Natural tinder in wet woods

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j111

Member
Nov 18, 2011
26
0
Cambridge
Guys,

Had great success at the weekend!

On Saturday I collected tinder and made a bow drill out of hazel. the tinder I used was dry grass. I worked my socks off for about an hour before getting an ember and then put it into my bundle and promptly failed to light the tinder. Had another go, got an ember and then failed to light the tinder again. Knackered and demoralised I pulled out the ferro rod and got my fire going so I could have a brew before it got dark.

On the walk home I realised that I didn't buff up or prepare my tinder in anyway so I collected more on the way home. I left it in the shed over night (not the house). The next morning I spent about 5 min buffing up the bundle of dried grass and had another go. Bingo! Burst into flames. I've alo found that with hazel on hazel you need to build up a pile of the black dust, stop for a breather and then have another go, keeping the dust and work damn hard to get the ember.

I then went into the woods again and this time collected grass, silver birch bark, and some old mans beard for my tinder. This time I found some fallen sycamore and made a harth from a branch. I prepared the tinder bundle with awell buffed grass and then a mixture of the birch bark and old mans beard. I set about drilling gently to get a pile of powder and then stopped for a breather, and blow me - an ember straight off. into the bundle and I had fire! :cool:

It seems sycamore is about twice as easy as hazel.

Anyway thought I'd share my first proper friction fire. I kept the harth as the rest is a piece of p%ss to find out and about.
 
J111 Congrats, I have yet to be successful with a bow drill, But on Sunday, I made some Char Cloth for the first time, simple and very easy, I was impressed with myself.

So on Sunday still pleased with myself from my success making Char Cloth I thought I'd go for a walk along the cliff tops and collect some air dried grass and dead bracken, I got home buffed a little of the grass, made myself a Birds Nest Tinder Bundle, and tried to ignite a piece my char cloth and get a flame.

Beginners luck...... I got a spark from a piece of Flint and my Steel Striker. and it took first time.
My Birds nest started to smoulder then I lifted it into the air to give it some more oxygen then brought it down blew it a little, at this point it started to smoke so ferociously, I thought I had a hand held smoke signal.

Then...................WOOOOOF!!!!! it burst into flame, I added this to my pre-made fire and enjoyed a nice cuppa in my back garden.

I came back into the house my wife told me I stunk of Fire (Like she normally does) then she spotted i'd somehow managed to singe all the hairs on my right forearm.
Must of happened when my birds nest burst into flames.

Just goes to show how easy it is to get wrapped up in yourself when your buzzing, but remember Fire is dangerous, has & will seriously disfigure, main and kill people. Treat it with respect at all times, it so easily could have been different.

While I'm still buzzing at my success, I now have a better appreciation for fire
 

j111

Member
Nov 18, 2011
26
0
Cambridge
Nice one

:)

J111 Congrats, I have yet to be successful with a bow drill, But on Sunday, I made some Char Cloth for the first time, simple and very easy, I was impressed with myself.

So on Sunday still pleased with myself from my success making Char Cloth I thought I'd go for a walk along the cliff tops and collect some air dried grass and dead bracken, I got home buffed a little of the grass, made myself a Birds Nest Tinder Bundle, and tried to ignite a piece my char cloth and get a flame.

Beginners luck...... I got a spark from a piece of Flint and my Steel Striker. and it took first time.
My Birds nest started to smoulder then I lifted it into the air to give it some more oxygen then brought it down blew it a little, at this point it started to smoke so ferociously, I thought I had a hand held smoke signal.

Then...................WOOOOOF!!!!! it burst into flame, I added this to my pre-made fire and enjoyed a nice cuppa in my back garden.

I came back into the house my wife told me I stunk of Fire (Like she normally does) then she spotted i'd somehow managed to singe all the hairs on my right forearm.
Must of happened when my birds nest burst into flames.

Just goes to show how easy it is to get wrapped up in yourself when your buzzing, but remember Fire is dangerous, has & will seriously disfigure, main and kill people. Treat it with respect at all times, it so easily could have been different.

