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Old 11-01-2011, 11:55 AM   #31
tslewisz
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These work well for your tinder of choice as well as matches. http://www.countycomm.com/matchcase.html
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Old 11-01-2011, 12:08 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithy View Post
On the vid I posted with the kid and the hawk, did you see how he was splitting wood? Held lengthwise to the hawk, and held with it as he struck down? Followed by a gentle twist to split the wood, it was an incredibly efficient manner of fuel preparation, I thought.
And very, very safe. Love it.
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Old 11-01-2011, 12:23 PM   #33
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I carry strike anywhere matches and firestarters made from sawdust and paraffin. There's a lot of stuff out there that'll start a fire with a little provoking even when wet. I've used the bow and string deal when younger and it takes some practice and preparation to make it work. But work it does. However I do prefer better living through chemistry. However being able to do without that is a damn good idea.
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Old 11-01-2011, 12:59 PM   #34
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One thing I truly suck at is building a fire from scratch. Since most of my woods time was and is at work, I rarely had the opportunity or need to build one. And when I did back home in SC I could always find a fat lighter stump to chop up for instant fire starting. Plus we always had a stack of it at the house for "kindling" because I would bring it home from work. And I would pick it up in the woods whenever I was camping to make sure I could start a fire despite my ineptitude. But now in MD without that fat wood crutch I am lost unless I crack open the fuel tap on the bike.
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Old 11-01-2011, 01:32 PM   #35
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In your case (our case, being out here in the Eastern Hardwood Forests), dry wood and tinder is the key. This is part of what the woods tools are needed for, especially when it's been raining - to get at the dry inner wood when the bark and smaller deadwood is soaked.

The "One Stick Fire" method is one way to deal with this, where everything from larger fuel wood down to the tiny tinder is harvested from a single stick... the theory, I believe, being that inner wood will be dry, and as it burns, the heat from your fire can start drying out less ideal wood, until it will burn with confidence. Last summer I threw this challenge at my Scouts during our High Adventure trip, tossing each team a 6-inch wide log, 18 inches long, and they raced to get the first fire that would boil a quart of water, from that wood alone. Took a little longer than one might prefer in an emergency, but I would prefer good fire to no fire any day, and this was one way to get there.

While we can pack in our various fire starters and kits, we can't really carry the fuel as well - so finding wood that will burn cleanly, without smoke, and without worry, is an important skill. As mentioned, fatwood where decaying pine trees grow is a great resource, but one we lack in abundance in the East. This is the land of Oak, Maple, and Hickory, and the only way to get it to work is to have it dry, and the stuff lying on the ground typically isn't.

One of my favorite sources is frowned upon in our various parks, so I can only get away with it in more primitive environments (MD Wildlands are great for this), and that is the Standing Deadwood. A small-ish tree that for whatever reason, didn't make it, and is bone-dry-dead but still vertical. One or two of those is adequate for personal use for several nights, if conserved and reflected properly.

Which brings me to another point, conservation of firewood. We've probably all heard the old tale, "white man make big fire, sit far away - Indian make small fire, sit close" or some variation. I've enjoyed my share of large bonfires where fuel was plentiful, and the joy of the thing was the whole point... but for practical use, it was utterly useless. You can't get close enough to do anything. Even in the fire rings in most state parks, if one fills it with wood and gets it going, you can't work in the coals for cooking, or keep it close to a shelter for warmth, for fear of burning it all down. To that end, I spent the money on a Vargo collapsible wood-burning stove. 6-sided and hinged with a perforated floor, it will support a quart-sized pot full of water (I've done it) and get it boiling with... I'm not kidding... a handful of twigs. I think the last time I used it, I started with a thumb-sized stick about 2, 2.5 feet long, and that was all I needed. I split it down the middle to expose my dry heartwood, and broke it off in 3-4 inch pieces, and fed it through the front rocket-stove style. The exceptional airflow meant I had little ash or coal leftover (efficient transformation of matter to energy) and a majority of that energy was directed upward, at my pot, cooking dinner for 2 with a stick.

If you're "green", I can think of no better way to heat stuff in the woods than to wisely use wood. The energy and waste that goes into a can of compressed butane, or even the energy taken to distill and package alcohol or any petroleum fuel, far exceeds the simple burning of a stick.

And before you go all Smokey-The-Bear on me, read this.
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Old 11-01-2011, 04:01 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithy View Post
Ooohhhhh, daddy like.

Can you open that up and show the bottle? I don't know what a Badia is, just trying to get a sense of it - so I, or others, can improvise with any vial that's handy. Maybe a ruler for scale.


Sure sounds like a foolproof starting system, though. I might tuck some char in there just to help catch spark... do you find your greased lint catches sparks just fine? I admit, I've never tried it. Don't even think I have any Vaseline in the house.
Here's a pic, Smithy. The Vaseline soaked lint lights right off with a fire steel and burns for a good bit of time, too. You can also use the hand sanitizer that has the alcohol in it. The little travel sized bottles they sell at the Dollar Stores work great.

