Cord drill and Pump drill

A cord drill consists of a shaft, a fly wheel and a piece of cord. The fly wheel is fitted onto the shaft so it sits about a third of the way from the bottom of the stick. The middle of the cord is then fixed to the top of the shaft. To use it the two ends of the cord are wrapped around the shaft, one end of the cord is held in one hand and the other end in the other hand. The ends of the cord are then pulled outwards. As a result the shaft and fly wheel spin with the bottom of the shaft drilling into whatever needs to be drilled. As the cords are pulled out as far as they can go, the flywheel keeps the drill spinning wrapping the cord back around the shaft in the other direction. When it stops spinning, the cords are pulled outwards again sending the drill spinning in the other direction.

I used this tool to make fire in the same way I used fire sticks. I then made fly wheels from clay and fired them. Another cord drill was made with the clay fly wheel and was fitted with a stone tip. This was then used as a drill and a hole was then drilled in a piece of wood. This piece of wood was slipped over the spindle of the original cord drill upgrading it to a pump drill.

The pump drill is basically the same tool as the cord drill with a cross bar. A hole is drilled into the cross bar and the bar slid onto the shaft. The ends of the cord are then fixed to the ends of the cross bar. To use it the cord is twisted around the spindle as before and the cross bar is pumped up and down. This causes the same motion of the drill as before.

As far as fire making goes I’ll stick to fire sticks as the parts are easier to make. But for people with soft hands, this would be a good method for making fire without getting blisters. The effort during the fire making is less too. The pump drill was successful at making fire too but because their were so many moving parts I had to try many times before it worked. Cords would break, the fly wheel would loosen and the drill kept jumping out of the socket. I spent an afternoon trying to get fire with it but it eventually worked. I would be more likely to use this device as a carpentry drill. It would be useful for drilling holes in timber that was going to be assembled with pegs. One thing I need to work on is the stone drill bits. They need to be fixed firmly to the shaft so that they are in line with the spinning action. If they are off a bit the whole drill wobbles.

 

 

91 thoughts on “Cord drill and Pump drill

  1. Hey man, love your videos. Watched them all in one sitting today. Wish we didn’t have 30 cm of snow here in Sweden so I could head out and try some of your stuff out, definitely doing so in summer though!
    Just wanted to let you know how awesome your work is and tell you that you accidentally put “are then pulled outwards” twice, love from the other side of the globe🙂

    Like

  2. Have you heard of or tried the hand drill with thumb loops? I haven’t seen it used a lot but it’s pretty slick and lean, from a materials vs effectiveness standpoint.

    Btw, you rock. I’m doing some of this same stuff and is really fun. Really like seeing what you can do with all your resources.

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  3. I’ve always wanted to see a pump drill made from scratch. I’ve only ever seen them made after the fact with modern tools.
    My family and I love watching what you make, how you make it, and how difficult it is.
    If you don’t mind me asking, how do you choose what your next project will be?

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  4. I enjoy your videos a lot and I constantly am keeping up with them as well as the information you have here on wordpress. Every time a new video is released I let all my family members know. Please continue making videos. I think it would be very interesting to know not only how you acquired your knowledge on specific techniques, but also your motivation for doing this. Is it a hobby? Some other interesting questions to be answered are: What is the longest you have stayed in a hut? Do you do all of this on your own? How long did it take for you to get used to the environment (considering being barefooted and shirtless)? Where specifically did you choose to make your huts and sheds and why did you choose those areas? etc. The background information would be very entertaining I think.

    Thank You

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  5. I’ve seen the cord drill before, but always made with modern tools and materials. Thank you for taking on this project. Did you have any problems with the fired clay handling the centripetal force?

    Anyway my family and I enjoy watching your videos. I was just wondering where you got the ideas for your next projects?

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  6. I was born, raised, and live in a major American city and I very rarely get to immerse meaningfully in nature. I would have never expected to be compelled to this type of performance and ambition. Your videos are a pleasure to watch; thanks for making them.

    Like

  7. Hey man.
    I think what you are doing is awesome.
    Every since I was young I have played around in the bush but never with the attention to detail or care you take.
    Could you send me an email if you really don’t mind. Id love to talk to you about maybe visiting you.

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  8. i always watching all your videos at youtube,it was awesome mate,i will trying some of them back at the forest at my backyard house at ubud bali
    i will waiting for next update,can’t wait for that

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  9. As someone who has built several primitive shelters and tried to become a well rounded primitive technologist I would like to tell you how impressive your work is. I thourolly enjoy your inspirational videos. Please keep up the great work and thanks for sharing.

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  10. I love all of your videos. I have always wanted to do the things you have done. You are a very talented man. You make it look so easy

    Like

  11. Hi mate, great vid again. I didn’t even know about the cord drill. Very cool.

    Hey, I would like to promote your site on the links page of my website if your interested. Let me know what you think. Talk soon

    Malachi

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  12. Hi there. I couldn’t find your contact information, so I figured I’d just share here and hope you see it. There’s another WordPress blog stealing your content, as well as some other’s. For example, see: http://offgridsurvivalguru.com/2016/01/16/how-to-build-a-primitive-mud-hut-with-a-tiled-roof-bushcraft-survival-tips/

    It’s literally just a copy/paste of one of your posts, except that a link was changed from your video to his blog.

    I presume he’s making some money off it somehow, as he went and spammed his blog on Reddit late last night. Thought I’d let you know.

