Now this is as old school as it gets….People have been making Charcloth for as long as humans have known how to make cloth...Charcloth is one of the
best tinder’s available. It won’t burn to flame but will catch almost any spark … puff on it and it'll glow bright like charcoal. It can be
ignited by a much cooler spark than will ignite grass or most other tinder’s… Just get out your flint and steel… catch a spark on the Charcloth
and transfer to your kindling… Dryer lint for instance…Then BLOW BABY BLOW…the cloth will glow orange and the kindling will catch flame…. So,
how‘s it done?
First, get a tin that's airtight … for this we’ll use an empty shoe polish can…
Step one…punch a hole in the can. You want it small (about 1/8" - a small nail is fine)
Step Two… get your cloth … it needs to be natural fiber with no "coatings". Cotton or linen is fine. Cut into strips and loosely fill the tin...
Careful here many modern fabrics are treated with a fire-retardant… cloth like that used in children’s pajamas is NG…
Step 3…you need to heat the tin. Some use their oven (My wife would kill me) I prefer to keep an eye on it. The top of a camping stove or over an
open fire works well. (Without the spousal bloodshed)
Step 4… After a couple of minutes, you will see smoke ... this forces all the oxygen out of the tin. If you didn’t have a hole, the expanding
pressure would blow the lid off. (That’s kind of fun too)
As soon as the smoke stops coming, take the tin from the heat and allow to cool. On a gas stove this will only be a few minutes. (The Can Is Hot!) A
leather glove or tongs is useful here. ..
Last Step… Finally, remove the Charcloth from the tin and get a spark (flint and steel work, but fee free when testing to put a lighter flame to it
… we're just checking it works) As soon as you see an orange glow … blow on it … that‘s your ember and your Charcloth is fine. Now, Charcloth
is messy, so store in a dry clean place … I use 2 inch square Ziplocs…
Well there it is… Old School Charcloth… Pretty easy to make wasn’t it…No one ever said this stuff was hard…I know most "old timers" have
done this so feel free to add your own thoughts or go over something I forgot… I forget all kinds of things these days… BTW anyone seen my
After thoughts: Or before you ask:
NO, you do not need to use a shoe polish can like I did… Yes, it has to be metal with a tight fitting lid.
No, Polyester and nylon blends will not work; they will melt and make a gooey mess…
No, Photos of your ex do not make good tinder… but… Yes you can burn them in you want