Friction Fire

Fire is one of the ultimate technologies that separates humans from other animals. Over hundreds of thousands of years, humans have learned to master the art of friction fire. In the modern era, matches and lighters have all but replaced the need for fire by friction. Yet this important skill builds confidence, steeps us in specialized knowledge of plants and body mechanics, and connects us with the knowledge of our ancestors. In our workshops we teach you how to begin to master this ancient technology.


Basic Bow-Drill

TBA Spring 2022 || 9:00 am–4:00 pm
Online || Zoom
$95 || 15 student limit

The bow-drill is a great introduction to fire by friction: this is one of the most classic methods for making a fire by “rubbing two sticks together.” Each student will make a bow-drill kit to take home at the end of class. We will also go over the proper form for drilling and perhaps get a fire or two going before the day is over!


Not Currently Scheduled || 9:00 am–5:00 pm
Non-disclosed location || N Portland, OR
$95 || 10 student limit

The hand-drill is another classic method of fire by friction. Though it has fewer moving parts than the bow-drill, the hand-drill is much more rough on the hands for beginners and requires more finesse. Each student will make a hand-drill set to take home at the end of class. We will go over the proper form for using the hand-drill and show you a few techniques for making it a bit easier on the palms.

Survival Bow-Drill (From Scratch)

Not Currently Scheduled || 9:00 am–5:00 pm
Sandy River Delta || Sandy, OR
Two days, $135 || 10 student limit

In this two-day course, we will take your bow-drill making skills up a notch by making a bow-drill in the wilderness from scratch. We’ll start by making quick stone knives and choppers and searching for the best wood. Using our stone tools, we’ll prepare the materials for our bow-drill. Next we will seek out various materials for making cordage, and finally finish the bow-drill. We’ll spend some time working on the various techniques for using a bow-drill made this way, which is slightly different from a bow-drill made with modern tools and modern cord.