Feather stick

Feather stick ready for action

A feather stick (sometimes referred to as a fuzz stick) is a length of wood which is shaved to produce a cluster of thin curls protruding from the wood. It is used for damp wood to start a fire (or campfire) when dry tinder is hard to find.[1]

It has been popularised in the media by proponents of bushcraft such as Ray Mears.[1]

It is believed to be a traditional method of fire starting, utilising basic tools and methods.[1]

Using feather sticks

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.[2] 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.

When used in conjunction with char cloth, a small piece of charcloth is wound around the curls and a spark is struck on to it, using either the traditional flint and steel or a modern ferrocerium striker.[1] 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.


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Tinder". Practical Survivor. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  2. Towell, Colin, and Inc Publishing. Essential survival skills key tips and techniques for the great outdoors. London: DK Pub., 2011. 95. ISBN 0756673380
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