Fire Starters

Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
41
Location
North Iowa
On another forum I visit a lot there is a thread going on about fire starter s and I thought that I would share my favorite fire starter here.

Mine are made from ceiling tiles. I get them from work as they are constantly replacing them. I run them through the band saw into small 1” x 1” squares. You can cut them with a utility knife or hand saw but having access to a band saw makes it go real fast. A 2” square will burn for 15 minutes.

Next step is I take a large can and make a double boiler by placing it into a pot of boiling water and add a block of paraffin and let it all melt. Drop in the ceiling tile blocks and keep them in the paraffin until they will not soak any more up. I then stick them with my knife, pull them out, and let them dry on newspaper.

To use take them and make several splits on the end and light. They have never failed me.

One of the maintenance men at work says they are treated with flame retardant, but if you take one and pour water on it will flare up and burn even hotter. You can drown them out if needed.

They can also be used to start charcoal chimneys.

Easy to carry in your pocket or pack with no mess, and less work than using egg cartons, pine cones/needles, or dryer lint.

I learned how to make these from my scoutmaster over thirty five years ago. I have a feeling that he learned it at his Woodbadge class back in the late 60’s.
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
4,363
Location
Ontario Canada
My favourite fire starter is birch bark. It's found right in my back yard, as well as along many camp trails. It's practical, as well as a kind of romantic thing, using natural material at hand. A grand daughter once gave me fire starters she made in guides. These were made from egg cartons, wood shavings and wax. They worked beautifully. As far as ignition, I like my BBQ butane lighter. It has a long neck, thus saving me reaching into the tinder pile with fumbling fingers. A flint & steel are kept in the emergency kit. I used to be so much better at starting fires. Maybe I'm out of practise.
What do you use? Any methods that have failed? Any methods and materials that are reliable? How do you start your fire?
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
Recycling whatever you have in the house is good. My husband generates mounds of sawdust in the shop. Eggs come in cardboard cartons. ( I have to remember to keep a few intact to go to the egg farm) Paraffin is thereby my only expense. I ought to be more frugal and take wax shavings from candles in restaurants.. surely they don't need the wax drips. Or steal a few votive candles when the opportunity arises.. hee hee.

Yes I have enough birch bark too for fire starting in the yard.. Also balsam. When the trunk gets big enough to form little blisters on the bark , each blister contains sap for starting a fire.. one time a sharp stick comes in handy.

Have bbq butane lighter but only taken it camping once.. it seems overly big.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
2,290
Location
Warren, Manitoba
That sharp stick could work on a bear too, just poke it in the eye then set it on fire.

We usually take non-refillable bbq lighters as well, works great on the stoves and a fire if we are allowed to have one. I also have Bic's squirrelled away everywhere including in my PFD ditch kit.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
Balsam trees are neat. Also the pitch besides being flammable is an antiseptic and seals wounds. Just don't put your "bandaged" finger over the fire.
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
Messages
45
Location
Upstate NY, south of Rochester
I just made some using toilet paper tubes stuffed with dryer lint and paraffin. Once the paraffin hardened, I sliced them into 1/4" thick discs with a band saw. The cut edges of the discs are rough enough that they light with the briefest contact of the match or lighter flame.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2013
Messages
2,435
Location
Colrain MA
I've never bothered with fire starters, I haven't run into a situation were I couldn't light a fire with what was available. Most of the time its one of the kids job to start the fire.
And of course if you absolutely have to have a fire in the worst of weather, or the kids are fishing, there is always a small propane torch head in the tool bag.


We do take Tinder Fungus (Chaga) for the kids to use when they start fires. It works great with flint and steel and a hand drill.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
I just made some using toilet paper tubes stuffed with dryer lint and paraffin. Once the paraffin hardened, I sliced them into 1/4" thick discs with a band saw. The cut edges of the discs are rough enough that they light with the briefest contact of the match or lighter flame.

