Jason and the Ember Extender

Last August I was at the Wilderness Gathering here in UK with my friends from Coastal Survival. Just across from us was my friend Jason Sears demonstrating the use of a bowdrill to visitors.

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Meet Jason

Jason is passionate about fire lighting and passing this skill onto others. I decided to sit back and watch his progress. I cannot remember the combination of wood types he was using but he did spend a minute gently warming everything up with some slow rotations of the spindle.

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Warming up

Once he felt everything was a dry as he could get it where the spindle meets the hearth board he really powered up to produce a hot ember. The day had been really wet so all this preparation was essential – all the while he was talking to the visitors explaining what he was doing.

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Powering in

To help himself along in getting his flame Jason had a piece of Cramp Ball fungus (Daldinia concentrica) on hand. He gently laid the piece of Cramp Ball beside the glowing ember to get it alight. This is a handy trick to remember in damp conditions as the ember created from the bowdrill can easily die out if you are not careful.

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A small coal with a touch of cramp ball fungus

After a few seconds and a few puffs of breath the Cramp Ball was well alight then………………………

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Well lit and very stable

He added to some straw and huffed and puffed for a bit 🙂

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Easy to control

Jason’s straw was also a bit damp so he spent a few moments just drying out the area around the cramp ball by gently blowing into it. It is at this stage that many embers disintegrate if you are not careful or they simply die out as they are too small to overcome the damp material.

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Spreading the heat

After a minute the centre of the straw was well dried out and smouldering nicely. Normally, I notice a sudden increase in smoke at this stage and the colour  changes slightly telling me I am about to get a flame………………………

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The straw is smoldering well

Which he did – one impromptu looking candle in fact.

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Flammage

It is always a pleasure to watch Jason at the Wilderness Gathering teaching visitors fire lighting, so if you are thinking of coming along next year check him out.

Cheers

George

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