Time to Harvest Yucca
In my experience there is no better spindle material for friction fire than yucca flower stalks. You will find the plant around old cemeteries, old homes, roadsides and some new commercial centers are using yucca for landscaping. I usually let the flowers start falling off ( the flowers are edible in their prime ) before harvesting the flower stalk, this usually happens late June. In waiting too long to harvest, there is a chance for little worms/caterpillar's to get in the stalks and start eating them out ( this causes the spindle to weaken ). Not just every stalk is worth harvesting though, look for ones that are perfectly straight. Any crookedness in the spindle will cause vibration/wobble in the fire making process, it should roll like a pencil or dowel. I like long spindles if I can find them, 8 to 16 inches or so ( just seems to fit my body geometry better ) but anything over 6 inches will do the job. Spindle size of course matters in what thickness fire board that you are using. Something around a hot dog size is what you are looking for. Cut the flowers off the top of the stalk and let dry in a sunny, dry environment. Usually it takes about a month or so for the stalks to be ready to use. If kept in a dry container they will last many years in storage.
Here's a good link to see what a yucca looks like. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca_filamentosa
Good luck in harvesting and let me know what some of your favorite spindles might be. Next up will be which native woods make the best fire boards.
6/23/2016 05:14:53 pm
Does harvesting the spindle require any special tools?
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