Author Topic: Monthly Project - November 2012  (Read 19414 times)

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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Monthly Project - November 2012
« on: November 05, 2012, 09:30:18 PM »
Ok, folks it's that time again! For the November project, since it's getting cold out there in many parts of the world, I'd like to see some fire work.

The challenge is to make a fire using all natural materials, and sparks. You don't need a fancy ferro rod, or flint and steel. You can use the sparking insert from a magnesium bar (without the magnesium), or you can even use an old butane lighter that has run out of fuel.

Charred cloth and charred natural materials would be man-made, so we want to avoid using them. The goal isn't so much to make a fire as it is to try to make a fire outside your comfort zone.

So what we want is an attempt to make a fire using natural tinder collected in the environment, and using a spark for the ignition.

This is going to be a lot easier for the folks using ferro rods and mag bar inserts. I know I can get a fire going easily that way. In order to stay outside my comfort zone, I will attempt this using milkweed ovum and a flint and steel. I don't expect to succeed before I use up all the milkweed, but I want to give it a go anyway.

I encourage anyone who tries this month's project to try something new that they are unfamiliar with, in order to broaden their knowledge base. :)

And as always, be safe when working with fire. Keep a means to quickly and safely extinguish the flames nearby in case they get out of hand.

Offline RBM

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2012, 06:38:50 AM »
Quote from: PetrifiedWood
In order to stay outside my comfort zone, I will attempt this using milkweed ovum and a flint and steel. I don't expect to succeed before I use up all the milkweed, but I want to give it a go anyway.

I hear you. That is a tough one with flint and steel and "all natural materials." I certainly struggle with this one. No flint to be found here but I have a box load of chert I got in a trade a long while ago so I don't have to fret about running out. I am sure I will go through a lot of it before I am done. If conditions are wet or damp, I would not even try this. But I will give it a try from time to time throughout this month.

BTW, finding milkweed here is a hit or miss proposition. I will have to rely on plant fluff I know, powdery tinder, and LOTS of strikes. I still may not get it even after all that.
Robert

Online madmax

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2012, 06:44:43 AM »
RBM, we got a fungus growing on dead wood to take a spark on a river trip.  Next trip there I'll try and get an id on it.  Great extender.  It smoldered for hours.
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Offline RBM

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2012, 06:51:21 AM »
RBM, we got a fungus growing on dead wood to take a spark on a river trip.  Next trip there I'll try and get an id on it.  Great extender.  It smoldered for hours.

Thanks, max. Any help would be appreciated. I have looked into a lot of local fungi here. The one I see the most is that brown shelf fungus. Occasionally I see the white shelf fungus. Here is an interesting article on it by Storm. Its three part article.

http://wildwoodsurvival.com/survival/fire/tinder/tinderfungus/spolypore/index.html

The big question is, "was it dead and dry when it took the spark or not?"
« Last Edit: November 06, 2012, 06:54:32 AM by RBM »
Robert

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2012, 07:07:40 AM »
Wow.  Cool article.  I got a visual of igniting a shelf fungus still on the tree and boiling water (wouldn't do it, but...).  I'm going to explore the possibilities of fungus more.

I don't know if it was dead or alive.  I'll be back on the river in a month and collect some of the same batch.  Meanwhile, I'll be looking up on the Suwannee.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline MATT CHAOS

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2012, 08:48:11 AM »
Good project idea.  I will be getting on this one.
 ;)
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2012, 12:20:13 PM »
Wow I would seriously like to find some fungus like that. Good article!

Offline OutdoorEnvy

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2012, 12:47:26 PM »
Is there a trick to getting obsidian to spark?  I got a piece in JTD's giveaway and I'm having a hard time getting it to spark.  So far I've used knife spine of O1 steel and the steel off my wetterlings axe. 

Any suggestions would help

thx
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Offline MATT CHAOS

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2012, 01:00:46 PM »
Is there a trick to getting obsidian to spark?  I got a piece in JTD's giveaway and I'm having a hard time getting it to spark.  So far I've used knife spine of O1 steel and the steel off my wetterlings axe. 

