What is Tinder & What is Kindling?

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What Is Tinder, & What Is Kindling?

What is Tinder, & What is Kindling?



Please note that what I am talking about here is traditional materials, materials used in the making of fire with Flint, Steel & Tinderbox. ( I am NOT in any way referring to materials used in the making of fire using the modern ferocerium rod ).


TINDER.


Tinder is a plant material that will catch & hold a spark from flint & steel. It can also be used to transfer an ember from the fire-board of a fire-bow. The dust created during the function of a fire-bow is also tinder.












KINDLING.


Kindling is the material that actually takes fire when brought in contact with smouldering tinder. Dried grass, teased Stringybark bark, coconut fibre, teased natural rope, a birds nest made of fine natural materials often including the aforementioned plant materials. Kindling is also small twigs & sticks used in the initial making of fire.


The so called “tinder nest” is NOT tinder in the true sense of the word, it is kindling. Fat wood/candlewood is NOT tinder in the true sense of the word, it is kindling. Neither of these plant materials will catch & hold a spark struck from flint & steel.






This article taken from: https://woodsrunnersdiary.blogspot.com/2011/05/what-is-tinder-what-is-kindling.html
Keith.
 

Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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That's a reasonable definition but not quite how I define it or teach it.

For me kindling is small material that can take the first flame and grow it - so any small dry wood or combustible material that will take a flame and progress it. I do not classify anything as kindling that will light from a source ember (clearly, any fuel will light from large embers with enough encouragement).

For me, tinder is a material that will create an ember from a spark or from friction that can be coaxed into either a larger ember or into a first small flame. Clearly there is a gap there with some tinders as they will only create an ember and not a flame - and that is where a secondary tinder comes in - one that can be encourage to flame from an ember. So, for me (and I accept this is totally subjective) very dry grasses and other combustible fibrous materials are tinders not kindling.
 
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Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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In more bushcrafty words, Tinder takes a spark and creates a vey small shortlived fitre, that is just enough to make a bigger fire from Kindling, that in its own turn ignites the big wood.

The majority of my fires stop at the kindling stage though. Small, constant feed.
 
That's a reasonable definition but not quite how I define it or teach it.

For me kindling is small material that can take the first flame and grow it - so any small dry wood or combustible material that will take a flame and progress it. I do not classify anything as kindling that will light from a source ember (clearly, any fuel will light from large embers with enough encouragement).

For me, tinder is a material that will create an ember from a spark or from friction that can be coaxed into either a larger ember or into a first small flame. Clearly there is a gap there with some tinders as they will only create an ember and not a flame - and that is where a secondary tinder comes in - one that can be encourage to flame from an ember. So, for me (and I accept this is totally subjective) very dry grasses and other combustible fibrous materials are tinders not kindling.
Seems to me Broch that you are just making an easy to understand tradition more complicated, why on earth define something as a secondary tinder when it will not catch a spark. Next you will be telling me that humans are the only animals that can start a fire!
Keith.
 

Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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Seems to me Broch that you are just making an easy to understand tradition more complicated, why on earth define something as a secondary tinder when it will not catch a spark. Next you will be telling me that humans are the only animals that can start a fire!
Keith.
As I said, it's all very subjective. I define the firemaking process in stages not necessarily by material - there's no complexity; but, to each their own. I have no problem with people having different views; just don't state it as if it's the only "truth" :)

I don't understand your last sentence though, sorry.
 
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C_Claycomb

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My understanding of language tells me that tinder catches a spark or grows an ember and kindling is what is used to go from that to flame. Much as described by Le Loup.

It seems though that the language settled on the meaning of the word quite early on and then left important gaps which have become more problematic as time and technology has moved forward. Tinder and kindling are specific terms, and should refer to specific types of fuel, but then there are no similar specific words for the following successive sizes of fuel, other than "wood" with modifiers of fine, small, medium and large. Then with the advent of hotter sparks it is possible to have something that catches flame directly from the spark. Cotton wool, especially with an accelerant, will catch fire from sparks, as will wood shavings. Also, the use of matches mean that the first level of fuel might never have been suitable to kindle a flame from an ember.

All of which leads me to conclude that it is pointlessly pedantic in this age to try to tie the terms of tinder and kindling down using a pre-industrial traditional frame. By doing so, while you achieve your end of tightening up meaning to its original "correct" form, to do so you directly rob others of words which they could have used (and do use) in a more modern frame to convey meaning which other modern people understand.

It is also an unwinnable battle when petrol station forecourts sell bags of inch x inch pine splits as "kindling".

Chris
 
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Toddy

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I think that it's a Domestic vs Bushcraft thing that's causing the confusion.

Kindling is what is used to start a home fire, usually on top of coiled up newspapers, so any small pieces of wood = kindling.

Tinder is that which is used to catch and hold a spark....a tinder box for instance is a small thing. Chaga, fomes, scorched fabric, that kind of thing. That it also now contains matches is relatively recent in the scheme of things re human history.
Kindling is again small stuff, but we make feather sticks, peel birchbark, or use broken stalks and the like, to take from a glowing ember to a flame, and we call that kindling too.

That said, I think Chris has it,

"All of which leads me to conclude that it is pointlessly pedantic in this age to try to tie the terms of tinder and kindling down using a pre-industrial traditional frame. By doing so, while you achieve your end of tightening up meaning to its original "correct" form, to do so you directly rob others of words which they could have used (and do use) in a more modern frame to convey meaning which other modern people understand. "
 
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TLM

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There is, I guess, quite a lot of redundancy_in_meaning even in the English language. Even while a single word might have a very specific meaning the context might give it also a larger connotative sense.
 
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