Re: Now, matchless fires?
David Scammell (David_Scammell.Orlando_spg@XEROX.COM)
Tue, 8 Aug 1995 06:00:09 PDT
First, I'd like to address the Flint & Steel issue. I had some new boys go out
and buy BSA Flint & Steel kits for their 1st Class Emphasis Class at Summer
Camp. I would have been happy if I could have gotten at least one spark off
any of the kits. It really was disgusting. Although the striker was a
'gorgeously polished smooth surface', it wouldn't work. <just a little
satirical humor there>. But, out of five kits, one had a really nice piece of
flint that, when used in conjuction with a file, blew sparks all over. The
others were okay, producing an 'average' amount of sparks. Your best bet is
to get old files and break them off to about 6-8 inches (striking surface, not
tip to butt). Then, go out and buy some good flint (as a Troop resource).
Although this might be a little expensive, the 'good stuff' will last a long
time. I also find it a good idea to get cheaper flint, for the boys just
learning flint & steel. They usually have a tendency to chip off big pieces of
flint when learning how to properly strike the rock. Also, hot sparks work
really well ... especially if the boys do flint & steel first ... then they'll
really appreciate how much easier the hot spark is (& lighter, if backpacking).
Now, on to items to catch the sparks. I've used many different items,
including dryer lint (cheap & easy to attain), steel wool (must be spread out
thinly), charred cloth, monkey's hair (it is off a plant), cotton balls, dry &
crumbled pine needles (and various other leaves). Any of these work good for
catching the sparks and igniting your tinder. I usually keep a 'sample' of
each in a Ziplock bag in my backpack (God must have been thinking of Scouts
when he invented the Ziplock bag ... <grin>).
Finally, we have a homemade flint & steel kit for each patrol. This consists
of a coffee can (seals tight), several pieces of flint (various grades), 3-4
strikers, charred cloth (in baby food jars - which is also how you make it),
pine needles, dryer lint & the boys have added other things over the years
(i.e., lighter pine). We also have two kits of the lower grade flint for
instructing. Over the years, it has been an invaluable Troop resource.
David L. Scammell
ASM Troop 227 - Orlando, FL
West Orange District - Central Florida Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City