How To Make Char Cloth
When considering the most basic forms of survival then the choices are clear. You have to priorities shelter, food, fire, water and defense. Your shelter is not going to win prizes for luxury home design, and your food won’t win awards for fine cuisine. But one thing that is always the same, and always essential, is fire. One way you can make sure you’re not going to be caught unawares with fire making is to make sure that you have some good supplies of firelighter and tinder ready and waiting for when you need them. Whilst there are always the options of using pine resin and Silver Birch bark as fire starting aids, don’t overlook an ancient, easy and reliable method of fire lighting using your own char cloth.
Home Made Char Cloth
Char Cloth tinder is great to have on standby, as it is one of the few firelighters which work even more effectively in windy conditions. It has been used over centuries to get fires started, but making it is a skill seldom passed on to the younger generation. This is a pity, since the process of making char cloth is simple, and the benefits enormous. Why not consider getting the family to help you make a store of char cloth squares to add to your survival supplies, just in case you should need them.
How it works
Char cloth is effective as a firelighter due to a chemical process known as pyrolysis. Without wishing to give a science lesson, pyrolysis is the thermochemical decomposition of organic material – in this case cotton cloth – at a high temperature, without the aid of oxygen. When you see a wood fire the flames are due to the gases which are being released by the process of pyrolysis. When you look at a charcoal fire, and see flame less glowing embers, you are witnessing the burning of the residue of pyrolysis. As you will see, the process of making char cloth is basically the same as making charcoal, only a lot more quickly.
To make good char cloth you need organic material
The cloth you use should be pure cotton or linen. Cut it up into small squares, about 2 x 2 inches, and pile them up into a stack.Find a tin to hold your stack of cloth scraps. You can use a tobacco tin, a paint tin (carefully cleaned), a coffee tin, a biscuit tin – anything, in fact, as long as it has a tight-fitting lid Make a small hole in the lid of the tin to allow smoke to escape Place the tin on barbeque embers or an open fire when you have one aligt Wait and watch for smoke to begin escaping from the hole you made in the tin When the smoking stops, turn the tin over in the embers and watch for smoke again.When all smoking has stopped, remove the tin from the embers Using Char Cloth as a Fire Lighter
You will now have made char cloth. Open the tin carefully, or wait until it has cooled. Your squares of fabric will be black and charcoal-like in appearance. Experiment with using it as a fire lighter. One spark alone will light char cloth, which is another great reason to have it in your survival supplies. Even in the wettest conditions, if you can make one spark you can make a fire with char cloth at your disposal. Try lighting it with flint and steel or a magnesium rod. When the spark hits the cloth it should begin to smoulder at a very, very low level. You can then add the smouldering cloth to a bundle of dry tinder, and blow on it to create fire. Be patient and get the whole family to master the art of fire lighting with the smouldering scraps of cloth. You will soon find that it is easy to light a fire. Collecting quantities of dry tinder and sealing in a waterproof container will make survival fire lighting easy, and with char cloth and dry tinder you will never be short of a means to keep warm.