DIY SurvivalHow-Tos

How to Make a Fire with Two Sticks – Survival Guide 2021!

Whether you get stranded in the cold night in the woods or you want to warm up your nights in the wilderness, we always want to make a fire in order for us to survive with the situation. There are lots of methods that you can do in order to start making a fire. But, the most important is to have an idea of how to make a fire with two sticks. Perhaps, if you would not allow yourself to prepare for it prior to getting started, you will not be able to have the fire going.

In this blog post, we will show the basic and other ways of fire-making. There is also the added bonus of those tips and strategies along with troubleshooting guides that you must have to consider doing. Those would be very helpful to successfully start a fire.

How to Make a Fire with Two Sticks – Things to Consider Before Initiating a Fire

How to make a fire with two sticks generally involves several factors to take into account. Initially, make sure that the fire location you preferred has the appropriate distance far from plants or trees. This is to guarantee that it could not start out bush fires. Approximately, the distance should be about 6 feet between the fire location and any surrounding plants. Moreover, also ensure that the ground where you opt to put up the fire is bare enough.

Keep in mind not to make a fire with two sticks within the grass. In case there is no bare ground around, consider raking vegetation in a distance far right away. Afterward, dig some spot in order to create a bare area. Since dry vegetation or plant sources can attract fire easily, it is better to take out those materials from the fire location.

Basically, contain the fire and the sticks as soon as they begin to light up. Creating a stone fire entrapment is the best way of doing that. Make use of that entrapment to mark where the fire should begin. Luckily, there are various ways on how to make a fire with two sticks.

Basic Fire Making with Two Sticks – By Friction

Well, the simplest way on making a fire with two sticks revolves around the concept of friction. Generally, there are three basic methods on how to make a fire with two sticks and they all share the physic’s friction principle. These ways are the hand drill, bow drill, and fire plow. But, before we dig deeper, let us first explore the general idea behind the involvement of friction in creating fire.

The Prep Up

how to make a fire with two sticks

Usually, preparing for the fire-making process through the use of two sticks via friction is highly crucial. But, getting it right will generally increase your chance of succeeding. Here are some of the preparatory steps that you need to do:


Try to analyze this list:

  • Looking for dry straight stick
  • Making a fireboard through dry flat wood
  • Building a dry and fine tinder bundle
  • Setting up a bunch of kindling
  • Ending up with a bunch of dry sticks

Generally, you will observe that dry woods are the common thing shared by those items listed above. Keep in mind that selecting a wood with some kind of moisture is typically disadvantageous. Getting this step inappropriately will lead you to failure of making a fire with two sticks.

Usually, moisture is the initiating kryptonite of fire. In case the wood has a high level of moisture, it requires more friction in order to create an ember. Moreover, it also provides less opportunity to be successful. Sturdy woods having too low moisture content are the key here. Aside from that, seasoned woods are also suitable but any dried-out wood will also do the job.


Basically, you need to stage out the tinder bundle and the kindling materials. Make sure that they are being stage in nearby areas and ready to be used anytime. Working on a fire up the ladder means you are taking from ember to fire. And this is the basic process how it usually works:

  1. Initially, start with a flame or any source of heat. Remember that dry and very fine tinder is what you’ll need in order to grow out the ember or the flame.
  2. There will be enough fire being produce by this tinder bundle. Additionally, there will also be energy to gain bigger robust materials like the kindling.
  3. Eventually, the fire will be that strong to handle small dry twigs, logs, and sticks.

This is basically the normal process of going from small ignition going toward a busting of fire. In case this step has been skipped out, it will be really hard to keep the fire burning. With that, you may already necessitate gasoline or other fire accelerants to keep the fire going.

That’s why it is highly crucial to get some dry kindling materials such as cured wood, old plants, dead grass, or old stalks. Those materials will serve as the tinder bundle. Remember that to have more flame, you need finer tinder.

Moreover, gathering bigger sticks and twigs is also important in order to feed the kindling. Kindling is usually sticks or wood that is quite bigger and most significant compared to tinder. Examples of great kindling choices are pine shavings, dry cedar bark, and needles. Also, it is good to consider the other resinous dried softwoods that have a fast-burning property.

Friction-Based Techniques on How to Make a Fire with Two Sticks

how to make a fire with two sticks

Now that we are already prepared to start up a fire, it is time to know the procedural steps on how to make a fire with two sticks. Here are the three basic ways in making fire out of sticks based on friction.


One of the needs of people to survive is the knowledge of fire-making. Basically, the hand drill technique on how to make a fire with two sticks is highly suitable for any survival situation. However, you must mastery of skills in doing it and you need to have the following materials to successfully start up a fire.

