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Fiddleback Fire [emoji91][emoji91][emoji91]

Joined
Dec 30, 2012
Messages
689
Just trying out a new firesteel & some homemade tinder (jute rope boiled in candle wax):

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Joined
Nov 8, 2011
Messages
909
Man jute is good stuff... on a side note don't "test" jute indoors... it goes up like a match and may burn down your house... or a brown spot on your rug.... hypothetically ;-)


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Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
1,424
That's a cool fire pit. We're looking for one right now and there is a definite line between the Home Depot 99.00 special and ones that may last a few years.

Anybody got a recommendation on one that will hold up for a while?
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2015
Messages
1,046
That's a cool fire pit. We're looking for one right now and there is a definite line between the Home Depot 99.00 special and ones that may last a few years.

Anybody got a recommendation on one that will hold up for a while?

If you can't find any around the neighborhood from any construction going on, get yourself enough landscaping pavers and some bricks to build a pit. Set all the pavers and then dig out the center and line the bottom with the brick. I was lucky and was able to get all my stone and brick fro free, but you could probably pull this off for $100 or less and you won't have to worry about burning it up like a chimenea...hypothetically.
 
Joined
Dec 30, 2012
Messages
689
Man jute is good stuff... on a side note don't "test" jute indoors... it goes up like a match and may burn down your house... or a brown spot on your rug.... hypothetically ;-)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Yeah, the wax slows it down a bit and prolongs the burn-time, but it is pretty flashy stuff. Same with hemp ime.


That's a cool fire pit. We're looking for one right now and there is a definite line between the Home Depot 99.00 special and ones that may last a few years.

Anybody got a recommendation on one that will hold up for a while?


Not sure if you were revering to my post, but there's a cast iron version of the one I have that is very durable. They around 70 bucks over here including a very nice metal removable screen cover. The one in my pic is just sheath metal and will probably be rusted through withing a year or two, maybe 4 if I take care of it. It was only 12 bucks though, I just wanted to try out this form factor so the price was more than right.

Makes a pretty decent grill as well once the fire dies down:

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LostViking

Gold Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
Messages
3,301
I was about to start a new thread on Fires and Fiddlebacks. But a quick search popped this one up.

If Andy doesn't kick me out. You will see, I spend a lot of time around fires. Using them for heat, cooking and even atmosphere. Sometimes just to keep the beer from freezing.

You will also notice I am a huge proponent of Jute Twine. It's a lot like me. Cheap and easy. But it works. It is a wonderful addition to any outdoorsman's pack. But more on that later.

A few times a year.
I like to head out with just a knife and a ferro rod.
With only one goal in mind. As Jack London put it "To Build a Fire"

In my youth. I was a huge fan of London's work. I read them all. But one always stuck out in my mind. His short story "To Build a Fire"
If you haven't read it I won't spoil it for you. As you should.

On these excursions.
I usually try and pick a day when the weather is poor. And living in the Northern Adirondacks, nature affords me many such opportunities.
I figure if you are going to practice fire skills. You may as well do in in adverse conditions. I mean really. How many times when folks really need a fire, is there dry ground, dry wood, dry kindling, and Naptha soaked newspaper laying around? Almost never right?

I don't mean when folks want a fire. I mean when they actually need a fire. You're usually lost, tired, cold, it's usually raining or snowing, and you are borderline scared. Or sometimes frightened half to death.

Enter the fire.
Fire has been soothing men's souls and warming their bones almost since we walked upright. Perhaps before. But that determination is above my pay grade.

So, I figure, it is wise to practice a bit in more real world scenarios. You'll also notice my Avatar has Viking in it.
The old Viking saying rings loud in my ears. "A Knife Less man is a Lifeless Man"

That saying came about in a period of human development. When words or phrases actually meant something.
It was not contrived by some pencil necked geek on Madison Avenue to try and sell product. (My humblest apologies to any pencil neck geeks trying to sell product)

I never go anywhere with out a knife. Period.
The Vikings didn't say "A 10 essentials less man, is a lifeless man" No sir, they were pretty focused on the knife. Smart folks those Vikings.

So off I head with my Knife and my Ferro Rod. In search of fire. It has been raining, snowing, or both here, for nine continous days. It was snowing lightly when I headed out. Perfect.

As I meandered through the woods. I spotted this tree.That dead looking thing next to the small evergreen. The one with the crack running up the middle. It was about 16 feet tall with no branches left on top. It lost the race to canopy out.
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Now, not being overly burdened with all the usual bushcraft accoutrements. The first challenge is turning that tree into firewood.

