***ZS Homework*** Build a Fire

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Post by bgaesop » Sun Jun 18, 2006 11:49 am

ghostface wrote:Magnesium shavings onto tinder (mine = cotton balls dipped in petroleum jelly). Magnesium blocks are durable, fairly light weight and last a long time. The key is to find the right scraping/striking object to go with it. They can dull knife blades pretty quickly, so don't use your primary knife.
This is what I do. I've got a magnesium firestarter thing in my BOB that I haven't tested yet, I should do that.

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Post by Politenessman » Mon Jun 26, 2006 12:17 pm

Grimble and I spent some time last week practicing fire starting.
The magnifying glass failed horribly, but the flint and steel worked, as did the mag block.

We used a number of different tinders - dryer lint, toilet paper, cotton pads ( the g/f has a ton of these things) soaked in vasaline. These things burned for a good 2-3 minutes - I was very impressed by that, especially as I had never heard of using that as tinder until I found this board!

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Post by K31 » Mon Jun 26, 2006 1:07 pm

Fine steel wool (kind you refinish stocks with , not a soap/brillo pad) and a 9v battery.

Try it, it works great.
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Post by thorian » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:16 pm

I lit a small fire using a 4x6 inch fresnel lens and 1/4 inch diameter sticks took about 10 minutes of rotating the stick to get a flame and it would keep flaming up as long as I had the sun on it 10 minutes later I picked up one of the flaming sticks and lit my cig.
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Post by Grin Reaper » Wed Jul 12, 2006 11:59 am

ghostface wrote:
Magnesium shavings onto tinder (mine = cotton balls dipped in petroleum jelly). Magnesium blocks are durable, fairly light weight and last a long time. The key is to find the right scraping/striking object to go with it. They can dull knife blades pretty quickly, so don't use your primary knife.


This is what I do. I've got a magnesium firestarter thing in my BOB that I haven't tested yet, I should do that.
Instead of dulling/damaging your knife, break a hacksaw blade in half and attach it to the magnesium block with the handy hole in the blade. This makes a dandy striker.

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Post by Politenessman » Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:02 pm

Grin Reaper wrote:
ghostface wrote:
Magnesium shavings onto tinder (mine = cotton balls dipped in petroleum jelly). Magnesium blocks are durable, fairly light weight and last a long time. The key is to find the right scraping/striking object to go with it. They can dull knife blades pretty quickly, so don't use your primary knife.


This is what I do. I've got a magnesium firestarter thing in my BOB that I haven't tested yet, I should do that.
Instead of dulling/damaging your knife, break a hacksaw blade in half and attach it to the magnesium block with the handy hole in the blade. This makes a dandy striker.
So does a P38.
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Post by jamoni » Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:35 pm

Geez, guys. Use the BACK of the blade!
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Post by TheLastRifleMan » Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:42 pm

I got a fire going this weekend (7-8-06) using my trusty hand forged striker, a piece of Danish flint, some charred cloth and some dried cedar bark. The striker, flint and charred cloth came from a tinder box my Dad had made. The bark was a contribution from a friend of mine.

I have done this so many times I have lost count.
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Post by SlingsVaqueros » Sun Oct 15, 2006 5:38 pm

I'm sure we all know many methods to start a fire, but many of us don't practice it enough to be called proficient. I was supposed to teach a fire-starting class at Z-Con 06 and as I got my kit of various tools, tinders, and gimmicky devices handy, I struggled for a bit to get a spark to catch my first nest of tinder. I was talking to another member (who's name escapes me right now...) who promptly and easily struck a spark and ignited the tinder with a sheepish expression that I could only take as "Is this what you are trying to do?" Properly pwned, I went to my tent and cried myself to sleep on my uncomfortable rock. The lesson in fire starting was, in fact taught, but I was the only student.

Anyone who has spent some time on this forum has gained some knowledge in many fields of survival and a great platform of life skills, but without practice, and the encouragement threads like this can offer, we may be relegated to armchair survivalists. I have since stepped up my practice of various skills that are practicable and I have tried to share these skills with anyone with an open mind. Some skills are difficult to practice because of where you live, ore what your occupation may be. I don't think my room-mates would appreciate my fire-starting practice in the living room, and my neighbors would call the police if I start lighting fires in the parking lot. With this in mind, we need to take advantage of our days off to go camping, go to bookstores, and work our bodies and minds into a familiar routine of practice and preparation.

I was glad to see this thread resurrected after so much time had passed. It shows that there are still some basic skills that we all think we have down pat, and I'm sure there are some of us who do, but for the rest of us this thread, and those like it can light a fire under us to light a fire under something else. Maybe we can cook something tasty over that fire and post the recipe in another thread.

Coming soon, Dutch Oven Jambalaya…
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Post by Gunny » Sun Oct 15, 2006 6:18 pm

I had the same experience on a very cold and wet Texas winter day. I tried like mad to get a firesteel to throw a spark hot enough to light my slightly damp cedar timber.

My hiking buddy looked at me with a grin and with a flick of his bic, I had a roaring fire to which we dried out with.

Sometimes the simple solutions are the best.

