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#23377 - 01/25/04 10:09 AM Re: Fire Starting in the 21st Century
M_a_x Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 1184
Loc: Germany
Quote:
I knew I'd never be able to ignite the newspaper with just the ferrocerium rod, so I had to scrape off some magnesium flakes.

The newspaper can be ignited with just the ferrocerium rod. The trick is to tear small strips from the sheet. The strips should be 1/4" wide and stay on the sheet. The tearing exposes fibres which can catch the sparks and ignite. It may take some practice but it works.
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#23378 - 01/25/04 12:26 PM Re: Fire Starting in the 21st Century
Anonymous
Unregistered


The ferrocerium rod alone can be used differently, as well- more like the magnesium. You can use a sharp(ish) edge, with real pressure, in a shaving motion to shave some of the rod (slowly, as you don't want sparks at this stage) into a light coating, or a tiny pile, of black dust on the tinder. Flip the edge 90 degrees and create a shower of sparks, and the sparks will ignite the dust, which burns for seconds and will start tinder that the sparks alone wouldn't.

The technique should be used sparingly, as it uses up the rod much faster than just "sparking", but at that point this may be the least of your concerns.

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#23379 - 01/25/04 02:36 PM Re: Fire Starting in the 21st Century
Anonymous
Unregistered


Congratulations on having the nerve to take those first few steps away from the protected life. Most people never do.

I remember well how limiting apartment style life can be, how frustrating it was to run across seemingly simple instructions like "with a piece of scrap wood...". Yeah, right. Like I keep that around a place that doesn't even have room for my clothes.

Please do be aware that dry pine is about the easiest wood you're likely to run across to split this way, and may not be all that common where you find yourself in the wilderness. With different kinds of wood, or green wood, it can be much more challenging. Having seen three sledgehammered steel splitting wedges disappear into modest-sized a tulip poplar log without noticeable effect, I can testify to that. <img src="images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

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#23380 - 01/25/04 05:49 PM Re: Fire Starting in the 21st Century
aardwolfe Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/22/01
Posts: 924
Loc: St. John's, Newfoundland
Thanks to both you and Max for your responses. Yes, I figured that dry pine would probably be a lot easier to split than most woods. Otoh, dead pine is not exactly scarce in the woods around these parts <img src="images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> so if push came to shove, I'd probably hope to start a fire with pine wood and then use the other woods to feed the fire. I may buy some different species of logs later, once I feel a bit more proficient. <img src="images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

And now that I have an outdoor location where I can go to indulge my pyromania on weekends, I will make a genuine effort to get out and practice a lot more.

I'd rather not end up like the CAP survival instructor who was written up elsewhere on this site, who died of hypothermia because he left his survival kit in the trunk of his car to go flying <img src="images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" /> It's bad enough ending up dead; I don't want to end up looking stoopid on top of it <img src="images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."
-Plutarch

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#23381 - 01/25/04 07:12 PM Re: Fire Starting in the 21st Century
Anonymous
Unregistered


"if push came to shove, I'd probably hope to start a fire with pine wood and then use the other woods to feed the fire."

Good plan. I was going to mention something on those lines, but you seem to have it all well in hand.

If I might make a modest suggestion for the voyage of discovery you've embarked on... make it a point, at some time in the future when conditions are right, the forecast is good, and you're comfortable with the idea, to spend a night or two outside... not just outside of buildings, but outside of tents. It can be a remarkable, liberating experience to watch the moon and stars with nothing between you and the sky, to listen to the night sounds of the forest, to wake up see the sun come up.

I'm not belittling the importance of tents or shelter, but as many times as they are necessary, there are still many times they are just a psychological crutch for those still fundamentally afraid of the outside at some deep level- as is huddling around a fire and making yourself night-blind, drowning out the sights, sounds and smells of the woods with those of the fire.

If you're at all doubtful about the weather, set up the tent as a retreat by all means.. but try it outside. You'll find you've taken a simple step that seems never to have occured to many self-proclaimed "outdoorsmen"... and if you become comfortable with the woods at night, you'll be that much more comfortable during the day.

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#23382 - 01/25/04 11:34 PM Re: Fire Starting in the 21st Century
aardwolfe Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/22/01
Posts: 924
Loc: St. John's, Newfoundland
Good idea - I like that. A little cold to do it right now, but in the spring I may just do that. Heck, I could probably just sleep out on the barbeque deck <img src="images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

I did once sleep outdoors without a tent, long long ago when I was about 10. My only memories of it are being shaken awake in the middle of a pouring rainstorm and spending the next hour or so under a bridge, until a game warden (who lived nearby) came out to investigate (and then invited us back to his place to warm up). But - I guess it was the same trip, but a different night - I remember lying on the ground watching shooting stars and fireflies, and trying to figure out which was which.

