Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Where There's Smoke... HEY! There's Smoke!

One of the most important elements in survival is fire. The ability to survive on your own hinges completely on your ability to obtain or create fire. Harry and I have been playing with fire (ha) for a while now. After some research he found some of the prime wood types that are indigenous to our area. One being Willow. You'd be shocked at how hard it was for us to grab enough Willow to create fire. It literally took us weeks to find a tree we could sneak up to and steal a branch from. (what?)

Once we did, it was on.

I will spare you the gorey details and the sweat (literally) that was involved with bow drilling and getting SO close. So many times we got a coal yet were unable to turn that coal into a fire.

Tonight we suceeded finally!

So you take one bow drill (sexy leg Harry).
You can see in this picture that we have had MANY attempts previously and FAILED.

Then you add the coal into a NEST of burny things and throw that into a pile of wood that you carefully create.

Now we even took it a bit further and because we wanted it to be easier the next time. Harry wanted to create Char-cloth. Char-cloth is a highly flammable piece of cloth that has been basically baked.  He found a recipe on the web. You take a 100% cotton portion of cloth, place it in a paint can that has a tiny hole on each side of it and place it into the hot coals from your HAND MADE fire. (We are brought to the part of Cast Away when Tom Hanks is dancing around the fire singing "I... Made.. Fire!") When the smoke stops SHOOTING out of the sides like a jet engine, it is ready to be removed from the fire. We then Jammed toothpicks into the holes and let it cool down. Once it cools you can take it out of the paint can and store it somewhere. This will catch very easily with a flint or whatever you have and help you make fire the next time.

Here we are prying open the can to see if we were successful at making char-cloth.

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We opened the paint can and revealed that we were successful (the fabric used to be white).

Now it doesn't look like much, I know this... but really so much work went into it. I hope that my post will help someone someday. A few things we learned in the process: 1. You don't have to be so vigorous with the bow drill that you tucker yourselves out.  2. Once you get the coal, don't rush to put it in the "nest" or kindling that you have. It needs time to form into a coal, other wise it is just smokey dust. 3. Bug spray. Wear it. Once you get the coal you will be hooked. If you have trouble turning the coal into fire, you will need the bug spray because you will keep trying and trying.

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