top of page
  • Writer's pictureDani

Bushcraft - Feather sticks

Kiehinen or kiehisiä - in Finnish

Imagine a piece of wood, relatively thin, about twenty centimeters, with which we are going to make wood shavings, as long and as thin as possible, but without detaching them from the wooden stick!

First, let's go back to the basics, and see what do we need, to make a fire?

3 elements a fire needs to ignite:

2 chemical components

  • the fuel, here the wood

  • the oxidizing agent, here oxygen or air

1 heat

  • the spark for example


This is also called the fire triangle.

By creating our fine wood shavings, we will increase the surface area of the wood, so more oxygen will be available around our fuel. Fine chips heat up, dry out and burn much faster. So when the shavings are equally close together, they heat and feed each other.

To train correctly with your knife, it is recommended to start with fir/spruce or pine tree. By changing the angle of the blade to the wood, you can also adjust the chips, so they bend to the side. The further apart the curved chips are, the greater the flame created during the ignition phase.

Harder species of wood, such as birch, can also be used for cutting, but this is more difficult for a beginner. The best chips are obtained from tar wood (terva), which can be found in Finland, during walks in the forest, in the trunks of pine trees, which have rotted from their former surface.

Pro tip: Place your wood shaving sticks "upside down", chips down, so the flames rise between the gaps and naturally self-ventilate.

Remember that "Practice makes perfect". Be patient, and repeat the movement as often as you can. Your technique and your wood shavings will very quickly turn into a subtle art, which you will master perfectly.

Have a nice barbecue and good Bushcraft training !

Uncle Dani

Very dry birch

Very dry birch

A man removing the bark from birch logs

Birch bark is also an excellent fuel, which is useful to add

Wooden sticks laying on the fire place

Part of the logs will be used to make wood shavings, and the other part an "ignition tower"

A wilderness guide preparing an ignition tower to set a fire in a fire place

Pro tip: Prepare your ignition tower carefully.

The air that passes between the different layers will serve as a perfect oxidizer for the ignition

A man cutting a stick of wood with a knife and making feather sticks

Smooth cutting

A man cutting a stick of wood with a knife and making feather sticks

Note the too steep tilt of the blade, perhaps 30 degrees, which gives small shavings 

A man cutting a stick of wood with a knife and making nice and thin feather sticks

While here, we can clearly see the blade of the knife which is almost flat on the wood

A man cutting a stick of wood with a knife and making plenty of feather sticks

Awesome shavings, aren't they?

11 views0 comments


bottom of page