So you don’t have to use a hickory nut, but where I live they are plentiful and they work great. The thong method is kinda a cross between the bow and spindle and the hand drill. You spin the drill with your hands, but you hold it in place with the thing. It is not easy, but to me it is easier than either the bow or just hands–if you cannot find the right materials to make the hand drill work.
The hand drill can be both my favorite and my least favorite fire starting method–depending on circumstances. If I can find the right materials, it takes less preparation and fuss than any other friction method. It is both gratifying and amazing to be able to make fire within a couple of minutes from nothing more than a length of round stick spun in your palms to create heat friction onto a slightly larger piece of flat stick.
The spindle is crooked in the picture for no other reason other than that I was taking the picture with the other hand. But it conveys the general idea. There is a video and more pix at this link. Thong Drill with a Hickory Nut