Writing The Second Draft

Documenting the Journey as I become who I want to be.

Archive for the tag “Tinder”

Making Charcloth

Some time ago I had planned my initial project for the weekend was to finish my wallet and maybe practice some watercolor painting. But as I was doing laundry I came across an old pair of pants that, to be frank, was ripped to shit.  But I had loved these pants dearly and decided to let them live on as rags for usage in other applications. (I’ll be needing rags whenever I get around to finishing a woodworking project after all.)   But as I was cutting it to bits, I realized that some swaths of cloth would be too small for usage as a proper rag, and then there were the tiny pockets and the folded hems and all that where there simply wasn’t enough undisturbed cloth to be a good rag.

Hem open hem

I checked the tag to see just what material I was working with here and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was 100% Cotton, and it hit me that I could use these scraps to make charcloth!

For those who don’t know, Charcloth is a very good survival tinder. It catches a spark very easily and burns (from what I’ve read) pretty slowly. It doesn’t make a big flame on it’s own but forms a workable ember you can use in a tinder bundle to make a fire. Great for survival applications and I’ve been wanting to have a bit in my survival bag’s fire kit for a long time.

So! I took some smaller scraps of cloth I’d been cutting and cut them into smaller squares roughly 1-2″

strips

Next I took an empty Altoids tin I had lying around and a nail and popped a little hole in the top of it.

Tin

This is after it went into the fire. But you can see the hole I poked right in the O

I piled in, very loosely mind you, the cloth strips and closed it up nicely. All of this was done that saturday. Now all I needed was a heat source! So back on the weekend when The Artist came over, friday evening we decided to have a fire! Perfect!  We enjoyed marshmallows and had a nice evening until the fire had burned down to embers, I checked that I’d have a method to remove the hot tin, which I had a pair of long tongs, and so then I took the tin, closed it up tight and put it into the hot embers. I don’t have any photos of this part since it was night and fire and well I was having too much fun to remember to take pictures…

But as for the tin, it somewhat unexpectedly caught completely on fire!

In other tutorials I’ve seen and read, they say that if the tin catches on fire, or fire comes out of the hole, too much air is getting in and you’re getting full on combustion not charring and that when you open the tin you’ll have nothing but ash.  So The Artist and I were a bit disappointed but we continued our conversation eventually all of the paint burned off the tin and there were just flames almost shooting out of the edges and the hole in the top.  After a few minutes though, the flames stopped, welp might as well get the failure out of the fire and give it a try again another time right? So I grabbed the tongs and pulled it out setting it on the driveway to cool down.

We went inside and completely forgot about it for a few hours. The Artist remembered it before I did and reminded me to bring it in, so I did and I popped it open over the sink ready to wash it all out when… LO AND BEHOLD! CHAR CLOTH!!!

Charcloth

The cloth bits shrunk substantially from the initial cloth, which I didn’t expect, but it worked! And they aren’t super fragile or anything so I now have a nice pack off charcloth in my fire kit and am one very happy survivalist :3

firekit

My firekit thus far. It has charcloth, a lighter, and the firestraws I made a while back 8D

Survival How-to: Fire Straws

The other day I was planning to have a little bonfire in the back yard but… nope. The weather was raining off and on all day so, bonfire for entertainment purposes not so good an idea. I was tempted to try anyways but I would be the only one out there and the firepit’s already been set up for family enjoyment. (one of my bros already set up logs and stuff. ) So instead, I did a little crafting inside, I made fire straws!

I first read about these a couple years ago, and it’s a really simple premise!  You take a plastic straw cut to whatever length you want,  melt one end shut, fill it with something, and melt the other end shut!

I’ve seen these used for things like a single dose of neosporin or toothpaste or other things too. But the use that interested me most was the ‘fire straw’ where it’s filled with some type of tinder. So here’s what I did, step-by-step so you can make some too!

You will need:

Plastic Straws
Needlenose Pliers

Cottonballs
Toothpick
Lighter (or other open-flame)

1.  Take your straw and cut it to your desired length mine were roughly an inch.
2.  Pinch one end with your pliers and hold it shut with a little bit overhanging the end of the pliers

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3.  Run your flame under  the overhanging bit to melt it together. While it’s still malleable you can pinch down the seal with your pliers to make it flat.

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4.  Take your cotton ball and pull it apart into more manageable strips of fluff.

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5.  Take the fluff and a toothpick and stuff your straw with the fluff!  Be careful not to use too much pressure or your toothpick could puncture a side, defeating the purpose of keeping your tinder waterproof!

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6.  Fill it up until you have just enough space to pinch down the end with your pliers with a bit of overhang once again.

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7.  Repeat step 3 on this other end and ta-da! You’ve got a fire straw!

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The purpose of firestraws is to keep a bit of tinder dry in your kit (I keep mine in my fire kit which I try to have waterproofed anyways, but they’re so small they can fit just about anywhere you want to stash ’em)  I made a total of 6 of these and have those in my kit right now.  One thing I have read is that some people will dip their cotton in petroleum jelly to make it burn longer and that kind of thing, but I haven’t tried that yet.

 

So why don’t you try and make your own firestraws and tell me how it goes! Or if you’ve made your own before or have other ideas of what to store in these mini-containers leave a comment!

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