Any suggestions would help

thx

My only suggestion is to strike perpendicularly to a sharp edge.
I usually use a carbon edge striker or one of PW's strike-all tools (and I don't remember what that is made from).
 :)
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Offline OutdoorEnvy

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2012, 01:06:46 PM »
My only suggestion is to strike perpendicularly to a sharp edge.
I usually use a carbon edge striker or one of PW's strike-all tools (and I don't remember what that is made from).
 :)

Well I don't have an actual striker so I'm sure that would hep, my biggest problem right now is that it is crumbling or flaking off not matter how fast/slow I strike it.  I've got good sparks before with a flint rock I've found so I'm familiar wit the motion that seems to work well.  I guess I was hoping there's a trick or something to getting it to work
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Offline MATT CHAOS

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2012, 01:29:08 PM »
I am sorry I don't have an answer.  :shrug:
My flint rocks eventually break, too, but it sounds like your's are crumbling pretty fast. 

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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2012, 01:45:01 PM »
Obsidian will not spark no matter what you do. You need cryptocrystalline or microcrystalline quartz rocks to get sparks from steel. Flint chert chalcedony agate petrified wood jasper onyx etc. will work. There are many others as well, but obsidian is basically glass and it wont work.

Offline OutdoorEnvy

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2012, 01:50:07 PM »
thanks PW, that made me laugh.  I feel kinda dumb but what's funny is as it was flaking apart all I was thinking as I looked at it was "What the heck is in this or what properties does it have that will spark?"  I was thinking the whole time it seemed better suited for an arrowhead or something similar. 
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Offline SunTzu

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2012, 02:45:35 PM »
Sign me up! Il try to get it done next week. Gonna go with the ferro rod and some birch bark i think.

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2012, 03:40:26 PM »
  I was thinking the whole time it seemed better suited for an arrowhead or something similar.

Correct! Obsidian is one of the best materials for knapping, but it doesn't spark. My archaeology professor gave us some obsidian to learn on. The goal in learning to do some knapping was to learn to recognize evidence that stone was shaped by man and not natural forces, and to learn to recognize what "debitage" looks like, or the waste flakes from manufacturing stone tools. Obsidian was a good material to learn on because it's easier to work with than some of the other stones.

Online madmax

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2012, 03:43:32 PM »
It'll cut the outa you.

Ask me how I know.... ;)
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2012, 03:48:19 PM »
It'll cut the outa you.

Ask me how I know.... ;)

Yeah, no kidding! I had to tweeze some out of my foot. I learned not to do my pressure flaking indoors. :doh:

Offline OutdoorEnvy

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2012, 03:51:11 PM »
It'll cut the outa you.

Ask me how I know.... ;)

Yeah, no kidding! I had to tweeze some out of my foot. I learned not to do my pressure flaking indoors. :doh:

Well that's good know.  I was trying this out barefoot in my garage with shards flying everywhere as I was striking it against my axe
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2012, 04:06:54 PM »
Ok, just went out to give this a quick attempt. No success.

But, I think I need to try again with a bigger stone. The ovum did catch a tiny spark, but it went out, leaving a tiny brown dot where it had landed. subsequent strikes ended up tearing a small chunk out of it where the dot was so I didn't get a picture of it. Still, this gives me hope that I will be able to get an ember from this using flint and steel.


Offline RBM

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2012, 04:26:31 PM »
Quote from: madmax
RBM, we got a fungus growing on dead wood to take a spark on a river trip.

BTW, max, I am talking about steel sparks, not sparks from a ferro rod. Much smaller, weaker, and shorter lived spark. Not at all like the big bright hot sparks from a spark rod. Flint and steel sparks are not at all like the sparks from a spark rod.
Robert

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2012, 04:31:32 PM »
Quote from: madmax
RBM, we got a fungus growing on dead wood to take a spark on a river trip.

BTW, max, I am talking about steel sparks, not sparks from a ferro rod. Much smaller, weaker, and shorter lived spark. Not at all like the big bright hot sparks from a spark rod. Flint and steel sparks are not at all like the sparks from a spark rod.

Yup.  Flint and a striker.  Let'sRock was there and shamed us with a friction fire after a downpour as well.  Think it was all palm.



Here's the burning fungus.


« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 04:36:29 PM by madmax »
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline RBM

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2012, 04:42:23 PM »
Quote from: madmax
RBM, we got a fungus growing on dead wood to take a spark on a river trip.

