Making and Using the Fire Thong to Build a Friction Fire

Another great article coming to us from John Daleske, who is always providing some great information.

Primitive skills are something I know little to nothing about. I recently started learning about foraging for wild mushrooms by joining a local mushroom club, however we are coming onto winter so there isn’t much to find right now. My wife also recently purchased me the Kamana Naturalist Training Program for my 33 birthday. I hope to bring you a lot of great content about natural skills in the future as I educate myself. Does anyone out there know anything about Kamana? I would love to have your feedback.

By John Daleske

Mal Stephens at the Maine Primitive Skills School illustrates a different friction fire method, the fire thong. No, this isn’t some hot outfit you wear while making fire; it uses flexible, yet sturdy natural materials to give a fast method to get a hot coal.

Friction fires techniques vary, based on available materials. Often two sticks are rubbed together. The most common techniques are:

  1. fire drill – a straight stick inserted in a depression on a wood base, palms of hands spin the drill
  2. bow drill – a bow with cordage wrapped around a fire drill
  3. strap drill – cordage between two thumbs holds top of fire drill, makes spinning easier
  4. fire thong
  5. fire plow – forming a channel in one piece of wood with a smaller piece

Working with Pallet Wood: Breaking them down and project ideas

I recently used pallets to sheet some cheap shelves I made in my attic. I was riding over to Lowes to pick up some OSB when I saw the pallets and thought to myself “Hey, those are free, I bet I could use those for the shelves I’m making”

It turned out to be quite a bit more work than I anticipated to break down those pallets. I first tried banging the boards out with a hammer, and those nails really don’t want to budge without seriously damaging the wood. I ended up cutting them a bit short with my circular saw and removing them that way.

This past weekend I went and bought a bunch of 2x4s and put them up into the attic last night. I plan to build another set of shelves up in my attic and I’m going to use pallet wood again to sheet the shelves, however this time I’m going to use a sheet metal drill bit to drill out the screws with my corded hammer drill.

I found this great article about using pallet wood from that advised that technique:

Woodworking with Pallets: A guide to Finding, Breaking Down, and Building with Pallets

If you really want to get inspired to do something cool with pallets checkout this guys page:

The Pallet Shed

On that page you can see various structures built from Pallets, including a wood shed and a chicken coop. If you scroll all the way to the bottom you can see how one guy’s pallet wood shed doubles as a rain water harvesting system with the addition of a bit of PVC pipe gutters.

How about a Root Cellar made from Pallets?

How about decking with Pallet wood? I question the long term durability of this approach, however it’s worth a look.

What have you built with pallets? Add your own idea in the comments.

Here is one method using just a few hand tools. I might make my own video this week when I dismantle my current batch of pallets

Re-broadcast: Episode 1: The most amazing permaculture backyard aquaponics operation I have come across

When I put up my first podcast not too many people were tuning in, and I checked my stats and this podcast didn’t have too many downloads. In fact it has the least downloads of all my episodes.

You’ve got to check out!

Other than the feeback produced from my cell phone and a very stiff intro segment I thought this was a pretty awesome podcast.

Also Dennis has agreed to come back on the podcast, but first I need your Aquaponics questions! Leave em’ in the comments

Episode 8: Backyard bee hives, why I think you should have one and the steps to get started

Keeping bees in your backyard is a low maintenance activity that produces a product and has a great effect on the ecology of your area including your garden.

On today’s podcast I dive into my motivations for starting bee keeping, and my experiences thus far on my journey. Please know that I am NOT an expert in the subject, just an eager first year learner. I’ve been reading books and taking classes, but there is no substitute for practical experience.

This is the first post on what will be a long series on my experiences as a first year bee keeper. I hope you’ll follow along. If you are an experienced bee-keeper I would be glad to hear from you and please feel free to correct anything and everything I have said.

Please Consider keeping bees and support local Bee Keeping.

I left out one point on the podcast, and that is please check your state and local regulations! In Pennsylvania where I am at you have to pay a $10 a year fee to the state to register your Apiary. This is very reasonable, and for that fee an inspector will come out to your site and check on your hives and also offer advice and guidance. It is a great bargain!

Here in the City of Pittsburgh you can pay $250 one time fee and that will register your urban apiary. Once your site is designated in the city as an Apiary that status can never be removed and will pass down to future owners of your property. It might seem like a high fee but I consider it quite reasonable considering the protection it does offer, however I don’t live in the city and am thus not as up to speed on this.

