FYI 2016 BushMoot places are available to all members, friends and family at an Early Bird Discount, so hurry and get your tickets. What with me being new to this bush craft game and all, I ended up getting hoodwinked good and proper by that posh numpty on the Telly, Mr Bear what’s-his-chops, by suggesting he was a bit tasty on the old fire bow. What follows then is my attempt to do so with a write up of my experiences making pump drills last week. A pump drill itself consists of four main components: A long straight vertical drill, a long straight horizontal handle with a hole in its centre in order to facilitate it sliding up and down the drill, a flywheel counterweight which is attached to the lower end of the drill and a cord that is strung from either end of the handle and around the drill. The pump drill dates back to as early as Roman times (*1), when it was used predominantly for the drilling of holes, which it is equally adept at doing when fitted with a stone drill bit. For the construction of my pump drill I decided to restrict myself to the use of an axe, a knife and some sandpaper, although I cheated slightly and drilled the holes in the handle with a power drill. One crucial factor that few people seem to be aware of when constructing a pump drill, is the relationship between the length of the handle, the length of the cord and the length of the drill.
I first became aware of this through an excellent article written by American survival expert Charles Worsham, published in the Bulletin of Primitive Technology in 1993.
Both the drills and handle shown in the photographs below were made out of wood from the Wild Service Tree (Sorbus torminalis).
Due to its scarcity, Wild Service Tree wood is not really a feasible option for most people to use when constructing a pump drill. Traditionally, the Cherokees used to carve a square section on the lower drill in order to firmly secure the flywheel (*5) which would be carved with a square central hole.
There are several different methods that can be used to secure the plug at the base of the drill. After experimenting with various traditional plug methods and being unhappy with the results, which were a wobbly loose fitting plug that required lashing to the drill; I decided to try something different.
This cross shaped design works fantastically and is one I would highly recommend, as it fits snugly in place and requires no lashing to hold it there.
It is often better to use the same wood for both the plug and hearth board, although many different combinations do work. Flywheels can be made from a variety of materials including heavy hardwood, soapstone, greenstone and concrete. There are many ways to work soapstone but due to its soft structure it is possible to use an old knife and chisel (it will blunt the hell out of them) and some sandpaper of various grits; working down to a super fine grit in order to polish the stone. Both my pump drills work and work well, but the bigger of the two kicks out huge embers with only the bare minimum effort. For me, the beauty of the pump drill is that it can be used by someone with little or no previous experience or knowledge of lighting a fire by friction, and they can then experience, often on their first go, the magic of conjuring a glowing ember from a seemingly inert material. I found the whole process involved in the construction of my pump drills to be thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying, although at times challenging.
ISTR that if you are a sufficiently high ranking officer and a POW you can end up in a fairly posh confinement.
Can’t see anything wrong with the bottom pic, maybe the resolution on your PC is off if it looks polished to you. Oh, I see Tim, so when I said ??the bigger of the two kicks out huge embers with only the bare minimum effort,? I was telling porkies was I? Can?t see anything wrong with the bottom pic, maybe the resolution on your PC is off if it looks polished to you.
Don?t worry Tim, I?ll produce the evidence and make a YouTube vid for you and all the other good readers of it working and working very well.
Multi-Purpose Drill Water Pump - Self Priming drill pump can be used to pump water from virtually anywhere, a flooded basement, to a simple fish tank.

