Problems with Flint & Steel

Muzzleloading Forum

Help Support Muzzleloading Forum:

TDM

69 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 28, 2022
Messages
3,458
Reaction score
6,327
Location
Louisiana & My camp in Mississippi
This is my char cloth cooker. It's a Part-all release wax can from my synthetic gun stock making. It measures about 5" diameter and about 3" deep.
Inside is a rack I made out of welding wire. 3 shelves, one piece of cloth on each shelf. I find it cooks better with air space between the layers instead of stacking them. I do not place a piece on the very bottom that's against the heat source.
I use my Coleman white gas single burner cook stove. Low and slow, and watching the smoke vent. It's done when there is only a very little wisp of smoke coming out the vent.
I experimented with the vent holes. I ended up drilling 4 holes and that was too much. I now use it with 3 holes plugged and one to vent. When it's done cooking I shut off the fire and plug the one hole with a #8 Phillips screw. I don't open it until it's cool enough to hold plus a beer's time.
My char cloth made with button up long sleeve carhartt shirt cloth which measures .018" thick comes out dark charcoal gray and pliable, and perfect. You don't want dark black and crispy. That's over cooked. It might catch and light but will crumble and fall apart too easily when your striking your rock. I would rather have a piece that I can control and make it do what I want.
View attachment 168639 View attachment 168640
Great advice, I see now that I definitely overloaded my container and did not plug the hole before cooling. Thanks.
 
Joined
Dec 30, 2012
Messages
1,618
Reaction score
2,054
Location
Living in the Past
I use dryer lint, punk wood, old worn cotton. It dont matter to me as I strike into my tin (altoids tin) then remove whatever piece has the best spark, then close the lid. My little vent hole never gets plugged, ever, and it extinguishes all remaining sparks once the lid is closed. Just remember DO NOT open that lid until fully cooled. If it gets a wiff of air it will light up!
Walk
 

TDM

69 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 28, 2022
Messages
3,458
Reaction score
6,327
Location
Louisiana & My camp in Mississippi
I use dryer lint, punk wood, old worn cotton. It dont matter to me as I strike into my tin (altoids tin) then remove whatever piece has the best spark, then close the lid. My little vent hole never gets plugged, ever, and it extinguishes all remaining sparks once the lid is closed. Just remember DO NOT open that lid until fully cooled. If it gets a wiff of air it will light up!
Walk
Good to know, and I’ve been saving cotton dryer lint. My wife and I always save dryer lint. Makes getting the fireplace going a lot faster. And at my camp a wood fire is all I have for heat.
 

Attachments

  • 18CBF832-4D89-4A8E-B2FF-9D06EB8F37BF.jpeg
    18CBF832-4D89-4A8E-B2FF-9D06EB8F37BF.jpeg
    1.7 MB · Views: 0

TDM

69 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 28, 2022
Messages
3,458
Reaction score
6,327
Location
Louisiana & My camp in Mississippi
I use dryer lint, punk wood, old worn cotton. It dont matter to me as I strike into my tin (altoids tin) then remove whatever piece has the best spark, then close the lid. My little vent hole never gets plugged, ever, and it extinguishes all remaining sparks once the lid is closed. Just remember DO NOT open that lid until fully cooled. If it gets a wiff of air it will light up!
Walk
Walk, I may have misunderstood, but do you or don’t you plug the hole when you remove your can from the heat?
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2005
Messages
1,374
Reaction score
820
Location
Montana
Low and behold! After about 4 strikes a spark caught on the denim. I had such low expectations that I hadn’t bothered to build a nest with jute and cedar bark as I had planned. So I grabbed a handful of pine straw and leaves and tried to get a flame. Wasn’t in the cards this time. And since I’ve already had an adult beverage I’ll wait and try again tomorrow. But overall I consider it a success!

And I appreciate all the help and encouragement. Thanks.



Congrats on your first batch of char cloth!

Whatever tinder you use, you want a decent amount of it. Grass tinder is often referred to as a birds nest. Whether using grass or wood shavings I form it into a birds nest shape, placing the char in the middle, then closing the nest over it. Having a decent amount of tinder also allows it to burn long enough to ignite the kindling you're using.

Some tinders take longer than others to ignite. If the tinder doesn't ignite before the piece of char you're using burns out then stuff another piece of char cloth in there. The first smoldering piece of char will get the second one going.

