Past Teva Tips

©1997 - 2002
New Jersey
YMHA-YWHA Camps

Teva Tip 11 - FIRE MAKING WITH A BAMBOO SAW

There are many ways to make a fire without using a lighter or match. One of these ways is called a "fire-saw" and it's one of the easier ways to master. To start, you will need a thick piece of bamboo (2-3" diameter) several feet long.  Split the bamboo down the middle.  You now have two pieces that are semi-circular in shape. Take one of the pieces and shave away the rounded edges until you are left with only the gently curved "backbone" of the bamboo; this will function as your "saw."  It will now be more flat than semi-circular. 

The other piece of bamboo is your saw board that lies flat on the ground.  Place a piece of cotton into the hollow area of bamboo and put the hollow side down on the ground.  The curved part of the bamboo will now be facing you. If the ground is at all damp, place a piece of cardboard down first to keep the cotton from absorbing moisture. 

Now comes the fun. Use a sharp knife to score a line across the piece of bamboo on the ground—directly over the place where you put the cotton ball. This is scored directly across the diameter of the bamboo board (not the length of it). Place your knee on the board to keep it still and begin to saw across the scored line with the saw. That's all there is to it. It'll take a few minutes but the saw will begin to heat up as it saws through the scored line.  As you saw, both pieces of bamboo will get ever hotter and eventually will ignite the "sawdust" your work has created.  Soon after, your saw will cut slightly through the bamboo and the now-glowing dust will drop onto the piece of cotton. Remove the cotton, place into a larger ball of dried grass or leaves, and blow.  Presto! Before you know it you'll have a ball of fire.  Place it under a teepee of sticks to make your campfire.