Home Survival Fire Tips on Making Char Stuff (Video)

Tips on Making Char Stuff (Video)


Video By T Jack Survival
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Transcription provided by American Preppers Network
Number of speakers:  (Tyler, Mikhail & Emberlit)
Duration: 19 min 11 sec

Tips on Making Char Stuff with Mikhail from EmberLit

Tyler: “Hey this is Tyler with T Jack Survival and I am here at the preparedness fair and we’re gonna learn really quick at the booth. Hi Guys. Back here with the Ember Lit we’re gonna learn really quick how to make some charred punk wood so stay tuned”

Tyler: “So what are we makin?”

Mikhail: “Ok. Well we are here in our booth and I am just doing a demonstration on some of the options that you have with steel and flint fire. A lot of people think you have to have charred cloth to catch a spark which is somewhat true. You have to have charred material. Any sort of charred biological material.”

Tyler: “Biological like what plant?”

Mikhail: “Plant. Yeah. People won’t work obviously lol organic material I guess you could say, and so, one of the things that from what I have learned, again YouTube is a wonderful resource. This is punk wood. Dry rotted cottonwood. Its very, very light and spongy. It’s a lot like Styrofoam. It works wonderfully catching a coal. What I did with this is I had another fire going obviously. You have to prepare your tinder with fire ironically, but I charred this punk wood and once it was charred I just smothered it inside the tin. And now it should catch a spark. Lets see if I can get lucky on the first try. I never do lol.

Tyler: “Well when you’re suddenly filming its suddenly like, you’re killing me.”

Mikhail: “Yeah. So what we’re gonna do is a lot of people, well, not a lot of people, but one method is when you’re holding your char cloth on the stone you’re actually striking down with the striker, but I wanna drop a spark onto that piece of wood and it’s to bulky to hold in my hand so I’m gonna flip my hands over. And I am now gonna hit the stone against the steel and see how I’m dropping sparks downward? So that’s just another method to put the sparks where you want. So if I can hit it in the right spot on the piece of wood it will turn it into a piece of ember. So here we go. …Oh there it is.”

Tyler: “Daaang a shower of sparks. That is awesome.”



Mikhail: “So the idea being, you know the people that depended on this method of fire, cloth was a commodity. It was hard to get and was expensive. And so like me, they would wear their clothing and it was literally tattered. They would try and mend it as best they could. They would use it until it was no longer functional as clothing and after it was no longer good for clothing they would turn it into rags. And when it was no longer good for rags they would turn it into those rag carpets. Or ya know even worse uses and then finally they would char it and use it as tinder to start their fire or they would keep it in the house or where it was convenient to start a fire for the cooking in the kitchen or warming the home because it was very easy to use and again it was a valuable commodity. So when they were out in the field or traveling rather than using that nice cloth they would just continue to collect punk wood like this. And this is kind of old but it will work. This is everywhere and it is free and you just take a chunk of this and toast it like a marshmallow over the fire and put it back in their char tin. As you can see this stuff smokes really well and it keeps going.

Tyler: “Doesn’t it keep the mosquito’s away to?”

Mikhail: “Yes it will keep the mosquitoes away but another thing, if your making beef jerky, like traditional beef jerky, smoked meat or something outside. Ya take a chunk of this and put it under your tripod where the meat is hanging and it will smoke and smoke and smoke. and it does a wonderful job. Gives it good flavor honestly. Yeah its called punk wood or touch wood and its just dry, rotted cotton wood. Ive seen it at work with other species but this is my favorite.”

Tyler: “How do you make this stuff?”

Mikhail: “How do we prepare what? The punk wood?”

Tyler: “Yeah. So we collect the punk wood. Do we have to prepare it?”

Mikhail: “Yeah. We do we do”

EmberLit: “Just like you saw me do where I was taking one coal and  transferring it to the un-charred punk wood. And now I am stuffing it, what we charred, to prepare the next bunch.”

Mikhail: “So it’ll, you just keep putting fresh pieces in there and that coal will catch that coal and so forth. You want to do a big piece really quick, just to start off with, if you have a camp fire you can take this thing and hold it over the campfire until its engulfed in flames. Or you can take this magic lighter and…lol”

Tyler: (Laughing) shhh don’t tell.

Mikhail: “No cheating! No cheating!”

Tyler: “Well, if you’re gonna prepare it this is good to know.”

Mikhail: “Well the thing is you have to prepare charred cloth with fire. So the idea being, if you’re starting with nothing, get your bow drill, or your hand drill or whatever get a fire going and then char some punk wood and the next time you have to start a fire it will be infinatly easier. So all I gotta do is burn it black like that. Now I’ll let it go and you’ll notice that, see where its turning red? Those are the best parts. Whew. And since its punk wood it won’t go out. It will continue to smolder like that. So in order to put it out properly..”

Tyler: “You have to suffocate it.”