Its not needed but if you have access to birch bark, placing some scrapings in your birds nest will ignite the nest much faster. On this outing birch was nearby so I used it.
Old Hickory Tracker Outing and Ermine 090.JPG


Here's a grass birds nest I made with the birch scrapings in the center.
Old Hickory Tracker Outing and Ermine 138.JPG


IIRC I was using denim char cloth.
Old Hickory Tracker Outing and Ermine 144.JPG


Having enough tinder allows you to manipulate the birds nest as needed, keeping grass in contact with the char cloth.
Old Hickory Tracker Outing and Ermine 153.JPG


Old Hickory Tracker Outing and Ermine 155.JPG


I use wood shavings for tinder more than any other material. I can't always find dry grass in the winter. I can always get dry wood to make shavings from. Wood shavings usually take a little longer to ignite than grass.
Casting Ball Over Fire and BP Pistol Hare 003.JPG


Casting Ball Over Fire and BP Pistol Hare 008.JPG


I've also used birch bark alone for tinder. I tore some smaller pieces of bark and put them inside a larger piece of bark. I used a file instead of a traditional steel on this outing.
E - Improvise Flint and Steel - Int Outing 9 025.JPG


I'm pretty sure I added a second piece of char cloth to ignite the bark.
E - Improvise Flint and Steel - Int Outing 9 027.JPG


Once lit, birch bark stays lit.
E - Improvise Flint and Steel - Int Outing 9 029.JPG
 

SwanShot

36 Cal.
Joined
Feb 19, 2013
Messages
278
Reaction score
414
Location
Perth Western Australia
A mate of mine bought a flint fire starter kit. He tried it out in his back yard, among some dried grass down by the back fence. He couldn't get a fire started so declared it all BS and went inside to have a beer. Some time later, alerted by the screams and commotion he discovered the back fence was well and truly afire.
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2005
Messages
1,374
Reaction score
820
Location
Montana
Another thing I often do to keep my hands away from the heat is to use a couple pieces of bark to hold the tinder material. This works well with wood shavings and other materials that take longer to ignite. On this trip I was using inner aspen bark for tinder.

Here are a couple strips of bark to hold the birds nest.
Tea on the Hill, Bogdan, BCNW01, SAK Forester, Hunter 046.JPG


Using one of my favorite strikers.
Tea on the Hill, Bogdan, BCNW01, SAK Forester, Hunter 027.JPG


Placing the birds nest between the pieces of bark.
Tea on the Hill, Bogdan, BCNW01, SAK Forester, Hunter 033.JPG


With the bark my hand is far from the heat.
Tea on the Hill, Bogdan, BCNW01, SAK Forester, Hunter 034.JPG


The bark allows me to place the burning nest right where I want it without the hurry that comes with holding the burning nest in your hand.
Tea on the Hill, Bogdan, BCNW01, SAK Forester, Hunter 037.JPG
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2005
Messages
1,374
Reaction score
820
Location
Montana
Great advice, I see now that I definitely overloaded my container and did not plug the hole before cooling. Thanks.


It only takes a small hole in the tin. If you use a hinged tin (like an Altoids tin) you don't have to add a hole. Too large a hole will allow more oxygen into the tin, increasing the chances of the cloth igniting.

I've never plugged the hole on my tins when removing it from the heat. I do make sure the hole is clear with a sliver of wood occasionally while its cooking. Once the smoke stops coming out of the hole the char is usually done.

I remove the tin from the heat and let it cool before opening. Then I test a piece to see if it will take a spark. If it doesn't, it goes back in the fire.

E - Improvise Flint and Steel - Int Outing 9 033.JPG


E - Improvise Flint and Steel - Int Outing 9 035.JPG


Just because it look done doesn't mean it is.
E - Improvise Flint and Steel - Int Outing 9 057.JPG


Testing a piece. Its good.
E - Improvise Flint and Steel - Int Outing 9 061.JPG


A large batch of char cloth I made using a twig stove.
GPR, Char Cloth, Esee Steels, Last Ditch Kit 202.JPG


The smoke tells me this batch is getting close to being done.
GPR, Char Cloth, Esee Steels, Last Ditch Kit 207.JPG


GPR, Char Cloth, Esee Steels, Last Ditch Kit 252.JPG
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 22, 2005
Messages
1,374
Reaction score
820
Location
Montana
Sorry for so many posts. I love various methods of fire starting, especially flint and steel. :thumb:

You can also use a magnifying glass with char cloth. Notice this char cloth isn't blackened all the way through. This is often some of the best char cloth since it can ignite without tinder. The edge will take a spark but since the center didn't completely char it will ignite when it gets hot enough.
GPR, Char Cloth, Esee Steels, Last Ditch Kit 144.JPG


Focusing the magnifying glass on the char cloth.
GPR, Char Cloth, Esee Steels, Last Ditch Kit 153.JPG


Once again using birch bark for tinder.
GPR, Char Cloth, Esee Steels, Last Ditch Kit 161.JPG


GPR, Char Cloth, Esee Steels, Last Ditch Kit 164.JPG
 

toot

32 Cal.
Joined
May 9, 2013
Messages
6,760
Reaction score
3,276
My opinion, try not to pack your tin so full. Also once your bbq is warm, put the tin on the burner/bricks and not on the grill itself (I remove the grill before starting). Should only take 20 minutes(ish). Never really timed it.
Walk
I agree it look's that you packed the layers in the tin, to much packed into the tin, to get a good char. try putting less in an don't pack them, leave the layers fluffed up.
 

