How to Make Wood Tongs for Rock Cooking

Learn how to make wood tongs for rock cooking from NYC Outward Bound instructor Marko Yurachek in this wilderness survival skills video from Howcast.


The problem with round stones is that they're very difficult to pick up because they're very, very hot. So we can make a set of fire tongs that'll help us pick those up. And to make a set of fire tongs, what I've done is just found a stick, broken in half, that has something that's joining it in the middle. And that can be bark, or it can be a piece of stick like this that has a natural fork in it that I can close together and pick things up. So if I want to pick up a rock . . . these are a little bit flimsy, but if I want to pick up a rock, I can pick up a hot rock and I'm not going to burn my hand. So I can pick it up and move it around the fire, or I can pick it up and put it in my bowl to burn with.

And this might be a better set right here. These ends aren't even on this set of fire tongs, so if I want to even out the ends, which is important; they have to be the same length, I can slowly cut away. And when I'm cutting, I'm just taking the stroke of the knife and pushing it with my thumb, using it as a fulcrum. So I can cut like this, and that'll allow me to cut. One of the other ways that I can cut deeper is to take my knife and put it vertically, and hit it with another stick, which is called a billet. And that'll allow me to cut into that piece of wood. And not quite ready to break yet.

So we'll do the same from the other side. So I'll cut deep. I'll cut a little bit into it, kind of whittle it away. And this is the same technique that you'd use to do any sort of woodworking, or any sort of cutting with your wood. Now it's ready to pop off. So our ends are a little bit closer to even, and we can trim off the other one, too.

Usually when you're chopping, I'm chopping onto this piece of stone. You want to have a piece of wood underneath, especially if you're using a billet, so you don't drive your knife into the stone. And it makes, if you look at it, a really nice flat end. Almost looks like it was cut with a saw. And this is a good way to grab things. We've got some sticks in the way. We can get rid of those as well.

So I have these tongs that'll help me pick up stones that I'll be able to use to cook.

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