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Post by chupacabra » Tue Oct 17, 2006 4:22 pm

Remember those space blankets that some of you say aren't worth the plastic they're made with? They make a good shelter for the logs, to keep the rain off of them if you are camping in an area. I like to keep my logs under something as a rule if it is at all possible.
I have no problem carrying a small magnifying glass with me. Not having direct sunlight to start a flame is a drawback of this one.
If the fire goes down, you can keep embers embedded in ash for the overnight , recover them in the morning and start it back up again. It is better (if staying in one location for any length of time) to keep your fire burning than to have to start a bunch of intermittent fires as the need arises.
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Post by Brash » Tue Oct 17, 2006 5:45 pm

I read recently that if you pour candle wax and wood chips into a cellulose egg carton you can then peel it off when it's dry and you have a handy waterproof firestarter. Bulkier than vaseline cotton buds but it might be more effective so I'll make some up tomorrow and give it a try. I'll let you know.
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Post by TheLastRifleMan » Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:46 pm

Brash, I have done this and it does work, but takes a hot flame to get it going. I used to use a candle to get it going. Once it does go, it burns very hot and will start most fairly dry kindling.
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Post by JamyeJ » Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:15 pm

I had a comment about the eyeglasses as a lens to start a fire. Keep in mind that this will only work in you are FARsighted. If you are nearsighted (myopic) your glasses will not focus the sunlight into a point, but rather disperse sunlight, which won't help in creating a focal point.

If you don't know if your lenses are the fire starting kind or not, see if the outside of the glasses are thicker than the center of the lenses, or if the center is thicker than the outside. If your lenses resemble a magnifying glass lens, you are farsighted and you can start a fie with your glasses.

(Unfortunately most people are near sighted, which doesn't help much on the homework)

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Post by Brash » Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:12 am

TheLastRifleMan wrote:Brash, I have done this and it does work, but takes a hot flame to get it going. I used to use a candle to get it going. Once it does go, it burns very hot and will start most fairly dry kindling.
Pity. I need waterproof firestarters because of the weather around here. Near constant rain. Last time I went camping I was huddled under a truck trying to get a candle going with a lighter and it still wouldn't work. I eventually threw a pint of parafin on the fire and a whole box of firelighters and that worked surprisingly well. I'll stick with the vaseline cotton balls. Those go up easily with a striker and are light and water proof. I wonder if I could combine the two. Maybe use vaseline and cotton as a big wick for the egg pot lighter and have something that burns easily and very well. I'll give it a try tomorrow.
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Post by SkullGirl » Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:32 pm

Learning to build a fire without the use of matches or lighters is one of my top priorities.
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Post by Packin' Heat » Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:54 pm

I lit a fire the other day using my Blastmatch and Vaseline-cotton balls. actually it was cool because I found a piece of bark threw on some random tinder for kicks (sawdust, pinestraw etc) set the ball on top and used the blastmatch. Worked pretty well but I think that my cotton balls are a little over saturated with Vaseline (may not be a bad thing?). It took a couple tries catch the cotton ball. But once it was lit, it was great. Withstood the wind well and I had no problem igniting the tinder teepee I had set up.

So I know that works. Now I gotta come up with something else besides matches and lighters. I guess a mag block is always handy but my blastmatch is the same thing.

Speaking of mag blocks, have you guys ever watched Survivor? Have you seen how they hack and chop at the mag block with a machete to get it to spark? Freaking ridiculous.
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Post by Squirrley » Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:38 pm

Just this last weekend I got to start a fire in our clubhouse wood stove heater. I had newspaper and some scrap lumber/branches, and used my firesteel and vaseline cotton balls, worked great. My dad couldnt get one started with a lighter, dunno wtf that was about, the newspaper wouldnt hold a flame, even tho it was dry. *shrugs*
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Post by Bronze » Tue May 15, 2007 6:54 pm

Brash wrote:I read recently that if you pour candle wax and wood chips into a cellulose egg carton you can then peel it off when it's dry and you have a handy waterproof firestarter. Bulkier than vaseline cotton buds but it might be more effective so I'll make some up tomorrow and give it a try. I'll let you know.
When I was a kid, one day I set about making this wax & sawdust concoction. I had read about it in the Poor Man's James Bond or the Anarchist Cookbook or some other such book of that type. It was suppposed to act as a pyrotechnic accelerant if I remember correctly.
In my youthful ignorance I decided that using a double boiler to melt wax was too slow a process and therefore tried melting it in a single saucepan on the stove.
I found out the hard way that if you do this, it will catch on fire and burn vigorously.
I ended up accidentally setting our kitchen ablaze in the process, providing my parents with much to be pissed off about and leaving me with an interesting story to tell in my adult life. Anyway, the kitchen survived and our homeowner's insurance paid for the repairs.
Now for the ironic part: when this happened, I was watching The Towering Inferno on TV. 8)
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Post by DryGrain » Tue May 15, 2007 8:54 pm

I once took the fresnel lens out of a bigscreen TV and mounted it on a bedframe. We called it the Death-Ray and used it to burn trash off the lawn :D

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Post by Gauge » Tue Jun 12, 2007 6:44 pm

I have a feeling many people are going to underestimate the value of coal and salt in the paw. Coal is great because once you have it going its going to say light for a long time, long enough even that you can carry it with you through the day and use it to start your fire that night. You may want to find an old fire box(a metal box used to carry lit coal) or make one its not very hard all you really need is a metal box with enough holes in it that the coal can get enough air. Check around local rail yards or power plants for coal.

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Post by Squirrley » Tue Jun 12, 2007 7:06 pm

Ok I did my homework and lit my couch on fire. now what?
Gundown wrote:Then I saw the bear and thought... holy shit this rum is fucking awesome!
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Post by SkullGirl » Tue Aug 14, 2007 9:22 pm

Still have not mastered this, but I guess it would help if I actually practiced doing it! LOL!

I purchased a book a while back called Primitve Living Skills with the intensions of actually learning some of these skills.... I'm such a slacker.
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Post by TardArm » Tue Aug 14, 2007 9:33 pm

i just wear a special freznel monicle...nobody will know the difference..
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