Making Perfect Feather Sticks
Feather sticks are a well known amongst outdoor enthusiasts, yet making them is an art form that few manage to master. This article will teach you the basics of how to make feather sticks and provide many helpful tips and tricks.
What are feather sticks?
Feather sticks (or fuzz sticks) are lengths of wood which are shaved to produce a cluster of thin curls protruding from the wood. They are used for damp wood to start a fire (or campfire) when dry tinder is hard to find.
Feather sticks are made from dead “standing” wood, such as a branch that has broken from a tree and died, but has not yet fallen to the ground. The bark and the outer layer of wood are removed to reveal the drier heartwood. This is then shaved, with axe or knife, to produce as many curls as possible. While the flakes can be fairly coarse, the finer they are shaved the more easily they ignite.
A small piece of charcloth can be used in conjunction with the feather sticks which can produce really effective results. You can wind char cloth around the curls and strike a spark on to it using either a flint and steel or a ferrocerium striker for example.This is then blown onto until the curls catch fire: the whole feather stick is then placed into the waiting kindling to start the campfire.
Why use feather sticks?
Attempting to start a fire in the damp or rain can be laborious and disheartening process. Mastering the art of feather stick making could mean the difference between being able to start a fire and keeping warm, or spending a cold and miserable night in camp.
How to make feather sticks
I’ve spent countless hours trying to master the art of making feather sticks. Its not something that everybody picks up naturally, but they’re really fun to create. This process of development makes it even more rewarding when you create a nice looking feather stick. Every now and then, you might even produce a feather stick so beautiful you won’t want to burn it!
There are many videos available on how to make feather sticks but I wanted to share with you some of my favourites that have helped me brush up on my technique.
What tools to use?
There are many different types of knives and axes that are an appropriate tool for making feather sticks. A personal favourite is a Mora clipper. They make a great versatile knife that can be used for a wide variety of tasks when practicing your skills out in the wild.
Do you have any additional tips or stories you’d like to share? Let us know by leaving a comment below!