The Appalachian

45 Cal.
Joined
Jan 26, 2022
Messages
526
Reaction score
955
I plug the vent hole because the science behind this demands the absence of oxygen for a final product. During cooking the oxygen level is diminishing having only what was available inside when it was started, and finishing with an extremely low if not absent content of 02. Without this condition we simply burn the cloth up and are left with ash.
When you call it done the heat source is removed and the container cools. As it cools air is drawn back inside if there is a path for it to go, air contains oxygen obviously. If, IF IF, your char cloth is still hot enough when oxygen is introduced back to it, it can ignite and wreck all you've done by either burning up into ash or continuing until it's hard black and crispy.
That's all just basic physics and to me it's really no trouble to cover or plug the vent hole to ensure my char cloth stops where I want it to. I've seen some guys simply turn their container over in campfire ash with their vent now on the bottom and "sealed" with the ash.
 
Joined
Mar 13, 2020
Messages
4,648
Reaction score
11,107
Location
On the Border in Idaho looking at BC
Pssssst.! practice with the flint and steel, and hide a BIC in the bottom of your hunting bag :ghostly:

As an old ice fisherman, I can tell you a Bic doesn't work when that cold.
that's why i carry my bic in my pants pocket right next to the boys. keeps it working.
 

TDM

69 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 28, 2022
Messages
3,458
Reaction score
6,327
Location
Louisiana & My camp in Mississippi
Well, I FINALLY did it ! I was a little more methodical this time. I made my nest with shredded cedar bark, shredded jute, and a little cotton dryer lint for good measure. I raked up a mound of some leaves and pine straw and made hollow to place the nest once it was burning.
And I put the nest on top of a heavy welding glove.
I caught a spark on the 3rd hit !!!
Took about 10 good blows to get the nest burning.
Walked over and put the burning nest in the leaf mound and the fire spread very quickly!!!
 

Attachments

  • 30931915-6997-4CD0-A761-11BBF50D6423.jpeg
    30931915-6997-4CD0-A761-11BBF50D6423.jpeg
    2.4 MB · Views: 0
  • BAAAAA43-1AA6-4B09-8042-DA5974CA7575.jpeg
    BAAAAA43-1AA6-4B09-8042-DA5974CA7575.jpeg
    1.9 MB · Views: 0
  • 47A4BDC3-0498-4172-9BE8-D8353FB5F7E6.jpeg
    47A4BDC3-0498-4172-9BE8-D8353FB5F7E6.jpeg
    4.5 MB · Views: 0
  • E87F3C06-DA46-4E37-98E4-2EFB00E7D25B.jpeg
    E87F3C06-DA46-4E37-98E4-2EFB00E7D25B.jpeg
    2.6 MB · Views: 0
Joined
Aug 17, 2022
Messages
950
Reaction score
1,795
Location
Virginia
Well, I FINALLY did it ! I was a little more methodical this time. I made my nest with shredded cedar bark, shredded jute, and a little cotton dryer lint for good measure. I raked up a mound of some leaves and pine straw and made hollow to place the nest once it was burning.
And I put the nest on top of a heavy welding glove.
I caught a spark on the 3rd hit !!!
Took about 10 good blows to get the nest burning.
Walked over and put the burning nest in the leaf mound and the fire spread very quickly!!!
3rd hit. That's better than I did.
 

The Appalachian

45 Cal.
Joined
Jan 26, 2022
Messages
526
Reaction score
955
Good job, now master the fire bow.......

My oldest son back when he was 11 or 12 over a decade and a half ago jumped out of the truck one time as soon as we hit our fish camp spot and hollered "I got the fire this time".

Off into the trees he went carrying back an arm load of different stuff about 20 minutes later. He took his boot string off his boot which he'd made out of 550 cord at some point and rigged up a bow. He sat down on a rock and carved out an ember board and a spindle. He gathered up all his tinders and laid them out in what he wanted, and went to pumping on that bow.

Took him about 5 minutes and he had his tinders burning. I had no idea he'd been reading up on it and had figured it out. Gotta say it was a proud dad moment.
 

TDM

69 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 28, 2022
Messages
3,458
Reaction score
6,327
Location
Louisiana & My camp in Mississippi
Good job, now master the fire bow.......

My oldest son back when he was 11 or 12 over a decade and a half ago jumped out of the truck one time as soon as we hit our fish camp spot and hollered "I got the fire this time".

Off into the trees he went carrying back an arm load of different stuff about 20 minutes later. He took his boot string off his boot and rigged up a bow, which he'd made out of 550 cord at some point. He sat down on a rock and carved out an ember board and a spindle. He gathered up all his tinders and laid them out in what he wanted, and went to pumping on that bow.

Took him about 5 minutes and he had his tinders burning. I had no idea he'd been reading up on it and had figured it out. Gotta say it was a proud dad moment.
That’s great! But I’ll let your Son stay the fire bow champ, I’m wore out.
 
Top