Here’s a quicker and easier way of starting fire! In the first part of Pyro, we were shown how to start a fire based on back-to-basic technique. From Paul’s demonstration of the Bow drill technique, we learned that one of the important tools in jungle survival is carrying a parang or machete along with the skill of using it. While the Bow drill technique requires an awful lot of preparation and effort, there are alternative methods that are so much easier and of course, costlier.
The easiest and quickest method is a modern one by using a metal rod and the spine of a buck knife or a metal striker.
Before Vie shows us how to do this ferro rod scraping method, he demonstrated how to prepare the tinder bundle. Vie demonstrated the correct and incorrect methods of using a buck knife to create feather sticks. This method was so easy that I have successfully created fire on tinker bundles repeatedly.
The third and the last technique for this workshop was an interesting one. This is a traditional method created by an Orang Asli tribe. We are unsure when this method was started or exactly where it came from. It is known that this tradition has been passed on from generation to generation within the Orang Asli community.
Fire piston technique may look very simple and yet it is not that simple when you are actually do it. The correct amount of water and the fuel must be sufficient yet must not be too much. The speed and the force of pushing the stick into the piston would be the crucial part in creating the combustion. Fire piston is my favorite technique because it is a much cheaper method as compared to the ferro rod. For a lazy bum like me, this technique does not require as much cutting or carving like the Bow drill.
This leaves me wondering about the evolution of engine pistons technology. Did it all emerge from our very own Orang Asli and improvised by the Western world?
All fourteen of us had tried these three different techniques. I struggled with the Bow drill and Raman was helping me with the carving and chopping. The wooden spindle kept slipping off from the wooden base as I was doing the sawing back and forth. We kept practicing until Keong called out, “Lunch time!”
I turned around and saw all of these laid out on the bamboo table by Raman’s wife.
The final advice from we all got that day would be, it is best to choose lighter and matches as your first option to start fire. Waterproof them well. If all of these fail, pray for a good dry weather, start chopping, carving and collecting dry wood or leaves! Always remember, it is 90% preparation and 10% luck.
Many thanks to Keong and his team for a “pyro” half of Sunday. Wouldn’t our nature guide course would be more interesting if such awesome session is included?
You can find more info about Raman and the activities he can arrange for you from this link:
Raman can be contacted at 012-6445575 (do note that he understands and speaks little English).
Can you see the ember created at the tip of the stick?