While these are the essentials, it is well to get ready, also, some tinder. I have tried a great many different kinds of lint and punk, including a number that were artificially prepared, soaked with saltpetre or other combustibles. But these are not really fair play. The true woodcrafter limits himself to the things that he can get in the woods, and in all my recent fire-making I have contented myself with the tinder used for ages by the Redmen : that is, cedarwood finely shredded between two stones. Some use the fringes that grow on birch, improving it by rub- bing in powdered charcoal.
Now that he has the tools and material ready, it will be an easy matter for the matchless castaway to produce a fire.
Pass the leather thong once around the drill — and this should make the thong taut; put the lower point of the drill in the pit at the top of the notch in the fire-board, and hold the socket with the left hand, on top of the drill. The notch of the fire-board should be resting on a chip or thin wooden tray. Hold the bow by the handle end in the right hand, steady the board under the left foot, and the left arm against the left knee (see Fig. 5). Now draw the bow back and forth with steady, even strokes, its full length. This causes the drill to turn in the pit and bore into the wood; ground-up wood runs out of the side of the notch, fall- ing on the chip or tray. At first it is brown; in two or three seconds it turns black, and then smokes; in five or six seconds it is giving off a cloud of smoke. A few more vigorous strokes of the bow, and now it will be found that smoke still comes from the pile of black wood-dust on the chip (Fig. 6). Fan this gently with the hand; the smoke increases, and in a few seconds you see a glowing coal in the middle of the dust. (There are never any visible flying sparks.)
Now take a liberal pinch of the cedar tinder — about a tea- spoonful; wrap this in some bark-fibre or shredded rope to keep it from blowing away. Hold it down on the coal, and lifting tray and all, blow or fan it until in a few seconds it blazes. Carefully pile over it the shreds of birch-bark or splinters of fat pine pre- pared beforehand, and the fire is made.
If you have the right wood and still cannot get the fire, it is likely because you do not hold the drill steady, or have not cut the side notch quite into the middle point of the little fire-pit.