BTW, max, I am talking about steel sparks, not sparks from a ferro rod. Much smaller, weaker, and shorter lived spark. Not at all like the big bright hot sparks from a spark rod. Flint and steel sparks are not at all like the sparks from a spark rod.

Yup.  Flint and a striker.  Let'sRock was there and shamed us with a friction fire after a downpour as well.  Think it was all palm.

Awesome on flint and steel. For sure let me know what that fungus is. Every single fungus I have found in the woods and hit with steel sparks so far has done nothing. Brown shelf fungus, white shelf fungus, Sulfur shelf, the little fungus balls I don't know the name of, and so on. Guess I will try the wood rot dust next. The powdered stuff.

Yep. Jeff is good on primitive fire.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 04:50:04 PM by RBM »
Robert

Offline Yeoman

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2012, 05:07:50 PM »
I'm up for this. I normally use birch bark and a spark stick but often use flint and steel with char cloth. I've used both the felt-like inside or amadou from false tinder fungus and I've gotten normal dried tinder fungus - chaga to take a spark. One trick with chaga is to scrape it and make a pile of the dust. For amadou I scrape it the same way I do birch bark.
As I understand this challenge, the idea is to get out of my comfort zone, so I'll see if I can use flint and steel with cattail heads. 
"Learning: a continuation of the failure process"

Offline RBM

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2012, 06:48:27 PM »
I'm up for this.
As I understand this challenge, the idea is to get out of my comfort zone, so I'll see if I can use flint and steel with cattail heads.

Good luck on that one also. I think I might have a few cattail heads around somewhere. Might try that again too. If I can get anything natural to light or smolder with steel sparks then it would be great. I am a little weak on this flint and steel harder natural tinder stuff. Char is no problem.
Robert

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2012, 08:34:37 PM »
I'm up for this.
As I understand this challenge, the idea is to get out of my comfort zone, so I'll see if I can use flint and steel with cattail heads.

Good luck on that one also. I think I might have a few cattail heads around somewhere. Might try that again too. If I can get anything natural to light or smolder with steel sparks then it would be great. I am a little weak on this flint and steel harder natural tinder stuff. Char is no problem.

Same here, that's why I want to try the natural stuff. I already knocked off the end of my fingernail, lol! :D

Going to give it another go soon.

Offline RBM

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2012, 09:34:51 PM »
Quote from: PetrifiedWood
Same here, that's why I want to try the natural stuff. I already knocked off the end of my fingernail, lol! :D

Going to give it another go soon.

I got cuts from the chert already. Knuckles got a bit farther out from the striker than they should have. Ouch.
Robert

Offline Binalith

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2012, 10:50:35 AM »
hey everyone, how are ya.
went out this morning to get this one done. I tried like hell to get it going with flint and steel, but unfortunately my flint is all rounded off and I wasn't able to figure out to get a nice sharp edge back on in the woods this morning, I need to learn a little knapping. All I could get were very tiny sparks that were utterly ineffective with my damp tinder selection. It's been very wet around here, we had some snow the other day and everything has that deep inner dampness from the snow melting on it. Ended up going with my firesteel, which due to the level of damp was still a bit of work to get going.
heres my tinders, pale rot, ant rot, not sure what that stuff on the right is called, it was pretty dry, but it took a lot of work to get it fluffy enough to catch, ended up being the small twiggy part mashed and fluffed in my palms that produced a flame, with the the 'leaves' as the secondary catch.
 
I couldn't get the rot to stay alight, had a few catches, but once the truly flammable parts burned off it quickly went out, maybe in a real sitch I would fill my tinder box with it and possibly roast it a bit for a sure fire coal extender.
Heres the stuff that took:

and my little fire:



Offline RBM

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2012, 11:02:56 AM »
I'm still working on it. So far I have done cattail, punk wood, various fungus and fungus powder. Nothing lit so far. Gone through one good chunk of chert and some smaller river rocks. I get the spark to hit but not catch yet whether I strike the spark up into the tinder or down onto the tinder.
Robert

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2012, 01:24:56 PM »
Havent tried again yet since ghe first try but I will some time in the next few days. I was emailed a tip to try by MnSportsman who suggested I break the milkweed ovum in half and try to catch sparks on the exposed broken ends. This will be my strategy for round two.

