Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22

Thread: Punk wood with flint(rock) and steel

  1. #1
    Member RoadLessTraveled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Suburban Austin TX
    Posts
    48

    Default Punk wood with flint(rock) and steel

    I recently learned that uncharred punk wood can catch the sparks of steel struck against a hard rock such as quartz or flint. Here's a video demonstration by Flintlock (on BushcraftUSA) using sugar maple punk. This blew my mind and opened a whole new world of possibilities for me. Hope you find it useful too!

    http://s132.photobucket.com/albums/q...rrent=PUNK.mp4


  2. #2
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    KY bluegrass region-the center of the universe
    Posts
    9,259

    Default

    Glad your horisons have been expanded. I see you are new here.

    Read through the old threads and you will see that some of us have been using punkwood as firestarter for many years. This is a regular method of fire starting in the historic reenactment community. Punk wood and its near relative, char-punk, is more durable than charcloth and you can pick it up as you find it. If you bury the punkwood under the fire it will bake until charred and will light and hold the spark even easier.

    Some of us even prefer to carry knives that will throw a good spark off the spine so that finding a rotten log and a hunk of chert means we always have fire.

    This is the kind of knowledge that keeps people alive. It is also the reason ones powers of observation are so important in the woods. Noting every rotten log and each piece of squaw wood in your area has a purpose.
    Come to the dark side, we have pudding.

  3. #3
    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    tip of the mitt
    Posts
    4,878

    Default

    Punk wood is something. I was burning a brush pile a few years back and noticed a old stump smouldering. I went to stomp it out, no luck there. I had to fetch a bucket of water and drown it. Punk wood would probably work well for carrying fire too.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    699
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    I knew about punk wood, but I didn't know how to char it, thank you

  5. #5
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    KY bluegrass region-the center of the universe
    Posts
    9,259

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jake abraham View Post
    I knew about punk wood, but I didn't know how to char it, thank you
    The best way to char it is using a char-tin. Find an airtight tin and poke a small hole in it. An old shoe polish can will work well. Fill it with punkwood and sit it in the coals. As it bakes the wood will char and smoke will roll out of the hole in the tin. When the smoke stops your punk should be fully charred.

    I have a tin that I use to make the char and also carry my F&S and the char, a piece of frayed sisal rope and a candle stub. I truy to find something with an overlapping lid so I can make the hole in the side where the lip overlaps. This allows the can to make char with the holes lined up or be waterproof when the holes are out of line.

    You do not have to hold the char like the guy in the U-tube. You can open your char-tin and throw a shower of sparks directly into the tin, then pick up whichever chunk caught the spark. When you close the tin the punk will go out. This is espically good when you are working with cold hands or under difficult conditions.
    Come to the dark side, we have pudding.

  6. #6
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    SE/SW Wisconsin
    Posts
    26,293

    Default

    A drop or two of hot wax from the candle stub can also be used to seal up the hole in the tin,..... when done making more char cloth or punk wood....let the can cool, put your fixens' in the can.... then seal up the hole.
    When you want to use it next, the wax will melt out, for the vent hole.
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
    Evoking the 50 year old rule...
    First 50 years...worried about the small stuff...second 50 years....Not so much
    Member Wahoo Killer knives club....#27

  7. #7
    Member RoadLessTraveled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Suburban Austin TX
    Posts
    48

    Default

    kyratshooter, I figured it wouldn't be news to many of the members here. But when I heard about it, it really surprised me. Charred punkwood with rock/steel sparks - check. I've mastered that technique. Uncharred punkwood with the ferro rod - check. Uncharred punkwood with the weaker rock/steel sparks - come again?

    For the last several months I've been obsessively searching for milkweed and mullein at probably the hardest time of the year to find it. I broke down and decided to plant milkweed myself so I'd have a supply. One of four seeds that I planted about two weeks ago sprouted two days ago - the first time I've ever seen a live milkweed plant, can you imagine my delight Antelope Horns milkweed is very common around here during mid to late Spring. So I'm anxiously waiting for the native plants to start flowering. My quest for milkweed taught me that the monarch butterflies are struggling to survive: http://npsot.org/wp/story/2011/1702/ "In 2010, the monarch butterfly was added to the World Wildlife Fundís Ten Most Threatened Species List". So I'm looking forward to spreading the seeds. I encourage all you readers to do the same. You can get some milkweed seeds for free here: http://www.livemonarch.com/free-milkweed-seeds.htm This is how I got started. They sent me a pack of about 300 seeds.

    So back to punk wood. When I learned that something as common and readily available as punk wood possessed this special property, I was relieved that I didn't have to depend solely on milkweed and mullein.

    What types of wood have you all been able to use? So far, the only type of tree I know of is sugar maple. Does punk wood from all types of trees work about the same?

  8. #8
    Member RoadLessTraveled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Suburban Austin TX
    Posts
    48

    Default

    hunter63, great suggestion for keeping the charred material dry. The thought had come through my mind, wondering whether I should keep one tin for charring and a separate one for carrying the charred material. I really like your suggestion.

