Quote Originally Posted by Chenvre View Post
Been wanting to try my hand at a bow drill for the last few years but never found the time/incentive. Also never used flint, but would like to. Is flint harvestable around here?
Flints aren't to be found in this part of Ontario, but some people have success with good pieces of quartz. Quartz is widely found in many parts of Ontario and is hard enough to generate sparks from a high carbon fire steel, knife blade, or an old file. Unfortunately, most of the quartz found in central Ontario is highly fractured owing to exposure to weathering and having borne the weight of glaciers, so finding a piece of quartz that doesn't crumble when struck can be a challenge, but there are better quality quartz deposits to be found in southern Ontario. In my experience the sparks generated by quartz are smaller and more short-lived than those generated from a good chert or flint. In any case, I have never been able to start a fire using any concussive techniques with just natural tinders, no matter how dry. I've always had to catch sparks on charred cloth to get a hot enough ember to ignite natural tinders.

Like you, I've long been interested in bow drill fires, and I've tried my hand at it on occasion, but only recently did I have my first successes with it. It's a pretty great feeling when you finally produce that first glowing coal, so it's a skill that's well worth practicing for that reason alone. It's one I hope to develop and improve this year.

Hope this helps,
- Martin