Offline Yeoman

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2012, 09:55:05 AM »
So okay. I failed too. I didn't end up getting out on Sunday to try this as I attended Remembrance Day ceremonies and had yardwork to do. I forgot that yesterday was a Statutory Holiday for Remembrance Day and I arrived at work to find the parking lot empty and the building locked up. Embarrassing, but hey, unexpected free day, so off to the woods I went. I'll apologise for no photos, but my camera has finally bit the dust.

I gathered some seed heads while hiking to my site. I don't know what they were but they were dry, fluffy and greyish-brown. I have to research what they are. Once I got into the location, I took a side trip to the closest beaver pond to get a cattail head. Problem #1 was the water was high. I ended up having to pull a cattail into me using my axe.

I prepped the tinder bundle by mixing the seed heads with a small handfull of loosened cattail fluff; about equal amounts. Problem #2: I didn't compress the ball and tried it with flint and steel. Nothing. I then reasoned that the ball would have to be compressed a bit and it would have to have some fine shavings in order for the fluff to light something. I was about to use finely schredded birch bark for this but decided to make superfind shavings from a dead-standing white pine. Good enough so I tried it again. And again. And again. Etc. Problem #3: it just wouldn't light.

I remember reading an article by Dude Maclean years ago that said that resinous/oily materials (like fatwood, birchbark etc) won't take a spark from traditional flint and steel because the spark from steel/iron is not hot enough to convert the material from solid to liquid to vapour. He also mentioned that cattail fluff and most natural seed fluffs don't work either but that the cattail fluff will take a spark if it is charred. Knowing that that was against the idea of this project I went in search of something else.

What I found was a dry dead standing rotten log. Not sure if it'll be punky enough to catch a weak spark but we'll see. By the time I found it and got it back to my site I was losing daylight quickly (problem #4) so I set it up to dry and turned back to the project with a spark stick. Turns out, even with the hot blast of sparks from a ferro rod, the seed pod/cattail head mixture was hard to light. Harder than shaved softwood, much harder than most grasses/sedge and much, much, much harder than birch or cedar bark. I compressed it some more and I finally got it to glow. I then blew it enough to ignite the pine shavings. I burned a small handful of pine and spruce twigs; enough to say I got a fire going. I ensured the fire was out and over-hauled and then headed home.

I was a bit bummed out about the results. I'm not used to bushcraft fails. I started thinking about it at home though. For me, worst case scenario is I need a fire on a cold wet day and all I have is my knife. I know I can get sparks off it with a piece of quartz but the question is, what to use for tinder. Even chaga and false tinder fungus need to be dried at a minimum (and I already know I can use them.) Well, I've got the month of November to find something. I'm looking at this project differently now. I'm a bit excited to learn the results.
Thanks for the challenge.
Yeo


« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 10:02:52 AM by Yeoman »
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2012, 05:08:15 PM »
Tried again with milkweed ovum today, no luck. I got a spark to catch in the ovum after a few minutes of trying. But, the piece of ovum I used was consumed before it ignited my tinder bundle. I think this would have worked if I had collected a lot more milkweed pods and used additional ova as coal extenders. So even though this attempt was a failure, I am definitely encouraged by the fact that I was able to catch a spark in the ovum.

That is the true "hard part", catching a spark in a raw, un-charred material. Unfortunately the milkweed I found growing many miles from home so it isn't really a good thing to rely on. If it's available, I'd certainly take advantage of it. But I think for my immediate area the chances of getting a friction fire using man-made cordage are actually higher than getting a spark with natural un-charred materials.

I have some mullein stalks and will try again to catch sparks on the pith from these. They can be found much closer to home, just a few miles, so if I can get the pith to catch a spark I might have a suitable local natural tinder.

Having said all that, the milkweed sure does seem like a great resource to use if you can find it readily.  I have a video of my attempt uploading and will post it as soon as it's ready.

Offline RBM

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2012, 06:03:54 PM »
But I think for my immediate area the chances of getting a friction fire using man-made cordage are actually higher than getting a spark with natural un-charred materials.

I have some mullein stalks and will try again to catch sparks on the pith from these. They can be found much closer to home, just a few miles, so if I can get the pith to catch a spark I might have a suitable local natural tinder.

Same here. Lot more trouble just trying to get a steel spark to light natural material than the trouble of the firebow. I might try to mix some combustible material like dead dry grass, wood shavings, bark fiber, etc. in with cattail fluff "if" I can get the cattail to catch (even just a little) with a steel spark.

