The fire-board (Figs. 5 and 5A) should be made of spruce, cedar, balsam, tamarack, cottonwood root, basswood, and even dry white pine, maple and, probably, buckeye wood. It should not be made of black walnut, oak or chestnut, or any wood which has a gummy or resinous quality. The fire-board should be of dry material which will powder easily. Dr. Hough recommends maple for the fire-board, or "hearth," as it is called in the Boy Scout Handbook. Make the fire-board about eleven inches long, two inches wide and three-quarters of an inch thick.

Near the edge of the board, and two inches from the end, begin a row of notches each three-quarter inch long and cut down through the fire-board so as to be wider at the bottom. At the inside end of each notch make an indenture only sufficiently deep to barely hold the end of your spindle while you make the preliminary twirls which gradually enlarge the socket to fit the end of your spindle.

The Fire Board 3

The Fire-Pan

The fire-pan is a chip, shingle or wooden dust-pan used to catch the charred dust as it is pushed out by the twirling spindle (Fig. 4). The use of the fire-pan is also an Eskimos idea, but they cut a step in their driftwood fire-board itself (Fig. 8) to serve as a fire-pan.


When you can procure them, charred rags of cotton or linen make excellent tinder, but the best fabric for that purpose is an old Turkish towel.