The Bushcraft Thread

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Smithy, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,645
    Location:
    Orygun
    Thanks Smithy.

    I didn't think about the lifetime of the tinder. I assumed that it being in a foil package it would be fine for a while.

    I have some "Tinder Quik" coming too:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00029EWYY/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    These are essentially cotton impregnated with something.

    I will try out the Weber stuff too.

    I am essentially putting together a GHB each for myself and my daughter and her husband. Simple and light, water, freeze dried food, some kind of light shelter (I have an Ecotat that I like, and I am thinking of getting two more for the kids) and a Cold Steel Survival Edge with a firemaking kit and compass in the hollow handle.

    The knife comes with a decent firesteel, and I would put some kind of tinder and waterproof matches in the firemaking kit. I doubt they would need to make a fire just to walk home if their car breaks down or something, but it doesn't hurt to have it handy.

    These bags would go in each car, along with a separate container with walking shoes, appropriate clothing for the season and a couple of other things for emergencies.
  2. Smithy

    Smithy Avoiding the Skid-Demon

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    Oddometer:
    8,513
    Location:
    22310
    That is exactly why I tried to call out the difference between material that will catch a spark and nurture a coal, and actually getting fire. You don't get fire directly from a spark, in most cases. The tinder-quick is the singular exception I have come to count on, and they're not messy like PJ balls.

    This is evoking another longer post, but I'll save it for later when my thoughts are more organized.
  3. Fire Escape

    Fire Escape Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,697
    Location:
    Epsom, NH

    That is 'eye opening' information, thank you.
    I have some of that pre-packaged tinder fuel from probably 20 years ago. My assumption was that as long as I left it sealed up it would work when I needed it which hadn't happened yet. I don't venture far afield anymore so it isn't like I was at risk but it sure is nice to know not to trust it before actually needing it. Guess I should experiment a bit and perhaps gather my own variation. Where the heck did I leave all my film cans?

    Bruce
  4. Dilligaf0220

    Dilligaf0220 Miserablist

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,532
    Location:
    Armpit Of Canuckistan
    Y'know primitive firemaking is all the rage in the "bushcraft" community, but I always questioned it's usefullness. Unless you work & travel in uninhabited areas on a regular basis...when exactly are you planning on using something like a bowdrill?
    Other than as a time sucking toy once you are "out there". Meh, I have fishing for that!

    I don't get out in the woods near as much as I like, and I consider my recreational time precious and better spent doing other things, like exploring the area, poking around for specific plants that I know are in season...or fishing that much longer instead of bent over a firepit for an hour getting a coal.

    Then again I am a smoker, and I can literally take a swim down Class IV rapids and come out at the bottom knowing somewhere on my person is a working Bic (seriously, if I am going out for an overnight I'll have five Bic's stashed in different places).


    Anywho after trying many different forms of tinder starter, I still come back to my old standard of dryer lint stuffed into cardboard egg containers smothered in paraffin wax. 100 percent waterproof, can start from a ferro or flint rod, and burns long & hot enough to start a fairly damp fire. Great stuff.






    Sent from my 'Droid using Boogerhook
  5. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,645
    Location:
    Orygun
    There are the situations where you may unexpectedly find yourself needing the skill sets of bushcraft, even if you don't do hiking, camping, etc.

    Like the people who for whatever reason get lost in their car, run out of gas, get stuck in the snow, etc. - they find themselves in the middle of nowhere, nobody knows where they are, etc.

    This happens from time to time and you hear about it weeks or months later when their bodies are found.

    Sure, they may have matches, etc. in the car - but I don't smoke, and maybe the lighter doesn't work in one of my vehicles, etc., how do I start a fire? Take a bit of wire and use a spark from the battery? Not even sure where the battery is in my BMW (in the trunk somewhere I think).

    But lets just say that for some reason I am somewhere and I need to start a fire without matches, without firesteel, without a battery - all I have is my shoelaces and some wood (I rarely go anywhere there isn't wood).

    Also, even if I carried a lighter, they sometimes break, or run out of fuel.

