Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dryer Lint Fire Starters

I've decided to make January fire month! What an awesome name for a month. I love fire! In keeping with the theme for the month I am going to do a short series on pre-made tinder.

Finding good tinder is possibly the most difficult aspect of building a fire. A wise hunter will bring a small amount of tinder with him to the field or camp site. Tinder can be any material that will catch fire quickly. In the woods you would look for dry grass, leaves, or bark. However, there are some man made items that work even better than the stuff nature provides.

Growing up we made tender out of dryer lint and wax. Now that I am older I use a varitey of fire starters, but this is still one of my favorites.

You will need the following ingredients:

  • Dryer lint (the stuff that collects in the exhaust of your dryer)
  • Wax (old candles work great)
  • Toilet paper tube

You will also need:

  • An old pan or pot
  • Some aluminum foil
Melt the wax in your pan over low heat.

As the wax is melting, stuff the dryer lint into the toilet paper tube. You can stuff it in fairly tight.

Lay down the aluminum foil. This will make the clean up easier. 

Slowly pour the melted wax into the toilet paper tube. The dryer lint will soak it up. 

Let the wax completely harden. You can speed this up by placing the toilet paper tube in the freezer.

After the wax has hardened, cut the tube into wafer sections. It will be difficult. I use a meat cleaver.

There you have it!

There is a technique to lighting them. They do not just light right away. In fact, they can be difficult to light.

Right before you light them you need to take a knife and cut slivers into the edge. It is like you are creating a wick. These slivers are easily lit with a match or lighter. This type of tinder is not suitable for making fires with a flint or coal, you need an open flame.

Cut silvers around the edge.
These will burn strong for ten to fifteen minutes. This is long enough to light damp kindling. It is almost impossible to blow out once it gets started, but you do need to guard it when it is first lit.

They will even burn when wet. Don't believe me? Watch this video:

I turned off the camera, but after a few minutes the flame grows to encompass the entire wafer. If it gets wet in a real life situation it would be better to wipe off the access water.

This tender is not perfect for all situations. It requires an open flame to light, so you need matches or a lighter. This means lighting it in the wind can be a challenge. It is well suited for lighting a fire in wet conditions. In fact, it is probably the most waterproof tender you can find.

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