Friday, October 17, 2014

How to Make Char Cloth

Char Cloth

Trying to start a fire with a spark from flint and steel can be pretty challenging.  It's hard to catch a spark and hard to work it into an ember.  An age old way of doing this is to use char cloth, Here's how to make some!

Cut some 100% cotton cloth into small squares, these are about 2"x2"and put them into a small tin or can, something fireproof.

Punch a small hole in the top of the can.  This lets gasses out, but not enough oxygen in to make fire in the can.

Heat the can on a fire.  This is a camp stove, but any fire will do.  This step should be done outside as it is pretty smokey.  You are "burning " the cloth without oxygen similar to how wood becomes charcoal.  The gas escaping the tin will burn and that's OK, it's methane gas.  Heat until it stops smoking then remove to cool.

Launch some sparks onto the char cloth and you will see small red glowing areas.  Gather up the the char cloth and the materials you mean to start on fire (here it's wood shavings from the pencil sharpener and newspaper).  

Blow and blow and blow on the bundle, the char cloth becomes redder and hotter as the embers grow. Careful...

The bundle will burst into flame!!!  We were doing this project really late at night and didn't want to have a bonfire so Dancer just set it into the barbecue grill.  To make a fire, set your bundle down and put small sticks, leaves, etc on it  Continue to blow on it and soon you'll have a raging fire

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