How To Make a Fire By Rubbing Sticks

How To Make a Fire By Rubbing Sticks

This might be a situation you never thought
could happen, but here you are cast away on a deserted island with nothing but the clothes
on your back. In this project we’ll be making a survival fire by rubbing sticks together,
because if you can do that, you’ll have a much better chance of being found alive. Looking around the island, the first thing
you notice are plenty of coconut trees and at the base are some old coconut husks. Those
might come in handy. There’s also plenty of wood lying around, so you just need to find
a dry piece of a soft wood, like this branch from a hibiscus tree. Hibiscus is a very lightweight
wood and when it’s this dry, it’s a great choice. Your old coconut husk will make a
great tinder bundle because it’s packed with very fine fibers that should burn easily.
Ok, to prepare these sticks for a friction fire, it’s important that both sticks come
from the same branch. A sharp rock can be used to fashion some of the wood into a long
narrow stick, cutting the tip of the stick so that it’s slanted at a 45º angle on both
sides. When it’s ready, it should look like something like this. Now use your sharp rock
to carve a flat spot into the other piece of wood, knocking it down until you’ve got
a surface at least 8 inches long, then make a groove down the center to act as a track
for guiding the other stick. Ok, the last step is to wedge anything you can find under
the base to help stabilize it, then go sit down on the back. It’s time for the action.
Taking the shorter stick in your one hand like this, place your other hand overtop so
that the stick nestles in securely at the base of your thumbs. Ok, when you’ve got the
tip set firmly in the grooved track, try pushing it back and forth, keeping it at a 45º angle
to the base. Not much pressure is needed yet, so don’t worry about putting too much effort
into it. When the heat of the friction builds to where the wood is ready, you’ll notice
a change in how it feels and might even see a little smoke. At this point, push a little
faster, and use your strong hand to pull down, adding pressure to the tip. You should see
a lot more smoke now, and bits of charred wood dust starting to pile up at the top.
Put your back into it and increase the pressure, making sure the tip is stopping just short
of the pile. It looks like you’ve got a little ember burning now, but let’s continue just
a little longer to be sure. Hopefully when you stop it will keep smoking. Ok perfect,
you’ve got a nice little coal. Now, go turn it into a flame. This is a good time to get
your coconut husk ready by pulling apart the fibers. The fluffier they are, the better.
Transferring the coal is a delicate process, so try pressing the husk right up to the coal,
then turn the ember base over and tap the bottom with a stick to make sure all the embers
transfer out. Nice, your coal has been captured, so loosely cover it over with more fibers
so that it’s protected from the wind, and continues to smolder. Patience is a virtue
here. You don’t want to pinch it too tight or you’ll smother it out. Too loosely and
the fibers won’t burn. The heat needs to build slowly, so try to balance the amount of air
the coal is getting, with the quantity of tinder it’s exposed to. The amount of smoke
being generated is a good indication of how well you’re doing, and sometimes blowing gently
can help speed the process. When the smoke is thick and you can start to feel the heat
radiating, it’s time to get a little more aggressive. Waive the bundle around to get
some more airflow, and blow right into the center of the coals. Just a little more air
now, and success! There’s your flame! The hardest part is over, but don’t pat yourself
on the back just yet because by the time you add some wood shavings, your flame may be
going out. Not to worry though, because as long as the smoke is thick, there’s still
a good amount of heat, and the same techniques can be used for blowing the coals back into
a flame. Well there you have it. Now you can start a fire by rubbing sticks together, now
best of luck getting rescued. If you liked this project, perhaps you’ll like some of
my others. Check them out at

100 thoughts on “How To Make a Fire By Rubbing Sticks

  1. Thank you so much for making this video, I always thought just rubbing two sticks alone would set them both alight. I now see that I was just a little bit off…

  2. Your on an island with WiFi and a phone ipad or a laptop and a bunch of sticks what do you do…
    You watch the King of random about how to survive

  3. Almost useless, only the physically fit can do this… A desert island or any place that is dry only makes this technique work…

  4. I was told this wouldn’t work as a kid by a teacher. Either education is worst then I already thought or my teacher wanted me to die

  5. if you do the same technique but split the wood in the center to rub your sticks together with your fire bundle in a small hole under your sticks the embers fall into your bundle causing fire much quicker. I know from playing with fire as a kid and learn little tricks. Don't know why i have never seen anyone do it my way

  6. I hiked all the way into the woods with a few blunt but forgot my lighter. Im about to give this a go. Wish me luck

  7. RIP this was the first video i watched from you, now you are gone. Thanks for the memories.

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