The Best Types of Wood and Tinder for Starting a Friction Fire

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Few survival skills frustrate a person like bow and drill fire starting. After a couple of crushing failures, most people are ready to write off the method as unattainable. Or the other side of the spectrum prevails. People see bow and drill fire starting performed “easily” on television and assume it’s an easy skill to do, so they never even try it. They then walk around with a false sense of confidence, certain that they could do it “if they had to.” Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but it’s not that easy. But neither is it unattainable, once you know the tricks. The most common place where people get stuck in their quest for friction fire is in material selection, and with that in mind, I have prepared a list for you. Use this list of plant families to get you started, then focus on each species for its own subtle merits and flaws. Don’t forget to experiment, either! Just learn how to identify poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac and any rare, local undesirables (like Florida poison tree) before you accidentally grab them!

Friction Fire Materials: Bows, fire boards, drills, handhold blocks and tinder

Annona family (Annonaceae)
Pawpaw—wood for boards and drills, inner bark for tinder

Aster family (Asteraceae)
Weed stalks for hand drills, seed down for tinder

Basswood family (Tiliaceae)
American Basswood, Linden—wood for boards and drills

Beech family (Fagaceae)
Oak, Beech, Chinkapin, etc.—wood for bows and handhold blocks

Birch family (Betulaceae, Cupuliferae)
Birch and Alder—wood for boards, drills, bows and handhold blocks

Cattail family (Typhaceae)
Stalks for hand drills, seed down for tinder additives

Cypress family (Cupressaceae)
White Cedar, Red Cedar, Juniper—wood for boards and drills, bark for tinder

Dogbane family (Apocynaceae)
Fiber for tinder and cordage

Goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae)
Weed stalks for hand drills

Laurel family (Lauraceae)
Sassafras, Spicebush—wood for boards and drills

Legume family (Leguminosae)
Black Locust, Redbud—wood for bows and handhold blocks

Magnolia family (Magnoliaceae)
Tulip Poplar, Magnolia, Bay—wood for boards and drills, bark for tinder

Maple family (Aceraceae)
Maple, Boxelder, etc.—wood for boards, drills, bows and handhold blocks

Olive family (Oleaceae)
Ash—wood for boards and drills

Pine family (Pinaceae)
Hemlock, Pine (soft pine with low resin and no knots)—wood for boards and drills

Snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae)
Mullein—stalks for hand drill

Sumac family (Anacardiaceae)
Wood for boards, drills, bows and handhold blocks

Walnut family (Juglandaceae)
Hickory and Walnut—wood for bows and handhold blocks

Willow family (Salicaceae)
Poplar, Cottonwood, Willow, etc.—wood for boards and drills

Linked from: http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/survivalist/best-types-wood-and-tinder-starting-friction-fire

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