Top 4 Wood Types For Starting A Fire

What Is The Best Wood For Starting A Friction Fire?

It seems that with the future ahead of us, modern tools are emerging to help us ignite fires.

But let’s be real for a second here, no one is adequately prepared unless they know how to start a fire with no help from all of these tools.

When such mishaps occur, it is very important to know how to start a fire using only friction.

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What is the best wood for starting a friction fire? Using softwood for both parts is the perfect wood for this scenario. Once specific woods that has been in every survivalist checklists for a fire are white pine. If there are no pine trees around, you can find any softwood in the area.

In this article, you will find all the best woods you need to have in case you are planning for camping or amid a survival incident. Let’s get into it.

Starting Fire By Friction Method

The friction method is most commonly known as rubbing two sticks together. It is by far the literal description of this ignition because you rub your woods together.

In a survival setup, you can see a lot of rubbing wooden sticks to a wooden base.

No matter how you do it, the principle will be the same. The rubbing will produce enough friction to heat the wood until it is enough to ignite materials surrounding it.

You might find it very simple because you only need to rub it together, but many people attempted to make fire this way and ended up doing nothing.

The end result will always depend on the type of wood you choose.

If you are using hardwood with a slick and shiny surface, it won’t cause friction, and it won’t heat up.

While it is everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to picking their wood types, all can agree to one wood.

They agreed that softwood is the perfect choice for it, and some even prefer the bow drill fire starting method, which is a stick that is quickly rubbed against the base.

This way, a hardwood stick can work, but the base must have to be softwood.

Choosing Your Wood

Many people have questions on the perfect wood for bringing out the fire during camping or emergencies.

It is probably one of the most asked questions in many survival courses around the globe.

Truth to be told, experts do have some thoughts when it comes to friction fire and the best woods to use.

Based on an old saying that if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail, and this is pretty much the only knowledge you need to know when it comes to fire ignition.

When it comes to wood, it is important to know different combinations to use to get better results.

However, the state of the woods is just as important as the right combination to it.

It means that you should consider how old or seasoned the wood is, and there are two main considerations when choosing seasoned wood for your fire set.

Check The Color Of The Wood

Color is vital when it comes to choosing the right wood.

If you happen to be in a place where the wood is green, then you are hiding to nowhere. It is because any piece of wood that is green in color means that this is still alive.

Like all organisms, if you happen to find a green and alive wood, it needs moisture to survive. Wood, with a lot of moisture, will put a fire out.

If you find wood and cut it into the inner parts and see any green hues, it means that this is not the right one for you.

You should discard it as it won’t give you the fire you are looking for. Just a few exceptions because woods like hazel and ivy can provide you with ember when it is slightly green.

Although, this kind of circumstance is unusual for other woods. Also, if you see any streaks of dark grey or blue, then it is no good.

Also, take note that if you are unsure of the wood’s age or condition, you can place it in your lips.

Your lips will be able to feel all the moisture compared to your fingers that are not as sensitive as your lips.

Spin The Spindle

 A spindle is a straight wood that is preferably from the center of your log. You need to have at least 12 to 15 inches of it. And have a diameter of ¾ of an inch to get the most out of it.

And another way to find out that you have a good quality wood is by spinning the spindle against your board.

You will notice once you look into it closely that the shards of a punk wood being deposited are “sausaging.”

As a result, there are long thin strips of wood coming off from the spindle or the board.

It is a pretty good indication that the wood you picked is not seasoned or too wet to begin with.

You won’t be able to produce an amber from this set of wood, and it will take a ridiculous amount of work before you even see a smoke. If you spot a rot or your wood is turning into punk wood, this is not good.

A Seasoned Wood

It is also possible to be able to use some of your greenwoods.

All you need to do is cut them properly and then keep it to your storage area or shed ready for future use.

Just be mindful that it takes about 1 to 1 and a half years to season your wood properly for friction fire.

However, in a survival scenario, you won’t be able to wait that long, so it is important to have the skill in identifying the right woods.

A good practice is to look for some branches during spring or summer that doesn’t have leaves as they are probably dead.

A well-seasoned wood has a pale, smooth, and somehow creamy texture to it. Another good sign is that it feels bone dry in your lips and no grey fletchings anywhere.

When a spindle is spun against the board, the dust coming off is a fine brown or black dust. It is a good indicator that both the spindle and the board are well seasoned and in great condition.

Best Wood For Starting Friction Fire

There are plenty of survival skills that can get pretty frustrating, like the bow and drill fire starting.

Many beginners find it very hard to produce fire using this method, and they considered it unattainable.

Many people think that starting friction fire is easy because of what they see on the television, but it is not that easy, and neither is it unattainable.

The most typical reason for failure is that people choose the wrong material. It is probably the main reason why they failed in achieving this task.

Below is the list of materials that are perfectly aligned with each other to help you better understand wood types.

White Pine

White pine is probably the type of wood that has been mentioned by many to be the best wood for fire ignition.

Pines have been known to be one of the best wood compatible with the fire friction method.


A combination of a birch spindle and a birch board will give you an average success when it comes to fire ignition.

Just make sure that the birch wood is appropriately dry and seasoned.

Another good combination is a birch spindle and a pine board. You just need to check the wood age as it plays a significant role in the end results.


As mentioned above, hazel is actually a good spindle and board wood choice. It can give you enough amber to be able to produce fire. Another good combination is a hazel spindle and a willow board.

However, you might need to consider this one as sausaging is common in this kind of combination.


Sycamore wood is one of the best wood that is perfect for beginners who are just learning how to start a fire using the friction method.

It emits a moderate amount of heat rather than oak or maple.

You need to look at their center if it has a green color. It means that it won’t be able to produce enough heat for friction to work.


As a conclusion, there are a lot of wood varieties to choose from when it comes to the best wood for starting a friction fire.

Aside from those that are mentioned above, you can also use red elm, cedar, basswood, walnut, or cottonwood.

On the other hand, you should remember that it is more important to take all the considerations above when it comes to wood.

You might have the perfect wood but does not meet the considerations, it will still be a failure.