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We Didn't Start the Fire

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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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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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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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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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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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Clothes lint combined with the hand sanitizer  make good starters

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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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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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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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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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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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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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