Staghorn Sumac Bowdrill

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I don't believe you have sumac growing in the UK but I thought you would find this interesting. While practicing friction fire using the bowdrill I was able to blow the ember into flame without a tinder bundle or coal extender
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[video=youtube;Q9_U8_j1nS4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9_U8_j1nS4[/video]
 

Kepis

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 17, 2005
6,344
1,249
Sussex
Yup got a load of it up the lakes, adds some nice autumnal colours tot he place, will have to harvest some suitably sized pieces and give it a try on the bow drill.
 

Firelite

Forager
Feb 25, 2010
188
1
bedfordshire
Interesting - I'd not seen that done before. Does anyone know the reason that the dust from this type of wood transitions from smouldering to flame particularly easily ? Any wood dust would do it, but would usually have to be in more bulky quantities. He did have rather a nice pile of dust there.
 
Interesting - I'd not seen that done before. Does anyone know the reason that the dust from this type of wood transitions from smouldering to flame particularly easily ? Any wood dust would do it, but would usually have to be in more bulky quantities. He did have rather a nice pile of dust there.

Not so sure that "any wood dust would do it". It seems to be a function of the condition of the dust that is produced, if it's too dark (charred) it won't even ignite if a flame is held up to it. This dust was lighter and less charred.

Sumac has some interesting properties, for instance, it produces quite a bit more acrid smoke than most. It also has some fascinating colouration to the heart wood that will actually fluoresce if exposed to UV light.

[video=youtube;MmDmMu_GezI]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmDmMu_GezI[/video]
 

Firelite

Forager
Feb 25, 2010
188
1
bedfordshire
Moa shooter, the rest of my sentence is important - the bit about bulk quantities. The smouldering to flaming transition is dependent on a lot of factors, and where there is sufficient bulk it provides insulation against heat loss, a primary factor in the balance between charring and the production of enough gassified fuel to transition to flame.
 

Firelite

Forager
Feb 25, 2010
188
1
bedfordshire
I should add that I'm not proposing that the quantity of powder here could be described as "bulk" - indeed, that's what makes this effect interesting. Thanks for demo'ing it.
 
Moa shooter, the rest of my sentence is important - the bit about bulk quantities. The smouldering to flaming transition is dependent on a lot of factors, and where there is sufficient bulk it provides insulation against heat loss, a primary factor in the balance between charring and the production of enough gassified fuel to transition to flame.

Firelite, the quantity of dust produced is irrelevant if that dust is not in the correct form to produce an ember, let alone a flame. Based on that, your comment that "Any wood dust would do it, but would usually have to be in more bulky quantities" is false.
 

Firelite

Forager
Feb 25, 2010
188
1
bedfordshire
Moa Shooter, the reason I chose that expression was to preempt a pedant saying that, for example, a sawdust pile might go to flame after smouldering ignition from a cigarette end. Clearly in such a case the wood dust is entirely unprocessed. Hence the caveat about bulk. As you will probably know, there is an interplay in bulk heating scenarios in which the density of the charring material produces a balance point at which sufficient oxygen diffuses into the pile but sufficient overlying insulation is present to maintain the char. It is for this reason that fires in woodmill sawdust piles, or bulk cargoes in ship holds, can appear to have burnt preferentially in a defined layer within the pile. Once there is sufficient heat present to sustain charring in upper layers, the surface of the pile can transition to flaming. The interesting aspect of your demo is therefore, that such a small quantity of powder transitioned to flame. Again, thanks for sharing.
 
Firelite, The issue I had with your comment was that you seemed to be implying that "any wood dust would do it" (transition from smoldering to flame). To illustrate my point that not all wood dust is capable of producing an ember, have a look at Cedrik Grenier's video below at around the 15:00 minute mark where he demonstrates four different species of wood and the properties of the dust they create when using a bow drill. Perhaps I am thick and am missing your point but do you understand why I take exception to the "any wood dust" phrase?

[video=youtube;_r4W2Yqw20U]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r4W2Yqw20U[/video]
 

Firelite

Forager
Feb 25, 2010
188
1
bedfordshire
Yes, I see what you're getting at. I note that in his video Mr Grenier says that the material won't support a flame. Is it then, that the material has to have been charred by the action of the bow drill before it will drop into the notch? If so, to what extent is it still really wood dust?
 

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