I haven't thought about that trip in years. Funny, how stuff comes back to you. <img src="images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."
-Plutarch

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#23383 - 01/26/04 02:33 AM Re: Fire Starting in the 21st Century
Anonymous
Unregistered


Heck, the suggestion was probably motivated as much by my own nostalgia as anything.

In my early teens, I lived on a tiny lake in southern New England, and we used to sleep out on a small floating dock on some summer nights, ostensibly to fish for bass just as the sun came up. We did that, all right, but I don't think that was the real reason for sleeping out.

In my late teens, I was in a different area, but again southern New England. By then I was a dedicated backpacker, but I couldn't afford to get out on the trail nearly as much as I wanted to, so I'd go for quick hikes several times a week in an area of forested ridges and lakes. I got to know the trails so well I could tell when a single other person had been down them since the last time I had, and in times in the spring and fall when it wasn't too cold but the bugs weren't bad, I'd go out alone and sleep in the woods just for enjoyment.

There was one particular spot I went every time, in deep, dark, quiet woods where the trail paralleled a gurgling brook. Becuase there wasn't much sunlight under the canopy, there was little underbrush to deal with, and it was just beyond where a field of wild lady slippers (American orchids) bloomed every year. I'd go out there and spread a tarp for a groundcloth in the ferns, read a book in the late afternoon light with my back to a pack leaning on a tree, and I'd sleep that night with just the tarp, a light down sleeping bag and a foam pad.

Just sitting there and reading, I found if I stayed still and quiet enough, for long enough, the woods would slowly come alive around me. It was there that I saw bright-colored woods ducks for the first time, swimming on that little creek in the fall. Once a raccoon passed within 10 feet of me while I was reading, seemingly unconcerned. Very near there that I had once seen a Great Blue Heron, and there was a small golden-colored fox who lived somewhere nearby. I spotted him a few times, but one time in particular he didn't see or hear me, and when I saw him he was playing in a sunbeam that cut down through the darkness of the woods, alternately chasing his tail and the bugs that became visible when they flew through the light.

I always had contingency plans in the back of my mind- it was something between two and three miles away from the house (by the trails, probably much less "as the crow flies") which wasn't too far to walk if the weather turned really bad, but I also knew where there was a rock overhang that formed a small shallow cave in a ridge only a quarter of mile away. It was cramped there- I couldn't stretch out or stand- but it stayed pretty dry even in the worst rain. I had sheltered there before on day hikes, when I'd get caught by a thunderstorm.

I never had to bail out on an overnight there, though- I didn't do that many overnights, but I never had to deal with more than a moderate, gentle rain in the times I did, and for that I just pulled the tarp over the sleeping bag and myself.

After I wrote that earlier message I was trying to remember how long it has been since I slept outside without a tent. I know it's been far too long. It seems like I think about these things in the deep of winter when they're not feasible, and then when spring comes I'm always too busy with trivial things I won't remember one year later, much less in decades. I hope I'll get out more this year.

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#23384 - 01/26/04 10:08 AM Re: Fire Starting in the 21st Century
ScottRezaLogan Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 01/07/04
Posts: 723
Loc: Pttsbg SWestern Pa USA N-Amer....
Hello There Presumed. I Really Like and Identify with the Topic and Spirit of your Post here!

In my Many Woods Jaunts, -here in Southwestern Pa, -It's Within only Minutes at Most of "Sitting / Staying Still", -My Woods Too Comes Alive! Consistently Evry Time!, -"Naturally and Of Course"! It's a Part of "Nature and Outdoors 101!

The Bugs Crawling and Flying About!,-(There's Always an Interesting One!,-Along with Their Oftentimes Interesting, Unique, Behaivior! ),-The Birds with Their Calls and Chirps in the Tree Branches High Above!,-Even in Brite, Sunny, Mid-Summer Afternoon! And Many Such Things Else!

Deer (Eastern Whitetail) are Commonplace Too! They even Go Right Up to our City of Pttsbg.,-and are Even in Many of It's Wooded Locations! (We are a City of Hills) Oftentimes as Common as "Chipmunks and Rabbits"! (And Thats in Many Senses No Exaggeration!,-as Far as Sightings, "Commonality" & Etc. Goes,-If Not in Actual Comparative Numbers)

Several Summers Ago,-I Spent Much of a Summer Clearing Much Tangled Underbrush Out of a 35 or so Acre Wood,-Just for the Love and Fun of It! You Get into that Peaceful Rhythym and All!, -and Many Many Times!, -I'd Look Up or Over to See, -One to Several Such Whitetails, -Just Peacefully Browsing or Grazing! Sometimes Looking at me, Many Times Not. Only Several Car Lengths Away!,-Sometimes even Somewhat Closer! They Knew I was There! I I Know They Knew. They Knew that I was a "Fellow Part of Their Woods World",-and Unlike their View of my Fellow Humans in General, -They Knew I Wasn't Out to Harm Them in any Way! Common Understandings Arise in the Woods, Forest, and Outdoors,-Like That!

