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#38056 - 04/14/05 03:36 PM Re: FIRE STARTING TINDER IDEAS

Registered: 02/25/05
Posts: 33
Ok, well it looks like there was a glitch in whatever I did before trying to get a fire with vasoline cotton balls. I got some XL balls the other day from Wal-Mart and the jar of goop and although I tried this out in my fireplace, I didn't even have to shave the magnesium off the fire starter. i just struck the bar and away it went...I want to try it also water soaked, in the rain, etc..but so far, so good. I can't wait to get into the outdoors and cook hotdogs over a fire I built without a BIC!!
I am stoked now..I already feel more secure in knowing them dang cotton balls will burn forever with cheap old vasoline!!
19+ years US Air Force. Heavy and Special Equipment Mechanic.

#38057 - 04/21/05 04:43 AM Re: FIRE STARTING TINDER IDEAS
Craig_phx Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 715
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I tested Vaseline and cotton balls. When it is dry, it is wonderful for starting a fire. It is very easy to start and burns with a big flame for a long time. When it gets wet it is useless. If you are counting on it to save your life from hypothermia when it is cold and wet you might die trying to light it. I recommend Coghlan’s Emergency Tinder and/or a small 3” piece of pine pitch wood. You use the pitch wood like a magnesium block. You scrape the side until you get a pile the size of a quarter. Then you hit it with a spark. It will burn for about 30 seconds. It works well when wet.
Thermo-regulate, hydrate and communicate.

#38058 - 04/21/05 01:00 PM Re: FIRE STARTING TINDER IDEAS
NAro Offline

Registered: 03/15/01
Posts: 493
Although I agree with your other recommendations, I don't share your experience about vaseline/cotton. I've taken a bit, dropped it in a slush puddle, shaken the water off and blotted slightly, then found it ignited well with my firesteel (once, actually in a heavy snow storm). I do spread and pull the cotton ball out to almost a gauze-like sheet, which I bunch up a bit. It actually did save my life from hypothermia in the cold/wet.

#38059 - 04/21/05 02:42 PM Re: FIRE STARTING TINDER IDEAS
dchinell Offline

Registered: 02/08/02
Posts: 312
Loc: FL
I had to burn some trash yesterday, and decided to light the fire using my BSA hotspark, experimenting with various kinds of tinder.

Dog hair doesn't work.

The leaves and thick paper I had to hand didn't work, even when I held them on top of the rod. The paper almost went, but not quite.

Finally, I scraped some scraps of cotton string into a fluff, and that did the trick.

No fire, no steel.

#38060 - 04/22/05 09:02 PM Re: FIRE STARTING TINDER IDEAS

Hair will work, but if you've got enough to start your tinder, you'll probably loose your lunch, as it stinks to high heaven, and the smell lingers for days(triple+ showers won't get rid of the smell if you singe too much body hair, and yes I do know from personal experience).

#38061 - 04/23/05 01:10 AM Re: FIRE STARTING TINDER IDEAS
bountyhunter Offline

Registered: 11/14/03
Posts: 1224
Loc: Milwaukee, WI USA

That's what happens when you have THOUSANDS of rounds of rifle ammunition laying around, and no slingshots. <img src="/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

Bountyhunter <img src="/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />

#38062 - 04/23/05 11:27 AM Re: FIRE STARTING TINDER IDEAS
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1204
Loc: Nottingham, UK
"The leaves and thick paper I had to hand didn't work, even when I held them on top of the rod. The paper almost went, but not quite." -- Paper can sometimes be made to work if you scrape thin bits off the surface with a knife. A spark from a flint has a high temperature but low heat. It's hot but it cools down quickly, so it works best to ignite something that's very finely divided. It can't heat thick paper enough but it can heat thin scrapings or paper dust. Finely divided tinder is also more flammable because it has more exposure to oxygen. These are reasons why cotton wool is so good.

I find commercial tinder works best, and carry some of the SparkLite tinder, but like a cigarette lighter or matches it will eventually be all used up. If you can improvise tinder, a flint rod will start fires indefinitely. There are plants that work, but in an urban setting paper may be easier to find.
Quality is addictive.

#38063 - 04/23/05 05:09 PM Re: FIRE STARTING TINDER IDEAS
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
I started a fire once with the lint in my pocket. And if you're wearing something cotton, you can sometimes scrape the surface to make your own lint.


#38064 - 04/23/05 05:20 PM Re: FIRE STARTING TINDER IDEAS
bountyhunter Offline

Registered: 11/14/03
Posts: 1224
Loc: Milwaukee, WI USA

Let us not forget that if your bellybutton is an "innie", you can always get some lint out of there. <img src="/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Pity the poor unfortunates that have an "outie" bellybutton. <img src="/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

Bountyhunter <img src="/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />

#38065 - 04/25/05 01:42 PM Re: FIRE STARTING TINDER IDEAS
dchinell Offline

Registered: 02/08/02
Posts: 312
Loc: FL
I failed to mention in my original post that a big part of my trash fire starting experiment was to do it with what I had in my pockets at that moment.

I had the BSA Hot Spark and a Leatherman SideClip and a PocketWrench II, but no actual tinder. Of all the materials in the trash, the cotton twine worked with just a few tries.

No fire, no steel.

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