scouts-l Mail Archive for February of 2000: Firestarters
Sat Feb 19 2000 - 09:52:48 CST
A caveat on the dryer lint-- make sure it's from cotton clothing, because the
stuff from synthetics mostly melts and doesn't burn well.
My favorite firestarter, which I carry with me to all camp outs, is a length
of hempen rope or some hempen hawser (big thick rope). It's that awful brown
crinkly line that they always give kids to tie knots with, the stuff that's
too stiff and scratchy for anything of real use. Well, our camp staff used it
to do lashing in Pioneering last summer, and when they cut everything down
they left tons of it littering the landscape. So I went gleaning <G>.
You take a piece about 4-6 inches long and pull it apart, completely, down to
its fibres. (If it's damp, it'll dry rapidly like this.) You end up with a
big ball of fluff about the size of a small soccer ball, maybe smaller. You
then take an old cedar shingle (we have a lot of those on Cape Cod <G>) or
other dry wood and whittle a pile of tinder-sized bits out of it, about a
cupful. You then mix the wood bits into the rope shreds-- it's sort of like
pulling taffy, folding and mixing, ending up with wood bits suspended in
fluff like raisins in a cake. When your ball is done, you can squeeze it down
to about 2-fist size, stick it in the proper position for igniting the
kindling in your fire lay, and poof! One match does it every time, never seen
it fail. It's also good for using with the friction-fire starter.
The hawser is often marine-grade, meaning it has some tar in it, which makes
it burn all the better.
I also carry a baggie of birch bark. It burns even if WET and burns hotter &
longer than most tinder, so it's useful when there isn't a lot of better
tinder to be had. It also make a real cool demo, to dip a piece of it in your
coffee and then light it. We had a few birch trees come down at camp and I
stripped as much as I could off 'em-- I think I have a lifetime supply now.
SA T47 Sandwich MA
Cape Cod & Islands Council
Abake MiSaNaKi Lodge #393
NSJ 1997 Nat'l Health & Safety and going in 01!
I useta be an Eagle...