What I thought we’d do today is: we would go back and put another article on our basic survival series: basic survival knowledge series on how to build a proper fire leg, how to build a proper bird nest or tinder bundle, and how to ignite that and coax It into flame one of the things that I truly believe is that you have to practice skills continuously so that you can maintain ownership, lots of survival, type skills or sustainability.
Type skills are perishable skills. They have to be practiced on a continual basis and dirt time is the only way to do that and there’s one thing about fire. That is absolutely true, and that is that usually your fire is going to be the hardest to start and the hardest to maintain. When you absolutely need it, and if you think about that, it’s true, so the more we make fires in the more ways we use to make our fires with different materials with different ignition sources, with different types of fire, lays all of those things in different weather Conditions especially go to owning that skill, and if you own that skill and it becomes muscle memory, it’s much easier for you in an emergency scenario – stay with me we’re going to get started so we’ve gone out.
We’ve collected these two larger branches. I’ve also collected a large pile of smaller sticks and put them in my pack, as you can see here, what we want to do with these smaller sticks after we get them out of our pack and onto the ground. Is we really want to categorize? These sticks to begin with, to say which ones are going to be initial kindling and which ones are going to be fuel and if any of them are a possibility to be used as a tinder resource or if there’s tinder resources available on them and the main Reason I collected these two tulip: poplar branches is to process my tender, so what I’m going to do is I’m going to categorize the sticks.
First break up the larger tulip poplar that will let the bark come off of that tulip poplar as I process it. I can strip it off, so we’re going to create our fuel pile and our kindling pile and we will process our tinder or our bird’s nest after the fact and you’ll see that start to come apart as we process this wood so stay with me. Okay, so in my mind, when I am getting, my fire lay ready, and these small sticks like this are pretty much just going to be the lower part of my fire delay to keep my fire off the ground because they’re too small to really do a lot With as far as the length goes, where they were broken off, sticks like this that are around the size of pencils or smaller, are going to be my kindling.
So I want to separate those as best I can from the rust and put those in an individual pile and that one right there is kind of pushing the upper limit of what I would call kindling anything bigger than that is going to become fuel and the Key to a good fire is to make sure that you put your components on the fire around the fire in the fire when you build it, so that your smallest material of your most combustible material, because it’s smaller in diameter, it’s going to combust sooner.
That’s like trying to hold a cigarette lighter on a match, the opposite end, not the match head in, but think about a match or a small pencil and hold your flame over that pencil and see how long it takes for that to catch fire. Then do the same thing with the stick. The size of your thumb and you’ll find out if both sticks are the same from the same material that someone the size of the pencil will catch fire more readily because it’s smaller it takes less time to heat.
That up so things like this are going to become a fuel source, and I don’t want these things to be too long. But I don’t want me to be too short, which is why I put most of these in this pile because they were what I would consider to short and I’ll continue to process this stuff down, and you can see there’s a tulip poplar right there. I can tell by the stringy bark that this is tulip poplar and if I were worried about that, I would take that off.
But I’m not worried about it because I’ve got some bigger pieces. If I were trying to conserve bird nest material or something like that or I was short on bird nest material, then I would worry about collecting that stuff up. Once I get my stuff categorized into piles, I want to look and see what I’ve really got, but I haven’t process my two branches down yet so I have a long ways to go for me. Generally speaking, I’d like to have my tinder pile and my fuel pile pretty much equal to begin with, and then my sustainability fuel, which I would consider things bigger than my thumb, is going to be my smallest pile in the beginning, and I work up to that.
As I go so now, we have our fire leg base here of small sticks. We have a pile of pencil, size and smaller sticks here we have something bigger than pencil size here and we need more of this. So now we’re going to get our tulip poplar branches and we will begin to process them down by coming up here to the end and breaking off these smaller sticks and putting them into respective piles in the respective links.
Just like this, and as we break this down, you can see this bark that’s coming off. This is going to become our bird nest material. So any of this dried bark, this really fine, hairy bark that comes off of here. This is what I want to put in my bird nest, pile and I’ll put that over here off to the side on a stump. I won’t worry about getting too ridiculous with it, because I have a big branch of this stuff, but as I go, you can see that stuff is going to break off as I go and as it breaks off that’s when I’m going to collect it and pile It up whether it’s a big piece right there, so we’ll grab that and we’ll collect it up.
Okay, so now, let’s evaluate this bark that we have anything that looks like it might be damp, I’m going to set it in one pile away from the rest, because it’s not going to be as highly combustible, but it will absolutely burn as soon as I get Open flame to it, so if it doesn’t look bone-dry like this and it’s got a different color to it, then I’m going to set it aside and I’m going to keep the stuff.
That’s bone dry like this, and this is what I’m going to start the process for my bird nest and the way I’m going to do that is I’m just going to start turning it over in my hands just like this, and what that’s going to do is That’s going to break all the outer bark off in that outer bark well, generally speaking, fall onto the stump and can be wiped off and out of our way and it’ll take a little while to get all of the inner bark out of this.
So we’ll just continue to shred this and work it in our hands until all of the inner bark or most of the inner bark is gone, and we can just wipe that into a pile of small pieces and get rid of it. Now we don’t have to be as critical with this bird nest if we’re not trying to ignite it by ember. If we’re satisfied that we have dry enough material, that it will ignite with our fair cerium, rot alone, we don’t have to be as critical as far as how fine this material has to be.