I Stumbled Upon a Really Large Nest of Turkey Eggs in the Ground Level Weeds!,-One Summer Afternoon. You So See some of our Box Turtles Evry Now and Then! Plus of Course Other Things Else!

-Yes,-There are Certainly Many such Other Things Else About It!, -Which just Don't Come Immeadiately to Mind Right Now, -as I Sit Down to Type,-Mindful of some Sleep that I've Soon Gotta Start Tending To!

You Well Capture the "Spirit of the Woods and Outdoors"!, -So Much of What we are All About! Lets Never Forget This!,-as we Also Continue to Attend To our Various and Vital Survival and Emer Prep Etc,-Nuts and Bolts. We Can certainly Swing "Sleeps Under the Stars"!,-on Any of Many Warm, Summer, Nights! [color:"black"] [/color] [email]Presumed Lost[/email]
_________________________
"No Substitute for Victory!"and"You Can't be a Beacon if your Light Don't Shine!"-Gen. Douglass MacArthur and Donna Fargo.

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#23385 - 01/26/04 07:53 PM Re: Fire Starting in the 21st Century
Anonymous
Unregistered


ScottRezaLogan,

Thank you for the kind words. You have a very distinctive manner of writing.

The area you talk about, around Pittsburgh, is one I'm very fond of. Not only has it preserved a remarkable amount of woodlands, but it preserves a remarkable history as well. It's amazing to me how few Americans are aware that the course of North America, and the entire western world, pivoted around events in that area in the 1750's, and how much of our subsequent history was decided by events then. Pittsburgh is also to be applauded for it's increasingly-evident recovery from the ravages of the late 20th Century.

I'm particularly fond of the little town of Lignonier, not far away. I have been there many times.

PL

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#23386 - 01/26/04 11:54 PM Re: Fire Starting in the 21st Century
ScottRezaLogan Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 01/07/04
Posts: 723
Loc: Pttsbg SWestern Pa USA N-Amer....
Thanks for your Kind and Complimentary Words Too!

Our Great Hills and Woods!,-(Though Nothing like Yosemite or Yellowstone!), -We Have in Abundance, -and It's one of my Most Liked and Loved Things about this Area! We Have Pretty Much a "Half Fields-Half Woods" Mix, -once you Get Beyond our Suburbs. I Grew Up in that Countryside South of our City!, -Though I Be in the City Itself now, -"You Can Take the Boy Out of the Country, -but You Can't Take the Country Out of the Boy!" Fortunately in this Area, -I Don't have All that Far to Go!,-to Get Back Down There!

Your First Run-In with the Appalachians,-at Chestnut and Laurel Ridges,-is some 50 miles Southeast. Your Ligonier is of Course a Part of This Area. We're Also Arnold Palmer Country!,-Both a Man and a Golfer that I Much Like, Respect, and Admire! (And I'm only Half into Golf myself!) Taking in the Westward View from Laurel Caverns (our Nearest Cave), -is Essentially the View Iv'e had the 2 or 3 Times that I've been Up on a Demo Flight! From Laurel,-It is that 50 Mile View Northwest,-to my City and Area.

( Pardon some of my Choppiness and Chogginess if you Can. -I'm Working on This, -and Have been Getting Much Better on This Lately! And It Gets a Lot Better After the Following Parenthetical Section on Stone Mountain! )

(But Don't Expect to See our Skyscrapers Off in the Distance, -Like you can from Atlanta's Much Closer Stone Mountain! -16 Miles,-I Think. BTW,-I've Climbed Stone Mountain!,-Though by the Rather Easy "Tourist Route" And a Real Caution thats Occurred to me while Doing So!, -It's Being Nothing but the Smooth, Rounded Granite Monolith that It is!,-Absolutely No Soil at All!,-to Speak of,- -I Thot of what it would be Like!,-to be Caught in a Really Good Downpour Anywhere on It! -Or even in Not so Good a Rainfall. The Water has Absolutely Nowhere to Go!,-but to Run and Cascade Down the Side of That!,-It CAN'T Go into the Mountainous Ground the Least Bit at All!, -I Knew by the Quite Smooth, Polished Granite Surface that I was Walking On! -That It'd Be Utterly Slippery as All Heck!. Shud One be Caught Up There in a Rain or Downpour! -No Footing at All! One could Only Hope to be on one of the Not That Many,-More Level Approaching Stretches,-of the Trail. I'm Sure this Figures Into Precisely Why it is Smooth!,-All of the Millions of Years of Rains and Downpours which Have Occurred on It! But Everyone Please be Forewarned and Prepared!, -Shud you ever be Caught on Stone Mtn or any Other Rock.-Like That! OK now, -Back to Talking About my Own Area! )

Wild, Wonderful West Virginia!, -is Right Below! We are Only 3 Counties Above the Mason Dixon Line,-and All that is Good and Great About the American Southland!

