How to Start a Fire Without Matches

Friction creates heat which eventually can spark a fire. There are many ways to create fire using wood friction:

Method 1: Use a hand drill

  1. Get two sticks of similar size
  2. Create a depression in one stick, this will be your base
  3. Place the other stick into the depression and hold it vertically between your palms
  4. Apply pressure to the stick, pushing downward while moving the palms back and forth
  5. When your hands get close to the base, quickly move them back to the top of the stick without allowing air to get into the point of contact between the two sticks
  6. Repeat the rubbing motion
  7. A heap of dust will collect and eventually smolder
  8. Add tinder, such as dry leaves and carefully blow until the fire sparks


Method 2: Use a mouth drill

This is similar to method 1; however instead of applying downward pressure with your palms, hold the vertical stick with your mouth.


Method 3: Use an Eskimo Cord Drill

This is similar to method 1 with the following additions:

  1. Add a spindle to the top of the vertical stick
  2. Have a partner hold the spindle and apply downward pressure to the
  3. Wrap a cord around the vertical stick
  4. Pull the cord in alternating directions to spin


Method 4: Use a Weighted Drill

In this method, you will add a weight to the vertical stick so that pressure does not need to be applied by the creator.

  1. Create a weight (from clay, or by drilling a hole in a rock)
  2. Fasten the weight to the vertical stick
  3. Spin the stick by either using your palms or by fastening a string to the top half of of the vertical stick and spinning (such as in method #3)

An optional addition to this method is to create a pump by:

  1. Drill a hole into an additional stick
  2. Place the stick horizontally onto the vertical stick
  3. Tie string to the vertical stick and sides of the newly added, horizontal stick
  4. Pump until smoldering


Method 5: Use a Wooden Saw

This method forgoes the drills and uses a sawing motion to create fire. You will need:

  1. Wooden saw
  2. Horizontal base

To create fire:

  1. Sharpen the wooden saw
  2. Create a notch in the horizontal base
  3. Place tinder on the ground beneath the base
  4. Use the saw and rub into the notch
  5. As you saw, heated particles will fall into the tinder, sparking a flame