    It is good to know how to do basic things you might need to do without the modern conveniences because someday you might need to do those things.
  6. 01001010 01000011

    01001010 01000011 AKA-JC

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    325
    I skipped from the 1st. page to last but want to this suggestion:
    Spend $12-$15.00 and check out the Hoods Woods DVD
    Survival Basics I&II. Several retailers stock the set.
    No matter how crafty you might be you will learn something,
    IMO money well spent.
  7. Smithy

    Smithy Avoiding the Skid-Demon

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    Oddometer:
    8,513
    Location:
    22310
    Indeed, nothing wrong with packing a bic, or a zippo, as your first choice in fire-making. What even the most experienced teachers will tell you is that should always be your first choice, but not your only choice. Owning skills that can't be broken or lost in a capsize, soaked beyond use, provides the woodsman with confidence and a more intimate relationship with the environment. Nobody here is suggesting doing it the hard way every time, eschewing modern tools... at least I'm not. But taking time to practice primitive methods, and understand how they work in different circumstances, provides a safety net for when the modern tool fails. And fail, they do, from time to time. What's in your noggin can't run out on you. That's the only point I'm trying to make... the rest is just style and taste, I guess. :thumb
  8. theothersean

    theothersean dirty boy

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,045
    Location:
    middle of nowhere (central mass)
    I have a microwave to heat water for tea because its quick and easy, but I still know how to boil it the old fashion way on a wood stove or on an open fire .
    It is good to have primitive skills to fall back on when our modern life falls in on us , like when the power goes out . Or we find our selves unprepared .
  9. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    12,771
    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    Or when you demolish your kitchen down to the studs and have to cook everything you eat on a charcoal grill for a couple of months. I rediscovered Jiffypop. :lol3
  10. theothersean

    theothersean dirty boy

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,045
    Location:
    middle of nowhere (central mass)
    but did you light the grill with a lighter :D
  11. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    12,771
    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    It is the Weber model with a gas bottle to start the charcoal aka the easy button. :evil
  12. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,645
    Location:
    Orygun
    Rope Lighter?

    <object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="//www.youtube.com/v/whXDsTFvKTI?hl=en_US&amp;version=3"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="//www.youtube.com/v/whXDsTFvKTI?hl=en_US&amp;version=3" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>
  13. Smithy

    Smithy Avoiding the Skid-Demon

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    Oddometer:
    8,513
    Location:
    22310
    Same concept as what I described before. I find his device intriguing, but too many moving parts, or bits to lose (what happens if you drop the ball when the charred rope lets go of the little hook?) and the striker seems awfully exposed to damage out there. But, same rope-in-a-tube with a charred end, and whatever source of spark you have (flint & steel, ferro rod, fresnel lens, dying ember from the last campfire...) and you can extend your ember for as long as it takes to get a new fire going.

    Also, highly related to "slow match", which was nothing but a smouldering cotton rope treated with potassium nitrate, among other chemicals, to regulate the rate of burn.
  14. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,645
    Location:
    Orygun
    Searching around there are variations on this but there don't seem to any/many for sale as a currently made commercial product.

    It would seem that the advantage is that the flint/steel is near the rope and gives you an easier way to get the ember going than using a firesteel and striker.

    That said, the cotton rope, as you mentioned, is probably a good source to hold an ember or even a flame, to start some wood. One person on youtube just used a cotton rope soaked in vaseline with a metal tube (to snuff out the flame/embers) as a "slow match".
  15. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,645
    Location:
    Orygun
    So I was in Home Depot and I picked up a couple of items to experiment with.

    IMO the Weber cubes are indeed superior to the Wetfire. Less expensive, hard to put out (I could not blow it out, the only way to put it out that I tried was to smother it or douse it with water), restartable, and reportedly last longer. I could not start one from a firesteel, but they started very easy from a match/flame.

    The cube would start/burn wet, but not as easily as dry. They do float in water and can take a flame, but it never amounts to much as I think the water cools it too much. I think these are mostly some kind of flammable wax mixture - they take a few seconds to get going well. Not sure why anyone would want to burn something in water, I am sure this is marketing to prove Wetfire burns when wet - so to that end, so do the Webers; once I took them out of the water they burned well.

    I have some Duraflame Quickflame which is basically sawdust impregnated with some kind of petroleum product then pressed together. These are useful for starting a fire in my woodstove as they last long enough to get it going well (I use mostly sawdust logs for now - next year I will get some firewood and make some kindling). The Duraflame burned longer than a similar sized chunk of Weber cube, but were harder to start with a match and are much easier to blow out.
  16. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,645
    Location:
    Orygun
    I also got some rope/twine.

    They didn't seem to have any jute rope so I got some jute twine instead.

    They had some sisal cord and I got some of that too.

    I got some cotton/poly rope. They had no pure cotton rope. I believe only the core was poly and I removed the core easily.

    The jute twine is very flammable. Pretty much goes up in a poof. would make good tinder, but I could not catch it with a firesteel.

    The sisal was much harder to start with a match, but it held an ember once it got going - if you blew on it.

    The cotton rope starts okay with a match, but even after charring the end real well, I could not start it with a firesteel. I am going experiment with it more.

    I will probably add the jute twine to a firekit as something to use as tinder, but I want a larger diameter rope.

    I played around with the dryer lint. If I totally work the vaseline into it, it is hard to start with a firesteel, but once started it burns considerably longer. I think the trick for any cotton is to leave the inner portion of it dry and untreated, and have the outside waterproof with something flammable so the inside stays dry.

    Then when you need it, you open it up so the inside is exposed and takes a spark into flame, then the rest of the cotton burns long enough to start a fire with some tinder/kindling/etc.

    One youtuber recommends covering a cotton ball in beeswax, but being careful to leave the inside dry. I will order some beeswax and paraffin wax to experiment with.

    I went by the Dollar Store and got some small sample/purse sized bottles of hand sanitizer based on alcohol. That will be included in a GHB for dual purpose; sanitizing and firestarting. It starts readily with a flame and burns for a while. I have noticed that if you put it on cotton then it burns at first, but if you leave it for a day or so then the alcohol evaporates and you are left with the rest of the cleanser which is not flammable - just the opposite. So I don't see any real use in using it in conjunction with cotton as the alcohol burns fine by itself IMO.

    One side comment; it seems harder and harder to find a hardware store that has everything that they used to have. Beeswax, even paraffin wax - not at Home Depot. Cotton rope? Nope. Mostly have to order those kinds of things online now.
  17. John E

    John E Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    866
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Did you pick the twine apart and make a tinder bundle out of it?

    How much Vaseline are you using with the cotton balls?

    My experience has been that jute twine as well as Vaseline impregnated cotton will start easily with a firesteel if you prepare them properly.

    You have to pull the twine apart and then make it into a ball. Increasing the surface area will it catch a spark. Unfortunately it tends to flame out pretty quickly, you need a good supply of other tinder onhand to use it effectively IMO. It is an easy way to carry tinder as its very compact until you need it and it's multi purpose as well.

    Most people use way too much Vaseline with coton balls. The trick is to use a small amount and before you use it you spread it out and fluff out the cotton, again to increase the surface area. Some people seem to think the Vaseline is meant to waterproof or seal the cotton from moisture, that's not it's role at all. It's job is to keep the cotton burning longer, you need to keep it in a waterproof container to keep it dry.

    Not meaning to come across as condescending.
  18. theothersean

    theothersean dirty boy

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,045
    Location:
    middle of nowhere (central mass)
    +1 on pulling apart the twine and fluffing it , I have always been able to ignite it with a fire steel . Just takes a bit of time to prep it into a nest . You can always take several strands of it and braid your own rope out of it .

    I have also inter twined it into a paracord bracelet . But not necessarily a water proof way to carry it but at least you have some if needed .
  19. 01001010 01000011

    01001010 01000011 AKA-JC

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    325
    I have been looking for a rope lighter for a long time, do you have a link to new "for sale",
    the going gear page does not show them ?
    That model is actually a copy of a WWI windproof "trench" lighter.
    Yes the ball might get lost but all you need to do is pull the rope into the tube and it will
    snuff itself out.
    I have also seen a similar type of device at BlackPowder Rendezous, a Brass or Copper
    tube with a loop soldered on the side (tie/lash point). Rope, SlowMatch, or Rolled Wicking
    was inserted in the tube then charred as shown (in a realfire). The spark from a traditional flint n steel set could then easily be caught a blown into a coal and transferred to a tinder bundle. To snuff out the ember the rope was just pulled back into the tube.
  20. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,645
    Location:
    Orygun
    I tried to pick apart the jute, sisal and cotton cordage.

    The jute was very small diameter twine so there wasn't much there to pick apart. It seemed to be the only jute they had in stock IIRC. I have seen much larger diameter jute in vids and photos, so I will try to get some more elsewhere.

    The sisal was pretty tough to pick apart and didn't light easily even with a match - I got it to try it. Worst case I have some cordage to do other things with and now I know the capabilities of sisal.

    The cotton was somewhat easier and seems the most promising. I will continue to experiment with it towards a slow match.

    I am not discounting the possibility that these were treated in some way that isn't mentioned on the packaging, possibly something that hinders their flammability.