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Fire Lighting Tricks.

I have picked up a few little tips and tricks for getting a fire started and I thought  this might be a good place to put a couple of them.

I carry a small tinder pouch with me which is just an old tobacco pouch rolled up in a leather bag I made to fit.

Inside I carry a small tube for use as a blowpipe and I use the pouch to store any useful natural tinders or kindling I come across as I’m walking about.

Perhaps the most unexpected thing in there is an old pencil sharpener.

My tinder pouch, blowpipe and pencil sharpener

It’s usually not too hard to find dry twigs but it is the finer kindling that can often be hard to come by.  One solution is to shave down twigs with a knife to make fuzz sticks but the very design of a pencil sharpener makes it ideal for producing fine shavings from a dry twig.

It weighs a few grams but I’ve used it so often I don’t begrudge that and at times it can even be used to sharpen my pencil.

Pine Cone Dipping

I think I’ve posted elsewhere how useful pine cones are in fire lighting and I often use them in my Hobo Stove as a fuel.

Recently a good friend dropped one of these into my hand and said “you might like this.” She was right.

I use candles around the house and out of doors too. As such I often end up with candle stubs which I sometimes use for fire lighting.

For some reason I never thought of combining the two.

The idea is so simple I feel like a fool for not seeing the potential myself.

Now I collect all my candle stubs and melt them in an old paint kettle occasionally.

Tie a piece of natural fibre string to the top of a dry open cone and dip it a few times into the melted wax.

This works best if it is just starting to set again. Make sure you dip the string as well.

What you end up with is a pine cone coated in wax which will keep it nice and dry with a string wick to help you light it.

Pine Cone Candles
Pine Cone Fire Lighter

I’m not sure I would want to carry them about with me, as they are not the lightest of fire lighters, but I will certainly be keeping a few in my vehicle kit where I often carry fuel and heavier equipment for longer term camps. 

The picture shown here was taken about half a minute after first lighting the wick.

The wick starts to melt the wax and then the resinous wood of the cone starts to burn as well.

Here you can see some of the wax dripping out of the cone. In a normal fire lay this also helps to get some of the other kindling going but even in this simple test the cone burned for just over ten minutes on it’s own.

If that’s not enough to get even the most stubborn of kindling aflame, something is seriously wrong with the way your fire is set up.

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