Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mountain Bushcraft: "Fork-Hole" Bow Drill Method using the Mora Garberg Knife

(©Rocky Mountain Bushcraft 2016, All Rights Reserved)

Hey friends!

Hope you are well. I thought I'd share these photos with you illustrating the "Fork Hole" Bow Drill Method which was popularized in Mors Kochanski's 1987 book "Bushcraft."

I use this method occasionally when I'm out trekking in the mountains, and have always had great success with it. The trick is finding a forked branch that is close enough together to function as a notch for the burning powder to fall into while drilling. 

For this particular set, I used a dead branch from a Sandbar Willow tree that was growing near a mountain stream. However, you can use just about any good bow drill wood for this technique as long as the fork is close enough together.  

My bow was fashioned from an Aspen sapling, and the socket was carved from a piece of River Birch. 

The spindle is Willow and was cut from the same branch as the hearth board. Contrary to popular myth, you are better off using a spindle and hearth board cut from the same piece of wood for best success. An exception to this rule is if you find a good piece of wood for your board, but the only decent wood you can find for your spindle is from another type of tree (Willow spindle and a Cottonwood board, for instance). Another exception is if you are in a part of the country where Yucca grows. Yucca spindles are truly exceptional and will produce a coal faster than just about any other wood out there.  

©Rocky Mountain Bushcraft 2016, All Rights Reserved

The knife I used is Mora's new full-tang Garberg knife, which has proven to be a very competent blade during several trips into the bush. 

I've used the exposed tang (AKA pommel) on the back of the Garberg's handle to pound on bark to make tinder bundles and cordage. 

The Garberg's handle has proven quite comfortable even after carving several bow drill sets using River Birch, Box Elder Maple, Mountain Alder, Aspen, Willow, Cottonwood and Big Sage. The blade, though not a true Scandi-grind like Mora's classic bush knives, carves and notches well.

Mora also did a great job sharpening the back of the blade. It throws mondo firesteel sparks and has been excellent for scraping tinder. 

Stay tuned for more!



About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College. Jason has also written for the The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)