While I'm still buzzing at my success, I now have a better appreciation for fire
 

Thoth

Full Member
Aug 5, 2008
322
16
Hertford, Hertfordshire
Top work J111 :) Bow drill isn't easy and I've only succeeded once. I'm lucky that most woodland near me has plenty of birch. Even damp old rotten logs can provide bark that can be processed to give good tinder if you scrape back and forth with your knife to make shavings. There are some good tips in this thread. I think the key is to collect the best stuff you can and let it dry in your pockets, this doesn't take as long as you might think.

If you can make fire in the wet you really have cracked it. Ray Mears' woodlore #9 says "The state of your fire is directly proportionate to your level of morale: Whatever your level of morale, if you can light a fire it will be raised, but if you fail it will plummet like a stone. If you are not confident of your ability to light a fire in the rain it may well be better to wait until the rain stops before try."
 

dwardo

Maker
Aug 30, 2006
6,206
226
43
Nr Chester
One thing I usually forget when its raining is to start your fire somewhere dry first then move it to where you need it.
 

j111

Member
Nov 18, 2011
26
0
Cambridge
Good tip. I've tried to do get a fire going in pouring rain with cotton wool and not managed it cos it almost instantly gets soaked.
 

rickyamos

Settler
Feb 6, 2010
622
0
Peterborough
Good idea about moving the fire from a dry spot once you have it going. What I have done in the past and when it was raining is collect the driest tinder and kindling I can find, dry tinder off in pocket the best you can. I then found two small branches about two foot long and made a small shelter with mo poncho, got the fire going removed poncho as the flames started to take
 

bushcraftbob

Settler
Jun 1, 2007
845
0
37
Oxfordshire
I tried and failed with my flint and steel kit at the weekend. Doesnt do the confidence any favours I can tell you!

I tried using the driest grass i could find that was clinging to a barb wire fence, but was just waaaay too wet.
 

woodpoet

Full Member
Mar 16, 2012
1,419
1
Walthamstow
The secret is to not give up with flint and steel. Just persevere and eventually you will get the ember. Try wih char cloth, it's a good moral booster when you get the little glow that gets bigger.
 
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In NZ we use the fine hairs off the fronds of the Punga Fern for primary tinder, they dry very quickly at body heat and takes a spark readily for transfer into a more substantial tinder, I'm thinking there's more than likely something similar (albeit not the same size) in UK.


Hope that gives you a potential lead...
 

dwardo

Maker
Aug 30, 2006
6,206
226
43
Nr Chester
In NZ we use the fine hairs off the fronds of the Punga Fern for primary tinder, they dry very quickly at body heat and takes a spark readily for transfer into a more substantial tinder, I'm thinking there's more than likely something similar (albeit not the same size) in UK.


Hope that gives you a potential lead...
Interesting :) Will have to give it a go in the spring.
 

rancid badger

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Hi Guys,

Been struggling to find tinder in the woods near me recently as it's been pissing it down and pretty much everything's soaking. The woods are broadleaf, and haven't seen any birch so that's out. Got any ideas? I guess it could be prepared from shavings from the inside of a log but that's a lot of work and if you only had a knife it's a bit tricky...

Reason is I've just cracked fire by friction lately using hazel-hazel so want to find a reliable tinder. Doesn't feel right lighting a fire with friction and then a tampon!

Any ideas appreciated.

Cheers, J
Try some honeysuckle bark;
[video=youtube;Gj08TL5G724]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gj08TL5G724&list=UURdd L3mkjOvJ3tAtVHpW-XQ[/video]
I collect it when ever I'm out and about and come across it. It sheds naturally so its pretty easy to collect a load without damaging the plant itself and if its damp, dry it out before you actually need it.

You can also dry it inside your jacket etc, though you tend to end up with loads of bits stuck to you, your jumper, etc etc you can also beef this up with pine or other conifer resins, which once you have a flame, go very well indeed.

hope this helps anyway.

good luck

Steve
 

Sweden

Member
Oct 5, 2012
13
0
Cornwall
Lots of good advice here. Don't forget the old wood punk. Most woods will have a rotten log and if you dig in you might find something dry. Crumble it to a powder and it will catch a spark.