by Josh Aronow (April 11, 2013)
What would you do if you were all out of matches and you wanted to make a fire? If you were living more than 186 years ago, then you would have needed to make fire without matches, because matches hadn’t been invented yet. Even today people find it difficult to start a fire without matches. Making fire is a good skill to have when you are surviving in the wilderness.
Before you start to make your fire you have to prepare and get your materials ready. The first material is flint. Flint is a metamorphic rock which can be used to start fires. Real flint was used by Native Americans, but the reason we don’t use flint today is that it is very difficult to use. Instead we use a block of magnesium, but we still call it a flint block.
We also use a sparking rod made out of ferrocerium, to help us create a spark. Another item you need is a knife. Use a knife for shaving scraps off the flint block. A third material is tinder. Tinder is a small bundle of sticks or plants that can be crumbled. It is usually fuzzy or hair-like. In some situations it would be good to dead and dry grass from the ground. The grass might be loose from animals pawing at it or trying to make nests.
In addition to tinder, kindling, which is made of the very smallest sticks, is another thing you need. Last of all, we need big sticks. Big sticks are the largest item that you will need, and those will be the last sticks that you add on to the fire. Don’t gather any of your materials from the ground, because whatever you pick up from the ground is probably wet.
Setting up the Fire
At first, you make a tee-pee out of kindling. You make the tee-pee with kindling. Secondly, you make a bundle of tinder into the shape of a birds nest. Then put other tinder inside the tee-pee. Add more sticks around the tinder so the tee-pee does not collapse. Make sure not to put too many sticks around the tinder so it doesn’t suffocate the fire. Shave a quarters worth of magnesium from the flint block, with a knife into the tinder bundle. Next, strike your sparking rod with a knife. Specifically, point the blade of the knife at a 90 degree angle to the sparking rod. Slide it across the rod. Direct the magnesium block towards the shavings at a 45 degree angle. Eventually, the magnesium shavings will catch on fire and so will the nest. When the nest is on fire pick it up a put it in the tepee, soon the tepee will catch on fire too. After you put the tinder inside the tepee keep adding more sticks and put in bigger sticks every time. Continue to blow on the fire to give it oxygen.
If you are ever stuck in the woods, now you will know how to make a fire. I hope you learned a lot about making fire, if you are ever stuck in the woods. If I were to have you remember two things about making fire it would be to never find sticks to put in the fire from the ground. The other, is when you are striking the sparking rod always point it to the foot.