A few aggressive wiggles and a well timed shove brought about this. With an accompanying snap. First problem solved.
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Now I need smaller pieces.
You may have noticed this in the first photo above. Just off to the right of that evergreen tree. This is a Viking Log Sizer.
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No photos of the actual log sizing. I think you can figure that out. And if you can't, none of this will really matter anyway. Plus said log turned out to be tougher than I had counted on. I broke into four pieces. I probably could have got it smaller. But I didn't want to take that ride that occurs when all your weight and momentum is applked and it snaps.

Did I mention I just received my new Pro Kephart? Probably not. Well here it is. Along with some base logs to keep the fire off the ground. All from the tree. It was a little punkier than I would have liked. But as they say, "Ya run what ya brung"
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With the base in place. I started gathering tinder and kindling. Some fallen maple branches, some underhanging pine twigs and some beech leaves
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LostViking

Gold Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
Messages
3,301
Continued;

With a new knife on board. Ya just have to play right? I made myself some small feather sticks to add to the pile.
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The Pro Kephart does a nice job with feathers, some of these are so small they wouls fit inside the hex nut on the handle. Small is good when working with wet wood and no additional heat sources like twine.
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I didn't bring any twine or birch bark or fatwood. But that doesn't mean I can't seek some out. I never find fat wood up here. But pine sap is rather abundant.
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Here is some in an old branch socket. I believe you folks down south call them Lighger Knots. Look at the handle on that knife will ya. There is so much goodness going on right there.
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LostViking

Gold Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
Messages
3,301
Continued;

I started piling everything on. Rubbed some beech leaves in the pine sap for extra heat. I even found a old spider web in one of the branch sockets. You can see it about 4 inches down from the blade. It almost looks like fluffed twine.
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With it all assembled. It was time for the ferro rod. I struck the pile, and struck, and then struck again. And then it happened. Total failure!
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Sure it lit. But I was too busy grabbing my camera to document it. So there I stood, with a few half burnt beech leaves and all my small feathers gone. Back to the drawing board.

In truth. I almost expected this to happen. I hadn't left until 15:30 and had to be back by 17:30 for manly chore like cooking and dishes. You should always have two or three times more than you think you need for fires in wet environments.

And in a survival situation. Leave your camera in the bag and focus on what needs to be done.

Unfazed by my set back. I started again. Still cheating a bit but not as bad this time. Another bad decision. But I got lucky the second time. More of the same getting ready to try again.
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Only this time I worked on my fire and not my photography. After f ew more strikes. More than I would have like actually. I had a small flame. To that I added some small kindling and things took off from there.
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LostViking

Gold Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
Messages
3,301
Continued;

As it grew, I continued to add more and larger pieces,
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The lessons are always the same. Don't try and cheat. It will cost you in the end. Warm, dry and not too far from home. The consequences aren't large. Other than a blow to self esteem. In a real situation make everything count. Referring back to London's story vividly points that out.

I could have told you it all went well. But that would be lying. Not my style.

Also, near by was a birch tree. With gobs of fire breathing bark, peeling off like low hanging fruit. But I don't use that in these endeavore because it works so well, it's almost like cheating.

There was also a old bird's nest in one of the pine trees. They work great. But it was too high for me to reach. And I couldn't easily find a stick long enough to knock it down.

All in all. I'd call it a success. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't textbook. But it was a fire. And that was what I had set out to do. The dog didn't have to travel to camp alone!
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Plus, I got to try out my sexy new Kephart on something tougher than Spam. It worked well and I'm liking it.

You folks probably noticed all the grass. Everywhere grass.
This stuf is like Kentucky Bluegrass, only cooler, a lot cooler.

We call it Adirondack Whitegrass. It grows wild here 6 to 7 months out of the year. It is still in full bloom here!
 
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Fiddleback

Knifemaker
Moderator
Joined
Oct 19, 2005
Messages
19,681
I've heard the pine knots called all kinds of words. Lighter knot I'd not heard here in the south though. I like to collect that sap too, especially when it is so abundant that you can fill a cup from one seep. Glad to hear you're liking that Kephart.
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
719
I've heard the pine knots called all kinds of words. Lighter knot I'd not heard here in the south though. I like to collect that sap too, especially when it is so abundant that you can fill a cup from one seep. Glad to hear you're liking that Kephart.
Just don't get too he-man and try to pry one of those branch plugs out with your new knife unless it's 1/4 CPM3V stock. Ask me how I know! :confused:
 
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