn at his camp so we gave them a try. Joe, Jason and I all had a try on spruce sets (both the hearth board and spindle were made from spruce) and we all got an ember without any difficulty. Take note that if you intend to use coniferous woods for fire by friction, you need to make sure that it is really well seasoned due to the resin that is often present.
This is Jason transferring his ember into a tinder bundle.
This is me blowing a spruce ember into flame using a blow grass tinder bundle. The blow grass does go up well!
Mark bedded in the hawthorn set, again hawthorn for both hearth board and spindle, and it proved to be hard going. Now Mark is a big guy and it took a fair bit of downward pressure to grind away any wood, so we decided to have a go as a group and produced a sizable ember.
The nipple on the end of the spindle was most likely caused by having the notch extend past the centre of the hole, something to watch out for.
Achieving an ember with hawthorn individually is a good target to set! This is Mark blowing the ember into a flame.
You can see more photos from our trip to the wonderful Isle of Arran, and all of our other courses, on our Facebook page.