Creating a Feather Stick

I know you are wondering what a feather stick is. Well, it is a stick from a dead tree that has been split and shaved down to expose the dry wood inside. This is a wonderful skill to master and will help you start a fire in damp conditions.

To begin the process, one must first find the proper wood. While some individuals may feel a branch found on the ground may work, it will not. The reason for this is the fact that the wood has soaked up moisture from the ground. The best wood to use for a feather stick is one that is dead, and still on the tree.


Beyond being dry, the branch also needs to be between two to three inches in diameter. When it comes to the length of the branch, it should be between 11 and 23 inches long.

Once you have your branch, the next step is to split the branch in half and then in half again.  This can be tricky but is easily done if you follow these simple steps. First, take the stick, and place it so that it is standing on end. Next, take your knife, and place it on the top of the stick. To get the knife through, place a stick on the pointed end of the knife, and use it to push the knife through safely. Repeat this process with the two halves. You will now have four pieces of wood. After the wood has been split, the next step is to create the feathers.

The “feathers” are shavings of wood that remain attached on the stick. This provides tinder and kindling all in one.

To create the “feathers,” take one of your sticks, and rub your finger down the inside of it. You will notice that there is a groove on both sides where the stick was split. Run you knife along that groove to create a “shaving.” Top several inches from the bottom. As you continue with this process, you will find that the “shavings” create their own groove. Continue to cut along the groove to make more “shavings” until the stick breaks or you have made enough “shavings.” Now your feather stick is ready to use.

Using a Feather Stick to Start a Fire

Starting a fire with a feather stick is simple. Prepare your fire area by clearing it out of plant material, and lining up some sticks to create a platform. Next, put several feather sticks on top of the platform so that all the “feathered” ends are together or in a star shape. Now light the “feathers.” As the fire continues to burn, add more tinder and kindling until the fire has taken hold.