Simple pyromaniac fire starter.

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by Magus, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. Magus

    Magus Scavenger deluxe


    A plastic soap box or other similiar airtight container,a baby food jar is good too if you have space.

    A handfull of cotton balls.

    Pack your container with the cotton balls and pour in some used motor oil,let it soak in and add some more.

    Now you have some hot burning tinder to use in those less than ideal conditions!
  2. endurance

    endurance Well-Known Member

    Similarly, but more compact, I use cotton balls I've rolled around in Vasoline and put them in 35mm film canisters. They light with just a spark and a half cotton ball will burn for three minutes (plenty of time to start your kindling).

  3. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

    Motor Oil gives of lots of black smoke and toxic fumes.

    Glass jars break break easily.

    A much better alternative is cotton balls,
    (I keep the 'long' cotton that comes out of the top of pill bottles)
    And plain old discount Petroleum Jelly.

    If you are just starting a fire for heat/light and not cooking over it,
    You can try cotton or cotton cloth strips, like old blue jean material or even news paper, and petroleum grease, like any old axle grease.

    Petroleum Jelly makes MUCH less smoke, much less fumes, and you can mix up the cotton/petroleum jelly in any old plastic bag.

    It's Water Proof (petroleum jelly won't let the water soak into the cotton fibers),
    Light Weight,
    Cost Effective,
    And will start burning with nothing more than a striker tool.

    If you want a longer burning tinder/fuel then use paraffin wax with cardboard or cotton.
    (about any kind of cellulose material)

    I use a lot of cardboard/paraffin fire starters/stoves because they are self sealing,
    IE: Waterproof, and burn a good long time with good heat,

    I use cotton/petroleum jelly tender for the same reason,
    Petroleum Jelly has lots of medical uses,
    Lip Balm, disinfectant for cuts/scrapes, treatment for gear 'Rubs', (abrasions from boots, packs, belts rubbing skin).
    Petroleum Jelly will sooth those insect bites and helps with sun burns on the skin...

    Can't do that with used motor oil!
  4. Magus

    Magus Scavenger deluxe

    I'm bad to use what I have plenty of.

    Another great fire starter is those cheap birthday candles,I've seen them recently for a quarter a box!get the wick wet?break off some!
  5. endurance

    endurance Well-Known Member

    Jeep, similar to your paraffin wax with cardboard, I've used tea light candles, melted them down, removed the wicks, and replaced the wick with a 2.5" long x 1/2" tall strip of coiled compressed cardboard (like the kind that backs a legal pad). It gives a much more controlled 2.5-4" nearly smokeless fire for about 20-30 minutes. It's perfect for heating a snow cave when you wake up in the middle of the night shivering. Warms you right up, but doesn't go so long as to start serious melting on the inside of the cave.
  6. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

    I've seen the guys use the compressed cardboard before, but I always used corrugated because I use mine for cooking or quick heating, and the corrugated cardboard makes more heat quicker.

    You have a point for using one for just 'Warming Up' and not 'Heating Up' the space...

    I usually set mine up the night before with a canteen cup over it, so in the morning, I just reach out and light it from the covers, and in about 10 minutes I have two cups of boiling water and a warm tent to get dressed in!

    (Two cups, One for Coffee or Hot tea, one for the instant hot oatmeal I usually have for breakfast before daylight...)

    You can also warm up anything left over from the night before that way! Nothing gets me started like WARM food and Hot Coffee/Tea!
    Plus I don't get roped into making breakfast for the rest of the camp like that!
  7. Washkeeton

    Washkeeton Well-Known Member

    I have only one complaint about your above comments... dont use any grease or oil based product on sun burns or any other burns.. that includes lotions.. it will continue to burn the area making the burn worse because it holds in the heat vs allowing it to come up and out. Yes you can use it when the area is healing to moisten the dry skin but not when the burn first happens...

    The cardboard and parifin we made in cat food cans when I was a kid. We did that project when my brother was in boy scouts. You use to be able to buy already made cans of sterno which was the same as you speak also... I had or still have some I think... Almost burnt down my parents house playing with it once...(oops):eek:
  8. Tex

    Tex Pincushion

    My 13 yr old showed me a perfect fire starter. He squirted a strip of Germex hand sanitizer on the driveway and lit it. It burned for 3-4 minutes until we blew it out and then relit it. It's mostly alcohol and I guess the fact that it is a gel makes it burn slower. I bet you could start 15-20 fires out of 1 tube.

