Equipped To Survive Equipped To Survive® Presents
The Survival Forum
Where do you want to go on ETS?

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#40251 - 05/01/05 11:31 PM Working With Wet Wood.
Anonymous
Unregistered


I went on a BSA campout this weekend in the the largest sawmp in North America. We got their by car and canoe, and when we arrived it started to rain. My Senior Patrol Leader made us set up tents right away. It was by that time fove o'clock P.M, and we were hungry. But there was a problem, for all our food was to be cooked over a fire. Although the rain had almost stopped, this was still a problem. We had to make a fire using Very wet wood! My scoutmaster made us dry the wood over the fire, but this created lots of smoke and didn't work well. My question is, how do you start a LARGE fire using very wet wood? <img src="/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" /> : <img src="/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

Top
#40252 - 05/01/05 11:42 PM Re: Working With Wet Wood.
Anonymous
Unregistered


Someone please respond. I don't want to be cold and wet again!

Top
#40253 - 05/02/05 12:30 AM Re: Working With Wet Wood.
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
David, you still sound cold and miserable <img src="/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" /> Your leader wouldn't put gasoline contaminated with water in his gastank would he? I don't know what your woodsource was, but was he trying to teach some character building life lesson or perhaps doesn't know any better? There is always dry wood available, even in a Cajun swamp with fireflies mimicking Jaque LaFitte's ghost. I bet old Jaque would have handed you a boarding cutless to split and trim the wood down to the inner dry portions. I also bet that old pirate would have kept a weather eye on the horizon and maybe bring in or protect the firewood at least for the first night, and build a seperate fire downwind specifically to dry out additional billets. <img src="/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

Top
#40254 - 05/02/05 04:57 AM Re: Working With Wet Wood.
AyersTG Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
>> My question is, how do you start a LARGE fire using very wet wood? <<

You can't - not really. Chris K. put you on the right track. Smaller fires are usually better anyway.


It pays to mind what species of wood you're using, too - doubly so when it seems like all the wood is wet. Red oaks are sponges, for example. (I'm not crazy about any oak in a camp fire in the first place - fine in a fireplace or stove, but...) But sometimes you just have to make do with whatever is available.

So having enough dry fixings for a couple of fires can be a real life-saver. Carry some fatwood, at least. And have some means of splitting available wood into smaller diameters. Following assumes that you have a stout locking folder, fixed blade knife, hatchet, or small ax:

If the only wood you can find is wet, split it down to pencil diameter - a good -sized pile say about enough to fill up the big cookpot in your patrol cookset. Then split another cookpot full in pieces ranging from about 1/2" to 1" in diameter. There is no sense trying to get going faster - split up all that stuff first, and keep it from getting any wetter than it already is - keep it out of the rain. If the ground is totally soaked, make a platform with small diameter logs (2" - 4" in diameter) and build the fire on that. Start your fire with your fatwood and add the small diameter split stuff loosely - build it up but don't choke it. When you have a solid blaze going with coals starting to build up, start mixing in the larger split stuff in with the remaining small stuff. Don't put anything damp on the fire unless it's at least split in 1/2 and preferably split in 1/4s or better - the less bark and the more splintery faces and edges the better.

Ash is my favorite fuel wood; osage orange is great if you can break it up (spits a lot, but what coals!) and dry mulberry is almost as good if most of the bark is off, hickory is good and walnut not bad - well, plenty of good wood around here - but you need to split your wood in really damp conditions. Learn what good firewoods are common in your area

If the rain is really pouring down, you'll have a tougher time and might want to shield the fire from the rain. It's pretty miserable under those conditions and I can think of very few reasons why anyone would need to stay out in the rain messing around with a campfire - getting out of the rain is more important.

A tarp and a backpacking stove has always been my preference in those conditions. All my scouts carry at least an Esbit stove in their ready packs and many of them have moved to small backpacking stoves instead. An Esbit stove, a canteen cup, and a foil windscreen cut out from a disposable aluminum roasting pan has cooked many a meal and brewed many a cup of hot beverage for my scouts - food for thought. They don't PLAN to use the Esbit stoves (well, not usually), but they beat the heck out of cold food and beverage under those conditions. We get the stoves for around $5 each, which includes a box of fuel (Stove is Esbit brand and fuel is generic - the real Esbit Tabs are larger and cost more.) Many hardware stores carry Weber solid fuel charcoal starter, which looks and burns amazingly just like Esbit fuel (hexamine)...

For a very lttle effort and even less cost you could make alcohol stoves. There are many designs to choose from, but they all work roughly as well, even the simplest ones. A small alcohol stove, 3 tent pins (or 40 penny pole barn nails), and a foil windscreen could help you out... the smallest kettle in your patrol cookset will hold enough water for 1-2 scouts to make a meal. (Supposedly a 2qt kettle, but it only holds about 1 quart with enough headroom to boil water without slopping over).

In your neck of the woods any cannister stove will work pretty much year-round without being finicky - there are some very inexpensive ones available from Coleman, Markill (and re-branded Markill), etc. More on that some other time if you're interested.

And of course there are the old standbys (white gas stoves). Most troops around here just use an ordinary 2 burner Coleman stove (white gas or propane) when canoeing... still need a tarp if the rain is coming down.

Hope that gives you a few ideas - be a good idea to practice this stuff before you need it. I'll be out camping with scouts every weekend this month and they will be using, at various times, all of the above... including campfires. Going to be a great month...

