How To Start A Fire With Sticks [Step By Step Guide]

You might think, why you would ever need sticks to start a fire!

Well, you never know. Starting a fire using sticks is a great way to get an authentic wildlife experience when you’re out camping. Besides, dangerous situations never come with warnings.

Let us say you get stranded in an area, and you need fire. You might not have the necessary utensils to start a fire. So, what can you do?

Learn how to start a fire with sticks! It is a survival skill that might come in handy. Plus, you can show off a bit when you are camping with your friends.

How Can Sticks Catch Fire?

fire on sticks

Allow us to give you a little insight into basic chemistry. Now, do you know what causes a fire?

It is Oxygen! Yes, it is the substance that humans need for survival. You see, Oxygen combusts and forms Carbon dioxide. In that chemical reaction, an extreme amount of energy as heat is exerted!

We perceive that energy as flames. Therefore, if anything is combustible, it will catch on fire.

The process is a little more complicated, but we are not trying to find out how anything catches fire. Our goal is to tell you how sticks, or to be more precise, wood catches fire.

When a part of a wood or stick heats up, the object’s molecular structure starts breaking. As a result, the broken molecules begin to escape, and smoke starts to be visible.

However, this is not enough heat. When you keep heating the object, the escaping molecules get enough energy to bond with air.

Thus, creating water and Carbon dioxide, which is the concussion required to start a fire. In short, this is how you can make sticks catch fire.

Now, you might wonder, can we start a fire using any other material?

Theoretically, yes! But every material has its limit, or to be more precise, a limit where the molecular bonds are destroyed.

So, logically, for some objects, it is impossible to make them catch fire.

Besides, some objects react differently when you ignite them—for example, rubber or wax. If you heat rubber or wax, the result won’t be the same.

Rubber will start burning, but it will also begin to melt.

On the other hand, wax never ignites and starts melting.

How To Start A Fire With Sticks?

starting fire with sticks

Imagine you are stuck in the woods or anywhere. You do not have a lighter or match to start a fire. In such situations, fire is critical for survival.

It keeps your body warm, provides light in the dark, and helps you cook food. Even if you do not have the conventional means of starting a fire, you can use sticks to do the trick.

Now, there are three different methods of starting a fire using sticks:

  1. Bow Drill
  2. Hand Drill
  3. Fire Plough

Remember, all of these procedures are not easy to do and require you to be committed.

Oh, one more thing: It will take time!

So, if you plan to start a fire, you have to be patient and keep trying.

Anyways, let us start with the first option, the Bow Drill.

Bow Drill

If you have seen movies or Bear Grill survival episodes, you must have seen the bow drill method a couple of times.

Here, you craft a bow using sticks and a rope, strings, or anything similar. Anyhow, allow us to start telling the process.

Step 1: Finding The Things You Need

To start a fire using sticks, you need all the essential stuff. Here is a list of things you need.

  • Spindle: It is conventionally ¾ inch in thickness and is a foot or less in length. In this process, you shall be driving this through into the fireboard.
  • Fireboard: Now, this is where the fire is ignited. There is a small cup inside the surface, and the spindle is rotated here to ensure that the friction causes the fire.
  • Handhold: To keep the object in place, we need a mechanism to ensure that the spindle does not come off as you are trying to ignite the kindle. That is where the handhold comes into play.
  • Bow: The bow is the mechanism that we use to rotate the spindle, which causes enough friction to create the fire. It is a steady object, and it is necessary to ensure that the fire is generated efficiently.
  • Rope or Elastic String: The task of this object is to keep the spindle connected to the bow.

You see, each of these is going to be crafted from wood. For the spindle, handhold, bow, you should use slightly sturdy wood.

However, for the fireboard, where the magic takes place, you would need medium-hard wood.

Step 2: Drilling

Now that we have all the essential components let there be fire! The spindle comes with a pointed end, and you shall be placing the end on the body of the fireboard.

Before you do that, you need to create a bow. On the two ends of the bow, fix the rope or something similar.

Then, you need to wrap the spindle using this rope. When you do that, you end up with a device that you can use to generate the heat.

If you move the bow to and fro, the spindle will start rotating frantically.

Due to that abrupt change in motion, friction between the fireboard and the spindle causes the kindle (the fuel source) to catch fire.

Now, to ensure that the fitment is airtight, we use the handhold. The handhold ensures that the spindle remains in the cup and is tightly pressed.

Hand Drill

Bow drill and hand drill are pretty similar in operation. While the bow drill works using a bow, the hand drill relies on your hand to get the job done.

The steps and necessary material are practically the same. All you have to do is omit the necessity of handhold, bow, and rope.

Fire Plough

Of all the methods we have talked about, we can confidently say that this is the most complicated of them all.

Here, you need a spindle, and on the fireboard, there will be a long line instead of a whole.

Step 1: Placing The Fireboard

Since the moto of this method is igniting a fire by rubbing the two surfaces, placing it on the ground is out of the option. So, put the fireboard on your lap at a 45-degree angle.

Step 2: Creating Fire

After you have positioned the fireboard satisfactorily, place the sharp end of the spindle on the board.

Next, rub it hard! If you keep maintaining intense pressure and move fast enough, the kindle will retain enough heat and light up.


You might have never thought about this, but knowing how to start a fire with sticks might prove to be a piece of lifesaving information.

Yes, these methods indeed seem very troublesome. But if you are camping or are stranded somewhere, such survival skills will ensure your safety.

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