Thursday, January 20, 2011

Corn Cobs & Stalks

Over the Christmas holiday I stumbled across several you tube videos, by Brandon K. from central Nebraska, that kind of blew me away. He was demonstrating the firesaw technic using cornstalks as the hearth and saw...and doing it in 10-20 seconds! Also, he made a hot coal with the bow drill method using a corn cob as the drill component. Wow, I have cornfields all around me and never have considered this. So, with all the snow/moisture in the area latley I settled for purchasing some bagged corn cobs, you use to feed the squirrels, from the local plant nursery. I cleaned the dried corn from the cob and hastily gathered a used cottonwood fireboard, bow, and socket, and found a piece of dry ground under a shelter. After a couple of attempts fumbling around to get the drill situated to the socket, and tighten the bow cord, I produced a hot coal in 20 - 30 seconds. I have never read of corn stalks or cobs being used historically for firemaking, though it was an indiginous plant to the Americas. If I am correct the Indians taught the Mayflower colonists to grow corn in the New World to survive. Brandon related, as he considered the characteristics of plants that would work for firemaking, that he successfully used the stalks of yucca, mullein, sunflower, corn, bull thistle, hemp, and goldenrod. Hmmm....now I have a few more local plants to try I hadn't considered. Check out Brandon's you tube video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZCS-BIFmBQ

5 comments:

Le Loup said...

Excellent post, thank you.
http://woodsrunnersdiary.blogspot.com/

Mark said...

I just downloaded your book on firemaking, from Lulu.com, Le Loup. I'll give it a read tomorrow.

Stone Age Drifter said...

I just found your blog and it is awesome! I just started a primitive skills blog of my own and I am planning to learn how to start fire with the hand and bow drill methods. I live in Missouri and I do not know what woods would make a good hearth board. Any suggestions?

http://thesuburbancaveman.blogspot.com/

J. Harshbarger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Harshbarger said...

Wonderful blog and excellent post. I am a primitive skills / outdoor educator in upstate New York. A few weeks ago, we experimented with a small piece of burdock stalk used as an extension or "plug" on a hardwood spindle. It worked wonderfully. The plug concept has value for hand drill fires when perfectly straight and dry spindles are tough to come by. Keep up the great posts.

http://www.huntgatherlive.com