Wildwood Survival website

SURVIVAL
Shelter
Water
Fire
Food
Clothing
Fishing
Hunting
Traps
Snares
Tools
Stone
Flintknapping
Tracker Knife
Cordage
Containers
Furniture
Lights
Hides
Pitch & Glue
Winter
Health
Lyme Disease
Vision
Native People
Emergency Prep
Navigation
Teaching
Young People
Practicing
Music
Humour
More
Wilderness Mind
Site Disclaimer
Bookstore
Booklist
Forums
Contributors
Sitemap
Guestbook
About this site
Use of material
Email me
Privacy Policy
HomeSurvivalFireFire Plow

Fire Plow - Pictures & Movies

A fireplow is a fire-making method used on Pacific islands. There, hibiscus wood is used with great effect to work up a coal that is then used to ignite the tinder bundle.

A fireplow is operated by quickly rubbing the handle back and forth along a groove in the fireboard. This builds up a pile of hot fine sawdust at the end of the groove, which becomes a coal.

  

Fireplow made in Arizona

Fireplow demonstration and movies by Rob Bicevskis

  
Here are 3 videos of a fireplow being used in Arizona. The handle and board are made of sotol (see below).
  

Stroking the fireplow...

Click on the small photo to watch the movie

Windows Media format (WMV)
320x240, 1.2MB

tipping the coal onto tinder...

Click on the small photo to watch the movie

Windows Media format (WMV)
320x240, 550KB

blowing the tinder into flame!

Click on the small photo to watch the movie

Windows Media format (WMV)
320x240, 831KB

  


Photo by Rob Bicevskis

Here is a photo of Sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri).  One of the common names is "desert spoon."

  


  

Fireplow made of Ontario materials

Pictures and movies by Walter Muma

  

Below are pictures of a fireplow being used at the Wildwood Trackers June 2002 meeting. 

This fireplow set uses locally found (S. Ontario) materials: a balsam fir base and a poplar handle (scraper). They didn't get fire, but did get a lot of smoke. The hardest part of using a fireplow is getting all of the hot wood dust piled up in one spot so it can coalesce into a coal.

Note that the traditional posture for the fireplow is unlike that for the handdrill and bowdrill; that is the board isn't held by the foot.  Rather the board is much longer (5'-6') and is sat upon.

  

The Ontario fire plow set. The fireboard is balsam fir, the handle is poplar.

  

These photos show the proper technique for gripping the handle...

  

Here is a movie of this fireplow being used. Notice that a lot of smoke is generated. 
We need more practice before a coal is obtained.

Click on the small photo to watch the movie


Windows Media format (WMV)
320x240, 722 KB