Flint and steel practice

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John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
21,886
1,385
63
Pembrokeshire
At present I am teaching multiple people of all ages nearly every day - at Castell Henlys and at Top of the Woods campsite - and have only had a few that needed me to "guide their hands" (ie hold their hands and do the strikes for them) mainly young children with poor manual dexterity.
Having said that, this summer I have had 3 five-year-olds succeed without help.
All used the charcloth on top of the flint method, though I also demonstrate the "down strike" method. I even reverse grip and down strike to shower my arm with sparks to show they do not hurt!
I do not get paid at Castell Henlys but get through masses of flint and char cloth, not to mention hay for tinder bundles!
The look on folks faces when they make fire is worth it!
 

Sundowner

Full Member
Jan 21, 2013
876
337
66
Northumberland
Anything to get a fire from flint and steel. Next thing I'm considering is selling my soul to whoever
Just finding time to go for a bit more flint as my pieces are too small now
 

Sundowner

Full Member
Jan 21, 2013
876
337
66
Northumberland
Just got charcloth, had flint and steel ready, couple of strikes and bingo .... ember established!!! Too easy
Now I need a tinder bundle, paper birch should be ok, right?
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,675
1,629
McBride, BC
Surface area. The tinder needs to be fine enough so ignition of the smallest strands is nearly instantaneous.
Best here is a handful of spruce twigs off the main tree trunk to be driest.
Then bash the bejeezlies out of them between 2 rocks to get XXX fine wood fiber and pitch resin.
Can't ever count on grass being dry here if you can find enough.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,675
1,629
McBride, BC
There's enough suberin wax in birch bark so it burns after 30 days submerged.
However, fussing with a piece of bark in the pouring rain wouldn't be a thrill.
 

Sundowner

Full Member
Jan 21, 2013
876
337
66
Northumberland
Tried yesterday with charcloth. Too easy to get an ember. What can I try next? Got some amadou but that seems a lot harder. Anything else I could use?
 

Sundowner

Full Member
Jan 21, 2013
876
337
66
Northumberland
Proof is in the pudding........charcloth and birch bark for tinder bundle
Oooops, tells me file's too large.
Bear with me.....
Here we go..
 
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Sundowner

Full Member
Jan 21, 2013
876
337
66
Northumberland
Hah!! Finally figured out how to get amadou to take a spark the easy way!!
Just char it and it's as easy as charcloth. In fact, I used the first bit, thought it hadn't taken a spark and put it back into the tin just to find that it was nearly gone by the time I succeeded with the second bit. It was quite windy at the time.
Now I need to go and find more horse hoof fungus :):)
 

SimonL

Full Member
Oct 13, 2010
102
47
Farnborough, Hants
I really struggled to find King Alfred's Cakes (I'm in Farnborough, Hampshire) and there just don't seem to be many Ash trees now, let alone fallen branches :( However, on a recent trip to the New Forest, I (literally) stumbled upon a fallen branch from an Ash which had a good number of them, so I liberated a couple to try with.
Apparently Ash used to be the third most common tree in England, but I can only guess that Ash Dieback has had a much bigger impact than I (and I suspect many others) appreciated.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,792
2,962
Mid Wales
Still plenty of Ash around us and plenty of cramp balls. However, we also have ash die-back and I suspect it will have a devastating impact on our woodlands over the next few decades.