Author Topic: Historic Fire Making?  (Read 3353 times)

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Offline werewolf won

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Historic Fire Making?
« on: April 11, 2013, 08:26:17 AM »
I was recently reading about the contents of a re-enactor?s long hunter knapsack who.  The guy, Mark Baker, I have enjoyed very much.  Among the gear in his pack was his fire kit that he carries in a greased goat skin pouch.  He has the flint and steel, a couple of bees wax candles, a birds nest of cotton wood bark, some fat wood and several candle wicks that have been dipped in hot beeswax.  That final item to me sounds like a candle, which was already listed, I have no idea how he uses that item.  Any ideas?
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Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Historic Fire Making?
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2013, 08:50:35 AM »
The only thing I can think of it that the wicks would burn lying down whereas a candle wont do that as well? :shrug: 

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Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Historic Fire Making?
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2013, 09:10:00 AM »
  They could also be used to burn as wicks for "oil" or "pitch oil" candles. Like using melted tallow candles made from wild game tallow, if he wanted to save the pre-made candles for other times or uses. Gathering the wax & making the candles would be hard, but making a tallow oil lamp on site would be rather easy, particularly if you already had wicking materials at hand... Having the wicks "premade" would be certainly a timesaver, rather than having to find/forage for wick materials to use. Particularly in wet & cold type situations.
   Can ya contact the guy & ask him directly?
 :)


BTW -just incase someone reads this & didn't know, "pitch oil" is what I call oil made from Birch bark.
;)
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Offline werewolf won

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Re: Historic Fire Making?
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2013, 10:42:56 AM »
  They could also be used to burn as wicks for "oil" or "pitch oil" candles. Like using melted tallow candles made from wild game tallow, if he wanted to save the pre-made candles for other times or uses. Gathering the wax & making the candles would be hard, but making a tallow oil lamp on site would be rather easy, particularly if you already had wicking materials at hand... Having the wicks "premade" would be certainly a timesaver, rather than having to find/forage for wick materials to use. Particularly in wet & cold type situations.
   Can ya contact the guy & ask him directly?
 :)


BTW -just incase someone reads this & didn't know, "pitch oil" is what I call oil made from Birch bark.
;)

That is a good possibility.  I have made up those oil lamps and the wick is always a pain.  I carry commercial lamp wicks specifically for the application.
I'll be a story in your head, but that's OK we're all stories in the end.  Just make it a good one!

Offline xj35s

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Re: Historic Fire Making?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2013, 11:45:45 AM »
Punks for touching off cannon black powder ?
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline Bayd

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Re: Historic Fire Making?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 11:25:24 AM »
I knew I had read about these somewhere the moment I opened this thread, and finally found it!

In the book "Practical Outdoor Projects" by Len McDougall it's the very first project, under the name "Fire Wick", and he uses them as a one-time use fire starter.

Quote
The fire-starting aid I use most often is waterproof, effective, lightweight, and dirt cheap, or even f ree if you're a scavenger like myself. For lack of a better name, I call it the fire wick, because basically it's nothing more then an oversized candle wick without the candle.

 I got the idea for the fire wick a few years ago, although I doubt very much that I was the first to discover something so simple. Like countless woodsmen before me, I always carried a candle in my gear to help start stubborn fires under wet conditions and to light and heat my shelter at night. The problem with ordinary candles was they had more wax then wick, which meant that I was always left with a blob of unused wax after the wick had been totally consumed. There had to be a more efficient method of balancing the amount of wick to the volume of wax needed to burn it completely..

He goes on to mention they burn for about two minutes each (though his are made from a doubled string using the universal twist-lock method employed for making ropes and cut down to fit inside a 35mm film cannister), but that they're not quite as impossible to  extinguish as Trioxane or Hexamine, so it's useful to make an umbrella of twigs to shield it from heavy winds. If you want I can write down the basics of his strategy for creating fire wicks, just let me know.

