Making Fire the Old-Fashioned Way
Russ Chastain 08.30.18
When you need a fire, you NEED a fire. And in this video, the Townsends folks take a look at fire-starting in the 1700s and earlier, showing just how easy it can be to make fire without matches or a lighter.
Right off, we hear about the “triangle of fire.” This means that if you have ample heat, oxygen, and fuel, you will have fire. Well all right!
A demonstration with flint and steel — actual flint and actual steel — shows that although the flint shaves off steel with each strike and that steel combusts in the form of sparks, you won’t get a fire with that alone. But place just the right tinder — he uses char cloth — in just the right place, and you can capture those hot hunks of steel in a way that will begin to smolder in the tinder.
Add oxygen, and you have a pretty good ember. What to do with it? Well heck — add it to a bird’s nest of course. “Bird’s nest” is his term for a bundle of tinder and fuel, used to transform the newborn fire from ember to flame.
As a bonus, at the six-minute mark he starts telling us how to make char cloth — which seems like a great thing to do, because his charred cloth was easily lit by just a few sparks. He also adds some punk wood to the tin along with the natural fiber cloth (he used cotton).
After making some new char cloth, they ignite it to an ember by one stroke of the cock on a flintlock rifle. Sweet!
The fellow who demonstrated this runs the Appalachian Bushman School, and you can learn more about that at his website.