Thursday, February 20, 2014

Firestarters How-to

 It's winter, but at our house that does NOT mean that we aren't hanging outside! It does mean that our supplies of dry tinder are dwindling, and fire starting is getting trickier. (I rarely have piles of waste paper around, first world Druid problems.)

I do, however, have a box of old candle stubs and half empty tea-lights. ( Double boiler of course, with an old pan you aren't fond of.)

I also have a box of dryer lint, saved for just such an occasion. Some notes on that - the suitability of dryer lint for burning is dependent on the fiber content. Wool does not burn well, synthetics smoulder and melt. Fortunately, most American wardrobes have a high percentage of cotton, which makes rather flammable lint. To test your lint, pinch off a bit and try lighting it ( don't hold it in your fingers directly!) If you get a smouldering melting mass, it will not serve as good firestarters. To be clear, even a "pure" cotton lint will not burn clean and bright, as it likely has lots of dyes, dirt and foreign bits in it, but it will burn fine when covered in wax.
 I created a "mold" with a waxy advertisement paper, and filled it with a layer of lint. It's not terribly tall, it's easier to work with relatively narrow strips of firestarter.
 Wax is poured over, and a stick was used to ensure that all the fiber was covered in wax. When the block had cooled enough to solidify, but was still warm and pliable, I used a knife to divvy it up into blocks.
It takes a moment with a lighter to get each block going, but it then burns like a candle covered in wicks, and will light even damp or stubborn fuel!
Happy Bonfires!

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