use of the bow-drill. Two sticks, two tools, and some tinder are needed.
The two sticks are the drill and the fire-board, or fire-block. The books generally tell us that these must be of different kinds of wood. This is a mistake. I have uniformly gotten the best results with two pieces of the same kind, — all the better, indeed, if they are parts of the same stick.
What kind of wood. — This is a very important question, as woods that are too hard, too soft, too wet, too oily, too gummy or too resinous, will not produce fire. The wood should be soft enough to wear away, else it produces no punk, and hard enough to wear slowly, or the heat is not enough to light the punk, and, of course, it should be highly inflammable. Those that I have had the best luck with are balsam-fir, cottonwood roots, tama- rack, European larch, red cedar, white cedar, Oregon cedar, bass- wood, cypress, and sometimes second-growth white pine. It should always be a dry, sound stick, brash, but not in the least punky.
In each part of the country there seems to be a kind of wood well suited for fire-making. The Eastern Indians used cedar; the Northern Indians, cedar or balsam-fir; the plains Indians used cottonwood or sage-brush roots.
Perhaps the most reliable of all is dry and seasoned balsam- fir; either the species in the North woods, or in the Rockies, will do. It gives a fine big spark or coal in about seven seconds.
When in the grinding the dust that runs out of the notch is coarse and brown, it means that the wood is too soft; when it is very fine and scanty it means that the wood is too hard.
I have made many experiments to determine whether there is anything in the idea that it is better to have the block and the drill of different woods.
But no hybrid combination was so successful as " two of a kind."
The drill and the bow and socket are fully described in the plate.
The preparing of the fire-board is one of the most important things. At the edge cut a notch half an inch wide and about three-fourths of an inch deep; at the top of this notch make a pit or shallow hole, and the board is ready. The importance of this notch is such that it is useless to try fire-making without it.