Headed off bush for a few hours today. Practiced creating some feather sticks, certainly an art to it particularly with Australian hardwoods. So why is this a good skill to have, well a feather stick is a handy way to start a fire, especially if the wood is wet. By removing the bark you expose the inner core which will generally be a lot drier than the out side layers. The aim of a feather stick is to get the shavings to roll and to do this you need to shave super thin slices. The thin curls provide the best surface area to weight ratio and by extension have the best chance of catching fire when compared to thicker shavings.
The secret to success is having a sharp knife (I find scandi grinds the most suited to this task) and a steady hand. Another important consideration when practicing feathersticks is safety. Use a knife technique that should you slip the knife will move away from the body. I take a seated position, or kneel, place the spine of the knife in the fleshy section under the kneecap and pull the stick back towards me. This offers great control and eliminates the risk of hurting yourself. It's a great skill to practice and will certainly come in handy particularly when its wet.