Hope y'all enjoyed my first post!
~rick

Offline werewolf won

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Re: Historic Fire Making?
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2013, 11:29:03 AM »
I knew I had read about these somewhere the moment I opened this thread, and finally found it!

In the book "Practical Outdoor Projects" by Len McDougall it's the very first project, under the name "Fire Wick", and he uses them as a one-time use fire starter.

Quote
The fire-starting aid I use most often is waterproof, effective, lightweight, and dirt cheap, or even f ree if you're a scavenger like myself. For lack of a better name, I call it the fire wick, because basically it's nothing more then an oversized candle wick without the candle.

 I got the idea for the fire wick a few years ago, although I doubt very much that I was the first to discover something so simple. Like countless woodsmen before me, I always carried a candle in my gear to help start stubborn fires under wet conditions and to light and heat my shelter at night. The problem with ordinary candles was they had more wax then wick, which meant that I was always left with a blob of unused wax after the wick had been totally consumed. There had to be a more efficient method of balancing the amount of wick to the volume of wax needed to burn it completely..

He goes on to mention they burn for about two minutes each (though his are made from a doubled string using the universal twist-lock method employed for making ropes and cut down to fit inside a 35mm film cannister), but that they're not quite as impossible to  extinguish as Trioxane or Hexamine, so it's useful to make an umbrella of twigs to shield it from heavy winds. If you want I can write down the basics of his strategy for creating fire wicks, just let me know.

Hope y'all enjoyed my first post!
~rick

Hello and welcome.

Sure I would like to hear more about these.

Wolf
I'll be a story in your head, but that's OK we're all stories in the end.  Just make it a good one!

Offline Wood Trekker

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Re: Historic Fire Making?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2013, 12:05:40 PM »
Sounds very similar to waxed jute tinder.

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Historic Fire Making?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2013, 12:14:37 PM »
I was recently reading about the contents of a re-enactor?s long hunter knapsack who.  The guy, Mark Baker, I have enjoyed very much.  Among the gear in his pack was his fire kit that he carries in a greased goat skin pouch.  He has the flint and steel, a couple of bees wax candles, a birds nest of cotton wood bark, some fat wood and several candle wicks that have been dipped in hot beeswax.  That final item to me sounds like a candle, which was already listed, I have no idea how he uses that item.  Any ideas?

  I carry a couple of candle stubs in my flint & steel kits,  they have several uses that are quite apparent, the first being for a quick lamp,  the second is to use to get damp kindling going when your birds nest just isn't going to give you enough heat and burn time,  melted wax also makes for a quick short term water seal patch,  but what a lot of people don't know is that a candle can be lighted from char cloth,  it's not easy and does take practice, but it can be done and was used in that way during the longhunter days and likely before.
  Generally the wick was stripped of most of it's wax,  then the end of the wick was chared,  this is usually used when no tinder (birds nest) material that is suitable or dry exists,  the flint & steel is used to light the chared cloth, punk wood, or what ever other ember material that's a hand,  then the candle wick is placed behind the char and you blow hard enough to get the chared part of the wick going,  if you are lucky the heat generated between the char cloth and the glowing wick helped along by your blowing will cause the wick to flame.
  I've tried it a few times without much luck, but I've seen it done successfully a couple of times,  having followed Mark Bakers writings and videos for a long time I have no doubt that he has the knack of getting it done. 
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.

Offline WI_Woodsman

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Re: Historic Fire Making?
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2013, 08:23:02 AM »
I enjoy post like this W1 it's like participating in archeology.  I carry a waxed candle wick of sorts, mine's diped in paraffin as opposed to bee's wax...



I use mine as an flame extender for lighting fires in wet/damp conditions.  The wick is completely impregnated with wax so it's waterproof and the charred end can be dried and lit with flint and steel easily as MnSprotsman demonstrated in his post Wet Charcloth, Flint(Chert) & Steel.