Get Primitive!
March 4, 2003 1:56 PM   Subscribe

So you've already made fire without matches. How about making fire with a block of ice? Once you've got your fire roaring, it might be time to tan a fox or build your Asiatic Composite Bow. It's all about getting primitive.
posted by gwint (14 comments total)
Awesome post gwint. Days of great reading and projects ahead. Thanks!
posted by Witty at 2:13 PM on March 4, 2003

Making fire without matches is *very* tough. I say it's a lot easier to buy a couple of boxes of waterproof matches.
posted by stevefromsparks at 2:38 PM on March 4, 2003

Or always keep your trusty Zippo with you-- but make sure you've got those zippo tricks down.
posted by gwint at 2:42 PM on March 4, 2003

nice links.

break your glasses? make new ones out of this icecube! ...what about contacts?
posted by tomplus2 at 3:00 PM on March 4, 2003

Why make a clear Ice lens to start a fire, you need to boil the water first to make it clear, which means you already had a fire going in the first place! Otherwise, pretty cool stuff.
posted by CrazyJub at 3:11 PM on March 4, 2003

"Use clear lake or pond ice. To practice, boil water for 10 minutes to remove gas."

So if you're in the wild, you can use natural clear water. But if you're going to practice this technique back in civilization, you'll need to boil the chemicals out of water-company water for it to work.
posted by Spacelegoman at 3:20 PM on March 4, 2003

Buy some matches he says...a lot of good thats going to do you when yer knee deep in the arctic and the difference between copilot tartare and a sizzling steak is a chunk of polished ice...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 4:01 PM on March 4, 2003

Never have a seen such a small child so happy to be holding a small furry carcass.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:34 PM on March 4, 2003

My favorite primitive living site is The Hollowtop Outdoor Living School in Pony, MT. They offer classes books, and have some great articles online.

I particularly enjoyed the journals of primitive camping trips that are there. Read enthralled as the intrepid author kills a bunny with a sharpened stick and roasts it over a fire he builds from natural materials. Lots of good fun.
posted by beth at 4:36 PM on March 4, 2003

Very interesting links and website. I can't wait to find a place that's primitive and uninhabited so these new skills can be put to good use! Thanks.
posted by hama7 at 5:13 PM on March 4, 2003

thanks for the links.

here's another bow building site, from

and some tips on making your own arrows
posted by goddam at 5:48 PM on March 4, 2003

The Hollowtop Outdoor Living School in Pony, MT.

Uhhgg! Tourist claptrap along the lines of Dude Ranches for the Intelligensia. Live the life, make it a hobby, or study for fun. But don't pay somebody to convince you that you have skills that took you a week to learn and a lifetime to brag about. That's just wimpy.

(Self disclosure, I am a budding bowyer of primitive bows, and not a half-bad archer to boot. I've chipped obsidian arrow heads, I've tanned an elk hide using brains {doesn't work nearly as well as using acids}, and generally done the whole outdoor living thing. My conclusions: Indoor plumbing is good, central heating is better, and you'd best not ever hope that your life depends on a bow made in a couple of days. And sewing with sinew sucks if you don't have really good teeth, which I don't.)
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:48 PM on March 4, 2003

Dont forget about the fire piston; already mentioned here, but I was too lazy to search.
posted by TedW at 10:08 PM on March 4, 2003

Or always keep your trusty Zippo with you

Key point to remember: straight butane boils at 31 degrees fahrenheit. Below that, it's difficult to get a butane lighter to light -- you have to go through all kinds of rigamarole with sticking it down your pants or whatever to warm it up. Significantly below that (say zero and below) it's virtually impossible to keep a butane lighter lit. The stuff just won't vaporize.

It's never a good idea to rely on any kind of lighter to provide fire. If you are going to need fire, make sure you've got some securely waterproofed matches somewhere about your person, if only for emergency backup. It's nice to be able to make fire without any kind of device, but you really don't want to have to rely on that in an emergency. :-)
posted by rusty at 10:41 PM on March 4, 2003

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