F & S

Primitive fire making techniques to include hand drills, bow drills, fire pistons, and how to create and use them.
Chippintuff
Registered User
Joined: 21 Jan 2011, 00:25

07 Feb 2017, 19:48 #11

I started two fires easily with grandkids a few days ago. I used flint and steel with char cloth. Thanks.

WA
Reply

DuxDawg
Registered User
Joined: 01 Dec 2013, 21:12

14 Feb 2017, 06:29 #12

Awesome! Glad to hear.
Reply

Forager
Registered User
Joined: 22 Oct 2010, 23:42

15 Feb 2017, 13:39 #13

Even better that the kids were there, I'm sure it was an impressive scene. Congrats!
Reply

Firstwhitefalcon
Registered User
Joined: 19 Apr 2008, 02:35

29 Oct 2017, 23:16 #14

Char cloth is the answer!
Reply

beardedhorse
Registered User
Joined: 27 Mar 2009, 06:35

31 Oct 2017, 01:21 #15

I had not heard of using milkweed fluff.  It hasn't worked for me in the past.   Will try drying it out first.   Chaga, milkweed ovum are some of the ready to use stuff in nature.  Charred cloth such as cotton flannel, monk's cloth, denim, pure cotton terry cloth towels and T-shirts are from man made sources.   Very punky cottonwood can be charred and probably used by mountain men and pioneers instead of the valuable cloth.   Tinder can be dried grass, shredded barks - cottonwood, juniper, cedar, sage, etc or man made aged rope such as manila, hemp, macrame jute, sisal but not synthetic like polypropylene, twisal, etc.   Dryer lint that is not pure cotton but having any polyester and other synthetics don't catch as well.  Are the teeth on your file ground off or a case hardening or surface treatment rather than solid steel all the way through?   Annealing files slightly will give you a better shower of larger sparks and not chew up your chert or flints as fast.  For beginning flint and steel fire lighters it is hard to beat charred cotton for the char and jute for the tinder.
Reply

Firstwhitefalcon
Registered User
Joined: 19 Apr 2008, 02:35

15 Nov 2017, 16:37 #16

Showed my son how to use F&S.
DSCN7818.JPG
DSCN7817.JPG
Reply

DuxDawg
Registered User
Joined: 01 Dec 2013, 21:12

15 Nov 2017, 20:43 #17

Excellent points BeardedHorse. 


Congrats FWF! 
Reply

beardedhorse
Registered User
Joined: 27 Mar 2009, 06:35

16 Nov 2017, 00:06 #18

Yes, congratulations on passing the torch of firemaking to another generation.   One suggestion I might make is to hold the tinder nest and glowing char above your nose when blowing.   While I doubt that your son has whiskers you might get a new nickname like "singe" if you blow down or level with the tinder when it ignites.   This is something I ask my 4th graders.   What happens to your beard, mustaches, hair in your noose, eyebrows and hair if the nest bursts into flame while it is near those human tinder/s?   I hold the tinder at arm's length when I inhale and then bring it in close to blow when I exhale.   I ask my students to pretend they are blowing out the candles on their birthday cake.  Chippintuff, is that dried grass or strands of rope fiber for the tinder?  Just curious.
Reply

DuxDawg
Registered User
Joined: 01 Dec 2013, 21:12

16 Nov 2017, 05:08 #19

As to Milkweed fluff (aka MWF) catching sparks from rocks and steel... 
(Note: Referring to Percussion Fire Ignition aka F&S. NOT ferrocerium.) 

Originally I spent quite a lot of time folding the fluff. Was thinking I could quantify the exact number of layers that would work most reliably.  

Guessing this was in large part due to my (at that time) recent success with wedges. Several fungi and punkwoods were working reliably for me once I figured out that wedges are the best of both worlds. (Thin edges catch sparks best, yet sustain them least. Thick sustains best, yet catches least.) 

I was also at that time recognizing how huge "micro-charring" is. (The first few sparks land and char, paving the way for the next sparks to land and grow, aka "catch". Still amazing to watch how that extra second or so of life transforms gut wrenching sparks-that-die into growing embers!!!) 

Fortunately during this time Steve1 posted here on the Planet about his success with MWF that he had rolled into cotton ball like bundles of fluff. Which instantly made sense as we all know that "Fire loves chaos". 

