Friction Fire Bow Drill – Palmetto Bowstring

Friction fire practice. My original intent was to use all naturally found materials from scratch. I started off making everything from Longleaf Yellow Pine (common here in Florida) and Saw Palmetto fibers for the bowstring. I used dried Pine sap as a lubricant for the bearing-block.

Well, it didn't go according to plan. As I was prep'ing the set a thunderstorm was rolling in and it started raining. I did bring the materials home and tried again later, but just couldn't make it happen. So, I resorted to using a proven Laural Oak set with an in-line roller blade wheel as a bearing-block to at least get a coal and blow it to flame.

So, I ended up cheating, but what I was most interested in was how well the natural cordage bowstring held up. Surprisingly, after countless attempts today it never broke and is still usable.

Bow Drill Fire – All Natural (includes Saw Palmetto Prep)

Bow drill friction fire success using all natural materials from scratch (including the bowstring made from Saw Palmetto).

Several folks have asked how I made the Palmetto bowstring in my last video. Here I show how I make it.

I used Long-leaf Yellow Pine for all main components (ie. Bow, Fireboard, Spindle, Bearing-Block), Saw Palmetto strands for the bowstring, green vegetation as a lubricant for the spindle/ bearing-block, a dead leaf to catch the coal/ ember, and Palmetto fibers (ie. Monkey Fur, Palm Hair) for the tinder bundle. Everything was found on-the-spot. The only man-made item I used was the main blade on my Swiss Army Knife.

If I seem apprehensive it's because I've only done this a couple times and the heat, humidity, and weather factors here in Florida often keep me guessing, ha ha.

Overall, It took about 2 hours (from foraging to flame). Not too bad when working with unproven materials and I did have a couple problems to overcome along the way (a bad fireboard & bearing-block). So, it might seem like everything went really well, but there was some troubleshooting to deal with. I just edited out a lot of footage so it wouldn't be too long and boring. The main objective was to show the cordage preparation and success using it.