Sponsors of the Day

  • Get 5% of your order and a free knife at Survival Gear Bags
  • Backyard Food Production – Learn butchering rabbits, growing your own food, and more

Show Outline

  • Where did I get my interest?
  • Why do I think keeping bees is so important
  • Bee Keeping benefits
  • Keep bees in the city?? … HELL YES!
  • So how much work is it to keep bees? Checking every other week is enough!
  • Nick’s Action Item List for you to get started
    • Get yourself a copy of First Lessons in Beekeeping
    • Find your local bee keeping organization
    • Find a local mentor
    • Figure out what equipment you’re going to need
    • Find a source for bees
  • How to get bees, the various ways
    • Colonies
    • Swarms
    • Nucs
    • Packages

Beekeeping Reading and Resources

Note: By the way, i mentioned several times “fiscal year” i meant “calendar year”, so just a little pre-emptive strike on a would-be commenter wanting to correct that point. 😀

Survival Gear Bags Contest winners

It’s time to announce the winners of the Survival Gear Bags giveaway contest! We had a ton of great ideas and I will be listing them on the blog with the final vote counts, but here are the winners:

Grand Prize Winner

Scott suggests showing how to snare an animal,field dress it and then preserve the meat via smoking/freezing and dehydrating

104 Votes

How to make a deer snare (or other type of animal trap). Once you have caught an animal, you can then show how to cut the meat off (field dress and butcher) and then preserve the meat using multiple methods such as smoke/freeze/dehydration for storage.

The video I attached even utilizes a KaBar knife, so it’s PERFECT!

Second Place Winner

Dene suggests showing how to maintain hand tools such as hoes, an picks

79 Votes

Nick, I’d like to see a video on how to maintain hand tools like shovels, hoes, picks, turning forks, etc… primarily, how to replace an old handle with a new one, how to keep them sharp and in good condition free of rust and maybe proper way to store them.

First prize is this excellent Ka-Bar Knife (as chosen by Scott)

Second prize is the really sweet compass (CAMMENGA – G.I. MILITARY PHOSPHORESCENT LENSATIC COMPASS (MODEL 27) )

In 3rd place Shawn suggested doing a bee keeping video series, well I am doing that for sure, but it came up short for a prize: better luck next time Shawn!!

Congratulations to the winners!

No podcast today

I regret to announce that I had to cancel my podcast recording due to work obligations. I’ve also got quite a cough and felt it was time to get some sleep.

I didn’t want to leave you hanging on a Friday though so I’m glad Kelly from Survival Gear Bags stepped in with a deal.

Here is the deal. If you order any Paladin bag (go to the site and search “Paladin”) You will get a free Paladin Hornet Folding Knife and 5% off with discount code “SOS5”

To get the deal you need to use this link and apply discount code “SOS5” at checkout.

I also announced on Facebook a few days ago that I will be doing a series on Bee Keeping starting next week and running in perpetuum. This is a new hobby for me and I am very excited about it. I plan to relay to you my experiences as a beginner intermixed with interviews and articles from very experienced bee keepers.

For you people in the city who are space limited, bees are one thing that work VERY well in urban environments, in fact bees tend to do better in city environments than our sterile suburbs due to having more pollen sources and lack of chemically treated lawns.

If you want to join me on this journey please add your comment below. Your homework for this weekend is to locate your local bee keeping club or organization and contact them. If you’re serious about bee-keeping this is a great time to start your education and locate a local mentor.

If you are out in the bush and can’t find a local mentor please contact me and I would be happy to give you support through my network which I am already establishing.

Build your own table saw and more!

The Weekend Warrior’s Workshop

Chris AKA CycleSurgeon is the man! He has put out my new favorite YouTube channel which is “The Weekend Warrior’s Workshop”.

You can get all of this guys plans at the Weekend Warrior’s Workshop website.

This guy will show those on a budget how you can assemble a fully outfitted wood shop with a minimal investment. I stumbled across this while looking on YouTube for a low budget way to replace the rip fence on my 1970’s era craftsman table saw. Not only did this guy have a simple design for a homemade rip fence, but he built the entire table saw! I’m definitely going to add a nice cross cut sled and new rip fence to my saw.

I hope everyone enjoys this find as much as I do. I can’t believe how few views these videos have gotten, this is truly a hidden gem!

I’ve embedded his current videos below or click here to go to his YouTube channel.