My son is starting to get interested in bush craft/outdoor skills, mainly around building fire and shelter. Of course what boy (aged 5-95) doesn’t love fire, especially a son of mine. So far we have been starting fires at our property using a propane torch, and I don’t mean a little one, I’m talking about a weed burner attached to a 20 lb propane tank.
There is an interesting challenge to learn to build a fire with one match. Our problem so far is we really haven’t been gathering tinder or small kindling. Doing research on the internet talks about small fuzzy stuff like grass, shredded bark, wood shavings and pine needles as tinder. Also the kindling needs to come from dead wood that is in the air, small branches and twigs that are still attached to a tree. Once it has laid on the ground for any length of time it will absorb moisture from the ground and then will not start easily (unless you use the propane torch mentioned above). We need to learn to find DRY wood for this. I’m frequently surprised that wood I think is dry ends up with water hissing out of the end when I throw it on a fire that is already going.
Once we learn to build a fire with one match our next goal is learn to use one of the strikers that are commonly called “flint”. They are not really flint but are made of something called Ferrocerium. As I understand it using true “flint and steel” the spark was actually tiny particles of iron that were struck off, think running a grinder. The new ferrocerium rod systems the ferrocerium is what is consumed, so many people are now willing to use the back of their knife.
Once we are moved out to our 10 acres I foresee a lot of time spent building fires. After all what better way for a father and son to spend time together.