First Time Struggling with Natural Char - (Post What's Working for You!)

Discussion in 'Fire' started by NWPrimate, Sep 24, 2016.

  1. rsnurkle

    rsnurkle Supporter Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    !!! That's like...a magic trick. Oh my. That's wonderful! Any concerns with burning yourself during the snuffing process?

    No worries about the video, thanks for letting me know! That's great to hear that you can keep them closed during the char and then open them up afterwards. I was worried that the cattails would be best with a tin only, because the fluff tends to fly away if it's pulled out and exposed to the wind at all, but charring without separating them and then separating after solves that issue well!
     
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  2. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    :)

    My hands are pretty fire resistant at this point but the heat coming off of the char didn't seem bad at all.

    I was doing my best not to put skin against smoldering material, but not really for fear of being burned, but because I didn't want to compress it too much. There was one stubborn section that didn't want to go out, so I just snuffed it with my fingertips, but I think I could have waited it out in my cupped hands.

    I didn't feel any pain or see any (new) skin damage. I think a slightly smaller piece would have made this even easier.

    This also made me realize that this could probably be accomplished in a Ziploc bag if you were careful not to let the top side of the bag contact the smoldering portion. I don't think that would be an option for the Hardwoodsman challenge, but it is something that we're all likely to have somewhere in our packs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
  3. bacpacjac

    bacpacjac Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    My trusty Flint & Steel kit was calling to me today while I waited for my lunch to cook.

    P1080038.JPG

    We couldn't get my tin of Mullein to go in the snow the other night, so I decided to try cattail reed in the basement today. I crushed up the dried reed, and mixed in some fluff and hit with the F&S. It took a few strikes, but the fluff finally caught flame, and then the reeds slowly started to char. I let it burn for a little bit and then closed it up.

    P1080041.JPG P1080042.JPG P1080059.JPG P1080077.JPG P1080078.JPG

    When I opened it again, it looked like this.

    P1080087.JPG

    After a few strikes, I finally got a couple of embers. YEAH!

    P1080089.JPG
     
  4. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Guide

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    hello,
    Cousin @bacpacjac attagirl. :dblthumb:
    Regards
    David
     
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  5. bacpacjac

    bacpacjac Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thanks, Teach! More experimenting with fire is on the agenda for this afternoon. :)
     
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  6. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    I'll try to remember to shoot some video soon, but the first test went great. I noticed a lot of condensation on the bag after it filled up with smoke. Some of this is likely moisture in the material, but water vapor is a byproduct of combustion so you might even see this with completely dry material.

    For that reason, it makes sense to wipe out and try to dry the interior of the bag after charring if you intend to store the char in the same bag.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Coryphene

    Coryphene Guide

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    Am I reading this right that just dried cattail fluff and reed went directly to flame with flint and steel? I've not found anything that will go direct to flame with a flint and steel spark. If this is indeed the case, tell me more!
     
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  8. rsnurkle

    rsnurkle Supporter Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Tried snuffing punkwood out in my hands today. Slightly "spongy" source:
    [​IMG]

    The punkwood was damp, so igniting it with a lighter only charred a small portion of the overall piece. Regardless, I sealed the piece between my (gloved) hands and hung out for five minutes until I feel most of the heat go away. The result was cool enough to hold in an ungloved hand
    [​IMG]

    And happily took a firesteel spark:
    [​IMG]

    I think it's a method I would be wary of without gloves, but definitely a viable method for charring without a metal container on hand.
     
  9. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    About a week ago I grabbed some cedar embers out of the fire and snuffed them out in my tin.

    Today I pulled out a piece to see if I could get sparks to land. It took quite a few strikes, but I got there eventually.

     
  10. rsnurkle

    rsnurkle Supporter Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    I'm quoting across threads with my question here (for anyone not following the Flint and Steel Friday thread, click on the up arrow to the right of "NWPrimate said" to jump to the original post, with video)
    @NWPrimate , that's impressive weather protection! Do you think the kelp would have protected the char against rain, too, or would that have been the limit for re-soaking the kelp?
     
  11. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    I'm not sure. I think it would be a matter of duration. Being airtight, I'm pretty confident that it could stand up to a little rain as long as the opening was facing down, but I'm not sure how long it would take for the material to start soaking through and passing that on to the char. I kept the char packs tucked underneath a log which kept them safe from the fog-based drips coming down out of the trees, so they were only exposed to atmospheric moisture and whatever droplets came in horizontally.

    It might be fun to seal the ends up with some pitch for a little exposure/submersion testing on a future trip. :)
     
  12. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    I had my first success with charred fungi. I have been a bit cautious in approaching fungi for fire, but have been learning more and gaining some confidence in my ID skills and decided to give it another try.

    I’m pretty sure this is Artist’s conk. (Ganoderma applanatum)

    [​IMG]

    This seemed like a good sign.

    [​IMG]


    I am looking forward to experimenting with this dried, and un-charred, but I didn’t have the patience to dry it out, so I sliced it thin and cooked it in the tin.

    [​IMG]

    I can see why @Coryphene is always raving about this stuff. The finished product was durable, took a spark with ease, and burned really hot.

    [​IMG]

    On top of that, I think this is the first time I’ve seen an ember outlive the tinder bundle. I noticed it sitting on the ground, still smoldering as the flames died down, so I picked it up and put it back into the tin for future use.

    [​IMG]

     
  13. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Charred fungus is the best! Try slicing some the other way so the pores look like a "honeycomb" when you look at it. Char that, then use it and see if you notice a difference. I know that when I char birch polypore the "pores" seems to hold air and have an increased total surface area, and that seems to cause the ember to really lite up when a spark takes it.
     
  14. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks @Primordial . I meant to go back and read some of the great charred fungi posts in this thread first, but just got excited and jumped in. I will definitely try slicing it the other way. These are extraordinarily common, so I'm going to be playing with this stuff again in the future. I wasn't sure which layer would be best for taking sparks, so I figured I'd try to include them all in each slice to hedge my bets. It didn't catch where I expected it to. :D
     
  15. Seahunter

    Seahunter Scout Bushclass I

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    @NWPrimate that is great news about the artists conch. That stuff grows all over the place here. I will be giving that a try.

    I think your bull kelp containers should work well after all they are designed by nature to be waterproof.

    @bacpacjac did you get the uncharged cattail to catch a spark from flint and steel?
     
  16. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    I found a huge one this afternoon! It was too cool to harvest.

    [​IMG]



    Edit: Now I'm not entirely sure if these are Artist's Conk (G. applanatum) or Southern Bracket (G. australe) . It looks like the once I sliced up the other day might have actually been Southern Bracket.


    https://arbtalk.co.uk/articles.html/articles/southern-bracket-or-artist’s-conk-r32/
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018 at 9:42 AM
  17. Cedarfire

    Cedarfire Tracker Lifetime Supporter

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    Never knew they grew that big, good on you for letting it be, it's a beauty!
     
  18. bacpacjac

    bacpacjac Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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  19. bacpacjac

    bacpacjac Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I've tried several times and I haven't been able to duplicate this, so I'm fairly certain that it's a red herring. I think hat happened is that I must have gotten a spark to an little ember in the reeds and that lit the fluff. I have yet to get cattail fluff to flame by spark. :/ Sorry for the confusion and for not circling back on this sooner.
     

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