How to make char
Peter K. Waycik (PKWAYCIK@CS-ACAD-LAN.LAKEHEADU.CA)
Tue, 5 Apr 1994 10:16:40 EDT
1. Find some old cotton. Towels or wash cloths work wonderfully
because they are thick.
2. Find a can with a tight fitting lid. I use a small paint can that
was washed out (or burnt out, I forget).
3. Punch a small hole in the lid of the can (so a toothpick can be
pushed in to seal the hole)
4. Cut or tear the cotton into squares about 4 cm by 4 cm (1 3/4").
5. Put the squares of cotton into the can loosely (if they are too
tight in the can, they won't burn properly) and put on the lid.
6. Cook the cotton. This step sometimes takes a few trials. I use a
Coleman Peak 1 stove (runs on white gas) for cooking. I turn the
stove onto about medium heat in the winter and lower in the summer.
Cook the cotton until no more smoke comes out of the hole that you
punched (about half an hour). But be careful not to overcook, because
you will end up with just ashes.
7. Remove the can from the heat source, and put a toothpick into the
smoke hole. This is an important step because you want to prevent any
oxygen from getting to the char before it is cooled (you just burned
the cotton without oxygen).
8. Once everything is cooled off, open the lid and voila!...you have
If your char is not black (between colour of original fabric and
brown): You did not cook the cotton enough. Either cook it longer or
increase the heat at which you cook it (this is where the
experimentation comes in).
If you open the can and find only ashes: You cooked the cotton too
long or at too high a temperature.
Yours in Scouting....Peter
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City