The summer is coming along nicely here in the Shire, hot days and warm evenings have bought the BBQ out in us. Home made burgers and salad is a favourite of ours at this time of year.
When I use a BBQ, I enjoy the challenge of lighting it naturally, I usually use a flint and steel with some char-cloth and fine Birch bark to set light to some kindling that will then be covered with charcoal. I had a pair of white linen loons that I like'd to wear when the temperatures rose, unfortunately they have given up the ghost. I thought, as I'm running short of char-cloth I'd put them to good use. The material is purely natural, no man made fibres included, this is important. I have often used Denim successfully too.
I tear the cloth into strips and carefully roll the material, tightly to a size that will easily fit inside my trusty, rusty tin. I don't make the roll to big as I have to carefully remove the char-cloth once it's burned and cooled.
The tin has a lid with a good seal, it also has a tiny hole in it to let exhaust gasses escape during the burn. You can see the hole size in pictures further down the page. It also has a wooden plug that I can pop into the hole to seal it at the end of the burn.
I lit a fire, with flint and steel, and popped the can carefully on top.
For a short while nothing happens, then a flame or smoke will start issuing from the hole in the lid making a whooshing sound as it does so.
After some minutes the fierce flame will stop and white smoke will take it's place. The process is almost over.
Once the smoke has stopped, remove the can and place it on a fireproof surface. Quickly plug the hole. The can is hot so use tongues or a pair of sticks.
With it's stick plug sealing the hole, leave the can for a few hours to cool down.
The can has a roll of hot char-cloth within and if you are too quick to open the lid, air will get in and the whole roll could start smouldering. Char-cloth smoulders at a very high temperature, so be careful. Don't bring it into the house or tipi just yet.
Once everything has cooled and there is no longer a risk of ignition, pop the lid of and have a look to see if the burn was successful. In this case it was....
You can now remove the char-cloth and roll it into convenient sized pieces to fit into your fire starting tin.
I use a small tobacco tin, inside of which I keep flint and steel, char-cloth, Birch bark, fat lighter, a ferrocerium rod and a couple of pieces of cramp ball. This is usually all I need to turn a spark into a flame.
Hold the char-cloth close to the edge of the flint and strike with the steel until a spark catches and starts smouldering. This might happen on the first strike or the thirty first.
Once the spark has taken I introduce the smouldering cloth to some fine Birch bark. Once the Birch bark has caught I can light my kindling and then my charcoal. I'm going to have to stop now as I have to make some burgers and get the fire lit.
I have made provision for a couple of spoon carving courses here in Devon over the next couple of weekends. You can find information further down the page.
It'd be lovely to see you... J