Quartermaster James

Making fire

80 posts in this topic

I just cut them with a knife.

Think of a sliver of wood about the thickness of a match stick. Shave the end to a fine point and then dip the point into some melted sulphur. Allow to dry and store in your tinderbox.

I usually shave and dip both ends so I get two lights from each stick.

I don't think I've got a picture of any at the moment and it's snowing outside so I don't really want to go out and take one cos I'm a wuss.

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Cool, something else to add to my tinderbox. Now if I had known about this when I was employed at VHB I coutd have picked up all the sulphur I could use on the side of the road near one of our monitoring sites in Brandon. Seems chunks of the stuff fell off the trucks coming from the refinery. Pure, too.

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I should just add a word of caution.

You don't want to go breathing in the fumes from the burning sulphur, they can do nasty things, especially if you're a bit asthmatic.

Wait for the violet flame to disappear and the yellow flame of the burning wood to take over before you go lighting your pipe with one.

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I just cut them with a knife.

Think of a sliver of wood about the thickness of a match stick. Shave the end to a fine point and then dip the point into some melted sulphur. Allow to dry and store in your tinderbox.

I usually shave and dip both ends so I get two lights from each stick.

I don't think I've got a picture of any at the moment and it's snowing outside so I don't really want to go out and take one cos I'm a wuss.

Interesting ~ I suppose the spill plane is therefore a later period innovation? The plane turns out long cylindrical curls of thin overlapping wood, as opposed to the sliver style which you make ~ I would think the planed thinness would make them burn faster, but I have no practical experience with them, and a modern spill plane is a $50 investment (I haven't been that good :unsure: ).

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Just a short side note here:

It is not uncommon to use cedar spills to light cigars.

Usually these are made by breaking the thin sheets of cedar used to line cigar boxes into strips; no sulphur.

Never heard of a spill plane before. Thanks for the info Mary.

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Now this is why I love this place. For your edification, and mine, the spill plane: Lee Valley Tools.

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Just a short side note here:

It is not uncommon to use cedar spills to light cigars.

Usually these are made by breaking the thin sheets of cedar used to line cigar boxes into strips; no sulphur.

Never heard of a spill plane before. Thanks for the info Mary.

That would certainly work better for borrowing a light from a fire or some such, but the sulphur is used to take a light from just the ember on your charcloth.

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That would certainly work better for borrowing a light from a fire or some such, but the sulphur is used to take a light from just the ember on your charcloth.

Understood.

Now this is why I love this place. For your edification, and mine, the spill plane: Lee Valley Tools.

Nice! Here are a couple more interesting sites:

Spill Planes

Making a Spill Plane

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Damn, now I've got to make one of those, too. Curse you, Quartermaster James, Curse you!

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I have a set of these types of clamps that were gifted to me back in October. I think the gent that made them told me he made them from a coat hanger, or perhaps some thick unshielded copper wiring from the hardware store. My set are about 6 inches long (give or take). Bo, the guy that gave me that is Jean Phillipe from Frontier Folk if you know him at all.

Callenish, I had those at the Lockhouse back in November, did you see them? I used them to light my pipe when we were sitting around the fire Saturday night. They're likely still packed, but I will try and have a look for them and post a pic or two in the next few days if I can find them.

Okay, here is the picture of my coal tongs... I am squeezing them in this picture, their natural state is closed. And after looking at them again, I am fairly certain they are not made from an old coat hanger, the copper wire is too thick for that, so it is likely they were made from thick wire from the hardware store.

CoalTongs1.jpg

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@#%^%$%% coal tongs and cedar spills. back to the shop i go thanks mickey. who'da thought all those cedar shaving from the boat would surface here. I've got a barrel of spills waiting to go to the burn pit. guess i'll pull em out now.

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Thanks for putting up the picture Michael, now you can all see how simple it is. I use 1/8" brazing rod. It is stiff enough that it does not need heated to make the curl, but you do need to heat the ends before you make the loops or they'll break. I have a piece of 1" round bar I use to make the curl by winding the rod around the bar. The copper ones look good! I believe you have to heat treat them to make them stiff though. Copper wire as-is is very flexible/soft. Michaels look to be either a #8 or #6 bare copper ground wire. If you make them from copper they will be easy to work into shape, then you can treat them in your oven @400f for about an hour, or just use a propane torch to heat the copper til it gets a dull brown look consistently, let it cool slowly, and polish.

Jim, did yours arrive yet?

Bo

Edited by Capt. Bo of the WTF co.

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Arrived yesterday. I'll try to post pictures tonight. Haven't tried em out yet.

