Charcoal As Good Fireatarter

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zelph
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Charcoal As Good Fireatarter

Postby zelph » Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:56 am

On several ocasions I have read on the backpacking forums that charcoal left over from your campfire should be taken with you to start your next fire. Indications are that it makes for a good firestarter.

This in NOT true!!!

I put a propane torch to a piece of charcoal to see how it burns. See the photos:

Image
Image
Image

It will not burn!!!!!!!!Parts of it will glow red hot while the torch is blowing on it but it don't burn. Don't carry it around with you thinking that it will make a good firestarter. It does'nt work!!!!

It's urban Legend, a Myth. Try the test for yourself. I made this information available on Whiteblaze and so far nobody has made a statement contrary to my findings. How about you?
"Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained" stove store = http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/

The Cheat
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Re: Charcoal As Good Fireatarter

Postby The Cheat » Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:04 pm

Never heard of charcoal as a firestarter. It needs charcoal lighter just to get hot. The whole idea is it doesn't flame.

Now, charcloth, that's whole 'nuther thing.

hiker5
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Re: Charcoal As Good Firestarter

Postby hiker5 » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:51 am

Good point The Cheat. Just like lighting the grill, unless you are using matchlight the charcoal always needs the aid of another form of starter (lighter fluid, electric element, newspaper in a chimney, etc.). I had never heard this myth either.

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zelph
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Re: Charcoal As Good Fireatarter

Postby zelph » Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:16 am

hiker5 wrote:Good point The Cheat. Just like lighting the grill, unless you are using matchlight the charcoal always needs the aid of another form of starter (lighter fluid, electric element, newspaper in a chimney, etc.). I had never heard this myth either.


The charcoal that I'm refering to is the remains of a wood burning campfire or the remains of a fire that was had in a woodburning backpacking stove(BushBuddy, Risk's stove and Garlington Wood Gas Stove) I will search out the statement made by posters on forums to be added here so you can get an idea of what is being said.

As The cheat said, char cloth is a nuther thing. It's an excellent tinder for starting fire.

Starting fire with natural fibers is another addiction of mine. As I wander through the woods I test different fiber, leaves, bird nest contents, animal nests, fluff from seed pods, dried mushrooms, shelve/shelf fungus, moss and wood chavings of different trees(inner core). I carry a do-it-yourself tinder tester. I'll get a photo of it and post it when I can.
"Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained" stove store = http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/

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zelph
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Re: Charcoal As Good Fireatarter

Postby zelph » Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:41 am

zelph wrote:
hiker5 wrote:Good point The Cheat. Just like lighting the grill, unless you are using matchlight the charcoal always needs the aid of another form of starter (lighter fluid, electric element, newspaper in a chimney, etc.). I had never heard this myth either.


The charcoal that I'm refering to is the remains of a wood burning campfire or the remains of a fire that was had in a woodburning backpacking stove(BushBuddy, Risk's stove and Garlington Wood Gas Stove ) I will search out the statement made by posters on forums to be added here so you can get an idea of what is being said.

As The cheat said, char cloth is a nuther thing. It's an excellent tinder for starting fire.

Starting fire with natural fibers is another addiction of mine. As I wander through the woods I test different fiber, leaves, bird nest contents, animal nests, fluff from seed pods, dried mushrooms, shelve/shelf fungus, moss and wood chavings of different trees(inner core). I carry a do-it-yourself tinder tester. I'll get a photo of it and post it when I can.


Here is a quote from a backpacing site that might show how the charcoal idea is used:
http://hikinghq.net/forum/showpost.php?p=19912&postcount=1I think that is where I am at now. Beginning now at the end, I think I will develop a simple grate / pot stand, on which a 4" diameter mug will sit, and around which an insulated wind screen will be. For making char or charcoal a small tin with lid 4" diameter and 1-2" tall might serve as a retort. It might be possible to make the charcoal while heating water by resting the mug directly on the retort, which is itself on the potstand and venting to the bottom, heated from below by twigs, and/or charcoal from a previous burn. Might reduce soot on the pot if done this way. Alternatively the retort might go under the potstand and grate, or not be used. Seems versatile enough.


Here is another statement that might lead someone to think it makes a good fire starter:

My primary intention is to be able to heat a small amount of water using wood, but with with less smoke and in a reasonable time frame. Efficiency is not so important as how quickly I can make tea without too much smoke. I am hoping that if I have some charred wood to start with it might speed things up, and it will help complete the cumbustion of the volatile gases and smoke escaping from the fresh fuel once it heats up and begins to char inside the retort.
http://hikinghq.net/forum/showpost.php? ... stcount=46


I will be searching a different site, different poster for a statement that gives the same impression that charcoal is a good fire starter.

It's not a good fire starter.
"Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained" stove store = http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/

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Pure Mahem
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Re: Charcoal As Good Fireatarter

Postby Pure Mahem » Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:58 am

Zelph that second quote I think is refering to using the charcoal to difuse the heat so the bottom of the pot they are cooking in doesn't collect so much soot. Kind of the way they use lava rocks in a gas grill to difuse heat. How ever On the last quote I think the lady is a fruit cake I've never heard of that working. I have heard of people wrapping hot coals and letting them smoulder to move a fire but nothing that would be useful in a hiking situation. That stuff is more for survival situation.
"Lad I don't know where you've been. But, I see you won first prize!"

The Cheat
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Re: Charcoal As Good Fireatarter

Postby The Cheat » Tue Nov 27, 2007 5:08 pm

I don't know much about it, but apparently there is something called charwood that is made in a similar fashion to charcloth. It is not the same as the charwood cooking stuff.

hplar
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Re: Charcoal As Good Fireatarter

Postby hplar » Sat Jun 13, 2009 11:28 am

I know this is an old thread but hear is some non-scientific findings I have garnered over the years... Charcoal itself is not good fire starter... However, partially burned wood, with charcoal still attached IS good fire starter... The charcoal acts as a wick which more readily allows wood gas to percolate from the unburned wood, making the remaining wood rekindle more rapidly than virgin wood... I always use as much partially burned wood as possible when restarting my fire in the morning and then put the charcoal back on only after the fire is started...

If it's a quick breakfast I then roll the still partially burned wood into the ash to snuff it out until I need it for my next meal... This method is best used for extended stays, not for thru-hiking...

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zelph
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Re: Charcoal As Good Fireatarter

Postby zelph » Sat Jun 13, 2009 10:52 pm

I always use as much partially burned wood as possible when restarting my fire in the morning and then put the charcoal back on only after the fire is started...


Same here, it's been totally dried out from the previous fire making it easy to ignite.

The only charcoal that I've heard of that makes a good firstarter is the chared stumps of the Pinion Pine tree.
Chared stumps of the regular pine trees are said to make excelent kindling. They are heavily ladened with pitch that settles to the base of the tree as it burns to the ground. That's what I've been told.
"Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained" stove store = http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/

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irrationalsolutions
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Re: Charcoal As Good Fireatarter

Postby irrationalsolutions » Sun Jun 14, 2009 12:48 am

that makes sence to me. i keep a few pieces of what my family calls fat lighter which is fat wood with me. its about the best thing i can find to get a fire going with that is know. even if i dont have any with me its easy to find around here.
“Do or do not... there is NO try.” Yoda

Luke "Whats in (out) there?" Yoda "Only what you take with you."

Luke "I can’t believe it." Yoda "That is why you Fail.”


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