Lazy man's char cloth recipe

Joined
Jun 11, 2008
Messages
1,409
While doing bushcraft classes and teaching primitive skills to scout groups, I make and use a lot of char cloth. I needed to figure out a more convenient way to make large quantities of char cloth with little to no clean up.
SUPPLIES-
1- a metal bucket or similar container for safety
2- char cloth material- in this case cotton felt, 99 cents/yard at walmart
3- heat source- sterno
4- way to control distance from heat source- chunk of 2X4
5- any metal grate to hold the char cloth at a given distance
6- heavy duty aluminum foil
7- a "TIVO" or similar DVR and a pre recorded 30 min television show

So, here we go. This is an overview of the supplies
supplies.jpg

I have found that for this recipe, when the temp is between 60 and 90 deg F. the sterno to foil distance should be between 1.5in and 1.75in.
sterno.jpg

The next step is to cut a 3X18in strip of cotton felt and roll it up, then wrap in foil.
010.jpg

set the foil on the grate at the given distance (1.5-1.75in) from the sterno can.
015.jpg

Now for the most critical step. Go inside and watch your pre-recorded program on your "TIVO" and make sure to fast forward through commercials. The average 30min show is only 22min without commercials and thats exactly how long the char noods to cook for. After 22min, remove fiol and set it in a cookie tin or some other air tight container and go through your next "batch" on the fire. By the time your second batch is done, your first should be cooled and should look like this when you remove it from the foil.
012.jpg
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2008
Messages
1,409
Now, lets test it out. We need a little of this.
013.jpg

My favorite flint and steel.
016.jpg

018.jpg

Catch a spark.
020.jpg

We have ignition
022.jpg
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2008
Messages
4,832
Thanks for the tip...definitely using that from now on. I need the char-cloth for my fire piston...
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2006
Messages
1,255
Even lazier:

Cut a couple inch wide strip from old Levis. Roll up, and put in an Altoids tin.

Make a fire.

Toss the tin in the fire.

When the tin stops smoking, drag it out with a stick and let it cool.

Perfect char cloth, every time.

:thumbup:
 
Joined
Feb 21, 2008
Messages
1,551
Even lazier:

Cut a couple inch wide strip from old Levis. Roll up, and put in an Altoids tin.

Make a fire.

Toss the tin in the fire.

When the tin stops smoking, drag it out with a stick and let it cool.

Perfect char cloth, every time.

:thumbup:

2 great ideas. I was wondering what to do with the round tins I have.
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
9,491
Thats great, thanks for the info. If you ever want to sell that snake steel, give me a shout!
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2008
Messages
1,409
the snake steel, along with a bunch of others are about $25. They are on the link I put up.
 

Fiddleback

Knifemaker
Moderator
Joined
Oct 19, 2005
Messages
19,687
That is cool. I'd been doing it with an altoids tin. Problem is that it blackens the hell out of the tin. If you plan to carry it more, you've got to clean that off. Aluminum foil is dosposable. Great idea!
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2008
Messages
1,409
Thanks Andy, I'm keepin an eye on the knifemakers forum for one of the nessies you just finished to pop up.
 

wildmanh

Part time Leather Bender/Sheath maker
Joined
Jul 9, 2000
Messages
7,764
Even lazier:

Cut a couple inch wide strip from old Levis. Roll up, and put in an Altoids tin.

Make a fire.

Toss the tin in the fire.

When the tin stops smoking, drag it out with a stick and let it cool.

Perfect char cloth, every time.

:thumbup:

Thats how I've been doing it for years. Though normally I use a Alberts Tobaco tin. (this was before I knew about altoids). Had plenty years ago from a relatives fishing kit. Now I know what to do with all my old Altoid tins. In scouts it was Alberts tins we never would have though to use Altoids even if we knew about them. LOL!!

Heber
 
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