Correct birch bark for fire starter?

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JamPan

Forager
Jun 8, 2017
245
1
Yorkshire
Okay so I had a little go with a couple of different trees last night. Both dead. One large standing and the wood itself very punky smelling of mushrooms once I'd peeled the bark off. The other smaller and fallen. Not punky, but the wood itself had black fungus lines occasionally running through it. Though the wood from this one made good tinder shavings. Both very warty silver birch. I tried scraping the outside bark into dust though even though the outside wasn't damp, they weren't bone dry and not really dusting up. So I pulled off plenty of super thin top layer curls and rubbed them all up. Gave them both enough ferro sparks to light the forest, and nothing! I put a lighter to them and to be honest they didn't instantly take from that.
I have some of it which I'm going to get bone dry to test to hopefully scrape into dust.
The other smooth white ones some of you mention with the perfect paper bark, I've actually seen in the local KFC carpark!
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,690
1,771
S. Lanarkshire
No, me neither. Bone dry dust is fine to augment the coal from a firebow though, but it does need to be bone dry so it doesn't chill it out.

M
 

JamPan

Forager
Jun 8, 2017
245
1
Yorkshire
Sorry, I'm calling it dust, I actually meant tried to scrape it up like stews video but it wasn't having it and would only marginally dust up instead of micro shavings or separate, so I peeled the bits off and rubbed them together until they were fine shreds. The wood itself on the smaller tree I could scrape similar to the video, though it's quicker to feather that up, and my actual test is just trying to light with only the bark. I'm going to have to raid KFC trees as a quality control to see if I'm just being useless. :)
 

JamPan

Forager
Jun 8, 2017
245
1
Yorkshire
Hah! There's a problem with these good quality KFC trees. They're sat next to a really busy roundabout so I think I'm asking for trouble.
Maybe I'll send my wife to do it whilst I'm ordering a bargain bucket. She can claim foreign ignorance and has longer nails than me. :)

I think I'm going to scout a bit more for the quality trees. Somewhere else must have them a bit quieter.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,259
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Pm me your address and I'll put that exact piece of bark from the video in the post to you.[/QUOTE
And I do the same if you PM me too. I will collect some Arctic Birch flakes and post it o you when I get to the Lofotens in two weeks.
You can then compare if there is a difference between the Birch trees!
+
 
Last edited by a moderator:

rancid badger

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
I've never really understood the difficulties some people have with ferro rods and birch bark, although I've witnessed it many times and always been able to enlighten those I've met who were struggling.

You need fine, dry shreds of bark and a decent scraping tool for both bark and ferro rod.

Here's how I do it:
[video=youtube;bc2wQ9ryts0]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc2wQ9ryts0[/video]
The bark used in the above was particularly thick however, theres a few more firelighting clips on my channel if you fancy a look:
[video=youtube;_BQ0-fAruzo]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BQ0-fAruzo[/video]

Cheers

Steve
 
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rich outdoors

Member
Jun 3, 2017
22
4
Catalonia
Hi,

I seem to have missed out on an interesting thread here. I tend to find that I end up with two main types of birch bark, from what I think is probably silver birch (you can probably tell I'm no botanist) that we tend to get here in the Pyrenees and hills further south.

From dead wood I tend to peel off thick leathery bark - the classic stuff, the one you scrape up a pile of shavings on and ignite. But I often have a lot of luck peeling the very thin papery layer than sheds from the trunks of living birches and which as far as I know can be taken without harming them (in moderation I imagine), this scrunched up catches from a spark like tissue paper and while you can't get a longer lasting flame, like you can from the thicker bark once it catches, if you have other tinder to get things going once there is flame it is a great way to catch a spark.

Cheers, atb,

rich.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,259
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Well it is the same stuff. Think your own skin, and dandruff.
The thin flakes work best if you roll them into a thin cigarette, and apply pine resin on one half. Holds the fluffy cigarette together, then it burns
well.
Old Same tech.
 

rich outdoors

Member
Jun 3, 2017
22
4
Catalonia
Dandruff, brilliant analogy, I won't forget that, I'll chuckle everytime I collect some now. And thanks great tip regarding prepping it with pine resin.

Atb. Rich.