Natural Tinder

Thanks! I use tampons.

Oh wait, only for fire-starting (I'm a guy) hahaha!

Thanks Stoffi but that's not a Natural tinder. I am interested in what you use over in Sweden as I travel there for business occasionally :thumbup:
 
Hahaha, yeah... I only meant to be funny!

Some great stuff to use is the dried twigs from spruce. If you look underneath a spruce tree there is always dry twigs still left on the tree. That's great stuff if it's raining. Just break them off.
 
Great post and videos. I live up the road in MA, so have pretty similar pickings to what you have in CT. I like the birch bark and am always trying different grasses and fibers. I recently found a huge stash of tinder fungus, which I have used as a coal extender when using a bow drill.
 
Thanks Stoffi but that's not a Natural tinder. I am interested in what you use over in Sweden as I travel there for business occasionally :thumbup:

He buys the kinds that have a Jute string :D
 
Good post Tony. You guys and your fancy camera work!
I've had good results with dried grasses.
IMG_0609.jpg

I've also had mixed results with Cotton tails. They really have to be dead and dried and sort of smolder.
This is from feather sticks. I'm still learning and takes me few strikes, but I can usually do it.
IMG_4106.jpg

I am ashamed to say it, but I also had very good results with poison ivy. I took the hairy tendrils which took a spark easily. I dont recommend this to anyone as tendrils burn they release the oils and will irritate people that have reactions to poison ivy. I dont seem to get affected by it but I dont think I'll do that again..
IMG_0671.jpg

I've also tried dandylions when they are at seed but they didnt work well. They went up very fast and didnt stay lit long.
 
Great thread!
I've also tried dandylions when they are at seed but they didnt work well. They went up very fast and didnt stay lit long.

I like dandelion seed, but you have to mix them with dry broken grass, or leaves or fatwood scrapings. Dandelion seeds just flash with the first spark, and when you have a good mix it helps igniting the other stuff.
 
I recently found a huge stash of tinder fungus, which I have used as a coal extender when using a bow drill.

Good stuff. I use it occasionally myself. Usually with a flint and steel.


Thanks for all the comments and contributions gentleman and lady.

Now how about those who live in a tropical climate or rain forest. If you had nothing but a firesteel, what tinder do you look for?
 
And I have a question, too. For those of you who live in the desert Southwest, what would you be looking for? I see a lot of posts here and there by posters from the East who have a lot of Fatwood, fungus, Birch bark, etc., none of which are available around here. Sure, you can almost always find some dry grass around, but I don't think it's a match for some of the things they have back East. What would we here in dry country use that would be equivalent?
 
Earlier this year I visited Sanibel Island in Florida... my wife and kids collected a bunch of nice seashells and I collected a ziplock of different tinder (I have an understanding wife). I pulled a some woven fibers - almost like a burlap cloth, but looser - from the trunk of a palm tree (possibly a Washington Palm, I don't recall) and used some other dried fibers from the same tree. I used the woven fibers as a wrap for various dried grasses and it took a coal pretty well. I haven't tried it with a fire steel. I also collected some ball moss, which looks like it would be good when dried out, but it didn't work so well.
 
TonyM, I have to thank you for this post and videos. I've been a hiker/camper my whole life, but got into bushcraft and primitive skills about 14 months (and 10 knives) ago. My kids and I usually start fires with a bow drill, but your video got us excited to try our luck with a fire steel. We went out and gathered some new birch bark and I grabbed some cotton balls for the kids to practice with. It was their first time using the fire steel and all four kids (the youngest is four) were able to start a fire in short order with the cotton ball; one of my sons (eight) gave it a go with the birch bark and got a little fire going. Lots of fun! Thanks for the inspiration and helpful videos.
 
break apart downed bird or packrat nests for well dried materials.
feathersticks or the dead dried branchlets from under red cedars.

I'll have to try the milkweed thing - I hadn't heard that one before.
 
TonyM, I have to thank you for this post and videos. I've been a hiker/camper my whole life, but got into bushcraft and primitive skills about 14 months (and 10 knives) ago. My kids and I usually start fires with a bow drill, but your video got us excited to try our luck with a fire steel. We went out and gathered some new birch bark and I grabbed some cotton balls for the kids to practice with. It was their first time using the fire steel and all four kids (the youngest is four) were able to start a fire in short order with the cotton ball; one of my sons (eight) gave it a go with the birch bark and got a little fire going. Lots of fun! Thanks for the inspiration and helpful videos.

:):thumbup: That's awesome, good for you! After learning the bow drill I bet your kids think a firesteel is like using a lighter; I know I do:D
 
I'll have to try the milkweed thing - I hadn't heard that one before.

Milkweed fluff, phragmites, cat tail fluff, are all great flash tinders that will take a spark. It is helpful to have other tinder ready to go with them as they burn very fast.
 
Good post Tony. You guys and your fancy camera work!
I've had good results with dried grasses.
IMG_0609.jpg

I've also had mixed results with Cotton tails. They really have to be dead and dried and sort of smolder.
This is from feather sticks. I'm still learning and takes me few strikes, but I can usually do it.
IMG_4106.jpg

I am ashamed to say it, but I also had very good results with poison ivy. I took the hairy tendrils which took a spark easily. I dont recommend this to anyone as tendrils burn they release the oils and will irritate people that have reactions to poison ivy. I dont seem to get affected by it but I dont think I'll do that again..
IMG_0671.jpg

I've also tried dandylions when they are at seed but they didnt work well. They went up very fast and didnt stay lit long.

I would STRONGLY advise against doing this again. I, like you, used to have a natural immunity to poison oak and ivy. I used to be the designated "tracker" in our hunting group because there was so much poison oak around and I was the only one that would'nt get it. Anyways, after a few years of playing with it I got a HORRIBLE case!!:eek: And now, just like most people, I get it any time I'm around it. I was bewildered by the experience and did some research on it. Apparently if you are immune to ooroosheal (the active chemical in poison oak and ivy), with enough exposure to it anyone will become allergic to it over time. So stay away!!!;)
 
Milkweed fluff, phragmites, cat tail fluff, are all great flash tinders that will take a spark. It is helpful to have other tinder ready to go with them as they burn very fast.

thanks - I'd heard about cattail fluff, just haven't tried it.
most of my experience has been char cloth and "nest" of shredded manila rope - now that I have a few acres to practice on where i can get inside if I mess up badly, I'm hoping to be able to spend more time practicing with found materials.
 
:):thumbup: That's awesome, good for you! After learning the bow drill I bet your kids think a firesteel is like using a lighter; I know I do:D

Yeah, they were pretty impressed. I've got a fire steel tucked away for each boy for Christmas. The trick will be making sure they continue to work on the bow drill and eventually the hand drill.
 
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