Mikhail: “You have to suffocate it, because if you crush it, it’ll ruin the ability for it to catch your coal. You want that real fluffy carbon made. I would imagine if you looked at the punk wood under a microscope it would look like a mesh screen. So it’s it’s got structure, but allows oxygen to get in there. It’s the same thing with char cloth. If you made it with some jeans or tightly wove fabric, dropping a spark on it you won’t have as high a chance a chance unless you prepare the edge.

Tyler: “So this is the jean material here. So you have to separate that so there is more oxygen getting to the fibers.”

Mikhail: “Yeah right along that ragged edge is usually where the spark will catch. Otherwise if you try to drop a spark on to it it’s such a tight weave it’s just going to bounce off.”

Tyler: “Why don’t you show em?

Mikhail: “Well I don’t have a big enough piece, but uh, ok. Anyways, Lemme show em this though. So this right here, that is the piece that we just chard. Its ready to go and I will show you. So I grab my stone and my..”

Tyler:”What kind of rock is that? What kind of characteristics are we looking for?”

Mikhail: “You know, honestly, I don’t know what this it. It might be jasper, it is pretty. What I have found in general, I look for a rock that has a ceramic consistency to it.”

Tyler: “Ceramic like?

Mikhail:”Like glass, like clay, its big.”

Tyler: “Like your coffee cup”

Mikhail: “Yeah. Like you know it has to have, if it looks like its made out of sand it’s not going to work very well at all. Like it’s aggregated it’s not going to work. It has to be very hard, glassy. And I found with that I get about 80% success rate. I’ve found some that are really brittle and that doesn’t work. But I don’t even know what stone this is but it works really well so I’m gonna drop a spark right there. There we go, got two spots.

Tyler: ” And it’ll spread like wild fire.”

Mikhail: “Literally. And then that’s all it will take. And so ya know, I can have, whats nice and what I like to do anyways is I got my tinder tin and I got my big chunk of charred punk wood and I don’t want to put it in my tinder tin because it’ll burn all up. So what I’ll do is I’ll break another piece off or take another piece out of the tinder box and then that’s all I need right there. Now I can set this aside honestly. Put this out before the fire alarms go off.

Tyler: “That would be awesome.”

Mikhail: “Yeah. Fire marshal would be like that’s pretty cool but here is your fine. Anyways, so this little piece is still going so I can use that little piece and put it in my tinder nest and blow it into a flame without having to use up the rest of my nice charred punk wood. It’s just a very versatile thing. And its everywhere. Its free ya know and there’s a lot of material like this that work in nature that work this way. This is just the best one I’ve found so far.”

Tyler: “Cottonwood?”

Mikhail: “Yeah cottonwood. Just dry rotted cottonwood and box elder gonna be the magic”

Tyler: “And what was the other one?”

Mikhail: “Box elder.”

Tyler: “Awesome.”

EmberLit: “You can do white pine, water birch, any of the softer woods but they have to be dry rotted in order to get this structure.”

Mikhail: “Yeah and this stuff is like balsa wood, you can see how easy it is for me to just stick my fingernail through it.”

Tyler: “Nice. A lot of stuff around rivers essentially.”

Mikhail: “Yeah. I found a log of it like this over at the park. I just picked it up and walked out with it. It’s everywhere, its abundant, its free. Now with char cloth I wanted to show you the whole. So this is a piece of jean char cloth and what we were saying is dropping a spark onto the char cloth like that and you’ve seen that method where people try to use the back of their knife..it can be difficult if the material has a very tight weave. And so, ya know, whats going to happen on camera here is I’m gonna get it lit on the first try and totally throw everything I’m saying right out the window. lol. But generally speaking, ya know.”

Tyler: “Lol Yeah you can see one there but.”

Mikhail: “See how their not catching?”

Tyler: “Yeah that should of absolutely gripped it.”

Mikhail: “And you know what? If you had a lighter weaved material like muslin, or cotton-ball that you charred, that would definitely work better so what I do with these, these stubborn char cloth is I tear them. And then I go back to the “holding it” method on the stone because what I want to do, where I’ve torn it those ragged edges, those are fluffy enough. Those have enough surface area to catch. Bam, there we go see. Its a little guy but it’ll get bigger but it’s consistent. So that is all it took but it’s because I prepared the edge of it. You always have to prepare your tinder even if its char cloth. Some you have to prepare more than others. So ya know, I’ve seen people that are experienced and they know how to do this. It’s just that when they are presented with some char cloth they’re not use to, they had trouble getting that to light because again, it was a very tight weave and you have to tear it to get it to go. So it’s it’s just a game thing, pay attention to your tinder and realize that nothing is automatic with fire making. You’re going to have to adjust and roll with the punches.”

Ember Lit: “You can’t give up. That’s the thing about it. Any kind of permanent fire skills.”

Makhail: “Stop when ya got a fire.”

Tyler: “Alright so where can we get some of those strikers?”

Mikhail: “Ya know, you can get some on our website EmberLit.com. And they’re kind of fun. We have a bunch of different patterns and the whole idea behind the different patterns is only because they are cool.”

Tyler: “I like it because it looks like the old school Trojans.”

Mikhail: “The knuckle duster. The reason why I don’t like this one per se is because my fingers..”

