So, with a new BK-19 (Beckmuk) strapped to my side,
I have a rekindled excitement to be outdoors.
Keep in mind, my excitetment has been tempered by a roller coaster of a spring.
Temps fluctuating from low 40º F to mid 90ºs.
Personally, I wouldn't care if it ever got above 70º, but I digress.
And Ticks, Ticks in Michigan suck, I imagine they suck elsewhere too.
Never had ticks in the Adirondacks.
At least not in the frozen hell I called home.
In a mental escape from those blood sucking Archnids, I have been pondering a new fire lay.
I have fires year round.
Smokey ones this time of the year to keep the bugs at bay.
Larger ones in winter to keep it reasonably comfortable to be out in sub-freezing weather.
Obvoiusly larger ones consume more wood. Physics tells us heat rises.
So by extension, if it's colder out, a hotter fire makes the heat rise faster.
Think hot air balloon with the burner on.
Once the heat gets above six feet, it really does me no good.
And in reality, if its above my waist, it doesn't do my feet and lower extremities much good.
So not wanting to go full on woodstove outdoors, or do the sensible thing and go inside,
I am working on a new prototype fire lay.
With my BK-19 in tow, I set out to bring my latest idea to reality.
I used my axe to get it down to bite sized pieces and then fine tuned them with the Becker.
After getting down to thumb, pencil, pencil lead sized wood, I made a bunch of shavings and feather sticks,
This is a photo of the prototype.
My theory was/is to create a system of baffles, that would not only ignite one at a time,
but also slow the process of the heat racing towards the sky. Instead deflecting it outward towards folks around the fire.
My new plasma lighter did the trick and we were off and running.
Now there is often a gap between theory and application. This was one of those times.
The wooden discs were sliced off a fallen red oak tree that had come down on a trail the day before.
It was very dead with no remaing bark, but red oak can take an extremely long time to season and dry out properly.
That was my #1st mistake.
Getting back to heat rises, a lot of the heat from the fire ascended towards the heavens, and didn't have much of an effect on the hard, moist oak below it. I burned through my kindling a prepared fuel rather rapidly.
So I was forced to improvise, I had some smaller rounds left over from precise sized firewood production for club folks.
So I added some of that to keep the fire burning.
You can see that the top oak slab is beginning to darken, dry out and burn.
Again dirty physics comes into play. Water doesn't burn, you have to boil it off be fore a fire results.
For risers between the slabs, I used drier more easily ignited maple.
The top eventually burned through as desired, but the coals that landed on the slab below it ignighted the riser prematurely.
That preignition, resulted in a colapse of Stage 2.
#1. It has potential,
#2. It needs refinement,
#3. If it was easy, everyone would do it.
#4. Hanging out by a fire is still awesome even when things don't go as plnned.
#5. The Beckmuk rocks.