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Thread: Best homemade fire starter tinder I've found

  1. #1
    Woodsman Wiggy's Avatar
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    Default Best homemade fire starter tinder I've found

    I used these at my last hunting camp and they were a life saver. Nothing but soaking wet wood to burn due to three days of hard rain before arriving at camp and no time to look for or make dry wood. They're very water resistant and give a nice, tall, and long lasting flame which is needed to get a fire going when it's all soaked. It may take a minute for it to really get going, but when it does, it's tough to put out. Burn time is about 10 minutes.



    Just a side note, I tried using half a cotton ball, but the results weren't nearly as good. Seems a full cotton ball is needed to get a good burn time and flame height.


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    good idea. enjoyed the vid.

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    Great! You just let the cat out of the bag! That was one of my best "Wisdom of the ages, weedcraft secrets". Now everyone will know about it and I will be relegated to the dust bin of old guys that walk around in the weeds. Since you have the time and the video capabilities, how about showing the second best homemade fire starter using gunpowder and acetone? Might as well let it all hang out there for people to see and learn, I guess that is what this forum and website is all about. Good job on the video by the way, no George Lucas, but way better than I could do. I think Lucas would have used a little tannerite and a bucket of diesel for that showy, over the top effect. Nothing like a good house sized ball of fire to "sear" the method/technique into memory.
    "Don't practice till you get it right, practice till you never get it wrong." - Anonymous Talkatus 260 B.C.

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    Senior Member Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Well thought out. Glad you put that together.

    Well a couple of shared thoughts... UCO storm matches are older than me. A few years back I was watching an old John Wayne movie where he was attempting to catch someone starting forest fires and finds a "used" wind match in the brush near a source of fire.

    Esbit is the same as the mentioned Wetfire fire starter and is cheaper. Esbit and Wetfire are hotter - wind proof - last longer and outstanding in soaking conditions when started.

    As for your go to wax - paraffin idea, well that works for you, everyone should be OK with that. Vaseline is a good substitute and can pack tighter, I would also recommend a carbon patch to aid in starting with a flint.

    Would I wrap in aluminum foil no, I have that as a wind screen in my stove set up - a duplication.
    vac seal? no need -what you showed us once sealed with wax should be waterproof.

    Do I need three ways to start a fire?... maybe,

    White Bic, Carbon Patch, and a last resort is a single Esbit in the pack, those are my tools.

    I also have a Fresnel lens in my wallet
    I also have a polished soda can alcohol stove bottom.


    On a final note there is no substitute for stripping the bark off wet twigs to get a dry fire with a knife.
    "Never work against mother nature"--Caesar Milan.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Personally I think the fire starting thing has been overthought...but a good vid never the less......
    Thanks for posting.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    wow.............................
    "Never work against mother nature"--Caesar Milan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    Personally I think the fire starting thing has been overthought...but a good vid never the less......
    Thanks for posting.
    It has been overthought. But I don't think that is such a bad thing. It would be better perhaps if a person just developed the skill and experience to start fires with one paper match and tinder, or flint and steel or a magnifying glass. Every year there is a new crop of inexperienced people trying to learn the old ways of starting fires. It is an option these days, not much need for old ways in the life of a modern teenager. While they are out there trying friction, sparks and lenses, it would be great if in the furthest corner of their pack or pouch they had a method and materials that will start a fire no matter where they are on the planet, at anytime of the year. I would hate to think my kids had given up trying because they had one really bad night trying to start a fire under all the wrong conditions and ended up squatting in a windbreak shivering with their knees up to their chin while waiting for the sun to come up. It might be enough to make them stay inside and play video games the rest of their lives, after having failed at living with "cold, cruel Mother Nature". The more ways a person can learn and practice such an important skill as fire making, the better. Having a sure fire backup when they have overestimated their ability might make it easier to stick with the program when they are in over their heads. Every year there is a graduating class of humans that think they know everything right up until the moment they find out they don't know squat. If they are not prepared to overcome the failures that occur in learning, they usually give up and find something easier to do. Like hang out at the mall and learn what government assistance is all about from the others that hang out there. But I digress. It is overthought, but only to us old guys. To the people starting, stumbling over the small stuff is part of the new adventure.
    "Don't practice till you get it right, practice till you never get it wrong." - Anonymous Talkatus 260 B.C.

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    Senior Member natertot's Avatar
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    Good video and how to. Not bad at all and I actually do something similar.

    I use wax scrapped from old candles. Finding old junk candles at yard sales can be extremely cheap.... if not free! I melt the candle wax down and then dilute it with Petroleum Jelly, about 50/50 wax/jelly. I then soak the entire ball in it and wrap them individually in foil.