Ember Lit: “He’s got gorilla hands lol”

Mikhail: “Yeah I got sausages for fingers lol you got little girl hands like me lol.”

Tyler: “Yeah lol”

Mikhail: “So I personally like the long ones like the dragon or our spartan helmet but I like to hold it gentle like this and strike it this way.”

Tyler: “Show me again.”

Mikhail: “I’ll hold it like this and strike straight down.”

Tyler: “Nice.”

Mikhail: “And it’s the same with any of the pendant style. Like the owl. Just strike straight down. Even if I have the knuckle duster I rarely put my fingers in it. I hold it like so because it’s a finesse thing it’s not, you get people like..it’s not working, why isn’t it making sparks and really if you get the right angle and a really sharp edge. All ya gotta do is get it just right see? I’m throwing sparks and I am barely putting any pressure. It’s all function and speed. So that’s a lot of sparks but I’m not beating the crap out of it. So it takes some precision and practice which is what we tell everybody. Then again that’s what is fun about making fire making tools.

Tyler: “A little bit of art in it.”

Mikhail: “A monkey could do this (striking a lighter). That’s what I tell people, you give them a lighter to start a fire and they sit there and hold it under the log and nothing will happen because they don’t have the learn.”

Tyler: “Yeah they don’t understand the concept of drying out the fuel before..”

Mikhail: “Well they don’t understand how to make tinder. They think oh I got a flame so I’ll just put this big log on there and I’ll light it. But you teach them this..spark base, you gotta have really fine tinder for ignition, then kindling. All the steps to building a proper fire.”

Tyler: “It’s like getting a train going, give it a little push and then it gets bigger and bigger.”

Mikhail: “And that’s the thing, ya make everything to easy and they don’t have that desire to learn how to do it properly.”

Ember Lit: “It’s like what Mars Cohansey said, a person would be a fool if they went into the woods without matches and a lighter because all of these skills are fun and a back up.”

Mikhail: “But again the problem is that people think modern technology will solve all their problems and so they go into it not even knowing how to use a lighter so I teach people this so they can learn how to appreciate a lighter and a match.”

Tyler: “Well not everyone has a lighter on them when they need to make a fire. So having that as  back up is great.”

Mikhail: “So you want to see a fast way to make char cloth?”

Tyler: “Do it! Fast way to make char cloth.”

Mikhail: “You got that magic fire device? lol If you wanted to wipe out an indigenous population all you have to do is say “Look, I have fire” and give them a case of these and in a year when they burned out they don’t know how to light fires lol”

Tyler: “That’s horrible lol”

Ember Lit: “It’s actually true that Ray Meres went down to south America and they did not know how to do friction fires anymore. He sat there and taught them.”

Mikhail: “I gotta get something a little tougher than my finger.”

Tyler: “lol a little less fire proof.”

Ember Lit: “You need a book?”

Mikhail: “Naw I’ll just smother it under here.”

Tyler: “Stop drop and roll.”

Mikhail: “Yeah. Bam. Char Cloth.”

Tyler: “Don’t even need a tin.”

Mikhail: “Now grab a stone, find a good edge with concavity.”

Tyler: “Every time you light a fire all I can think is “Eww that smell.”

Mikhail: “There ya go, char cloth.”

Tyler: “Real quick, I’m just assuming everyone watching this knows what to do with ember once they get it. What comes next.”

Mikhail: “What comes next is you better have a fire pit prepared long before you even try to get ignition. I learned that the hard way. When I got my very first bow drill coal, I was on my deck, I was huffing and puffing and sweating. lol If you look at the time stamp on the picture it took a long time lol. But I finally got a coal and I put it in my little tinder nest and I blew on the flame and I had know idea where to put it lol. I was like, now what? So I was sitting there holding this thing as it’s running down my arm. In fact those scars right there is where it burnt holes in my arm. As I’m holding the flaming ball of debris and my wife is running at me with a fire extinguisher I’m thinking shes about to hose me down. lol Luckily the BBQ was there and I got my wits and threw it in the BBQ. A valuable lesson in that. When you are going to go through all the work and effort to actually get ignition you better have some place to put it. Once you have a spark, once you have an ember and once you have ignition then you better have your tinder bundle right here. A big ball of grass and bark and debris and you put it in there like a little squirrel and you wrap it up and wanna keep warm. You make sure he’s covered but you don’t want to suffocate him. So that’s kind of the thing and then you blow on it and you can hear it getting hotter and you can hear him moving but if you’re not keeping him warm it will blow out, and if you’re suffocating it will blow out to. It’s balance, keep him warm and give him air then all of sudden you get a flame, throw it in the camp fire with larger sticks and off ya go. And that’s a whole other section. Learning how to get proper tinder nest and keep it lit from spark base ignition. That’s the next step but uh this step, you got the flint steel.”

Tyler: “Alright guys.”

Mikhail: “Thanks for watching T Jack Survival. If this was useful to you and you liked the video please consider subscribing and come check us out at Emberlit.com. We have out own little YouTube channel with a bunch of silly stuff. Anyways thanks for watching, this is Mikhail.”

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