What we do want is a lot of fine fibers like this, that are sticking up in the air to catch our sparks that we do want. So we still have to be cognizant, at least of that, and if there’s some outer bark left in there, that’s not going to matter either with the ferrocerium rod fire now we’re starting to get less of the bark here and we’re starting to get more fine fibers. Those fine fibers are what I’m going to strike in the end with my ferrocerium rod in the middle of my tinder bundle, which is what this is or bird nest, depending on how you want to term it.
It’s not really a bird nest because we’re not using an ember we’re going to strike into it with our feral rod, and this stuff right here is what we’re going to strike. So we’re going to set this aside on our haversack, getting rid of the dust and continue to process now. One thing – that’s very important for us to understand in this process is that the size of our tinder bundle or the size of our twig bundle or the size of our bird nest, depending on how we are igniting.
This fire is the amount of time we’re going to have a pure flame to ignite our kindling and our fuel and make a sustainable fire, so the bigger this is and the more dense the material as far as burn ability goes. If it’s dry grass, it’s going to burn up very quickly inter barks burn slower, so we want to be cognizant of that as well, because it’s going to dictate how long we really have to get our fire going.
Okay, so now we’ve got to make our initial fire lay. What we want to do is we want to take. The smallest sticks that we have first, and we want to kind of make a teepee like this, so that we can take advantage of the updraft effect of our flames on our heat, so that that updraft will come through here and heat always is going to rise. And so will our flame and we want it to be able to have plenty of places to get to so we’re going to build this in kind of a teepee fashion, giving ourself a place to put our tinder bundle, but we’ll be able to pull this down Over the top, when we’re done and I’ll show you what I mean by that after we get our tender bundle left, but this just needs to be random doesn’t have to be stacked in any particular fashion, but you want to make sure that it can breathe.
So you don’t want to put so many sticks on here that there is nowhere to have airflow. Then I’m going to take some of the smaller sticks that I’ve got my big pile and start working them in on the outside. Then I’ll get a few a little bit bigger and then work them around the outside okay, so once we’ve got those sticks on our a-frame or our teepee, whatever you want to call this, all we’re going to do now is we’re just going to make sure we’ve Got a good place for our tinder bundle.
We slide it in there. It’s not going to knock everything down because we’ll pull this over the top. When we get our bundle in here, but we won’t add any more fuel to this fire until the flames are above. The current level of fuel and that’s what’s important to understand otherwise, we’ll smother the fire we have to provide Heat, we have to provide oxygen or air flow and we have to provide fuel now.
At this point, I’m just going to take my tinder bundle, not that small fuzz that I’m going to light with my Ferro rod, but just my tinder bundle or my bird nest, whatever you want to call it and stick it in my fire leg. Just like this spread it out a little bit, so they can flame him up, and I want to create a little pocket right here and that pocket is where I’m going. To put this small highly combustible material, and I want to give it plenty of airspace fluff.
It out a little bit and expose plenty of fine hairs. Now right here to the side, I have my wetter, bark and my fuel, so this water bark I’m just going to kind of take it and rough it up a little bit. I’r not even worried about making this perfect, because this is going to be fuel, then I’m going to add – and it’s going to be my emergency fuel, because I know it’s going to be highly combustible compared to the fuel in case my fire starts to go out Or something goes wrong, I’m going to keep this by as an emergency to put on my fire a little lot of time.
If I have to once I know my fire is sustainable, then I can use it or I can save it to dry out for the next fire, depending on whether I have to use it or not. I’ll set that off to the side and my fuel pile is here: okay, now at this point, I’m ready to ignite my fire, but what’s important to understand, is the proper use of this ferrocerium rod. A lot of people make the mistake of taking their knife and pushing it away from the rod like this, and what that does is it makes you push your knife into your tinder bundle, or your fire lay and blows everything apart.
What you really want to do is you want to anchor that knife somewhere close to your ignitable material or the material that you plan to combust, find yourself something good, that you can rest your hand on. That’s not going to move, get your thumb tuck in there. Real good, then you want to pull the Ferro rod toward you like this, hold the knife study and pull the feral rod toward you. You now I could be on the ground blowing my guts out right now to give this thing air flow, but if I’m wearing a wide brim hat, I got that licked.
I don’t have to worry about it. I always want to add oxygen or air from below the fire at the base of the fire, not on top directly down on top of the fire. I got a good thick tinder pile in there. It’s going to take it a while to burn, and that’s good, because that’s going to give me plenty of time for those flames to ignite my Kinley. Remember what I said the size of that tinder bundle is going to dictate how long you have of open flame to get combustion effected on the stuff that you’ve got piled on top of it, like your tinder bundle like your kindling once I’ve got that burning, pretty Good I’m going to go ahead and pull that down just like that over the top, where I can still push fire or push air in from the base down here.
Once I get flames up into the canopy of that teepee. Now I can just let the fire do the work once I have flames above the fuel now I can add some bigger pieces of fuel on there spread them out like this, so I’m not closing the oxygen off to the fire and again let the fire do. The work alright folks, i’m dave cameron, pathfinder school. I appreciate you joining mater for this quick back to the basic lesson on how to build a proper fire leg, collect the proper materials, build a proper tinder, tight bundle, ignite that bundle and airflow to the bottom.
Your fire to get a sustainable fire. This fire has been burning for less than five minutes and it’s plenty sustainable. That’s. What you need to understand is how to make a quick, sustainable fire will save your life. I appreciate your views. I appreciate your support. I thank you for everything you do for me for my school, for my family i’ll be back to another article soon, as I can thanks guys, you