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I have used sycamore for the board, spindle and handle. I got a fire after a bit of tuning up. I had pepperoni with me so I greased the top of the spindle so it wouldnt burn further into the handle. Once I had everything tuned up and ready I had a fire in under a minute. Plus if you cant spot sycamore in the woods you shouldnt be there.
 

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The rules of thumb in picking a wood are:
No sap in the wood.
If you cannot make a depression in the wood with your fingernail, its to hard.
If your whole finger tip leaves a depression, its to soft.
It has to be just right. And most importantly DO NOT mistake the top of your spindle with the bottom after you have greased it.
Proper technique is a must.
The first time I got a fire going with a bow drill I couldnt get the grin off my face for an hour. Its worth the effort.
 
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