The DrillPump 300 ™ is designed to work with most electrical drills with a maximum speed of 2,800 RPM. And needless to say a couple of jokers replied to the thread and pointed out the error of my ways. Luckily for me the Guvnor owed me a favour, so he got his hands on the necessaries so I could have a go. I have seen photos from a friend’s trip to Kenya, in which a local tribe used a pump drill to create fire. If made properly, when finished you will have a beautiful piece of equipment that it is extremely easy to create an ember with. To achieve the desired finish took considerable time, but this is easily achievable with the investment of such. Despite the effort in carving and sanding the equipment to a high finish, the function of the tool itself was found lacking. Since a removable plug is attached to the base of the drill, it is unnecessary to use a wood that is itself a good material for creating an ember. However, this is unnecessary, as by simply carving the drill in a tapered manner the flywheel will sit snugly in place. Below is a diagram of some of these as well as examples of ways to attach the cord to the drill. It is, however, quite fiddly to carve both the male and female parts, so if you envisage using your pump drill on a regular basis (and therefore needing a lot of plugs) then it might be better to consider a different simpler plug design. When this starts smoking like a pregnant teenager on a council estate, a round depression the same diameter as the plug should have formed. The wider the flywheel, the more momentum it can absorb and therefore impart on the drill’s upwards rotation.
When carved and sanded to the desired shape, rinse and clean the stone, then add a little linseed oil to the surface to liberate the myriad patterns in the material.
For anyone interested in woodwork, bushcraft or simply passing the time in the nick, I would highly recommend giving the construction of one of these less common friction fire starters a go. As for the ivy board, well, I’ll give you that to an extent, but there are certain contributing factors at play here.
As for the ivy board, well, I?ll give you that to an extent, but there are certain contributing factors at play here. In fact it works so well that I haven?t bothered to use it for some time since it?s not even a challenge ? I?m a floating hands man myself, so if you or the good people at Trailcraft would like some pointers in this respect I?d be happy to oblige. 19% MwSt., plus any applicable shipping costs*suggested manufacturerA?s retail price1) Orders reaching a minimum order value of 2,000 EUR are generally shipped in a single shipment within Germany (mainland only), Austria, also Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Poland free of shipping costs. This pump is ideal for draining small ponds, fish tanks, small pools or even a flooded basement.
To apply, unscrew the side and put a bit of grease on the housing with the rubber fan blades touch, then reassemble. Fair enough, but now it seems my reputation is in tatters with you more knowledgeable bush crafters, and reputation is a commodity Randy Randle has never taken lightly, especially in my location.
And, thanks to the flywheel, this momentum is captured, which when released at the end of the cycle rotates the spindle in the opposite direction as the cord is rewound. Several Native American nations used the pump drill both to create fire and to drill holes; the former being predominantly for ceremonial use. Whether this was their traditional method of doing so, which predated European colonialism, I have no idea.
That is, 3 for half the handle, 4 for the upper spindle (from its tip to the handle) and 5 for half the string.

What you are looking for is something solid enough to take the force of the vigorous rotations as well as the weight of the flywheel, which can be significant. Any of the above will be durable enough for the drill and handle, although the harder they are the more difficult they will be to work, especially if you decide not to use power tools. It should be long enough to secure under your foot without impeding the drilling, and wide enough to accommodate the plug’s rotation. Its other function is to apply downward pressure on the upwards rotation through its weight. Soapstone is a metamorphic rock which is the raw material for talcum powder, and can be polished up to an eye-catching finish. The only real technique to learn in their application, is to not apply pressure for the entirety of the downwards stoke.
One, it?s an old board just lying around plonked in for a photo; two the notches were at one stage hunky dory but if you look carefully, the board is now broken due to excess use making them look far worse than they once were. Well fair play to the lad for coming clean, that’s what I say, even if he has made me look a prize plant pot. This continuous alternating rotation is applied to a wooden surface underneath (known as a hearth board) in order to generate the necessary friction to create the heat which is transferred to the fuel (in this case wood dust) to create a smouldering ember. Some hold that the pump drill was introduced to the Americas by the Spanish in the 1500s, whereas other writers contest that the technology originated prior to European contact. It also makes a nice demonstration piece or simply an interesting yet functional work of art. I was lucky enough to acquire several pieces from a towering ancient Wild Service Tree on Hampstead Heath, when a large branch fell due to pronounced fungal infection at the branch bark collar. For these reasons it is best to make the flywheel as large as the drill’s strength can handle. It is soft in structure, making it excellent for carving, although it is prone to unforeseen breakage along fault lines if you’re not careful. And thirdly, any polishing (and granted there?s plenty in the photo) is not due to my good-self but my Italian friend ?straight Dave? - amazing fella, never done a day?s bird in his life ? who has been in possession of the big one and a load of old boards for some time now.
This can then be placed in a fine bundle of tinder and coaxed through sustained breaths or the action of the wind, into a flame.
Those who credit it with being invented on the North American continent often recognise the Iroquois (*2) as the pump drill’s inventors. I would construct a smaller drill to go with the existing handle and flywheel, and make a bigger flywheel and handle to go with the larger drill.
If this happens it can be SuperGlued back together, and when sanded the original crack will be virtually invisible. Other Native American nations known to have used the pump drill are the Lenni Lenape (*3) and, more recently, the Cherokees (*4), who are believed to have started using it as recently as around the turn of the 1900s.
I decided against just cutting the drill down as it was such a nice long piece of what is quite a rare wood that it seemed a bit of a waste. Soapstone has been put to all manner of traditional uses around the world including the bowls of Native American smoking pipes (it is particularly suitable for this due to its lack of heat conduction, meaning that the bowl won’t heat up to an uncomfortable degree) and of course for their pump drill flywheels. The dimensions for the larger pump drill were 34 inches for the drill length, 33 inches for the handle, and 8 inches in diameter for the flywheel, which was 2 inches thick.

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