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Experience Making Fire with Ike DVD Review by Linda Rose

Ike Bullington
Pleasant Valley Productions

I honestly hesitated for a minute before I agreed to review this DVD. I thought, “Would it be okay to teach my twelve-year-old son how to make fire?” After battling over all the possible scenarios and consequences, I decided to go ahead and watch the DVD with him. My son is a responsible guy, as far as a twelve-year-old can be. And when I told him I had an exciting DVD for him to watch, he actually kinda shrugged at me and gave me a look that said, “Really mom?” Before watching, I did give the disclaimer that no matter what we saw on this DVD, he had to agree not to try starting fires without supervision or permission. 

Upon first watching this DVD, my first impressions were actually pretty amazing. We went from just myself and my son watching the first segment to my older girls joining in too. And we didn’t watch just one segment at a time either. We watched the entire disc from start to finish in one sitting. It was truly that amazing. And Ike made it look EASY! He made fire-starting seem so possible and really made me feel confident that, yes, I could actually make a fire without a lighter or a match. After watching in fascinationthe first time, we went to the Internet to search out a few of the fire-starting tools that Ike had recommended. We ended up watching the disc again the very next day, this time at the request of my son. 

When we received our new fire-starting tools, we practiced the techniques demonstrated by Ike on the DVD. I thought, “Oh, this will never work. Ike probably had years of experience, and here we are beginners.” But guess what? We were able to light the tinder on the first try--without a match! We all watched in amazement as the tinder burned out because we hadn’t gathered any of the other necessary materials that would get a blaze going. 

Making a fire from just tinder and some sort of fire starter, whether it is a ferro rod, magnesium fire stick, fire lens, fire piston, sparking fire starter, or (for the super ambitious) a bow drill, is a really challenging task and requires patience and practice. Ike gives plenty of good instructions and warns many times about safety, which as a parent I really appreciated. Safety is usually a given when dealing with fire, but it doesn’t hurt to hear it more than once and to hear it from someone other than your mother.

In total, Ike demonstrates ten different techniques used to start fire, including an ultimate challenge. He also discusses the best tinder to gather from the woods, demonstrates how to make char cloth, which I had never heard of before, and suggests instructions for making your very own wild bow drill from materials found in the woods. He teaches different types of fires, fire safety, and various tips for being successful. On the main menu of the disc under special features, there are five additional video clips with even more fire-starting tips and demonstrations. You will want to check those out for sure!

This DVD would be perfect for anyone of a responsible age. It can be purchased on the website for $20 and is well worth it. I highly recommend this video. It would make a great supplement to any outdoor or survival study. It would also make a really neat gift if you were to include some of the necessary tools for mastering the skills We were truly inspired to try some of the techniques demonstrated and had great success with them.

-Product review by Linda Rose, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2017