Here is my method for making the Bow Drill fire set and a demonstration of my personal technique. Many people do this many different ways. This is just how I have come to be good at it. It works best when you find a comfortable position and setup that works good for YOU.

First thing you need is a good knife. Get some wood and cordage. Obtain some dry material to make your bird nest. Make sure to have your fire wood prepped BEFORE you get started on making a coal with your Bow Drill set.

Here are pictures of the things you will need:



Cordage, (I prefer para-cord)


A curved stick to use as the bow,


A good dry piece of wood to carve into fire board and spindle, (I prefer Aspen for spindle and Iron wood for fire board. Many prefer to use the same wood for both parts.)


Good woods that I have had luck with are : Cedar, Aspen, Maple, Iron wood, Locust, and Basswood.

I use a piece of leather for a coal catch and place it under the notch I make in my fire board.


These two pictures are of a spindle and fire board:


Here is a video instruction on how to make a Bow Drill set:


This next video explains what a bird nest is and how to make one. I also show you a technique I’ve learned to shred and fluff Jute twine.


When you start to use a Bow Drill first get your coal catch and place on the ground. Second place fire board so the notch is on top of coal catch and set arch of foot over the board. You want the notch to be close to the shoe but not so the spindle will touch shoe. Now set your spindle in the bow and get your bearing block. While holding bearing block on top of spindle rest your wrist against your shin. Apply enough downward pressure to hold spindle in place but not so much that you cannot spin it with the bow easily. Start slow at first until the spindle feels secure. As you go slowly increase speed of spindles spin. When you see smoke it does not mean there is a coal so don’t stop. You need to build up as much heat as possible. Smoke with black wood dust clumping in the notch of fire board is a good sign you have a coal. If not sure then continue spinning spindle until you feel you have a coal. You will get better the more you practice. It took me 3 months to learn this. Once you have a coal don’t rush. Take your time getting it into the bird nest then gently blow on the coal slow and steady constant. This will increase the coal’s temperature and ignite the bird nest.

This next video is a demonstration video of me showing how to actually use a Bow Drill set. This video was recorded when I was with my Wounded Warriors group teaching them how to do this.


I hope this article has been helpful. Good luck with your practice 🙂

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.