EXCERPT from Fire by Friction
Do you think that you can build a fire using a fire by friction set made by yourself? If you answered YES to the this question, you are already 50% done with the building of your fire by friction. It is a fun challenge to any scout and the following tips should make it easier.
Before you start, decide which end of the spindle will be the top. Mark the top of you spindle with the edge of a piece of charcoal or a pencil so that you know which end is the top. This is very important, because you never want the top of the spindle to touch the fireboard. The top end will be lubricated and if the lubricant gets on the fireboard, it will also lubricate the bottom of your spindle and prevent you from being able to start a spark. It is also a good idea not to touch the bottom end, because the oil from your hands will lubricate it.
Now it is time to burn the holes in your thunderhead and fireboard. Many methods can be used, but the most effective way has proven to be the type where the left foot is placed on the fireboard, the thunderhead is held under the knee of the left leg, and the bow is pumped with the right arm. If you are left-handed, you hold the fireboard with the right foot, the thunderhead is in the right hand, and you pump the bow with your left arm.
After you have burned the hole(s) into the fireboard, use a hand saw or a bow saw, and cut a narrow notch into the fireboard, so that the point of the V is at the center of the hole. The notch should go farther underneath the hole than it does on top so that the spark does not get caught. Use a knife to shave the rough edges, but remember not to make the notch too big. The edges of the notch need to be as smooth as possible so that the powder and spark will drop down below the fireboard.