A LIVING HISTORY BLOG.

18TH CENTURY LIVING HISTORY IN AUSTRALIA.

Friday, 14 May 2010

More On Flint & Steel Firelighting.


I have decided to write a little more on flint and steel fire lighting. I just watched a video that showed a chap using flint and steel. I am not going to say that he was doing it wrong, but in my opinion he could have been better prepared and there is a better way of doing it. I will not post this on that site, because in that way lies grief! Instead I will simply post here how I suggest it can be done with better results.

Firstly I strike the steel with the flint, I do not strike the flint with the steel holding a piece of tinder with the flint. The latter method does work & may well have been one of the traditional ways of making fire, but personally I prefer to use a tinderbox.

If you keep your tinder in a tinderbox and the tinderbox is itself kept dry inside a fire-bag, then you can strike the sparks directly into the tinderbox. You can then either take the tinder out of the box and place it in a dried grass kindling nest, or do what I do and simply put the kindling grass to the tinder in the box and blow it into fire. Then you close the lid of the tinderbox and snuff out the glowing tinder.

This is my greased leather fire-bag. This keeps my tinderbox dry, it also contains a beeswax candle stub, and a small amount of kindling.

The tinderbox has another function. If you want to make a lot of charred cloth for tinder then you can use a tin with a lid with a hole in it and use it as a small oven. You place the cloth in the tin, put on the lid with a hole in it, and put the tin on the fire. This is not how it was done originally in the 18th century or earlier, but it does work. When the smoke or flames stop pouring from the hole in the lid, you remove the tin from the fire and plug the hole in the lid with a twig/stick.
Wait until cool and remove the charred cloth.
But when you are using plant tinders in the field, the easiest way is to char the tinder directly in the fire, then place it in your tinderbox and close the lid. Job done. You can even add some uncharred tinder in the tinderbox as it will slowly get charred with use when you strike sparks into the tinderbox and make fire from the tinderbox.

2 comments:

grimbo said...

useful as ever,thanks keith..

Le Loup said...

Thanks for your comments Grimbo, always appreciated.
Regards.