Author Topic: Char cloth in an open container  (Read 7084 times)

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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Char cloth in an open container
« on: February 22, 2012, 02:10:27 PM »
Just a quick trick for making char cloth in an open container. This was one of my very first videos, so you might have seen it already.

Anyhow, if you don't have a lid for your container, this can make the difference between charred cloth, and ash cloth. :D


Offline Dano

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2012, 05:16:41 AM »
That's cool, I wouldn't have thought of trying that.  Another handy trick to keep in the back of your mind!!

Offline Nelson

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2012, 09:15:29 AM »
Haven't seen this before. Great improvised option. Thanks for sharing PW.
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Offline Barbarossa Bushman

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2012, 03:38:42 PM »
I remember this one now that I watched it again.  ::) Does that make sense? Great video. I remember razzing you about sounding a little like Billy Bob Thornton.
"When times get rough and times get hard, the fat get skinny and the skinny die. Good thing you had a little fat on you when you did." An old friend

Offline Electric Cowboy

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2014, 03:04:22 PM »
Great Idea, Thanks for sharing............ ..
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Offline Daywalker

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2014, 03:36:56 PM »
VERY COOL! I have not seen that one before. Flint n steel is my favorite way of making fire, and I've made  char every way I could think of, but that's a new one for me. thanks Peace
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Offline imnukensc

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2014, 04:33:17 PM »
Hadn't seen that before.  Pretty neat!   :thumbsup:
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2014, 05:30:09 PM »
I miss my old shop...

Offline greyhound352

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2014, 06:49:20 PM »
We miss sharps and other cool fire toys coming out of your shop.
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Offline Spyder1958

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2014, 09:40:36 PM »
Thanks PW, good vid and ideal. I'll keep that one stowed away if need.
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Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2014, 09:49:02 PM »
whoo hoo.. I finally got to watch a youtube on the good stuff. :)   I was really trying to watch where you put that charcloth on the flint... you make it look too easy.

WW.   

PS.  You don't look at all what I thought you'd look like..  beings friends with Zeus an all.... :/
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good.

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2014, 10:40:23 PM »
I really need to make some more youtube videos. One close up of flint and steel, and I need to make a sharpening video too.

Offline Unzinators

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2015, 05:47:18 AM »
Very nice! Got to find your sharpening video!

Offline Dude McLean

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2015, 01:19:00 PM »


 Well done..  :fire2:

 Dude
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Offline duxdawg

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2015, 07:00:47 PM »
Interesting way to go about it. Do believe that is the first I've heard (or seen) of that method. You noted that the charred cloth had dirt sticking to it. Rolling it up before charring will minimize that. As would putting a piece of non-coniferous wood or bark, grass, or other organic material between the dirt and material to be charred.

Making char falls into one of two methods: exclusion and snuffing. As you mentioned, in that vid you excluded the air much as we do when "cooking" char in a tin.

Here is a vid that shows one method of scorching and smothering (aka snuffing). He also talks about how charred cloth (aka charcloth) was not used in the old days. Charring cloth is something that has been popular for only about 60 years and putting tins in fires for even less. Yes, they had been done before then, but it was not popular.

For most of the 3,000 years that F&S was the dominant ignition method for most of the world, charred punkwood and uncharred amadou were the top tinders and scorching then snuffing was the top method for making char. Always interesting learning the history behind what we do.  8)   





Some other ways to char with a canteen cup and dirt would include: 

1. Scorching (holding over a fire until burning well) then snuffing by putting the cup over it. (Either right side up or upside down will work)

2. Scorching then putting in the cup and adding dirt, ashes, etc.

3. Scorching the  snuffing by burying in dirt.

4. Burying under dirt, sand, ashes, etc and building the fire on top of it.

While the first three ways are much faster than the fourth or the method used in PW's vid, the bottom line is ending up with useable char. No such thing as too many tricks in our book!!   ;) 

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2015, 11:41:09 PM »
All good points and suggestions. :thumbsup:

I finally managed to teach myself to strike sparks into a tinder box last year. Holding the tinder on top of the flint and striking down with the steel is pretty easy. But it took a good bit of practice for me to get the stationary steel and moving flint thing sorted out. I haven't tried that method in a while so I could use more practice.

Each method has its advantages.

As for charring, I haven't had much luck with the scorch and snuff method as applied to cotton and brass tinder tubes. If I could find some KNO3 I could probably treat the cotton rope to make it more like a matchlock slow match, which would work much better.

I found that the best charred cloth comes from batches that have a little bit of brown, undercooked fabric in them. You can remove the undercooked stuff and save it for the next batch. This gets the best char without overcooking it. Overcooked char doesn't hold a spark as long. The stuff in the video was overcooked a bit but it still worked.

