It’s always exciting for me to learn new firecraft methods. The term “new” is always relative because what we consider to be new may have been an old method rediscovered or resurfaced over time. I usually like to make discoveries on my own and share my experiences and findings on this website, but I’ll take “new-to-me” anytime. Such is the case with what I call the “twin cord” bow & spindle fire method.
I first saw this method posted in a social media group where the member posted photos of their experience. I was intrigued and knew that I had to try it for myself to validate it and add to my firecraft achievements.
Traditional bows use a single cord or strap either with a bent bow, straight stick, or with toggles at each end. It is usually wrapped around a spindle once or as with the Egyptian bow drill method a knot is tied in the middle of a spindle with a few additional winds on either side. A multiple wrap approach helps to prevent the spindle from springing out of the hearthboard, especially as the spindle gets short. In a similar fashion the twin cord method employs a single wrap with each cord that helps to prevent the spindle from being tossed out.
The twin cord can be simply made by using a loop that is fastened or hooked on a branch spur or notch on one end of the bow and held in place with your thumb at the opposite end. Your thumb is used to maintain tension on the spindle while bowing. I found that I supported the end of the bow with the palm of my hand and had to twist the bow slightly to compensate for the cord position while being held with my thumb.
I think that this method has two advantages: it provides a secure spindle and the cord-to-bow attachment is very simple.
To watch this method in action, click HERE to view a video.