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Here’s a Bow Drill Kit Small Enough to Fit in an Altoids Tin

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How small can you make a bow drill kit? Small enough to fit into an Altoids tin?

The dimensions of a standard bow drill kit are fairly uniform. There’s a good reason for that: it works. Many, many people over the eons have made countless fires with just such a kit. There’s really not much that can be improved upon with your standard bow drill kit.

But, how much can you play with those dimensions and still have a functioning, working bow drill that will produce an ember? Pretty much apparently. If this tiny kit is any indication.

This man made about as small a kit as he could, and still have it work. The whole thing fits inside of a small container around the size of an Altoids tin.

It includes:

  1. The leaf, which sits under the hearth board to catch the ember.
  2. Compressed bamboo shavings, which act as an ember extender.
  3. Hearth board, made from the stem of a palm frond.
  4. Spindle.
  5. The bow is a small takedown bow, with a center piece of aluminum tube that he crushed down a bit, The string is already attached.
  6. Bearing block made from a paint brush handle, and with a piece of metal tubing in the recess to reduce friction.

It’s quite ingenious.

He sets everything up and begins working the bow drill. Sure enough, he produces an ember! It’s small, but it’s there.

He places the ember in the bamboo shavings and places that in a tinder bundle. After a bit of blowing…FIRE!

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

NEXT: How to Run a Bow Drill with One Hand to Make Fire

Here’s a Bow Drill Kit Small Enough to Fit in an Altoids Tin