Starting Af Fire With Birch Bark

Starting a fire with some birch bark is a piece of cake. Even when the birchbark is still wet, it will light as if it was a dry piece of paper soaked in gasoline.

When you are on a hike, and you plan to make a fire later the day, it’s a good idea to collect already some tinder when you find it. Collecting upfront birch bark when you are in a birch tree forest might look stupid, but can you imagine your frustration when you want to lit your fire and you are in the middle of a pine tree woodland, or desert and the last birch tree was 20 km ago.

Always be prepared!

Magnesiumstick And Sisal Rope

It’s friday, time to make some fire! Today we are going to use some sisal rope as tinder to start our fire. It’s pretty easy if you know how to do it. I’ll show it to you in a few pictures. The knife I’m using is a Frosts Mora Clipper. A very cheap (= inexpensive), but decent knife every wannabe Bush crafter must have! 😉

Or for those who like a video-demo:

Ikea Hacking: Take Two: Ingo Table And Lanni Chair

Ikea hacking is fun. And since we liked it the first time so much, we decided to try it again. This time with the big Ingo table and a Lanni chair. Just like the first time we’ll paint these items so that they’ll fit our interior. They are going to be the furniture in my little laptop corner.

We painted them first dark gray, and then we brushed some transparent brown varnish onto it to give it that antique look.

And for the chair: the same thing.

The final result.

Now I only need to find a decent laptop…

Dryer Lint Tinder

Dryer lint makes excellent tinder. You have to clean your dryer’s filter anyway, and instead of throwing the lint away you could save it to use it as tinder. Put some of it in your emergency readiness or use it to light your BBQ.

Now how does this work? I’ll give you a small demonstration.

Take a piece of dryer lint and tear it apart. Try to make it as light as possible. Take your firesteel and after a few strokes you have your fire. Be careful not to inhale the fumes as they could be poisonous due to the type of materials used for your socs or t-shirts.

Even though you might not have any dryer lint with you in an emergency situation, you can always make some by pealing off little peaces of fabric from your socs or blouse. This video also indicates that dryer lint is highly flammable and can be ignited with only a few little sparks. Those sparks can also be the result of static electricity, so be sure to always clean your dryer and remove any lint from it’s filter.

Ikea Hacking: Ingo Table

A lot op people make fun of the IKEA furniture packages. Screws or bolts are missing, the instructions are not clear or detailed enough and you always need a tool that is not present. My idea is that most people who share this idea do not have a good eye for detail. I bought already lot’s of stuff at IKEA and I never missed one screw.

Yes I did have some issues putting the goods together, but that was my own fault. The included instructions were so detailed but I missed the part where was depicted which side was up. Two big holes on the right means up, two small holes on the right means down. I only figured out that something was wrong when I wanted to install the latest piece. I had to breakdown everything again to fix my mistake.

But can you imagine there are people who don’t even care about that. The just need some parts of the package and will alter it the way they want to have it. They even have a website:

Being a fan of thinking outside the box, I also wanted to do some IKEA hacking myself. My wife wanted a little side table that fits our furniture, but we couldn’t find a nice and reasonably priced one, so we decided to hack some IKEA stuff. We bought a cheap
Ingo dining table (2 persons) and made a nice little side table of it.

First of all: unpack everything and check if all pieces are present.

Because the table was too high (73cm) I had to cut down the table-legs to 43cm (tabletop = 2cm, so the table will measure 45cm in total). Be very cautious when cutting the table-legt: cut off the bottom and not the top! You’ll need the top for further constructing the full table.
Warning: ask your wife first if you can do this inside.

when done, just follow the instruction from the manual. If something isn’t going easy, you’re doing it wrong and should check the details!

And here is the result:

Steel Wool And A Battery

One of my hobbies is trying as much possible options to make a fire. Today I made fire with some Steel Wool (Wire Wool) and a 9 Volts battery.

First of all you make sure you’ll have enough tinder. In this case it’s only a demonstration, so I took some cotton. Loosen some steel wool and touch it with the battery. You’re actually short circuiting the battery, that’s where the energy is coming from. You’ll see the steel wool starts to burn. Hold you tinder against it while you are blowing on the burning parts.

Be cautions when putting away the steel wool. Due to the blowing into the steel wool, the fire might have moved into the middle of the steel wool. It can smolder for a long time. So before you throw it away: dip it in a bucket of water. Safety first!

Portable Wood Stove II – DIY

Like I mentioned yesterday, my portable wood stove wasn’t burning that well. I used an extra piece of chicken mesh to (theoretically) improve it.

Below you can see my extended woodstove, placed on a solid surface and already filled with tinder.

Filled with wood, ready to ignite.

The goal of the evening was to boil a liter of water in my mess tin, and to make some tea. In order to save as much energy as possible I used my big mess tin as a lid on top of the small one. Let it burn! As it was pretty cold, and I didn’t use a windshield, I had to add lots of wood.

Only after 40 minutes the water was almost boiling…

The tea I made had a strong taste of mess tin and thermos. In other words: yak! Before you will like this, you’ll have to hike another 40 km. Sitting on the freezing soil for 40 minutes was not enough to appreciate it.

So what went wrong? To much heat got lost because of the lack of a windshield and because the mess tin stood to high above the fire. The opening in the wood stove was not big enough for easy refueling. So I had to use a windshield and probably also a lot less water. The wood stove is being recycled now and I’m already looking for a new container to build another one.

Portable Wood Stove – DIY

It’s cold outside and I’m bored of sitting inside. I want to go for a hike! But no hike without a nice warm cup of tea. And therefore I need a portable cooker. This time I tried to make a portable wood stove.

You can find lots of DIY wood stoves at Zen Backpacking Stoves. From very simple to very ingenious models complete with solar panels and micro waves.

What I wanted to do was to make a very simple wood stove from materials that can be found everywhere. Here you can see the result:

In the bottom I made small ventilation holes. I also inserted a piece of chicken mesh to prevent the wood to fall on to bottom. This way there is plenty of ventilation, something you need for having a good fire.

At the top I’ve cut out two big rectangles, those are needed to add extra wood and also for good ventilation. The pot or cup can be place right on top of the burner. When testing this setup I noticed that the holes are not big enough, and that I need something to make a spacing between the can and the cup. That can be a bigger can, or some nails.

Back to the drawing table 🙂