I'll admit using the yellow pine stump wood (lighter or fatwood as it's called depending on where you're from) is cheating a bit. I prefer to start a fire using a piece of char cloth and a flint and steel for the pure challenge of it. This is more of a kit where you're under some pressure to get a fire going quickly.

I know the Native American Plains people had a way of carrying burning embers when they fast traveled. This enabled them to quickly get started in a new camp. I wonder how they did it.

[IMG][/IMG]

Stromdog screwed with this post 11-01-2011 at 04:02 PM Reason: Added pic
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Old 11-01-2011, 04:28 PM   #37
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From what I can remember reading they used a hollowed horn or clay vessel. The horn was layered bottom to top with sand/dirt,fine ashes,large embers and fine ashes to top it off. They would carry it and when setting up camp find tinder and use the embers to begin anew. And with the process could wander without great effort for firestarting when reaching the new encampment.


Then again my memory has failed me a few times.
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:00 PM   #38
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Smithy, you seem to know your stuff. I can pretty much only parrot what youíve said, because youíve dropped a few key elements out there that seem to speak to your experience or education that is really key: rule of three, hug a tree, attitude to name a few.

I believe attitude is the most important thing we have going for us, then the rule of three. Positive attitude, make a shelter, make a means to signal rescue. As an ex-SAR member, Iíll offer this about staying put. As an example, try to find a needle in a haystack, then try to find a moving needle in a haystack. Itís tough at a searcher to find someone that is moving, so stay put. Most people (at least in my area) are found in three days or less, so things like food are almost moot UNLESS they impact your attitude. You donít need to take food to survive except possibly in the harshest conditions.

For survival, which obviously is different than bush craft I take a small knife (4Ē blade, or a 5Ē blade) and a small axe. I take several means of starting fire, surveyors tape/ribbon, a whistle, a couple lawn/leaf bags, and wool. For me, a large knife doesnít chop wood well and becomes less useful as a knife. Itís easier to carry both right tools for the job than one compromise. Obviously I have more I take, but those are some key items in my ten essentials.

I have survival knowledge, skills and abilities, but pretty much only have bush craft knowledge (lack the skills and abilities), so Iím looking forward to this thread growing with useful information.
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:18 PM   #39
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Pine Knots

Has anyone ever built a fire with them?
Light easy and burn hot.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatwood
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:58 PM   #40
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I like that site Smithy, thanks for the link.
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:02 PM   #41
Grreatdog
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It always cracked me up that L.L.Bean sold little bundles of the stuff when all you have to do is walk into a pine forest to find whole stumps and logs of fat lighter. Of course, since SC is one big pine forest (at least the parts that aren't swamp and marsh) it was kind of easy for me.

On the scary side of that, my grandmother's house dated from colonial times and was made out of long leaf pine that had turned to heart pine. I fought a few house fires in places built out of old longleaf heart pine and it was never very pleasant and rarely ended well for the house.
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:10 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grreatdog View Post
It always cracked me up that L.L.Bean sold little bundles of the stuff when all you have to do is walk into a pine forest to find whole stumps and logs of fat lighter. Of course, since SC is one big pine forest (at least the parts that aren't swamp and marsh) it was kind of easy for me.

On the scary side of that, my grandmother's house dated from colonial times and was made out of long leaf pine that had turned to heart pine. I fought a few house fires in places built out of old longleaf heart pine and it was never very pleasant and rarely ended well for the house.
That is the heart pine flooring that everyone likes.
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:22 PM   #43
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From what I can remember reading they used a hollowed horn or clay vessel. The horn was layered bottom to top with sand/dirt,fine ashes,large embers and fine ashes to top it off. They would carry it and when setting up camp find tinder and use the embers to begin anew. And with the process could wander without great effort for firestarting when reaching the new encampment.


Then again my memory has failed me a few times.
Thanks anotherguy! This sounds plausible. I wonder how long they were able to keep these embers viable for fire starting. 16-20 hours would probably be sufficient given a hard day of travel. Possibly some sort of low level "recharge" along the way?
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:24 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithy View Post
If you're "green", I can think of no better way to heat stuff in the woods than to wisely use wood. The energy and waste that goes into a can of compressed butane, or even the energy taken to distill and package alcohol or any petroleum fuel, far exceeds the simple burning of a stick.
Plus then you gotta haul all that crap in & out. I hate heavy packs.
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:35 PM   #45
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Plus then you gotta haul all that crap in & out. I hate heavy packs.

And too many don't. The real pity is that you can't recycle those damn butane cannisters... to the landfill they go, after providing... what... a half dozen cooking opportunities for a lazy camper? I do not question their convenience, and own a butane stove myself, but use it nowadays only when open fire is simply a no-go. Like on my boat.
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