Pump Fire Drill
The Iroquois invented this ingenious pump drill, which uses a flywheel to generate friction. The crossbar and flywheel are made of hardwood; the spindle and fireboard are made from softwoods (as in the hand drill).
Step One Bore a hole in the center of a rounded piece of hardwood and force the spindle in so that it fits tightly. Select wood for the crossbar and bore a larger hole that will slide freely on the spindle.
Step Two Attach the crossbar to the top of the spindle with a leather thong or sturdy shoelace.
Step Three Wind up the flywheel so that the thong twists around the spindle, then press down. The momentum will rewind the crossbar in the opposite direction. Repeat until friction creates a glowing ember.
Photo by Steve Sanford