I might try to light some various plant piths here with steel sparks. I have Yucca, Dog Fennel, Goldenrod, and Elderberry piths to play with if I can find some dead stalks that still have pith. Thanks for the idea. I have messed with piths in fire pistons before (among many other naturals) with not very good results but not flint and steel.
Robert

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2012, 06:05:56 PM »
But I think for my immediate area the chances of getting a friction fire using man-made cordage are actually higher than getting a spark with natural un-charred materials.

I have some mullein stalks and will try again to catch sparks on the pith from these. They can be found much closer to home, just a few miles, so if I can get the pith to catch a spark I might have a suitable local natural tinder.

Same here. Lot more trouble just trying to get a steel spark to light natural material than the trouble of the firebow. I might try to mix some combustible material like dead dry grass, wood shavings, bark fiber, etc. in with cattail fluff "if" I can get the cattail to catch (even just a little) with a steel spark.

I might try to light some various plant piths here with steel sparks. I have Yucca, Dog Fennel, Goldenrod, and Elderberry piths to play with if I can find some dead stalks that still have pith. Thanks for the idea. I have messed with piths in fire pistons before (among many other naturals) with not very good results but not flint and steel.

I read that the pith has to be sliced paper thin, enough so that you can see light through it in order for it to work. Hope that helps, and good luck!

Offline RBM

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2012, 12:34:08 PM »
Quote from: RBM
I might try to mix some combustible material like dead dry grass, wood shavings, bark fiber, etc. in with cattail fluff "if" I can get the cattail to catch (even just a little) with a steel spark.

I might try to light some various plant piths here with steel sparks. I have Yucca, Dog Fennel, Goldenrod, and Elderberry piths to play with if I can find some dead stalks that still have pith.

Well I will be moving on to plant pith next I guess. :'( Been overcast and misty most of the day so far. Not ideal weather for steel sparking today. Dampness is not a good thing when natural materials need to be dry.
Robert

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #34 on: November 21, 2012, 01:09:43 AM »
Still stalling a bit on this one. I have to put in a little shop time at the other house tomorrow and while I'm there I will try to remember to grab my mullein stalks.

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #35 on: November 21, 2012, 04:27:57 AM »
Tried a few things at our last camp.  Failed.  Tried char cloth and got it on the first strike.  I think my technique is lacking.  I need to work on directing the sparks more efficiently.  Maybe better prep on the material.  Didn't help I left my favorite striker at home. lol.  Try again today.


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Offline MATT CHAOS

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #36 on: November 21, 2012, 10:08:37 AM »
I had some fails, too.  No matter what dry (or I should say dryish) natural tinders that I can find around here, nothing is cathing my spark.  I can get the firesteel sparks to catch but not the steel striker and flint sparks to catch.  I was close one time but it when out.  :(
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Offline RBM

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #37 on: November 21, 2012, 10:26:09 AM »
So far no go with plant pith. Tried thinly sliced Elderberry pith but the steel sparks just bounce off. Been working on a new gasket model polycarbonate fire piston. Almost done and ready for testing.
Robert

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #38 on: November 21, 2012, 10:59:26 AM »
Failed with birch bark  :shrug:.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #39 on: November 21, 2012, 11:02:43 AM »
Failed with birch bark  :shrug:.

Me, too.  I can get mine to catch a spark with a firesteel but not the flint and steel.   
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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #40 on: November 21, 2012, 11:19:33 AM »
Failed with pine bark.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #41 on: November 21, 2012, 12:03:51 PM »
I never tried with pine bark.  I might try some fatwood shavings. 
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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #42 on: November 21, 2012, 03:31:44 PM »
I didnt think about a fire piston, but that has potential to work with some materials that might be resistant to flint amd steel ignition. I have used a fire piston to slowly char and eventually light cotton. It might work with pith.

I forgot to grab my mullein but I am going back to the other bouse for a little bit in about an hour.

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #43 on: November 21, 2012, 05:44:42 PM »
Ok, tried mullein with two different strikers, and two different flint pieces. Copious sparks, but no ember. just to make sure I wasn't doing it wrong, I tried with charcloth and got that to light with a single strike. I'm calling mullein pith a no-go for flint and steel. i will give it a run through my fire piston and see if it can be made to work that way.