Materials Needed:
  • Straight stick – this piece of material should be smoothed out and scraped or sanded. The measurement should be about 1 or 2 feet in length and 1/2 inch in diameter. There is the other end that is generally wider. This is the one used for friction in spinning against the flat surface of the fireboard.
  • Fireboard – the approximate measurement of the fireboard is about 1/2 inch in terms of thickness. Moreover, it should also be twice as wide as the thickest drill that you must have to use. The width should be able to include two rows of holes. It must have a bottom part so that wobbling is prevented. Willow, basswood, and cedar are the best material for a great fireboard.
Process of Making a Fire with Two Sticks through Hand Drill Technique:

In order to make a fire out of two pieces of sticks you need to follow these steps:

  1. Basically, you need to be on a kneeling or sitting position.
  2. Using either the knee or foot, you must have to hold the board.
  3. Put dry leaves or dry barks beneath the fireboard so that there will a barrier against the moisture of the ground.
  4. Place a tiny piece of wood or a group of dry leaves below the incision to gather up coal.
  5. Eventually, spin the drill as you also press it in a downward position within the fireboard. The spinning process generally produces heat and dust prior to the production of the coal.
  6. Return back to the top portion of the drill quickly in order to prevent losing the heat from the materials. Don’t stop the drilling until you have formed a smoke.
  7. Drill too quickly the moment the dust fills the incision and creates several runs down over the drill flaring it up. Yet, once the dust does not already produce smoke, immediately resume drilling with a higher velocity. That way you will generally set the dust on fire.
  8. Allow the dust to smoke up prior to tapping the fireboard and eventually lift it up and expose the coal.
  9. Put the coal just below the tinder and close it.
  10. Gently blow it up until you make the tinder bursts out in flames.


Another friction-based method on how to make a fire with two sticks is the fire plow. In order to successfully make fire out of it, try to do the following guide:

  1. Initially, collect a piece of softwood having an approximate measurement of 2 inches in width and 18 inches in length. The end result will basically serve as the plow board. Materials that best suit here are the willow trees and the poplar. Usually, you just have to find these kinds of woods close to the rivers and streams.
  2. At about 8 inches long and 1 inch wide, carve a trench within the plow board center. Do this through the use of a sharp rock or knife. The trench should basically have about 2 inches from the end.
  3. Get a hardwood stick that is about 1 foot long. This could be used for your plow. Make sure that one of the ends of the stick is pointed out.
  4. Place the board in a flat-lying position within the ground and place the plow over the trench eventually. Using gentle pressure, rub the plow in order to create small wood dust pieces.
  5. Lift up the top portion of the board in case there is already enough amount of dust. Put it within your knee and let the dust grouped within the bottom.
  6. Quickly rub using more pressure until the dust already burns.
  7. Get the board and gently blow continuously until there is a formation of flame.
  8. Once the flame begins, transfer it into the tinder.


Bow drill technique highly requires regular practice for the mastery of skills in fire-making through this friction-based method of producing fire. Once you already have skills in doing so, you definitely are comfortable with how to make a fire with two sticks using it in any survival situation.

Materials Needed:
  • Socket – this material is usually made from flat rock having a small dent within one side. It must only be of hand-size.
  • Bow drill – a straight and strong hardwood stick that measures about 1 foot in length and about 1 – 2 inches in diameter.
  • Bow – a strong and flexible green stick having 18 – 24 inches long and 1 inch in diameter.
  • Fireboard – measuring with an approximate size of 6 inches wide and 1 foot in length, this material is a softwood flat board that must have a thickness of about 1 foot.
  • Cord – in case you can’t find any, hiking boot laces may also do the job
Process of Making a Fire with Two Sticks through Bow Drill Technique:
  1. Within the center edge of the fireboard, gently carve a small round dent.
  2. At the bottom of the center edge, create a V-shaped incision.
  3. Make a half-moon formation by bending the bow stick and tying it tightly within through the bootlace.
  4. Place the board on the ground and put on some tinder beneath the incision.
  5. For a more stable foundation, put the foot within the board.
  6. This time, coil the bowstring within the drill and let it stay together with the round dent.
  7. Place the socket at the top portion of the drill using a little pressure and move the bow through a back and forth motion. That way, the drill will start to spin up and create some black hot powder that will generally fall within the tinder.
  8. Wait for a while until the tinder flare-up. Afterward, you can move the fire to the fire pit.

Other Methods on How to Make a Fire with Two Sticks

how to make a fire with two sticks

Aside from relying on friction, you can also able to create a fire using two sticks through other methods. You can check these out in case you do not prefer using the friction-based methods above:


This method should need the following materials and involves a preparation step before heading into the fire-making process.

