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Old 09-02-2015, 02:30 PM   #1
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I need some fatwood.

One of my best clients is a scoutmaster, and he called me today about some knives he needed. He just got back from a miserable camping trip. The area he and the boys hiked into had just gotten four inches of rain in a scant few hours.

Now, I always give him ancillary fire-starting materials and equipment for the training he does. I provide his scouts with cotton tinder sticks, water-proof matches, Exo-tac match cases, and even three burner butane 'jet' lighters.

This time, nothing worked. On the ESEE forum some years ago one of the members found a tree yielding fatwood. The other members all added that fatwood lights every time. And I need some.

Does anyone have some I can buy?
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:28 PM   #2
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Home Depot sells it.
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:53 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Chuck43 View Post
Home Depot sells it.
They do? Yikes, that's just a few blocks from my house! I'll go there tomorrow!

I have to figure out how a multi-flame butane lighter can light damp/wet material with some form of accelerant. The scoutmaster did light some damp leaves last year, but they might not have been that wet--or he got lucky.

The survivalists on the ESEE forum take an old Altoid container and tinder with them when they go into wilderness areas.

BTW, I wish you could hear this four-burner light up! It sounds like a rocket engine. It should be able to light a stone!

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Old 09-02-2015, 06:50 PM   #4
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When I was a youngster into camping we used to take a small coffee can and put sawdust soaked in kerosene in it with on old teaspoon. When we needed to start a fire we put a couple of spoonfuls of sawdust in the middle of our fire and light it, worked every time and would keep for ages.
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Old 09-02-2015, 08:41 PM   #5
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I use Vaseline infused cotton balls that I keep in a Ziploc bag. As good a tinder as I have found and you probably won't have to buy anything. Just look through your wife's makeup drawers.
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:58 PM   #6
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Dried moose or like wise pellet turds soaked in hot pariffin wax...
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Old 09-02-2015, 11:40 PM   #7
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Hey, Tourist. I do a bit of backpacking in very remote locations. Fire starting became a little more interesting for me after watching Naked and Afraid. I wondered if I could get by without my fancy lighter and a splash of fuel from my backpacking stove.

I bought a ferrocerium rod from the Friendly Swede on Amazon. Sixteen bucks for two. Essentially it's a small rod of metal alloy that emits a shower of sparks if you rub it with something rough. It turned out to be easier than I thought. I use my highly polished knife blade to shave a stick into wood dust. Then I shower some 3,000 degree ferrocerium sparks onto the pile of sawdust, and then there's fire. Easy peasy. The rod is now a more important part of my backpacking kit than matches or a lighter.

Then I spotted a firestarter for $2.99 from Harbor Freight. I couldn't resist. It's a block of magnesium with ferrocerium rod on the side. You use your katana to shave off a pile of magnesium bits, then you spark it up with the ferrocerium rod. Magnesium burns at 5,600 degrees, and is easy to ignite. With magnesium shavings, it's hard to NOT make a fire. Seriously, magnesium powder is something you don't handle carelessly.

Perhaps a handful of the Harbor Freight fire starters could be of use to your scout friends. If nothing else, the boys might appreciate the caveman aspect of building a campfire.
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Old 09-03-2015, 02:00 AM   #8
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Thanks for the responses, guys. The scoutmaster is actually trying all of those variables to find the best alternatives to teach the boys.

'Iron, I just bought a ferro rod, but so far I have not tried it. Right now it's my fob for my day-bag, but I also have an Exo-tac canister filled with kitchen matches, hoping I'll not need the rod.

It did trouble me that the lighter did not work, here's my thoughts on that. When it comes to tinder and basic bushcraft, we all surmise we will be in survival mode, but ambulatory. What if we're injured, or one hand is inoperable?

Not only that, but the scoutmaster is responsible for the lives of kids. With everything soaked and the boys frigid he had to wrap them all up, pack them in tents and wait out the night. I'd like to find an alternative.

The methods you guys offered all did work--until the tinder was gone. The problem is that none of the deadfall would stay lit. This is why I'm looking to build a smaller fire that will dry out the wood found at the site.
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Old 09-03-2015, 12:06 PM   #9
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A fire starting method I've used plenty of times, although not very "scout-like," is to pour some of the fuel from my stove onto the tinder. Of course you MUST teach the kids to NEVER pour fuel onto a pile of tinder that you've previously tried to start. Otherwise you might get the opportunity to teach them some wilderness first aid burn treatment methods.

But if you have a stove and a tent, you're in good shape already and may not need to build a fire. If they don't have stoves, then WTF are they doing out in the wilderness to begin with?

So here's a really cool project for the scouts: alcohol stove from an aluminum can. It's a tool used by ultra-light backpackers. It's crazy light, very effective, and costs nothing. Check out the attached picture of my stove, as I was testing it out for the first time. There are plenty of ideas on the interweb, but I can lend advice on construction if needed.

The stove fits into the titanium pot. The french press and coffee mug are for at home, but then again, scouts shouldn't be drinking coffee anyway.
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Old 09-03-2015, 12:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Mike240 View Post
Dried moose or like wise pellet turds soaked in hot pariffin wax...
I just laughed so hard some of my body parts fell off.
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