Fort Neccessity,-Where George Washinton and His Group Camped Out During French and Indian War Times,-is There Too,-Right Near the Point where PA, Maryland, and West Virginia Meet. I Camped there once as a 12 year old Boy Scout!,-During an Allegheny Trails Council Camporee,-in 1970. I Learned the Hard Way,-to Prepare for Rain!,-on that Campout! When after a Few Days,-the Sky Finally Cleared and Blued!,-and There was that Beautiful, Patchy, Mackeral Cloud Sky!,-a Cheer Spontaneously Went Up!,-at our "Troop Spot"! -Obviously,-I Too Joined In! April 1970, -Right when Another Special Event in my Life was Going On,-Apollo 13. I Only Went on One Other Scout Campout,-During my Relatively Brief Time in Scouting. -An Also Very Special and Memorable Patrol Campout Not Far from Home,-( Washington County at the Time),-a few Months Later,-in Early June '70. At Neccessity,-We Walked Right Thru the Fort and Surrounding Grounds.

As you say, -There is Much Watershed History in This Area. -A Lot of French and British Rivalry for Influence, -The Strategic Westward Value of our Three Rivers or "Forks",-We are Called the "Gateway to the West"! ( St. Louis with It's Great Gateway Arch,-I Beleive Made Here,-is Also such a Western Gateway), -The Whiskey Rebellion, -and of Course the French and Indian War. This Area was a Heart of All These! PBS by the way,-I Hear is Soon Doing a Really Quality Documentary Series on this F & I War! It Sounds to me like you're the Kind of Person who'd certainly Like to Catch It!

And we of course for Decades Now!, -Are No Longer the Smoky City!

Thanks for your Kind, Sincere, and Complimentary Words on my City and Area!,

-But Along with my Own Sincere Compliments and All concerning my Area, -I'm Gonna Also Offer some Due Constructive Criticism Regarding It! There is Much that I Basically to Much Like or Love About this Area, -our Many Little, Winding, Blue Collar Roads and Houses, -Snaking Up our Wooded and Semi-Wooded Hills,-is Yet Another! But There's also a Good Number of Things, -That I'm Personally Less Than Pleased About!

Despite our Once in a Blue Moon Spurts of "Renaissance", -We are Quite a Non-Progressive City! Too Many just Want to Smoke their Smokes and Drink their Beer!, -and Don't Care Much for Such Things! As an outside Consultant once said, -We're the Champion of Studies! We even Do Studies on Studies!

What we Really Need!,-Instead of Unneccessary New Stadiums,-is Infrastructure Like More and Better Highways, Parking Garages, and the Like!

We also, -for Example, -Have a Lot of Litter and Trash Strewn About! They've got People Regularly Picking it up, -from Downtown Sidewalks, -but Between their Appearances, -You'd Never Know It! I'm Embarrassed for my City and Area,-in This Respect. We Long Ago Cleared Up our Legendary Smoky Skies!, -but Havn't Yet Gotten Anywhere Near a Full Handle on our Sidewalk Trash! ( I know this is Unheard Of!,-in Places like Toronto and Various European Cities. And I KNOW It's a No Go!, -in Trusbx's Singapore! )

Sorry.-my Town, -But I'll Call Both our Good and Bad Points as I See Them, -and for Exactly What They Are! ( Pick Up,-if you Don't Want me Talking on It! )

On the Plus Side again,-We Quite Well Followed Steel with Technology, and are World Class First Rate!,-When It comes to Medical Facilities and Research. We also are a Great Cultural and University Center, -and Have One of the World's Largest, Most Top Notch, -of International Airports!

I Know that my Areas of Honest Constructive Criticism, -Can Seem or Be At Odds, -With your Sincere, Well Meant Compliments, -of Which we in the Area Also Have!. I've Had to Say such Words on this Town and Area of Mine, as Well. -For I Personally Have Mixed Feeling about my Area, -Not All Good or Well Reflecting, -but Certainly Not All Badly Reflecting either!

Thanks Again for Your Words and Compliments on my Town and Area, -Both Outdoorswise, -and "Townwise"! [color:"black"] [/color] [email]Presumed Lost[/email]
_________________________
"No Substitute for Victory!"and"You Can't be a Beacon if your Light Don't Shine!"-Gen. Douglass MacArthur and Donna Fargo.

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