Materials Needed:
  • Bamboo sticks – they should be long and straight and cut in half on a lengthwise position and will serve as your top board.
  • Bamboo shavings – enough amount of this material is needed to create a tinder bundle so that ember will be caught when it is formed.
  • Bottom board – the other half of the bamboo stick could be used to come up with this material
Preparing the Materials:
  • Once you have the bamboo stick split in half lengthwise, get a sharp knife and scrape the stick. This will give you bamboo shavings coming from the outside part of the bamboo stick.
  • Moreover, through the use of a knife, create a small hole over the curved area of the bamboo stick. Basically, it will serve as your top board and make sure that you are providing a much sloping edge within the hole.
  • Switch the bamboo stick into the curved area and cut it slightly. Inside the bamboo stick put on the bamboo shavings surrounding the hole.
  • Also, use a knife and sharpen the long corner of the other side of the baseboard.
Process of Making a Fire with Two Sticks through Bamboo Fire Saw:
  1. Tightly hold the cut portion of the baseboard through your hips on the other end as you put it against the tree. Ensure that the sharpened corner is a little bit higher.
  2. Near to the hole, place the bamboo shavings inside the portion of the top board. Hold it tightly using your thumbs.
  3. With your two hands, hold the top board and run through a back and forth motion. Do that over the sharpened length of the baseboard.
  4. Once you see smoke after the continuous passing of the board back and forth, increase the pressure and fasten up your pace. Remember that the ember will be pushed up within the hole and through the tinder bundle once it is formed.
  5. Take off the tinder bundle and blow through it to continuously have the flame. Afterward, add it into the kindling pile.


The cotton fire roll is a method on how to make a fire with two sticks and also involves the use of cotton fibers. You may generally consider using cotton balls or ashes. It is actually a less popular fire-making method in which there is a cylindrical roll of fibers that will able to catch the fire. That way, doing it correctly will have you make a fire roll.

Materials Needed:
  • Cotton ball – make sure that it is unrolled to make lay it long and flat.
  • Fire ashes – just a sprinkle amount of it will do provided that they are cold enough
  • Flat boards or pieces of wood – they should come in long size
Process of Making Fire with Two Sticks through Cotton Fire Roll:
  1. Initially, lay the cotton ball that is unrolled over the piece of wood.
  2. Sprinkle the ashes over the flat piece of the cotton ball.
  3. Through your palm, roll up the cotton ball. Make sure that the ashes are both on the inside and outside portion of the flat cotton ball. Moreover, the ashes should pile up long and cylindrical.
  4. Roll the cotton ball in a back and forth motion several times through your palm. Put on the other flat board over the top of the roll.
  5. In order to tighten the roll, run it across slowly many times in just one direction.
  6. Rub the board in a quick motion back and forth over the cotton roll by pushing it down to apply some pressure. Continue doing it until you begin to smell smoke.
  7. Slightly tear the roll apart from each other and you will begin seeing flames.
  8. Put it over the tinder bundle and blow it to make the flame going.

Fire-Making Tips and Techniques

Try to consider the following strategies in order to successfully start-up a fire using two sticks:

  • Get strong cordage that is not easily breakable.
  • In case you opt for the bow drill method, use a leather strip as it will give a better grip on the spindle.
  • Check the spindle if the base has an even sloped. Moreover, it should also be straight as possible.
  • Take into account the size and the location of the notch within the fireboard. This will generally ensure that the spindle won’t jump out of the hole during the spinning process.
  • Choose the right wood designated for each piece within the fire drill kit. Get a green wood so it is flexible enough and does not snap out.
  • Have an idea on how to correctly identify a tree that would provide you the correct wood to use.
  • Make sure that all the woods you’ve collected are dry enough because moisture will basically hinder the process of fire-making.
Making a Fire Troubleshooting Guide
  • Generally, the speed of your drilling is highly responsible for the color of the powder produced during the process of fire-making. Meanwhile, the powder consistency comes from the amount of the downward pressure.’
  • No smoke but has light brown dusty powder? Then, it means that you do not have any heat at all. Try to drill faster and put more amount of downward pressure.
  • Having a light brown powder that is quite fuzzy? This means that you have enough pressure but the drilling motion is not fast enough.
  • A curly dark brown or black powder is an indication that you still need more drilling at a slower rate but make sure that there is more pressure.
  • Pushing down hard and drilling faster will result in a crusty dark brown or black powder.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the methods of a fire-making process using two sticks you would choose, the key revolves around practicing the complete process continuously. This will definitely be of big help in the preparation for any kind of survival situation. Practicing your preferred method often will let you determine the right location, velocity, and pressure.

Practice more and more until you find it comfortable to start making a fire. Besides, knowing how to make a fire with two sticks is a more reliable technique than that using a lighter or a match.

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