Well, it’s mid February now and the cold is really starting to nip. We’ve been loving how our wax wool eco firelighters are lighting our fires quickly and cleanly with no chemical after smell. Together with a little stack of our kiln-dried kindling a nice little log fire takes light in no time. We wonder how we managed without them! Paper twists were a favourite of my father’s while my mother boasted she could light a fire with just a quarter of a firelighter and the right pieces of coal. How times have changed but some things we don’t miss.
So How Do You Light Your Fire?
Here are a few ideas for lighting a fire without using matches or firelighters: First make a tinder nest out of any dry plant material that easily catches fire. You can use dry grass, leaves, small sticks, and bark. This nest will be used to create a flame out of the spark you create using any one of the methods below:
Using Batteries and Steel Wool
Take some steel wool and rub it on the battery terminals. Continue to create friction by rubbing the steel wool on the batteries. You are basically creating a current through the tiny steel wires that then heat up and ignite. Blow gently on the steel wool as it starts to glow. Once the steel wool is glowing brightly, transfer the steel wool to your tinder nest, continuing to blow lightly on the nest until the tinder ignites, creating a flame.
Using Flint and Steel
Take some flint rock and hold it between your thumb and forefinger. Hold a piece of char cloth between your thumb and the flint. A char cloth is simply a linen or cotton cloth that has been burned in a low-oxygen environment. It provides fruitful ground to catch your sparks. Take the back of a knife blade and quickly scrape the steel against the flint. Continue to strike until sparks form. Catch the sparks with your char cloth and continue the process until the cloth glows like an ember. Transfer the glowing char cloth to your tinder and gently blow.
Using a Lens or Magnifying Glass
You need sun for this one! If you don’t have a magnifying glass, eye glass lenses or binocular lenses work as well and adding water to the lens creates a more intense, focused beam of light. Tilt the lens toward the sun until the lens creates a small circle of focused light on the tinder nest. Hold the lens in place until the tinder begins to smoke and flame. Blow lightly on the tinder nest to nurture the flame.