I really want to find a natural tinder that can be found in my immediate area that will take a spark. But it's beginning to look like friction fire is actually more reliable than flint and steel if you don't have some prepared charred tinder available. I think a good strategy for my area would be to try to get an ember with friction, then use the resultant fire to char some materials to accept a spark from a flint and steel (which would then be more reliable than friction fire).

Just trying to work out the best way for a person in my area to go about this assuming they have a flint and steel and no charred tinder. It's plain that charred tinder used with a flint and steel can get an ember with far less effort than friction fire, but I think the inability to use charred tinder, and the absence of chaga or milkweed ovum is a major game changer that puts friction at the forefront.

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #44 on: November 21, 2012, 09:50:57 PM »
I didnt think about a fire piston, but that has potential to work with some materials that might be resistant to flint amd steel ignition. I have used a fire piston to slowly char and eventually light cotton. It might work with pith.

I forgot to grab my mullein but I am going back to the other bouse for a little bit in about an hour.

Don't get too excited about natural plant pith in a fire piston. ;) I did natural Elderberry pith a long time ago among others. Elderberry pith was the only one worth mentioning. It did light but it did not smolder. It just burned up so fast as to make lighting anything with it impossible. All other piths I tried charred on the edges of the pith pieces only but still did not light. But give it a try with what you got. Who knows, might work anyway.
Robert

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #45 on: November 26, 2012, 08:04:57 PM »
Looks like I might get skunked on this one for this month. Not from lack of effort though. :P I just can't get anything natural to smolder from a steel spark and I have been through a whole lot of different tinders. The spark either hits and goes out immediately or it bounces off. The new FFF. Flint Failure Frustration. :'( But I don't give up so I will keep at it.
Robert

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #46 on: November 27, 2012, 12:27:43 AM »
I have had no luck with flint and steel. I am a never ever be without a firesteel guy. I have a bunch and still get giddy when there is one on sale.

My always go to is birch. I believe it is yellow. The bark curls off the tree in horizontal shreds. It can be lifted off the tree with no damage to the tree at all. I have two videos, older not recent, but the first is very wet conditions and the second is a bushclass vid from "over there" LOL.

I also have had good luck with the dried ends of the lower dead branches from pine trees. split or shaved. I read a lot about milk weed and cattail and even thistle. Not sure why you guys go so small in tinder. I can get some big stuff to catch from a firesteel. Here is proof.

VERY wet conditions...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZismRx26g94&list=UU267Lhxoc5LcsQwai7X2NyA&index=20&feature=plcp

This is again birch bark right off the tree...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFJosknOMhQ&list=UU267Lhxoc5LcsQwai7X2NyA&index=3&feature=plcp


This is a pile of shavings from a random branch I found that was dry. This too was just shaved wood. no small tinder at all. took a lot but I did it LOL.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaXBXZfoYoc&list=UU267Lhxoc5LcsQwai7X2NyA&index=12&feature=plcp




« Last Edit: November 27, 2012, 12:36:52 AM by xj35s »
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #47 on: November 27, 2012, 01:00:09 AM »
Ferro rods will definitely improve your odds of getting flames from all kinds of tinder.

But the challenge here is to get outside your comfort zone and use a method that you haven't tried before. It will be a learning experience. You might learn as I have that suitable tinder for flint and steel is hard to come by in your area, or you might learn that something works as a tinder that you didn't expect.

I think I might be in the same boat with RBM on this one. No luck getting a fire without charred tinder using a flint and steel.

On the other hand, I might get a chance to go out and char some natural tinder to use (something I have never tried, I only ever used char cloth) and still make this month's project a "first" for me.

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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #48 on: November 27, 2012, 04:41:17 AM »
PW, I tried charred punkwood, cedarbark, and Spanish moss a year or 2 back.  The punkwood went well.  The cedar could have used more baking.  The Spanish was was green and it was a no go.



I'll be on the river with that fungus (That'll take a spark) in a week and a half.  Too late for the challenge, but if I git 'r to go again,  I'll collect some.
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Re: Monthly Project - November 2012
« Reply #49 on: November 27, 2012, 01:59:39 PM »
Thanks for the tips. I planned to use juniper bark, which is very similar to cedar so this is particularly relevant.