Offline wolfy

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Offline duxdawg

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2015, 11:42:06 AM »
All good points and suggestions. :thumbsup:   
  Thank yee kindly. *blush*
Quote
  I finally managed to teach myself to strike sparks into a tinder box last year. Holding the tinder on top of the flint and striking down with the steel is pretty easy. But it took a good bit of practice for me to get the stationary steel and moving flint thing sorted out. I haven't tried that method in a while so I could use more practice.   
  I too have found striking down into a tin to be slightly more difficult than holding char on top of the flint. Dunno if it is because we first learned the on top way and our mind wants us to get back into its comfort zone or what it could be. With practice can get as good of sparks but it does seem to take a little more practice to "throw down" (lol) than on top.

Most natural materials do not stay on top of the flint very well so being proficient at throwing sparks into a pile opens up a lot of materials for us to use.

I have found that there is something to having both pieces held in the air. When I pin the char with the steel, never get as good of sparks. Can't quite put my finger on why.

Have you tried holding the steel (either one really) at a 45 degree angle above the char? Most show holding the steel vertically (90 degrees) above the char. With the vertical hold it seemed like the only choices were poor sparks or scatter the char. This year I have been playing with tilting the steel from parallel (0 degree angle) above the char to 45 degrees away from me. After a couple of practice strikes we can adjust for where the sparks are falling and get just as many landing on the char. As with golf, a good follow through makes for a better swing. The big advantage to the 0-45 degree hold is the hand with the flint is much more likely to pass by the char without scattering it.
Quote
Each method has its advantages.   
  Absolutely. That's why I like to throw thoughts out there. Never know when we might want to try a different way just to shake things up. Or what innovation it may spark. 
 
Quote
As for charring, I haven't had much luck with the scorch and snuff method as applied to cotton and brass tinder tubes.
Interesting. I tried it with three different sets (different diameters, compositions, etc) of ropes and tubes. All worked well. I found that there is often a fine powder on the charred end that catches the sparks super well. It can get knocked off with rough handling. Still work without, just not nearly as well. All in all, not a bad method but not one I would bet the farm on either. 
 
Quote
If I could find some KNO3 I could probably treat the cotton rope to make it more like a matchlock slow match, which would work much better.   
  Uh oh, here come the singed eyebrows pics! Lol.
 
Quote
I found that the best charred cloth comes from batches that have a little bit of brown, undercooked fabric in them. You can remove the undercooked stuff and save it for the next batch. This gets the best char without overcooking it. 
Yepper. A lil under charred in the center is a good sign. With most chars, while the under charred portion will not catch sparks, it will grow the ember (think tinder tube). More slowly than when properly charred, yet still useful. And as you mentioned, it can always be charred more later.

Primo charred cloth will leave little soot on our fingers, tears with an audible ripping sound, will catch the least of sparks then rapidly grow the ember.

When charcloth is super sooty/dusty, fragile, falls apart, or worst of all has white ash on it, it can be super stubborn about not catching a spark, if it will at all. Once any material has been over charred, there is nothing we can do to fix it.
 
Quote
Overcooked char doesn't hold a spark as long. The stuff in the video was overcooked a bit but it still worked.
  Noticed that. Think you said you cooked it about an hour. Maybe 45 min would work better. Wonder if cooling it down more quickly (set the cup in snow or cold water) would be advantageous?

Offline Carson

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2015, 11:45:15 AM »
I first read about that method in the last video where you strike your spark down into the tinderbox and ignite tinder, use your flame, then snuff it back out with the new char while reading a Bernard Cornwell novel called The Fort earlier this year. Very interesting. That video really brings it to life.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2015, 01:58:32 PM »
If I remember correctly, Jeremiah Johnson used that method in the infamous firemaking attempt under that snow-laden branch. :lol:
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2015, 11:15:57 PM »
To elaborate on the tinder tube thing, I could get sparks to catch. But they seemed to burn out very quickly. On the few occasions I managed to blow them into a nice ember, the charred portion would quickly burn up and the raw cotton behind it wouldn't sustain the ember.

I like the idea of tinder tubes quite a bit. I even went so far as to make my own cotton rope from cotton twine, since all of the clotheslines and other cotton ropes I could find had polypropylene cores. I later bought a cotton mop head on a suggestion but it performed about the same as the rope made from twine.

Offline duxdawg

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Re: Char cloth in an open container
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2015, 05:33:13 PM »
Interesting. Never had an issue with the ember. It always "wanted" to grow. Same with partially charred jeans, t-shirt, etc. Cotton "likes" to smolder. Therefore I assumed the issue must be catching the sparks. Oops!

Tough finding pure cotton rope these days. I took the poly core out of clothesline for one tinder tube. Used sash cord from replacing an old window for another. My smallest TT used 1/8" rope and the largest used 3/8". In the reviews this is said to be 100% cotton in its entirety.

Since you are having issues with the ember's longevity, the logical solution is to go big. The bigger the ember, the more robust it is.