    I don't use these all that often, but keep a few around as an alternative option "just in case". I even give a few out here and there to people who are fascinated by them.
    ”There's nothing glorious in dying. Anyone can do it.” ~Johnny Rotten

  9. #9

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    Neat and cool and groovy, great job on the video. Valuable skills to have, even for backyard barbeques. People should really discourage the use of lighter fluid and other gimmicks for their backyard barbeque fire making, so that they will have good fire making skills in case those skills are really needed during a blizzard or typhoon -- just my personal opinion

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    Woodsman Wiggy's Avatar
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    Huh? People are still watching this??? LOL. First off, I'm glad you guys liked the video.
    There seems to be a question on who the intended audience is for this. This is not for the "old heads" out there (you guys have seen it before), or the guy who is out there for the "bushcraft" or "survival camping" experience. Those activities are based around improving yourself as an outdoorsman or woodsman and fire making methods like this will not make you a better woodsman, lol. This is for a real world survival kit for times when all else fails, or for times when making a proper fire isn't possible or efficient due to time constraints.

    I've used this while tracking and it works great for that. You're essentially following someone else into their survival situation in an attempt to get them out and if you're forced to stop to start a fire (which is something you really wouldn't want to do due to how it could contaminate the tracking area) you wouldn't have time to search around for dry wood and ideal materials for fire making. Although WetFire would be more of an ideal product for such limited uses, this is a cheaper alternative to those and have a longer shelf life. I also used this for hunting camp. I'm out there to get deer, not practice survival skills, lol. The more time I take to gather or make dry fire wood, the less time I have to hunt, which makes this stuff awesome as you can just get a bunch of wet wood and this will still light it right up. And of course this would be a good, cheap, option for the novice who is lacking in fire making skill but still wants to enjoy the outdoors with a bit of a safety net.

    Hunter63 has a good point, fire making has been over thought. Such a basic survival skill is going to be like that. But who doesn't like finding new ways of doing old things? Plus, it's always good to have a plan B... Or C or D when the situation dictates, or for just sharing some "gee whiz" information on your youtube channel, or contributing to your favorite survival forum, lol.

    Overall, this is not an everyday use item, just as most of the items in my survival kit aren't for everyday use. But for those times when failure is not an option, you want a lot of tools in the tool box to get you (and possibly your team or your patient if you're in SAR or tracking) out safe. Again guys, thanks for the kind words and thanks for watching the video!

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Just a word to the wise....
    You want fire?....Hang out with a smoker....they can light a fire on Mars..., on the back side of the planet...if they need a smoke you will see a light and have fire.

    Trust me on this.

    PS.
    I don't smoke anymore.....but did for a long time....and I try every way that has been presented to achieve fire....some work out, some don't.....
    There are methods that haven't work for me, ..yet...just means I haven't figured it out yet...but know how.

    As long as you have the basics in your head.....and can get something going with what you have...You are successful.
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
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  12. #12
    Woodsman Wiggy's Avatar
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    I just quit smoking actually, lol. Stopped on the 12th of December. Been going nuts ever since. Well, nuttier than usual.

  13. #13
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Has been Dec.13 2013, @11:32 AM......
    Took a triple by-pass, but still haven't smoked anything since.
    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

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Congrats!!!!! I stopped 6-7-89. I figured I could remember that date. Now, take all that money you were spending on cigarettes and put it in savings.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    I have figured about $5200 per year....so up to $10400 so far.
    Called my "fun, fund....".
    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

  16. #16

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    I quit a 3 pack a day habit on February 15, 2001.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    Just a word to the wise....
    You want fire?....Hang out with a smoker....they can light a fire on Mars..., on the back side of the planet...if they need a smoke you will see a light and have fire.

    Trust me on this.

    PS.
    I don't smoke anymore.....but did for a long time....and I try every way that has been presented to achieve fire....some work out, some don't.....
    There are methods that haven't work for me, ..yet...just means I haven't figured it out yet...but know how.

    As long as you have the basics in your head.....and can get something going with what you have...You are successful.
    Last summer I ended up teaching a couple decades-long smokers that they could use a magnifying lens to light a cigarette. I was more shocked at their surprise than anything else!

  18. #18
    Senior Member Pennsylvania Mike's Avatar
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    I quit smoking 11/1/1974 when my wife told me she was pregnant with our son, the most I ever smoked was while at Fort Dix when a pack of cigarettes was $0.10 and a carton was $1.90.

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    I use "gel wax". I melt it in a pot, dip my balls and let dry. They come out water proof, pliable and not messy as with PJ.

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    LOL, after re-reading my post I see it could be taken as a really funny statement

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