Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Char cloth

There are many natural tinder sources but when you're out camping or if in an emergency situation you may not be able to find suitable materials so its a good idea to have a store of ready made tinder in your supplies

Char cloth is a great tinder source to accept a spark to produce a smouldering ember for your fire starting needs that has been used for centuries, is very easy to make, and the only materials you require are old cotton rag cloth

As we know from the principles of fire we need fuel, heat and oxygen to create a fire

So to make char cloth, our cotton is the fuel and we want to heat it but starve it of oxygen so the cloth smolders but doesn't ignite and be destroyed by fire

I made this video showing the process of making your own char cloth on YouTube

Traditionally flint and steel would've been how you produced the spark but nowadays many people use the simpler and more effective ferrocerium "ferro" rods as I did

Small versions of which are in gas lighters so a cheap disposable lighter that has no gas can still be of use in an emergency

The great thing about char cloth is you are using your fire to create the materials for your next fire

Simply cut your cotton to fit whatever metal container you're going to use, this container should have a lid that is close fitting but not airtight as the cotton will emit gases as it chars and we want to allow them to escape, I use an old altoids mints tin

Then place this container on the side of your fire, it will take about ten minutes to fully char the cloth, as this happens you will see the gas venting from your container

Once you can no longer see any venting remove from the fire and allow to cool, if you open the container too soon the introduction of oxygen to the still hot material could cause it to ignite

After a couple of minutes it should be safe to open your container and inspect your handiwork without destroying it

This is a great way to make use of torn clothing that you might otherwise have thrown away to create a very handy tinder

Take care


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