Going to try something this morning - new way to make fire happen easily

We had to let our fire go out last night, so decided to try something we just saw on a hoods woods video - starting a fire with a striker and a cotton ball that we’ve thoroughly rubbed vaseline petroleum jelly into. I’ll let you know the results after I try it.

Ok, here’s what we learned. Petroleum jelly rubbed into a cotton ball will hold a fire, but it won’t take a spark. It’s a clever idea about a way to keep a spark going while you’re adding kindling though.

I don’t understand… it won’t hold a spark?

I’m going to watch the video again with my grandchildren right now, so will see that particular segment again and see if I missed a step. I tried to get it to catch from a spark - the kind you get from striking flint and steel - and in spite of a whole barrage of sparks, it wouldn’t catch from the spark. But, when I added a bit of steel wool and got that to catch from the spark, then the cotton ball very nicely flamed up and kept flaming as I added kindling.

I don’t mean to sound unconstructive, but those methods require modern tools and resources. I am not saying that they are not helpful in some situations, but I would prefer to learn purely primitive ways to start a fire. Are any of those explained in those DVDs? I don’t have any experience, so I don’t really know how much primitive can one expect to get, or how important and useful it is to learn any of that stuff. Do you have any thoughts on that? Thank you for sharing, by the way. Peace :wink:

I’ve had the same inclinations as you, maziotis. At a lot of the gatherings I have attending, people have used flint and steel and charcloth. Personally, I don’t really care about steel tools. I mean, I’m fascinated by it all, and like to watch and learn as other people do it… you never know what the hell may happen. But I don’t see myself practicing anything above wood on wood action. Maybe a little cordage technology too.

well… if the cordage is done by you, then it is still primitive :wink:

to me the idea is to be entirely self sufficient, to understand in what ways can I live solely on wild nature. It is not just to plan a few days on the woods. True “rewilding” should not dependent in any kind of industrial structures. Even if you personally don’t have the means to practice those techniques in the long run, you are still exploring its sense and having the possibility to pass on the knowledge for a true unmediated way of living. I think it’s good to have a contact with that, even if it is just for a moment.

Oh yes, the video taught us how to make a bow drill first. Basically, the attitude is you use whatever you can use. Learn how to exist without anything - starting a fire with nothing but the ability to pick up a rock and use it to chop down a small willow tree and start the process of making a bow drill for instance. But, if you’re really, really cold, have gotten caught by a blizzard in the woods, could build a fire in a small snow cave you built, have kindling and wood - and a match - do you think you’d take advantage of the match to get that fire going faster? It’s a question of the difference between a hobbyist who is being “purist” about it and someone who wants to survive.

Yeah, you never know what materials are going to be available in a pinch… but cotton balls and vaseline… I just don’t seem them hanging around. I heard you can start a fire with an aluminum soda can and some chocolate. Supposedly you rub the chocolate on the bottom of the can and let it dry, then wipe it away and it creates a crazy shiny surface that you reflect the sun off of, similar to a magnifying glass. I’ve never seen this, just heard about it.

Maziotis and all-
I like to start my bow drill fires on a tinder fungus (fomes fomentarious). I believe you could find some analog in most locations. I need to experiment more but anyone else tried it? This is how I achieved my first bowdrill fire when wood (willow, I’ve heard it’s tricky) failed me. It is nice because you don’t have to carve the hearth board at all.

My mentality on the issue of “how wild do you wanna be?” is this:

I want to learn to work with the most primitive means possible, but I don’t want to disclude learning to work with wackier, more civilized materials.

Even if the crash happens suddenly in 2012, and those who survive are only able to do so by eking out their own living, we’re still going to be surrounded by civilization’s shit for a long time–like centuries. For the most part, I hope to be able to live in a tribal situation in the Ozarks, but there are always going to be pockets of decaying civilization around me. I’ll probably pass through those places as I forage, hunt and migrate. And if there’s anything that I could use to make things a little easier, then I’m going to try to capitalize on those materials.

Granted, some things are pretty out there. The cotton ball and vaseline idea sounds far fetched. But I just saw Survivorman light a fire with a dead lighter (no fluid, just the sparker), some toilet paper, and the lint he picked off his socks. To me, that just exhibits a good understanding of how to use what you have at hand.

yeah so no tubs of pertroleum jelly in the forest but what about chapstick or a jelly-based ointment? That’s in a lot of generic first aid kids, and maybe it would work too. Also where I live oil wells are everywhere and I’ve never tried to burn it but you can usually find some petroleum crud around them. (1000 NEW oil and gas wells went into the National Forest just last year, not to mention all the old ones from 150 years of drilling, and all the wells on private lands).

here’s the link to that coke can/chocolate bar experiment: linky