  9. #9
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    KY bluegrass region-the center of the universe
    Posts
    9,259

    Default

    Sugar maple is really the best, but I have also used punk from white oak with good results and I have taken punk from logs that were so far gone they could not be identified. The testure and condition of the wood is more important than the species. Just remember that you are looking for true punkwood and not terminte eaten powder! I would say use several kinds and try to remember what they were before you started.

    Punkwood is the souths' replacement for that char fungus everyone up north brags about and 90% of the world does not have.

    Beats me how everyone thinks the whole world is just like their back yard!

    For anyone that has not experienced making charcloth or char punk Crashdive did an excellent video that shows the full process.

    http://www.wilderness-survival.net/f...418#post335418

    Remember to only use 100% cotton cloth. No poly or wool blends.

    Linen works even better. It is tougher and does not fall apart in use.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 03-19-2012 at 09:44 AM.
    Come to the dark side, we have pudding.

  10. #10
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    SE/SW Wisconsin
    Posts
    26,293

    Default

    RLT, nothing wrong with bringing up stuff that catches your interest.....too many times those that know, assume that everyone else knows, as well......and this applies to a lot of things.
    A well explained definition/or demonstration can mean the difference of understanding, or not.

    It wasn't till a few years ago that I realized that most peoples definition of fire steel was really ferro rod, not flint (chert, rock) and a piece of carbon steel that would throw sparks. I just assumed everyone knew the difference.
    Strangely enough the first time I heard of a mag block/ferro rod was on the TV show "Survivor", seems I had been tromping around in the woods hunting, fishing, camping, rendezvous....with out that basic knowledge for a lot of years....it's a wonder I'm here to tell it.

    I also applaud your efforts in "finding" fire starting materials/methods in the "wild", and as been brought up, your local "wild' varies a lot by location....and is truly a skill to make it work.

    To me having a collection of cotton balls, PJ, dryer lint, ferro rods, fire blocks and all that stuff rates up there with road flares.......they all work, but you gotta bring them with you.
    BTW dried rabbit pellets don't seem to want to catch a spark.......And I guess I haven't found the right kind of fungus, so now I gotta try different kinds of punk woods....LOl, will it ever come together?
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
    Evoking the 50 year old rule...
    First 50 years...worried about the small stuff...second 50 years....Not so much
    Member Wahoo Killer knives club....#27

  11. #11
    Member RoadLessTraveled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Suburban Austin TX
    Posts
    48

    Default

    kyratshooter, hunter63, I appreciate your insight. Sounds like different woods do behave differently. And it sounds like punkier is better. Have you noticed any difference between sapwood vs heartwood?

    Yeah I wish chaga and other spark-friendly fungi grew around here. Sugar maple doesn't grow in Texas either. There are some other types of maple that do grow here which I plan to explore. Do either of you have any opinion as to whether or not the sugar content in the sap might play a role in the ease of catching sparks?

    hunter63, you hit the nail on the head. I want to know how to coexist with the wilderness, to go into the wild with nothing and receive from it all I need to survive, and in exchange for allowing me to intrude, to pledge my nurture and protection of it. Punk wood sure seems like such a type of providence. To neglect it would be like starving in a grocery store.

  12. #12
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    KY bluegrass region-the center of the universe
    Posts
    9,259

    Default

    RLT I think it is more the texture of the wood as it decays than anything in the sap content. By the time wood goes punky I doubt there is much left but the celulose fiber. I just like the stringy texture of the maple. White oak has much the same texture, like a woody sponge.

    As it happens I just had to take down a well weathered white oak that has been standing dead for ten years. It has a layer of punkwood coating the outside as though all the sap wood turned to punk and left the heart wood intact. Probably a pickup load of punkwood lying in the yard right this minute!

    This kind of info is what makes me hate the new technology of stainless steel and plastic everything! Time was that every kid had a barlow knife with a carbon steel backspring that would spark a piece of punkwood with any piece of chert you picked up from the roadside. Now we are spending $35 for fancy ferro rods and think we have to have a special striker and of course everything we carry must be waterproofed and poly coated.
    Come to the dark side, we have pudding.

  13. #13
    Member RoadLessTraveled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Suburban Austin TX
    Posts
    48

    Default

    kyratshooter, thanks again for sharing your understanding of punkwood and what makes it effective at catching sparks.

    So sugar maple and white oak are known good material, with sugar maple being the better of the two; the punkier the better.

    Any other types of wood? Has anybody ever managed to catch sparks on only slightly punky wood?

    Your wife let you keep a dead tree in the yard for 10 years?!? You da man! That deserves an instructional post all of its own!

    We had a severe thunderstorm here in Austin last night. I'm going hunting for white oak and bigtooth maple branches today!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Sparky93's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Posts
    1,434

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RoadLessTraveled View Post
    kyratshooter, thanks again for sharing your understanding of punkwood and what makes it effective at catching sparks.

    So sugar maple and white oak are known good material, with sugar maple being the better of the two; the punkier the better.

    Any other types of wood? Has anybody ever managed to catch sparks on only slightly punky wood?

