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We Didn't Start the Fire


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#1 SSScout

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:38 AM

Finished the IOLS weekend.  Nice BIG group of nascent Scouters.

 

My Fire safety/building instructor was fascinated by the idea of "alternative" fire starters.  Not your usual pine cones, Mountain Laurel, fuzz sticks.   So we talked about and demonstrated::   :

*Original Fritos.

* Peanut butter on saltines.

*  Pringles.

*   Crisco  candles.

 

Any others out there , any favorites?  

 


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#2 Chadamus

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:54 AM

Clothes lint! It's free, light, and readily available. (Especially to families with kids!)
To give credit where it is due, a Life Scout in my son's Troop brought a ziplock bag full of the stuff to a campout. I thought it was a great idea so I now save a pinch after each load of laundry.
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#3 Cleveland Rocks

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:41 PM

Ritz crackers are good. We use that in our demos with first-year Scouts.


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#4 eagle90

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:43 PM

Don't tell your scouts, but Hand Sanitizer is extremely flammable.  Caution - it burns clear, with no visible flame - just intense heat!


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#5 Eagledad

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:46 PM

Frito chips


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"Experience is the hardest teacher. It gives the test first, then the lesson."


#6 NealOnWheels

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:47 PM

Buttered Popcorn


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#7 fred johnson

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 01:25 PM

My first boy scout camp out ever.  The senior scouts kept telling the new scouts what would burn.  We kept finding the brand new scouts running around camp to find samples of what would burn.  ... Yeah, the figured out the hand sanitizer stuff really quick.  


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#8 Stosh

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 01:29 PM

1" Taper stubs

 

Cooking oil

 

2' 1/4" copper tube with one end crimped.  Turns any thing that smolders into a forge.  If the ashes are warm, put on kindling and start blowing.  It'll start.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#9 dfolson

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 02:13 PM

Clothes lint combined with the hand sanitizer  make good starters


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#10 krikkitbot

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 02:19 PM

Steel wool and a battery. My son amazed non-scout friends by starting a backyard fire with that. One of them tried to pretend that he knew that worked but it was clear he was impressed too. 

 

I like to carry a film canister (how quaint) filled with cotton balls smeared with vaseline. Those work great too. 


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#11 resqman

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 09:14 PM

Cotton ball burns about 3 seconds.  Apply about a green pea amount of Vaseline and now it burns for 3 minutes!  If you rub the Vaseline on the outside of the cotton ball, it waterproofs the inside of the ball.  Turn the ball inside out to expose the clean dry cotton fibers and will start with a single spark.  The cotton ball is basically a wick and the Vaseline becomes the wax of the candle. 

 

Guess what, the cotton gauze pad in first aid kit is cotton ball in flat format. The Neosporin is mostly Vaseline with a bit of antibiotic.  Chapstick is mostly wax which can also turn your pocket lint, first aid gauze pad or other dry stuff into a candle.  

 

If you have natural fiber rope like sisal, untwist the rope till it becomes individual fibers.  Wad it up to make a "bird nest"  will catch a spark and burn. 


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#12 resqman

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 09:19 PM

You can also make your own "char cloth".   Get a new quart paint can from the hardware store.  Punch a small hole in the lid with a nail.  Loosely fill the can with 100% cotton cloth.  Seal lid on can.  Place can on fire.  I use my propane grill.  Heat can.  Smoke will leave the pin hole.  Once the smoke is clear, remove can from fire and let cool COMPLETELY.   You have turned the cotton into charcoal.  You have removed all the chemicals that cause visible flame.  If you open can to soon, the charcoal will ignite when oxygen is presented to the material.

 

Once cool, the cloth is durable and will not crumble.  But it is charcoal and will easily catch a spark and start a fire.  Useful tinder for magnesium strikers and flint/steel tools. 


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#13 TAHAWK

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 10:38 PM

Only issues with dryer lint:

 

Is it cotton?  Polyester just melts/

 

Don't compress it; it is hard to get to fluff up as compared to the Gold Standard, pj'd cotton per resqman's comment/

 

 

Cosmetic pads of 100% cotton are also good.

Scot's Pines often generate lumps of more-or-less dried sap = solid turpentine (especially where the Pine Bark beetle is doing it's evil work).

Credit cards.

Rubber chickens


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#14 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 12:25 AM

I concur with pringles! It basically behaves like a candle. What little potatoe there is in it works like a candle wick, soaking up the melting fat and burning it.

With tumble drier fluff working so well I have always wondered whether, if you could collect enough, belly button fluff would do the same job ....
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#15 ianwilkins

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 02:09 AM

With tumble drier fluff working so well I have always wondered whether, if you could collect enough, belly button fluff would do the same job ....

 

I've sometimes wondered if I should collect mine, as we don't tumble dry our clothes so I don't get lint that way. Decided it would be too weird, even for me. Plus the mixed in belly hair would stink when it burnt.

 

Short lengths of bicycle inner tube.

 

The bark of the sequoia, giant redwood. At least the one at our local campsite seems to slough off chunks of very fibrous bark.


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#16 Hedgehog

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 05:37 AM

My favorite is the wax wrapper of a Baby Bel cheese and a piece of cotton string.  Makes a nice candle.  Teaching how to make the candle it is a great way to demonstrate the EDGE method, especially because eating the cheese is one step in the process.

 

For practical use, I always carry cotton balls with Vaseline and keep a Zippo emergency sparker with tinder in my pack.

 

What the Scouts have termed my "pyro bag" includes Cotton Balls with Vaseline, Chapstick, fatwood, pine cones, cat-o-nine tails, natural fiber rope, paper birch bark and magnesium.  I've never had luck with dryer lint - I guess i don't wear enough cotton.

 

Despite all that, I think all they need is a pocket knife to make a pile of wood shavings.  Not too glamorous, but gets the job done.


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#17 MattR

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:25 AM

If you're stuck in the woods on a snowmobile: Pull the spark plug, still connected to cable, and crank the engine. You'll get a spark. Even if the tank ran dry there's enough gas left that you can pull some out and start a fire. I've known a few people to use this.

 

I make my scouts start all their fires with a hot spark, just to appreciate a match. It also forces them to set the wood up right. The best I've had luck with is drier lint and vaseline, but the vaseline needs to soak into the lint.


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#18 Stosh

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:21 AM

2 issues here with the materials....

 

1) natural fiber rope/twine is commercially made.  The fibers are grown and harvested, but during the growing process they are treated with insecticides and herbicides to insure a good crop, and then it is treated with chemicals to retard rot.  All those chemicals are in the smoke given off when it burns.  I know it's not a lot of material to burn, but I don't use this material for fire starters for this reason.

 

2) the man made fibers of dryer lint is also toxic.  One must be assured there is none present in the lint.  In order to insure one has 100% cotton, get an old t-shirt and scrape lint off it with the edge of a knife.  It's a little more work, but as we all know, the boys are WEARING all the "dryer lint" needed to start a fire.

 

Then there's the issue of char cloth.  One doesn't need a large can to pull this off.  A small shoe polish can works just as well as does any small seal-tight tin/steel container.

 

I always just use the candle stubs from tapers.  Usually they get thrown away with at least 2 starters available.  The nice thing about them is they are 100% waterproof.  While they won't take a spark to ignite, I always duct tape a couple of them to my waterproof matches container.  Birthday candles work well, but do not have the burn length necessary to get wet wood going.

 

Sequoia trees grow to such huge heights because the sap they produce is not flammable.  When fire is around their base, the sap leaks out from the fire and extinguishes the fire.  The sap of other pines is more flammable being a turpentine base.

 

The most valuable tree in the forest is white pine.  I teach my boys that stick matches are made out of white pine.  They all know this and carry a 6' walking stick with a hook on the end as part of their gear.  The dead lower branches are the best fire starters out there.  Whereas all the other troops have cleaned out all the easy branches on the bottom, the hooked stick can reach up an additional 6' and so they never have a problem with an over camped area.    If it's raining, I have the boys cut off the wet bark and use the dry wood within.  Like stick matches, it does catch and hold a flame with no problem.  If a spark can light a match, a small pile of leaves or pine needles will burn long enough to ignite white pine.  Otherwise a sparked char cloth will produce a small flame necessary to get the white pine going.  A magnesium burn only lasts a few seconds, but it's long enough for white pine.  Did I reference white pine enough?  For heavens sake, a Bic lighter will ignite a small white pine stick (about the size of a match long enough too.  That way one does not need to hold the Bic down into the fire lay.  Remember the average sized Bic lighter is the equivalent of a quarter stick of dynamite.

 

I have my boys make their own fire starters out of paper egg cartons.  Fill them up with lint or sawdust and drip paraffin on top to hold everything together.  When need, tear one off (the ragged edges make the wick and will burn for quite some time.  In case one has done the math from above, white pine sticks dipped in paraffin make a great fire starter too   :)


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#19 CalicoPenn

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:18 AM

Saltines, Pringles, Fritos, hand sanitizers, Vaseline

 

Lint, steel wool, cotton balls, rope fiber

 

 

I'd ask the Scouts to notice the patterns - what do the items in each of the lists have in common.   They're either oily or fibrous (yes, steel wool is a fiber - a metal fiber, but it's a fiber).


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#20 Stosh

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:26 AM

When I was in scouts we would always do the "Wizard's Entrance" at the campfire.  Toss a pinch of iron filings into the fire and a huge flame and white smoke would be impressive.  Don't tell your boys about this, we weren't the smartest bunch of scouts, but we had fun.  To give you an idea of how effective this is, I never saw the "Wizard's Entrance" as an adult until I got into reenacting and some fool tossed a paper cartridge of gunpowder into the fire.  Looked pretty much the same.  This is why steel wool works so well as a fire starter.  It's "explosive" nature, however, doesn't give one very long to get it into the tinder.  Put the wool in with the tinder then apply the battery.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)





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