Friction-induced limit cycling deteriorates system performance in a wide variety of mechanical systems. In this paper, we study the way in which essential friction characteristics affect the occurrence and nature of friction-induced limit cycling in an experimental drill-string set-up. This study is performed on the level of a Lyapunov-based stability analysis and on the level of both numerical and experimental bifurcation analyses. The synthesis of these results confirms that friction-induced limit cycling is due to a subtle balance between negative damping at lower velocities and viscous friction at higher velocities. Moreover, it is shown how these essential friction characteristics depend on physical conditions such as temperature and normal forces in the frictional contact in the experimental set-up.