    Your wife let you keep a dead tree in the yard for 10 years?!? You da man! That deserves an instructional post all of its own!

    We had a severe thunderstorm here in Austin last night. I'm going hunting for white oak and bigtooth maple branches today!
    You got to understand, he lives in Kentucky, things like that are easier to get away with. Just hide it among the auto parts strewn throughout the yard and no one will ever know it's there.... JK Kyratshooter, have to give you Kentuckiens a hard time now and again lol
    "Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing."
    Thomas Paine

    Minimalist Camping: Enjoy nature, don't be tortured by it. Take as little as you need to be safe and comfortable.

  15. #15
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    KY bluegrass region-the center of the universe
    Posts
    9,259

    Default

    The tree was standing dead in the yard when I moved here 3 years ago. The danger of its rickity condition finally dawned on me a short time back and I decided to get a tree service in to take it down. Normally I would have done it myself but it could only fall in one 20 foot zone without doing major damage. Big tree....big big tree!

    The way you get your wife to allow the tree to stand is to not have a wife to keep you on your toes over these situations. I am single and the guy that borders me on that side is also single so we did not have any "motivation" in force.

    Due to the big tornado a couple of weeks ago I also have a second mature elm down in the yard. I dropped it due to a big split in the trunk and the fact that it was going to fall in the next storm, right on my bedroom!

    As far as hiding trees among the car parts, that does not hold true in my case. Both the vehicles run and are parked out front. The RV, cargo trailer, utility trailer, the big boat and the little boat are all lined up neatly in a row beside the storage shed.

    Junk cars filling the yards are not as prevelant in KY any more. The price of scrap has cleared many a rural lawn of its Detriot manufactured yard orniments. Once the billbillys realize they can get $200 a pop for junkers they become major enterpreneurs. It has caused severe social stratification shuffleing due to the people that were once shunned for the condition of their property now being the wealthiest people in their towns.

    I have also mowed the lawn already this year. I had too, the goats all ran off.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 03-20-2012 at 07:43 PM.
    Come to the dark side, we have pudding.

  16. #16
    Member RoadLessTraveled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Suburban Austin TX
    Posts
    48

    Default

    There weren't as many fallen branches as I'd hoped. While I drive to/fro work I try to scout for uncultivated properties where trees might die from not being watered, etc. But probably I'll need to go out more into the rural areas.

    KY, you've got a great sense of humor. Thanks for starting my day out with a good smile.

    To recap, sugar maple and white oak are known good material, with sugar maple being the better of the two; the punkier the better.

    Any other types of wood? Has anybody ever managed to catch sparks on only slightly punky wood?
    Last edited by RoadLessTraveled; 03-21-2012 at 11:39 AM.

  17. #17
    (FMR) Wilderness Guide pgvoutdoors's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    1,991
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    A drop or two of hot wax from the candle stub can also be used to seal up the hole in the tin,..... when done making more char cloth or punk wood....let the can cool, put your fixens' in the can.... then seal up the hole.
    When you want to use it next, the wax will melt out, for the vent hole.
    Good Tip! I like to use Bee's Wax, it doesn't chip as easily as paraffin wax.
    "Just Get Out!"
    WildernessSkillsTrailhead.com

  18. #18
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    SE/SW Wisconsin
    Posts
    26,293

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pgvoutdoors View Post
    Good Tip! I like to use Bee's Wax, it doesn't chip as easily as paraffin wax.
    That is what I use, but can see what you mean.
    Bee's wax candles are most always used, for the a candle lanterns, and all the ends are saved for the fire kits, or even just tucked in your pocket....emergency fire starter helper.
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
    Evoking the 50 year old rule...
    First 50 years...worried about the small stuff...second 50 years....Not so much
    Member Wahoo Killer knives club....#27

  19. #19
    Member RoadLessTraveled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Suburban Austin TX
    Posts
    48

    Default

    I went out and scouted a source of punk wood today - a brush recycle center in north Austin. I had hoped to find a wide variety of different types of wood collected after our recent storm. No such luck. But it was a fruitful mission. I found one large log that was heavily decayed. I collected some of its decayed wood. I also found two mushrooms growing out of it. They're not chaga or shelf fungus, unfortunately. But I'll dry them and see how they behave. Also, they happened to have some recycled stone aggregate, which around here means limestone, calcite, and flint. I collected about 5 pounds of flint. They let me have all the scraps I collected for free and, with an amused tone, heartily welcomed me back for as much as I wanted
    Last edited by RoadLessTraveled; 03-22-2012 at 04:57 PM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    SE/SW Wisconsin
    Posts
    26,293

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RoadLessTraveled View Post
    ......... I collected some of its decayed wood. I also found two mushrooms growing out of it. They're not chaga or shelf fungus, unfortunately. .........
    Care should be taken to identify what those fungus are, by some one that knows for sure........FYI
    Or as DW says....always save a piece.... to show the EMT's what you poisoned your self with....
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
    Evoking the 50 year old rule...
    First 50 years...worried about the small stuff...second 50 years....Not so much
    Member Wahoo Killer knives club....#27

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •