scouts-l Mail Archive for February of 2000: Fire starters? Continues...
Wed Feb 23 2000 - 17:40:36 CST
...Never thought of this before, and I've now worked 20 years with the stuff
and never caught on.
We rent violins here for kids from ages 2 up. Every violin gets a cake of
rosin, which comes (most of the time) in a wooden container. Every chunk of
rosin comes back and we sort it into "reusable" or "cracked and worthless".
Well, not exactly worthless, we take the really cracked up caked, break the
rosin out into a can where we powder it so we can quickly rosin new bows for
use, and in the past we tossed the wood in the trash (repairmen, they do what
they want sometimes and don't think of all the possibilities).
Well, all that was before Tom acquired for himself a firepit and made the
repairmen save the little wood pieces.
Think about it, hot liquid rosin, the same stuff, in essence, that holds
those bugs in amber and makes pine burn so well, is molded onto (and soaks
into) those pieces of wood. Plus the wood is dried and processed and probably
To give you an idea of just how well they burn, I had piled a large number of
the branches from that tree they cut down in the yard in that fire pit for a
future burn. It was covered with snow and saturated (for those who watched
the news and heard my next door neighbor O'Hare airport had 11 inches or
whatever "officially by Saturday morning realize that before I moved an ounce
of snow was in it up to my knees in the yard, and thats around 18" of
blowing, drifting, whatever). Two blocks touched off like there was no
problem, melted off the snow I couldn't shake off, and dried out the branches
to the point where they started burning. The wood is thick, you aren't going
to start it with one match (I don't think...NEW EXPERIMENT!) but take one of
those other firestarters and put it under this little piece of wood and
you've got heat.
So those of you with kids in band or orchestra and who deal with a music
store, and you think there might be a real need sometime for something to
start a fire no matter what, see if you can get the wood blocks of some
really busted up rosin the store was going to toss. Or the school. Or some
kid who dropped it (minimum rehair is going to cost around $25, which is
cheaper, a $4 block or the bow repair?). Or if you can find a use for nice,
sticky rosin yourself someplace (Little league in town?) slap down a ten spot
and tell them you want a couple cakes of violin or cello rosin (the cheap
kind, the expensive kind doesn't have wood, it comes in a bag, or even worse,
in plastic) and bust out the rosin for your use.
But all these blocks? They're mine. I was just thinking of starting a brand
new "emergency fire starter" kit....
Of course you know, in the troop there's always one kid who can start a fire
by dropping an unlit match into a bundle of scrap wood and if it weren't for
emergencies we wouldn't really need this kind of information....