milk-weed-f-s-no-char-t58071.html#p57717

For me MWF sometimes catches sparks more easily than ovum. Mainly depends upon how weathered also how thick and styrofoam-like the ovum is. (Fresher, thicker, more foam-like are all better characteristics for ovum.) MWF definitely burns longer. 
Reply

beardedhorse
Registered User
Joined: 27 Mar 2009, 06:35

16 Nov 2017, 23:18 #20

DuxDawg,  Thanks for advice and sharing your experience with milkweed fluff.  Hasn't gotten a little late here to collect but will check for ovum not ruined by snow and rain.   Most pods opened and release the seeds and fluff.  I had boxes of dogbane and milkweed pods saved.   some of them opened up and spread like popcorn popping.   Unfortunately I didn't save them.   Another fluff I had problem getting any flame with is cattail down.   Anybody get it to flame well as a tinder, not uncharred spark receptor?   
Reply

beardedhorse
Registered User
Joined: 27 Mar 2009, 06:35

16 Nov 2017, 23:21 #21

Just wondered if grinding both fluff and or ovum into a fine powder (takes a lot of ovum) and making a big flat circle of it would catch the sparks more readily.   Seems to work on charred punk and uncharred true tinder fungus.  Not sure if the fluff would break down into a dust or fine powder.
Reply

DuxDawg
Registered User
Joined: 01 Dec 2013, 21:12

17 Nov 2017, 18:04 #22

beardedhorse wrote: DuxDawg,  Thanks for advice and sharing your experience with milkweed fluff.  Hasn't gotten a little late here to collect but will check for ovum not ruined by snow and rain.   Most pods opened and release the seeds and fluff.  I had boxes of dogbane and milkweed pods saved.   some of them opened up and spread like popcorn popping.   Unfortunately I didn't save them.   Another fluff I had problem getting any flame with is cattail down.   Anybody get it to flame well as a tinder, not uncharred spark receptor?   
You betcha! That's what we're here for. 

Some of the MWF & ovums that I've collected from late August through the winter well into May have worked. Earlier is better as weathering (mainly moisture and sunlight) has a significant impact. Yes, most of the fluff has flown away months ago. Yet some pods only partially open. These can still have useable fluff for many months yet. 

Oh man! What a treasure trove of fluff and ovum! Dogbane fluff and ovum work almost as well as Milkweed in their uncharred state. Though being so much smaller they are a lot more difficult to collect in quantity. 

Cattail fluff (or down as some call it) is an excellent coal extender (aka CE). One of the best! Thus far it has not worked as an uncharred spark catcher for me yet. Nor for anyone that I have ever seen. (Still referring to F&S here.) It will hold and grow an ember quite well. The tight heads will smolder for hours without any attention. (Which is rare. Most CEs need to be nursed or they go out.) 

On the other hand, cattail fluff (aka CF) takes sparks from a ferrocerium (aka ferro) rod or catches fire from an open flame extremely well. I often mix 1/3 of a good tinder (dry grass, conifer needles, strips of birch bark, etc) with 2/3 CF when teaching ferros to newbies. Gives them easy success. 

The keys with CF and ferros or flame are fluffiness and the other tinder(s) being well distributed throughout. Wind permitting get as much air in there as you can. CF by itself it will flash then go out. Not very useful! Indeed, quite frustrating. When mixed 1:2 as described above, it works very well and is a lot of fun. 

As to producing flame from CF after an ember has been transferred to it... yes it can be done. Be warned that hot mini embers are likely to fly everywhere, including onto our faces. In general every coal extender will produce flame if we use enough. Usually takes a huge amount when compared to a decent tinder bundle. Charcloth, punkwood, chaga and many more have for me. 
Reply

DuxDawg
Registered User
Joined: 01 Dec 2013, 21:12

17 Nov 2017, 18:33 #23

beardedhorse wrote: Just wondered if grinding both fluff and or ovum into a fine powder (takes a lot of ovum) and making a big flat circle of it would catch the sparks more readily.   Seems to work on charred punk and uncharred true tinder fungus.  Not sure if the fluff would break down into a dust or fine powder.
For the Hover method that would work. I have successfully used MWF only and MWF mixed with various CEs and/or chars with the Hover. 

Most of my char mixes have been 1/3 fluff (uncharred plant fluffs such as Common Milkweed, Bull thistle, Canada thistle, etc.) and 1/3 CE (any uncharred coal extender such as cattail fluff, most fungi (Horse Hoof and Artist's conk are particular favorites. The trauma and/or pore layers of either.), punkwood, mugwort leaves, mullein leaves, etc.) with 1/3 char (any CE that has been previously charred.) then thoroughly mixed. These work very well with the Hover method as it necesitates a much larger landing area for the sparks. That, or a lot more striking. ;-) 

Also, I have used the On Top method with each of the three in their uncharred state: ovum only, fluff only or fluff and ovum together rolled between my palms. All three work. 



For the uninitiated:  

The "Hover" and "On Top" are two of the many methods for Percussion Fire Ignition (aka PFI. Most commonly referred to as Flint & Steel or F&S.), which is a primitive method of starting a fire. The Hover method is when we hold the "flint" object and the "steel" object above the tinder while striking them together to generate sparks. These sparks then fall onto the tinder and produce an ember. The On Top is when the tinder is held on top of one of the objects (most commonly the rock) while the other object is then struck against it. 
Reply