    Like

  13. Hey dude, I was just wondering how you stop the cross bar on the pump drill from starting a fire with the main stick? Is there not a similar amount of friction being created? Btw love the videos, keep up the awesome work!

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  14. Hey mate, I really like the vibe of your videos. It was a solid choice to focus on the craft and leave out narration, music, flashy editing, and biographical details. The minimalistic aesthetic really adds to the authenticity of your content. A lot of channels start out like that and those a lot of credibility, in my opinion, when they fall to outside pressure and bring others in to increase production value. Your content is perfect as it is and I’d love to see it stay that way. Much respect.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I love these videos. There’s something about conquering nature and building something from scratch that sets off a primal satisfaction in every man.

    Do you have any reading/video material you’d recommend to someone interested in neolithic technology and survival techniques? I’ll be doing the brazilian air force officer exams this year and if I pass I’ll be sent to the amazon rainforest for training (as a cadet) and probably as part of a patrol (as an officer) and I’d love to put some of this knowledge to the test if I ever get the chance.

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    • I don’t have any one book or video to recommend. What I tend to do is think of an interesting project and find information on the internet then use trial and error to learn it. The hardest project I’ve done was the tiled roof hut because there is little information about it. So I had to guess as to how it was done. Good luck with the jungle survival training- they’ll teach you all you’ll need to know but it ‘s also good to research it yourself before hand. Research amazon rain forest survival training and also research how native people survived there. Thanks.

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  16. Hey mate so i want to try some of the stuff you’ve done but over here in western Australia clay as good as that and natural streams are not very common and would made all of this very difficult is there an alternative?, Thanks keep up the good work

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  17. I really found your tiled-roof-hut video to be inspiring. I have a couple questions about how things might scale up, say to 3 people. You lose some efficiency to aggravation when you’re working closely with people on a physical project, but there’s also the occasional morale raise. Likewise, if two people are out foraging/gathering at any given time, some things get easier (always someone to tend the fire) Plus there’s other stuff that’s just easier because you have a couple of people doing the heavy lifting, etc. What do YOU think? If you had 2 people would it be faster or slower? If you had five? Next, you talk about having built things and demolished them to remake them in a separate way – something I can definitely relate to! How much do you figure you “gain” with each iteration? If you set out to do another tile-roofed hut, you say you’d probably do larger firings, and go with wattle-and-daub. How much time/effort do you think you’d save. Lastly, this is a weird (but relevant) question: How much do you find you eat while you’re out there? More food means (hypothetically) either more hunting or more carry-in, plus more cooking. Here in the US, we think in calories, and 2k-2.5k calories is kind of a “normal” rate for a regular city-person. 4-5k is someone with a hard physical job (logger, hard rock miner, etc). 10k calories was Michael Phelps’ diet while he was at the Olympics. I’m just curious what you’d guess your intake was – that looks like hard work indeed. Don’t reply if you don’t want to share. I’m just curious about the logistics.🙂

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    • I’d rather work alone for now. The huts get better with each building usually. With a larger kiln it could be shortened to a few days instead of 26. I don’t live in the wild but come home to eat.I estimate that a person would eat 2 kg of food a day or less to stay active. I didn’t eat more when doing this hut but lost weight (about 2-3 kg) from the effort.I ate mostly carbohydrates to deal with the energy expenditure and ate meat ate night. In this environment you could probably live off black bean (like in my other video) provided you lived near a stream to soak out the poison. Though hunting is illegal here there are scrub hens here that can almost be walked up on easily, they would provide the same food as half a chicken. There are various nuts that contain a high energy content too.

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      • I definitely prefer working alone on projects like this. It keeps your head clear, IMHO, so fewer accidents. Another general question, if you have time: If you did the whole project again, and supposing no rain delays, how long do you think it would take? From 70 days (ish) down to what? And if you did it yet again? I know that’s just fantasy, but I’d love to hear your reasoning and/or guesswork.

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  18. First off I’m deeply impressed and inspired by what you can do but I was wondering what I should use to make a solid wall for my hut (I live in Scotland so its always wet and cold) so I’m looking for a good alternative to mud walls. Cheers!

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  19. hi, i like the technique you used when making the cord, i always see it done like that. why don’t anyone just braid the strands to make a cord? does braiding make a weaker cord?

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    • I think it’s because braiding requires at least 3 strands whereas cordage only requires 2. I used to braid bowstrings as a kid from vine but I think cord works better and use it now. For climbing ropes though braiding is better as the rope doesn’t twist under loads like cord does. Cordage might also be denser and more compact than braided ropes.

      Like

  20. I really love your videos. I’ve been thinking about doing something like this myself, but it’s a bit harder in Sweden!

    As a engineer student, I just wonder, have you considered making some kind of windmill/water driven construction to use in your camps? Did the people of the stone age have the capability of constructing these kind of stuff, and if not, what is the greatest problem when doing this?

    I’m patiently waiting for more videos!

    Like

    • I considered a water driven trompe but the water doesn’t flow all year. A trompe is a watter powered air compressor with no moving parts (as an engineering student you probably already know this- if not look for it online). This would make it possible to force a draft into furnaces to make it hotter. It should be possible with stone tools- just a pipe with a plenum at the base. Thanks Arvid.

      Like

  21. Love your videos dude! Best content on YouTube. In the future would you consider starting from scratch at another site? I would imagine different materials to work with would lead to new technology that might not be possible at your current site.

    Like

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