View Full Version : flint and steel question

10-22-2007, 02:55 AM
I just read on the "Primitive Skills E-Mail Questons" that with flint and steel, QUOTE: "You won't get a lighted coal unless you have some char cloth material under the flying sparks." I don't use flint and steel to start fires. Was wondering if anyone could tell me if this is true or not? If true what good would flint and steel be if you ran out of char cloth and you didn't have the right cloth material to make more.

10-22-2007, 06:30 AM
Many things wil catch the spark besides char cloth. The dry powdery fungus on trees also chared cattail fluff are just a couple.You don't absolutely need a flint and steel 2 pieces of iron pyrate can give you a spark aswel.

10-22-2007, 02:08 PM
Hello, corndog-44! I agree with HOP, there are a lot of materials other than char-cloth to catch a spark from Flint and Steel. I've even used the lint from our clothes dryer! I'd like to share an easy way to make as much char-cloth as anybody would ever need. (Maybe even use it for barter!) I went to a local Mountain Man demonstration a couple of weeks ago, and watched a fellow use flint and steel with char-cloth. So I asked how he replenished his supply, and he said the trappers would use any spare time around camp making it with a metal tin that has a tight fitting metal lid. I used a small popcorn tin I purchased during the local Boy Scout fundraiser. It held about 14 ounces or so. I punched a single hole in the middle of the lid, set three old pairs of BVD's inside and set it in the coals of a hardwood fire I had built in my back yard. Actually, any material that is as close to 100% cotton as possible will do. As the cloth charred, a stream of smoke, then a jet of flame came from the top, but since no oxygen could get in the can, the cloth didn't burn. As soon as the can had cooled, I took a piece of it and used my flint for a spark. It actually smells like coal burning, and man is it HOT! If we're speaking of strictly "Survival", though, you really can't beat the Magnesium firestarters for a quick and HOT flame. I've decided to learn as many ways to make a fire as possible, and use what comes handiest. Hope this helps! NorthWind

10-23-2007, 07:24 PM
In the top of my tin is a tiny pin hole. When I want new char cloth, I just put square pieces of t shirt in it and throw it in the fire, closed. When the smoke stops coming out of the tiny hole, pull it out, keep it closed because if you open it, it will burst into flames.

Let cool and you have char cloth.


The tin is an altoids can. Boy do they come in handy.

Old dead punk wood works well, dryer lint, cotton balls with vaseline, try it all.

10-24-2007, 09:57 AM
Char cloth is an excellent aid is starting a fire, but by no means is absolutely necessary.