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#117380 - 12/24/07 05:12 AM Char-cloth from an oven?

Has anyone made char-cloth in an oven? Is there a best way?

#117382 - 12/24/07 05:46 AM Re: Char-cloth from an oven? [Re: ]
AROTC Offline

Registered: 05/06/04
Posts: 604
Loc: Manhattan
Making char cloth creates a lot of smoke, you don't want to do it in the house. I did it outside next to the dorms the first time and was scared to death someone would call the cops or fire department.

The times I've made mine, I used a camping stove although a campfire will work fine. I used an Altoids Sours tin with approximately an 1/8 inch hole punched top and bottom with a nail. Cut squares of cloth (I've used light cotton and I've used denim) just small enough to fit in the tin. Then put it on the stove until smoke stops coming out. Take it off and plug the holes (or just the top one) with a pointy stick. You'll want barbecue tongs or something to pick up the tin with. Let the tin cool completely before opening or else the char cloth will catch fire when oxygen rushes into the tin. The cloth should be completely black, not brown. It will be fragile, really easily torn, but it shouldn't completely crumble with you touch it.

Also, I found unraveled jute twine to be perfect for getting a flame once you catch a spark with the char cloth. So much easier then even cotton balls.
A gentleman should always be able to break his fast in the manner of a gentleman where so ever he may find himself.--Good Omens

#117401 - 12/24/07 03:55 PM Re: Char-cloth from an oven? [Re: AROTC]
jamesraykenney Offline

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 315
Loc: Beaumont, TX USA
I will post my normal tutorial originally posted HERE

Originally Posted By: "Tom Rose"
James Ray Kenney
Could you please go into more detail on the making and use of charcloth
I've tried it but must have done something wrong. I actually carry a modern firesteel with magnesium,I used the wrong nomenclature.A bow drill I can do but flint and steel(the real McCoy) has tried my patience and found it wanting

If you are right handed...
Try holding the flint in your left hand(palm up) with a pieace of charcloth on the left side of the flint, RIGHT along the edge... Hold the steel in you right hand (with the curve down to protect your fingers) and strike down FAST(not hard) the edge of the flint should direct the burning metal(in a real flint and steel, it is the steel that does the sparking) right into the charcloth...

OK, on to making charcloth...

Lets do this the way that I first did it, because it works, is clean, fast, cheap, and simple...

Get old 100% cotton(vital!!!) t-shirt.
Cut about 6 to 10 1.5"x1.5" squares...
Stack them neatly on top of one another.
Set them on a square of aluminium foil about 6"x6".
Fold the foil around the cloth tightly and crimp tightly around the edges...
Take a needle and punch a small hole in the top of the stack, NOT all the way through...
Hold IN open flame... I use kitchen tongs for this...
Smoke will start pouring out of the hole...
Despite some recommendations to the contrary, I prefer to let the smoke ignite...
When smoke plume stops burning, give it another 8 to 15 seconds in the flame and then remove it from the flame...
Do NOT open it yet... In a normal container, you must wait quite some time before opening it, because the heat will cause the charcloth to spontaneously burst into flames as soon as the air hits it... This is not QUITE so important with the foil method(and such a small batch), because, the whole thing will cool off in a minute or two...That is one of the reasons to start out this way... Nearly instant satisfaction! laugh
Unwrap, and enjoy!!!

When you get a spark in the charcloth, you will not think much of it...
It will just be a little speck glowing dimly on the cloth...
But, if you blow gently(so as not to blow it away, the stuff is lighter than a feather), it will get very bright and radiate a lot of heat...
The idea, it to put the charcloth in a tender bundle, and blow into that, it will then ignite the fine stuff in the center, which will then ignite the bigger stuff around it, and it will burst into flames... The first time you see it done, you will be surprised at just how fast it goes from nothing into a ball of flame... I am very glad I saw someone do it before I did it, because I would have thought it would just start with a little flame licking out of the top of the tender bundle... It is often anything BUT a little flame!!! Sometimes it even makes a little 'whoosh' sound as it bursts into flame...
You then(QUICKLY) transfer the tender bundle from your hands(by this time, you will not need ANY coaxing to do this!:twisted:) to your fire lay...

There you have it...
It is a LOT easier in practice, than describing it...

Originally Posted By: "pipedreams"
Great char-cloth tutorial!



Of course, later you will want to make more at one time, but that works well, and it is QUICK...

Ohhhh... I left something out...
Do this OUTSIDE unless you have a good vent hood...
It puts out a lot of smoke...

If you want a nice SMALL Flint and Steel set, I can recommend the "Travel Size" Flint and Steel
from Midwest native Skills Institute.
I have one, and I carry it every day...
You can be an instant 'hit' with any of your friends kids with the thing...
It comes with some charcloth in the tin...
Their fire making video is also very interesting...
I learned a lot from using their stuff...
And one thing is... Carry a moist wipe to clean your hands after demos of the charcloth... Your hands WILL have black smudges all over them...
Not that it matters out doors, but in someone's house... That is a whole 'nother matter... laugh

#117411 - 12/24/07 09:27 PM Re: Char-cloth from an oven? [Re: AROTC]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA

Yes, Trog, do it in your oven. It won't come out as good, but you will know if all your smoke alarms are working! grin


#117782 - 12/28/07 08:39 AM Re: Char-cloth from an oven? [Re: Susan]
urbansurvivalist Offline

Registered: 11/27/05
Posts: 127
Loc: Asheville, NC
Making char cloth is really much simpler than described above. Put some pure cotton cloth in an altoids or similar tin. No holes are needed, just make sure it is completely closed. Put the container in a fire for 10 minutes or so or until there is no longer smoke or flame around the tin, and let it cool a bit before opening. Whatever is inside should be completely black.

This would also work with a stove or oven or any sufficient heat souce(of course doing this indoors would be a bad idea unless you have a way to vent the smoke), and for that matter you can use foil or any container that will not burn. FYI this is the same way charcoal is made(using wood), and it would probably work with many natural fibers and materials. I've charred bundles of bark and used it instead of charcloth to catch a spark.

There is a quicker and easier way to make charcloth if you don't have a fire: Hang the piece of cloth on the end of a stick, light it on fire with a lighter, wave the stick around a bit to get most of the cloth on flames, then drop the burning cloth into a metal cup, flip the cup over on the ground and step on it for a minute or so to keep a tight seal with the ground. This method doesn't work quite as well, because its hard to get the whole cloth on fire without burning up some of it, so you normally either waste a little of the cloth or end up with parially uncharred cloth.


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