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I also live in Wisconsin. I like to head to the North part of the State and wilderness camp in the many National Forests. The best wood that I've found is definitely Cedar. Large Cedar trees normally have many dead limbs on the bottom part of the tree. These are usually straight, dry and free from knots. They make a perfect spindle. Larger branches, 2" in diameter or so can be fashioned into a nice hearth board. Since I live in the SE part of the State, I often walk the shoreline of Lake Michigan. There I find many rocks with holes or indents in them. I always keep some in my backpack to use as a bearing block. No smoking, no need to lubricate and none of that high pitched squeaking that you get when using wood. I have one about the size of a billiard ball with a hole about the size of a nickel and 1" deep. That rock has probably helped in the starting of hundreds of fires. And rocks don't wear out. I actually bought a few 2"x2"x6" piece of Cedar from a home improvement store and keep a few in my bug out bag. I can make 2 hearth boards and 2 spindles from one piece, and it's guaranteed to be dry so even on damp, rainy days I can still produce an ember.
 
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