Two Man Hand Drill Technique: Firebuilding

If you remember the Hand Drill technique for building fires, this the Two Man Hand Drill technique is a modified version of that. The steps are quite similar but it’s much easier compared to the latter since, in this version, we have two people working side by side which distributes the work making it easier to create the fire.

If we recall of the biggest glaring issue we had with the Hand Drill method, it would be the difficulty to maintain that level of friction through speed and pressure to make the ember that will start our fire. Here, however, one person will apply the downward pressure while the other will use a cord sort of along the lines of a shoelace to rotate the spindle. Some of the initial requirements and steps will be taken away from the Hand Drill method.

Two Man Hand Drill Technique


  • You’ll first need a sizeable amount of good tinder bundled up together. Any friction fire-building technique relies on the kind of tinder you’ve managed to gather. Your bundle of tinder should be made up of materials which are stringy, fluffy, and combustible like dry grass, bark fibers, and wood shavings. Ball them up and make sure there’s enough space in the area for our fire to breathe.
  • You’ll then need both wooden a fireboard or a baseboard and a spindle. The thicker our board the longer it will take to build up heat. Ideally, it should be around ¼ inches in thickness. The board should also be flat for us to better control spinning our spindles. The spindle should be sturdy enough that it doesn’t easily break when you add pressure while spinning it. The spindle should also be fairly straight and shouldn’t have any twigs attached. Its diameter shouldn’t also be too small else it might run through our fireboard while its length should be around two feet.
  • You’ll also need a reliable knife and something to catch your ember when it falls such as a piece of bark or a big leaf. Also, for this version of the Hand Drill, you’ll need a cord such as a shoelace or a paracord.
  • Begin by cutting a V-shaped notch into the fireboard. Afterward, you’ll want to start a small depression using the tip of your knife. Have a piece of bark or a big leaf underneath the notch so you’ll be able to catch the ember when it drops.
  • This is where things get different from the Hand Drill. One person will have to apply a good amount of downward pressure to the drill while the other has to use the cord mentioned earlier to quickly rotate the spindle until such time its tip glows red and we have our ember.
  • For the ember to get onto your piece of bark or leaf, you’ll have to tap the board first. Afterward, immediately transfer it over to your bundle of tinder and blow into it until you get your flame.
  • For the ember to get unto your piece of bark or leaf, you’ll have to tap the board first. Afterwards, immediately transfer it over to your bundle of tinder and blow into it until you get your flame.

You and your partner will now have fire, congratulations!

For other primitive firebuilding skills, check our list.

We hope this firebuilding skill, Two Man Hand Drill Technique helps you!

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