    What is in baby wipes? I'm just curious.
  9. endurance

    endurance Well-Known Member

    Re: Baby wipes: Most advertise "contains no alcohol" on the box because it causes skin irritation. The majority are just a mild soap solution which doesn't burn at all.

    However, if you check the diabetic care section of your local pharmacy they'll have alcohol swabs for injection site cleaning. Not very big and they do dry out in the packaging after about a year.

    I always liked modeler's glue for a flammable gel, but now I'm finding the new military stove gel packets are even better. It's replacing the old mothball smelling tablets you use in the canteen stoves. Great stuff and multipurpose since you can boil a cup of water over it even without starting a wood fire.
  10. Recon

    Recon Veteran

    For a quick firestarting tinder and it is very light weight clean your lint trap on your dryer put it in a ziplock bag all you need is a spark and it goes up quick.Clean lint trap after you dry jeans or other cotton aritcles no man made items.
  11. Merlin

    Merlin Seeker of Knowledge

    Just out of curiosity Endurance are you talking about Esbit tabs for the small folding stoves that started out in Swiss and German army kits??
  12. xj35s

    xj35s Guest

  13. testhop

    testhop Well-Known Member

    my fire starter idea

    recon i use the lint but in a diffent way.
    i take a square of toiletaquter paper put a ball of lint or cotton ball the size of a walnut. ih side twist the lint in the tp leave some ears on the tp .
    dip it in hot melted waxbut not the ears the ears are easier to light ..
    even a spark will do .
    keepsfor a long time. and less messy than oil.
  14. sailaway

    sailaway Well-Known Member

    You can find all kinds of cool stuff in the Anarchists Cook Book;):ignore:
  15. bunkerbob

    bunkerbob Supporting Member

    Sailaway, I've never met a guy that couldn't start a fire with something and always looking for something new.:D Guys and pyromania aren't they synonymous.:dunno: at least that is what my wife says.
  16. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

    It's not so much the pyromania, there's just that SOMETHING that you get from sitting around a campfire...
  17. CVFD_Madman

    CVFD_Madman Member

    Here, Here, bunkerbob and Jason. There is something about making a fire, no matter from what...although the primitive methods are cool, I always keep some modern ways around as well.

    I'm a big fan of the cotton balls and petroleum jelly, especially with flint (ferrocium). I actually melt the jelly and soak it up in the cotton balls for greater saturation than just smearing. They can get messy to carry around this way, so once they cool off, I normally add several plain dry cotton balls to the mix and squeeze them all together to soak up any extra jelly which might normally leak out of the container on warm days.

    You can also use aluminum foil to wrap around the soaked cotton ball before lighting if you only need a small flame for light. I got a cotton ball to burn for 52 minutes overall by keeping the flame as small as possible and rotating the cotton ball once when the flame went out. Without any kind of protection, the soaked cotton ball burns on it's own for about 20 seconds or so. I also have a cool candle I made, but I'll share that later. I'm new to this group and don't want you folks to think I'm too wierd just yet.
  18. tiedami

    tiedami Well-Known Member

    I have found that for quickness nothing beats the old cotton balls in Vaseline but just in case practicing with alternative methods such as bow and drill might not be such a bad idea (and if it ever gets to wet :cry: at least you have vaseline cotton balls!)
  19. katfish

    katfish Active Member

    I love dryer lint for tinder and one of the ideas I read somewhere that has worked great for me is a snuff can full of dryer lint with parrafin wax poured in it. I've tried mixing lint and wax in a pot, but packing the can full and pouring the melted wax in (and adding more lint as it gets wet and packs better) has worked great for me. Cardboard cans (like Copenhagen type) seem to work better than the plastic ones. Dipping 2 to 4 inch lengths of cotton string in wax works really good too. That's my favorite! Out a couple weeks ago and it was drizzling rain and there was snow everywhere but we still had a fire going to make some pine needle tea in no time. They can be made to fit whatever size match container you have and they work great! I haven't got them to take a spark from a fire steel yet but I honestly haven't tried very hard. I always keep a few in a waterproof math container with me and after trying them out I won't be in the woods without any.
  20. DocWard

    DocWard Well-Known Member

    Several good ideas to keep in mind!

    Since we are talking fire starters, I didn't see the battery and steel wool method mentioned.

    I would imagine you can also do a smaller version of the isopropyl alcohol and toilet paper heater method as a fire starter as well. I would think a small metal can, with lid, stuffed full of tp and soaked in alcohol would work wonders. I may have to do some experimenting now...