ADV/ASM Ayers
Crew & Troop 258
Illowa Council

Top
#40255 - 05/02/05 02:25 PM Re: Working With Wet Wood.
brian Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 1468
Loc: Texas
Quote:
And have some means of splitting available wood into smaller diameters. Following assumes that you have a stout locking folder, fixed blade knife, hatchet, or small ax:
I can't help but be reminded of a recent thread over at BF about fixed blade knives being banned in the BSA.

I'm curious. Did anyone in your group have a fixed blade knife or a hatchet with them on this trip?
_________________________
Learn to improvise everything.

Top
#40256 - 05/02/05 04:27 PM Re: Working With Wet Wood.
AyersTG Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
>> I can't help but be reminded of a recent thread over at BF about fixed blade knives being banned in the BSA. <<

They are not banned. I let some of my scouts carry them in their packs whenever 1) We are not on our local reservation 2) They ask me in advance.

Local policies vary all over the place. Sometimes there are good reasons for the policies and sometimes there are not. Just like life in general...

I've come up with some "legal" alternatives for some big knife tasks when we are on our reservation - basically a cross between a small froe and a drawknife. One variation works best as a froe because it's mild steel. The other works as either - it's made of hardened and tempered steel. A third variation based on a utility file (integral handle) works OK, but the teeth get loaded up with wood pulp when splitting and a little extra care is required to use the file (one edge sharp) as a file.

Grind up a knife with no point, put a handle on it, call it a wood splitter and it seems to be OK with about anyone.

I would just as soon never see most of my scouts with an axe or hatchet, but alas! It's still part of the Totin' Chip requirements. My Dad taught me axemanship starting at the ripe old age of 5 and I did the same with my boys - plus we all had/have enough opportunities to practice enough to stay moderately skilled but infrequently enough to remain respectful. Even my one rural scout doesn't use an axe at home, so... I'd rather see axes go away from scouts. 30 minutes (or less) a month just doesn't do anything more than make them dangerous.

Top
#40257 - 05/02/05 05:59 PM Re: Working With Wet Wood.
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
I wonder why the scoutmaster insisted on a wood fire in the rain??? I suppose he was trying to provide a learning experience, but one thing you need to learn for a survival situation is not to cause hypothermia trying to build a fire.

Of course, the large swamps probably aren't bone-chillingly cold right now..... But the thought comes to me about people who are emotionally unable to change their plan when the circumstances change.

Sue

Top
#40258 - 05/02/05 06:03 PM Re: Working With Wet Wood.
fordwillman Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/04
Posts: 103
Loc: Arizona
Well, Scouting has sure changed since I was in Scouts in Iowa years ago. We ALWAYS had axes, hatchets and sheath knives for working in the woods. Is it really that hard to teach the boys how to respect and use axes??? I thought that was the whole point--teach the boys how to develop skills that they did not have??

Top
#40259 - 05/02/05 06:19 PM Re: Working With Wet Wood.
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
In the past, kids were taught how to handle knives, axes & firearms as soon as they were big enough to hold them.

In today's protect-the-kid-from-everything-except-televison society, it is assumed that the kids are too stupid to learn. Actually, the parents are just too lazy to teach them anything useful, if they know how themselves, which most don't.

Sue

Top
#40260 - 05/02/05 06:21 PM Re: Working With Wet Wood.
AyersTG Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
>> I wonder why the scoutmaster insisted on a wood fire in the rain??? <<

No data. We are not exactly overrun with experienced woodsmen, for what that's worth. Most truly competent outdoorsmen prefer to do their own thing instead of invest in the future of a bunch of other folks kids (yeah, that's bitter - but the truth). I guess I'm a wierdo.

I'm in the midst of a revolt I started here about a lot of that stuff, so I'm not going to comment further. I'll tend my own fire. At least some adult males took those guys out... and it is a heck of a lot of time spent by active scouters - time with other folks kids. My neck fur goes up when capable guys NOT active in Scouting lob all-knowing grenades at it, and by association, the folks who try to make it work for the lads. (No, no one in this thread is doing that.)

Tom

Top
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >



Moderator:  Alan_Romania, Blast, cliff, Hikin_Jim 
March
Su M Tu W Th F Sa
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31
Who's Online
2 registered (Russ, M_a_x), 237 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
Janysboy, FlyerOne, galenSOM, milspecretail, jleeryan99
5276 Registered Users
Newest Posts
Hazards we face - What are the odds?
by brandtb
Today at 01:31 PM
Where to discuss knife rights?
by Phaedrus
Yesterday at 05:57 AM
Can't use it if you don't have it
by hikermor
Yesterday at 03:56 AM
Customizing Your Medical Kit
by Jeanette_Isabelle
03/20/19 01:26 PM
Bear Spray or Handgun in a Pack, are not Bear Spra
by chaosmagnet
03/19/19 01:37 PM
New portable Solar charger
by Russ
03/18/19 05:12 PM
To Build a Fire - Jack London
by hthomp
03/17/19 05:27 PM
Survival book borrowed in 1977 returned to Library
by Jeanette_Isabelle
03/17/19 02:40 AM
Newest Images
Tiny knife / wrench
Handmade knives
2"x2" Glass Signal Mirror, Retroreflective Mesh
Trade School Tool Kit
My Pocket Kit
Glossary
Test

WARNING & DISCLAIMER: SELECT AND USE OUTDOORS AND SURVIVAL EQUIPMENT, SUPPLIES AND TECHNIQUES AT YOUR OWN RISK. Information posted on this forum is not reviewed for accuracy and may not be reliable, use at your own risk. Please review the full WARNING & DISCLAIMER about information on this site.