OCD Antler Multi-Purpose Fire Thang

The only size reference is the quarter hickory nut husk, but the fire thang is not very big. Some folks are of the notion that a bow for bow & spindle fire making must be big. In use, a size larger than this might be more comfortable, but if necessary this bow will turn the spindle sufficiently to make an ember; when my hand drill techniques get down to making fire, the most intense friction happens while making strokes using only about half my palms. This bow will easily match that.

The waxed bow string is adjustable via the hole in the bottom of the antler and wrapped to firmly secure it. The ball of beeswax attached to the excess string provides a way to add more grip to the string while spinning the spindle. As with my other rigid bow designs, the thumb and fingers allow further tautness manipulation while in use–simple by squeezing.


The hickory nut husk can be used as the top spindle socket–even when attached to the antler bow–as can the small piece of chert when struck with the attached striker. This small flint is diamond bit drilled to always provide a ready  flint, but a larger flint would conserve this little one when available.

Flint was traditionally sharpened (knapped) by primitive users with the end of an antler point. This is how flint arrow heads were shaped. And how fire flint is sharpened. These two antler points work well for this. The rougher base end of the antler has sharper protrusion that lends itself to gouging the beginnings of a hole in the hearth. The piece of saw blade is held in place by a combination of position while striking and beeswax. The blade can easily be removed and used for the same purpose as well as sawing a notch into the hearth hole. It can also be used to blunt a hand drill spindle end and scrape it smooth to ease wear on the hands. The blade is easily replaced and secured back with the bees wax.

Secured within a slot in one side of the antler using beeswax, a piece of hacksaw blade, teeth side inward, makes an excellent flint striker. The knuckles are protected by the antler when held by the opposite side prong.

The antler piece has other features. At a balanced place on the opposite side, just below the prongs. a hole has been drilled to use as another low-friction spindle socket when using any other bow and spindle. Bows are easy to come by, but a good socket is often the weak part of the set. Using wooden sockets, I have set them on fire sometimes before I got an ember in the fire board hearth. So, if a bigger bow is desired, this makes an ideal socket.

FYI, the spindle shown here is a cattail reed–not my favorite, but they work. The shelf fungus–if very dry–can make an ember without the use of a notch that will just keep on burning. Pretty cool when you can find them dry enough.

I am still adding features. Ridiculous I know, but just for grins, I may add a clear marble or other small magnifier for solar fire starting. And yes, I have begun a hole in the bottom of the antler to fit a matching plunder–with the intention of creating a fire piston. Maybe I can tap and drill a detachable compartment in the extra antler prong to stow Char Cloth and Fire Piston lube.

I gotta stop this.



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