Saturday, August 16, 2008
Egyptian Bow Drill
There was a variation of the bow drill introduced, by John Olsen to the primitive skills community, at the 2001 Winter Count rendezvous in Arizona. It was based on the bow drill set found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun, of ancient Egypt. The differences, from the standard bow drill, was that the cord was twice as long as the bow, and ran thru a hole in the center of the drill (I simply tie it on with a clove hitch). The excess cord, to one side of the drill, was wrapped around the drill till the slack was taken up. Then it was pretty much the same operation as the standard bow drill.
I've used this technic teaching Boy Scout groups-as one advantage is that the drill does not slip in the cord, as it periodically does with the standard method when the cord stretches and becomes loose. Conversely, on the standard, if the cord is really tight the drill can flip out and go flying as they learn to coordinate the pieces. Plus, it is nice to have one less loose component, because it is attached. Also, you can a weaker cord because it is not under constant tension. Is it better? I think- it is just different. I still prefer the regular bow drill, but I recognize the value of this set up to teach new practitioners who are learning to coordinate the pieces and movements to make fire.