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Not sure how useful this info is, but I've just found out that the sulphur dipped spills were actually called "Spunks" pre 1900.

Now I can see why that name has dropped out of use on this side of the pond, but I don't know if it has the same unfortunate connotations over there in the colonies. piratewhistle.gif

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it does :) great, yet another word to add to my dictionary of period words that make mothers cringe.

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Are you going to light a faggot with your spunk?

GUYS IT IS PC DEFINITIONS DON'T GET SO MAD!

Okay, that WAS pretty childish. Sorry.

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Oh dear.....What have I started.......guillotine.gif

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who's gettin upset. i love saying things like that just to rile little ole gray hairs.

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There it is!!! I've been reading this thread for all these past 68 posts just to have you toss in the old GREY HAIR bit! Age Discrimination!!! <_<

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Yep, spill planes have fascinated me since I saw the one on my Lee Valley catalog. Just try to find a plane dating back to the 1700s, though ~ I have contacted antique dealers, living history folks ~ nothing concrete as of yet, but I will continue. I was hoping to incorporate it into my camp kit as a practical item ~ I don't usually need a whole fire, but usually need to light my lanterns ~ this is something I can easily chat with the smaller impressionable folk about, and even share spills with the audience.

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this has been a great thread. i've added a few things to the box o fire and still figuring out how to effectively use a couple of them. i'm still having a hard time getting the flint to land where i want it in the tinder.

mary- looking at the spill plane- it wouldnt be hard to do. the body can be made of wood and any blade would work. it's the angle of set and pitch in the throat that is needed. if we can figure that part out, I'd put the shipwright on it for you. He would probably have it done in ten minutes. talented bugger.......

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The book The Voyages and Travels of Captain Nathaniel Uring (1927 reprint, first published in 1726) is full of all sorts of interesting side comments that I'm going to be posting. He doesn't describe what he's talking about here, but I find the comment worth mention. Here, Uring is talking about Luke Haughton, who offered him food and shelter when he was shipwrecked in Honduras. Haughton wound up establishing a home in Honduras after escaping from the Spanish, who were transporting him to Spain after capturing him in Vera Cruz. This is an account from just after Haughton's escape.

"He got safe to the Island; but when he found himself there, he was in a bad Condition; for his Fireworks which he had fastned with his Frock to the Nape of his Neck, were either lost or render'd useless; so that he could get nor Fire. At his first landing, he lived on Conckes and other Shell Fish, till seeing great Numbers of large Snakes, which

__

they call Oulers, that are not venomous, he killed several of them; and having flead them, he split them in Pieces, dipped them in salt Water, and dried them upon the Rocks in the Sun, and found this Food much more agreeable to him than his Shell Fish, there being no fresh Water on the Island but what lodged in the Holes of the Rocks when it rained, always finding enough to satisfy his Thirst. In this manner he lived without Fire for near Six Months..." (p. 150-1)

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If I may be permitted to add my own anecdote about fire starting: I have a glass magnifying lens that I use to light my pipe with (tricky, when you can't hold the pipe in your mouth and see inside the bowl for the correct distance and angle for the lens). While at an encampment a few years ago I decided to experiment to see how well gunpowder could start a cooking fire, and I chose my lens to see if I could ignite the powder with it. I had to lay my carronade ball shaped body down close to the fire pit to be able to get the lens in close enough. So here are the results:

Does it work?

YES IT DOES.

How long does it take for the lens to ignite the gunpowder?

EXACTLY 3 SECONDS.

What was the result?

Well there was a great whoosh and eruption and smoke and such much like an old time camera flash in a wild west movie. I can now say I have much in common with Wile E Coyote, for I am now both a super-genius and my face was covered in the inevitable cartoonish black soot like some Acme powered anti-road runner death machine exploding on ol' Mr Coyote. Fortunately I was wearing my spectacles at the time, so no permanent damage done and also no need to shave for the rest of the weekend.

Recreate experiment at your own peril.

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If you have your flintlock gunne with you, you have a flint-and-steel that works "automatically" for igniting fires. Place your charr in the pan, close the frizzen/battery and set the hammer, squeeze the trigger and your char is ready to place in the tinder. Of course you want to be sure the gunne is not loaded and always pointed in a safe direction regardless.

Bo.

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If you have your flintlock gunne with you, you have a flint-and-steel that works "automatically" for igniting fires. Place your charr in the pan, close the frizzen/battery and set the hammer, squeeze the trigger and your char is ready to place in the tinder. Of course you want to be sure the gunne is not loaded and always pointed in a safe direction regardless.

I actually have a period reference for doing this somewhere, so it is correct. (I sort of doubt magnifying glasses were used for such, but who knows?)

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