It figgers Mr O came up with an elegant variant (seen his boats? You'll need a bib). But toilet paper cardboard tubes seem to be on their way out. Paper towel might not be far behind.

http://fox11online.com/2014/08/28/tubeless-toilet-paper-rolls-out-nationwide/
 
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Guest

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Warning! I bought a box full of military surplus fire starters form Sportsmans guide several years ago. Light them and they will even burn floating on the water! light them and throw almost any of kind of wood on top and you have a fire. it makes you real careless and lazy. takes all the adventure and challenge out of it. don't get them!
Turtle
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2014
Messages
80
Location
Calgary, Alberta
I made up a few hundred, or so, fire starters a few years back, and still have a few. I only use them when needed, which is maybe 5% of the time. I rerolled toilet paper up without the tube until it was about 3/4" thick, dipped it in melted wax, then as it cooled, flattened it to about 1/4" thick (enough to squish most of the wax out), cut away the excess wax that oozed out, then sliced the flattened roll into 4 pieces. The light easy, and burn for quite a while. They are so easy to make, especially when doing up a bunch, plus hold together in a baggie good, as well as work great at starting fires, I would do the same again when I need more.

I have also in the past cheaped out and bought the Coghlan Fire Lighters. I think they are basically just wax and pressed sawdust.

0150-coghlans-fire-starter-matchless.jpg
 
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Joined
Jun 13, 2014
Messages
3,338
Location
NW Iowa
When I use anything it's egg cartons and sawdust. Haven't tried anything else so can't do any comparisons. I lit one in my empty wood stove once and timed it. It burned for 15 minutes; though the last couple didn't have much left for BTUs. I like that, if I needed to in a pinch, I could probably bring a cup of water or more to a boil with nothing more than an egg starter in the stick stove. I try not to use them unless it's necessary so I generally only bring 4 or 5 on a long trip and usually don't use more than 1, if that. I also carry a handful of Bics scattered throughout my gear.

They're very handy when lighting the wood stove at home as well. I can load it full of oak with a egg starter at the bottom and have a nice fire in no time with no tinder or kindling required.

Alan
 
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Guest

Guest
For most uses at home were weight isn't a factor,I use the egg carton/wax starters. I melt all the used up candles my wife has a passion for and pour over sawdust. I have found course(not powder) sawdust works best and is superior to dryer lint. Shavings from a 300$ curley maple stock blank give a special effect.
Turtle
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,667
Location
Appleton, Maine
I use cotton balls mixed with Vaseline stuffed into a film canister. I then wrap black electricians tape around the canister to keep the cap on and I also wrap the tape around a string hanging off my PFD so I always have the fire stater there, along with a canister of matches secured the same way.

It only takes a pinch of cotton to get a fire going, and it's peace of mind to know that they are with me no matter what happens to the rest of my gear.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
425
Location
Maryland, USA
I carry the same as Robin, cotton balls with Vaseline in film canisters along with some fatwood sticks. An assortment of lighters,, fire steels and matches rounds out the kit.
Have we discussed this before? I remember somewhere someone answered the question with "propane torch. Works great even with wet wood!"
 
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I was attempting to be funny. Those trioxiline starters are what I carry in my survival kits and would bet on. There are lots of other ways to use for fun or when it's not critical. I enjoy flint and steel and recycling egg cartons,wax and sawdust.
Turtle
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2014
Messages
80
Location
Calgary, Alberta
Here is a wee phone video I took earlier this year, of a friend lighting a fire in the rain. The 6" chunk of solid fuel rocket engine he used seemed to light easy in the rain, and sure did get the fire going. Not recommended for lightweight travel though. :)


 
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Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
4,363
Location
Ontario Canada
Here is a wee phone video I took earlier this year, of a friend lighting a fire in the rain. The 6" chunk of solid fuel rocket engine he used seemed to light easy in the rain, and sure did get the fire going. Not recommended for lightweight travel though. :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O_0ZwnjtFw

That would work. With all the extra space in my pack from dehydrating and downsizing, I could probably find the room for a few of those. Not sure how handy they'd be in a twig stove though. Any thought of slow simmering would be completely out of the question. Ha! And there's the accidental ignition while paddling to ponder. Viking funeral? Paddle faster!
Thanks Bearleealive, that was great!

Got a chuckle out of Turtle's "Curly Maple special effects" posted earlier.
 
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