Friction Fire Fundamentals

November 21, 2015 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Crow’s Nest @ Sandy Creek Park in Athens
Tommy Tye

IMG_5377Fire! Raw and mysterious. Gift of the gods. Calling fire is one of the most powerful wilderness skills. With it, you can stay warm, make food and water safe, create tools, and light the dark. And feel pretty awesome! If you would like that for yourself, join us as we dive deep into the fundamentals of friction fire.  

Unlock the power of the sun.

Mentor: Tommy Tye
Who: Adults, 18 and up
Class Size: This class is limited to 8 participants
Prerequisites: None
Cost: $80, includes all materials and tools, go home with your own kit!
Pre-registration: Required



This is the first of a three-part exploration of the ancient and powerful element of fire. The focus of this class is on form and technique. To help you get the most from this experience, I’m keeping the class small, and providing lots of dirt time. The workshop will cover:

How to make fire withIMG_0167

  • Flint & Steel
  • Two-Person String Drill
  • Bow Drill
  • Community Hand Drill

In addition

  • Best and safest technique for blowing coals into life
  • Making char cloth
  • Selecting efficient bowsfriction fire taken by Ann Turner
  • Qualities of effective bowstrings
  • Qualities of good handholds
  • Good tinder materials
  • Processing tinder
  • Carving techniques required to make your own kit
  • Handy knots for fixing string to bow
  • Making do with what you have: non-traditional and field expedient methods and materials3
  • Troubleshooting the major barriers to success, gear and technique
  • Dealing with wet weather
  • 2 Basic fire lays
  • Next steps and resources
  • Mythology and cultural context
  • Go home with your own kit!

For more information, contact Tommy Tye at


Directions and other class details will be in your confirmation e-mail.

About the kits we will use and make:

One of the toughest barriers to success, especially for beginners, is a poor kit. Yet, how do you overcome the challenges of a marginal kit without great technique?

In this class we will mitigate the kit variable by using hearths and spindles from a surprisingly available and effective source, lumber! The right lumber will make consistently good performing kits so you can focus on you. Once you get your technique down, wildcrafted kits and getting the most from marginal materials will become much more approachable.

The next class in the Fire series, Advanced Friction Fire, will cover that and more.

What is not covered:

This class will not cover fire plow/saw/thong/piston techniques.

Natural cordage, wildcrafting kits, tree id, wood properties, managing and using fire will be covered in depth during other classes.

Dirt Time:

Knowledge is nice; experience is better.

Even the most phenomenal mentor cannot make you a master of your craft. Mastery comes from your own conscious practice and The Practice is this: work, pay attention, reflect, improve, repeat. That is Dirt Time.

My role is to get you started on your journey, and to help you over your sticky places. The rest is up to you. This class will have less Talk, and more Do.

Get in the Dirt!

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