Char cloth

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by Huntinbull, May 25, 2011.

  1. Huntinbull

    Huntinbull Monkey+

    Any good sites or videos for making char cloth? Would like a reference.
  2. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    BlueDuck, arleigh and Mansoor like this.
  3. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    It's almost like making charcoal or operating a "gassifier" unit. All you need is like a 1 quart or 1 gallon sized paint can ( new and clean of course!) with the lid. Punch a small vent hole in the lid, about 3/16 of an inch, place cotton ( only) cloth inside, smaller pieces work better than a single large piece....about 1/4 to 1/3 full ( loose)
    Then place it on a heat source (outside) with the lid in place, and wait for the steam and smoke to disspiate from the vent hole. ( some prefer to light the venting gases and when they stop burning, they consider the process complete) When it stops venting, remove the can from the heat source and cover ( not PLUG!) the vent hole to keep the air ( oxygen) from entering and causing you to end up with ashes. Let it cool and open the lid, and there's your char cloth!
    RAMBOCAT, kellory and Mansoor like this.
  4. Huntinbull

    Huntinbull Monkey+

    Thanks guys. brokor, great video. Dragonfly, great instructions.

    I had a buddy who lived nearby that I have known since junior high who always had char cloth and gave me some on every outing. Never occurred to me until he moved that I didn't know how to make it. Feel like a heel for only now realizing how i took him for granted. live and learn i guess.
  5. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    I enjoy learning new things, and if it weren't for others out there, I'd never know how myself!
  6. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    Its actually quite easy. I bought a small kit that had a tine, flint, striker, and different materials to catch a spark. I imagine you could find the same thing online somewhere. With the included instructions, I had no trouble the first time I used it. Hemp and other natural materials will work too if you don't want to sacrifice part of your clothing.

    Later, I went to a fire-making course. It covered other methods I wanted to learn. Someone broke out the flint and steel. I quickly confirmed my ability to catch a spark and blow it into flame.

    It's something fun to learn and important to try before you really need it. It may be one of the earliest methods- using iron ore and flint. Kids love this sort of stuff too.

    Stick had a pic of an early "match" made from cotton cord that was charred on one end and stuck in a brass tube. I can't seem to find it at the moment. I intended to make one, but never got around to it. What I figured would work well, Stick confirmed this, was 22 Mag shells with the rim ground off. I always thought that method was a better method than just char cloth. It's something you could easily pin in your hat and always have to catch a spark. With regular char cloth, you end up wasting a lot, whereas the match could easily be snuffed out and preserved. To better explain the "match", think of a matchlock. That is sorta the idea.

    ETA: Here is link to Stick's pic post #48:
    Brokor likes this.
  7. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

  8. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Watch the video in this thread posted by Sticks. Now, he does make it look easy, but he uses sound methods and prime tinder, so it is not as difficult as it is for you. Also take notice of the fact that he uses beefy char material. This is why I favor char rope over char cloth because it will hold that ember a little longer and burn hotter. The next point of interest is the way he holds the char material inside the dry moss cupped in his hands. You don't want to squeeze the living daylights out of the moss, and you want to leave enough room for the char material to get oxygen. By blowing slowly and steadily, you can acquire a flame, but be careful not to blow too hard at first. The basic concept is that you have to have good tinder and good char material, the better the quality of the materials, the more success you will have.

    I can only guess that you were using char cloth that was too thin and tinder which was too "airy" and didn't contain enough combustible material. Drier lint works well, but sometimes the added detergents and softener can cause the spark to smolder and not take hold. In this way, the drier lint has a similar quality to the char cloth, so it negates the purpose. You and I live in the same area of the country, and I would try to use some dried pine needles and thinly shaved tree bark of your own liking with some dried moss, leaves, or vine material as tinder.
  9. sticks65

    sticks65 Monkey++

  10. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

  11. Huntinbull

    Huntinbull Monkey+

    I appreciate all the GREAT info shared on here.
  12. Huntinbull

    Huntinbull Monkey+

    made some char cloth and tried it out. Note to self. use white cloth next time. hard to tell if it is evenly charred with black.
    Hispeedal2 and Brokor like this.
  13. usa83

    usa83 Monkey+

    I have to try this when I get home. Any thing that will help with fire building never hurt. Thank you.

    Brokor likes this.
  14. Warden7

    Warden7 Monkey+

    Just got a new fire piston in the mail, works great but need to make more tinder. Thanks all for the advice.
    Brokor likes this.
  15. sticks65

    sticks65 Monkey++

    Kind of you to say so,thanks.
    Ganado likes this.
  16. Just cause I wanted some paint cans I went to the Sherwin Williams paint store and bought me some quart and gallon ones empty.

    I put my cloth in a quart one with a small hole in top.

    put it on the grill or in a fire and when smoke comes out the top I light it.

    When flame goes out the char cloth is done. (remember to let it cool off in the can before you open it works best for me.)

    I love keeping mine in a tin box with a flint and striker. Have one from Dixie Gun works that has a magnifying glass in the lid (tinderbox) no idea if they still make it or not as I bought it twenty or thirty years ago.

    Which reminds me I need to get me another dixie gun works catalog.
    modernwoodsman likes this.
  17. Empty paint cans... Great idea! Will have to go and get some thanks!
    Thaddius Bickerton likes this.
  18. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Try this site.....the site also has articles on a wide variety of primitive survival topics. The article is well illustrated with pictures.
  19. lemon_fresh

    lemon_fresh Monkey+

    Huh. Never realized you could light the smoke. Might be easier to keep an eye on it while multitasking.

  20. marlas1too

    marlas1too Monkey+++

    never used char cloth i keep some cat tail tops in a zip lock bag and use a small bunch to start my fires with a spark from my flint rod
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