The other day I was relaxing and thinking, out of the blue a thought crossed my mind that caused me to pause… [Read more…]
My Wife and are getting ready to install a laundry tub in our Laundry room. However, before this can occur, we need to move the washer and dryer about 6 feet away from the hookup box. Moving the Dryer is easy, it actually seems to fit better in its new home, however the washer took some work. I figured that all the ‘Wild Ones’ out there might be interested on how it was done. [Read more…]
“Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.” – Theodore Roosevelt
In a day where chivalry is seen as a barbaric sentiment of the past, it is ever so important to remember that courage is onle one of many marks of a Gentleman.
There are eight species of Bears that roam the globe. Today we’re going to look at two species in particular, the black bear and the brown bear. These are the two species that are indigenous to North America. In the following paragraphs we will take a look at their habitat, signs of their presence, and some safety basics when in bear country.
Starting the fire is the pinnacle of outdoor survival skills. it is an activity that not only requires knowledge, but largely relies on the ability. The ability to start a fire starts with practice, and grows with every successful attempt. in this post, we will start with the basic building blocks of fire: fuel, oxygen, and heat.
Let’s take a deeper look in the each of these categories and see how we can best build the perfect fire.
“Think what you do when you run into debt; you give another power over your liberty.” – Ben Franklin
What a profound truth that we should learn and embrace at a young age. Living in a world filled with so many goods and trinkets can make it hard to keep a clear focus on what we really need. However,
We have learned the components to build a fire, which is fantastic. However, if you are like me you are wondering, “If I have one match to start a fire with, what is the best way to position everything to have success on the first (and only) match?”
Let’s look at some different structures and see what we can learn!
There are three popular fire structures that we are going to cover today. These are the three structures that will be most likely to allow you success with one match, but they also will prove to be optimal for other tasks like cooking, boiling water, and providing heat.
Think of an old Indian Teepee and you are getting the right picture. The Teepee fire structure starts with some small kindling as the the teepee frame. You will want to lean the kindling against each other – you might also find it beneficail to sink 4 pieces in the dirt to help provide good strcuture rigidity. It is important the the frame is backed with small kindling and tinder, but not so tightly packed as to not allow for air to freely move in and through the inside of the structure.
Inside the Teepee frame will be room for your tinder. You can place the tinder inside if you are using a match to light the tinder. If you are using flint and steel or another method of heat to start the fire, then it might be smart to get the tinder started outside of the structure and then slide it in.
Once you have the fire going you can start laying more kindling, and eventually fuel, on the fire while still keeping the same teepee structure going.
The teepee fire lends itself to many great uses. It is a good cooking fire, it is easily managed and doesn’t have to big to provide a good amount of heat. This is probably my favorite and more often than not my go-to fire.
The Lean-To Fire is another of example of being what it sounds like. You start with the smallest piece of fuel that you have and you bury it in the ground at about a 45 degree angle.
Then you take small kindling and large tinder (and sometimes even some large kindling) and you lean it against the main support that is deep in the ground. Once all the wood is leaned in its place you should have a small strcture with the middle open.
The same rules about your tinder that we talked about above goes for this fire too. The structure should allow for easy ventilation and can be built to whatever size you like. When you place the tinder in the Lean-to you will want to make sure that it is placed in a good position for it to catch the other kindling on fire. This is typically toward the backside of the lean-to structure, so you might not want to build your lean-to too deep as to not be able to reach back easily to place (or light) the tinder.
The Lean-to fire is also a good fire for cooking and heating. It does often require more resources (Kindling and Fuel) to get started and burning than does the Tee-Pee fire structure.
Log Cabin Structure
The Log Cabin is a fire for a party. It is typically built for ceremonies, bon fires, and general show. Despite it not being an optimal cooking fire, it is extremely fun to build and provides plenty of heat while it burns. It requires a great deal of preparation, and you will need to collect all the wood you want to burn before you start building the fire strucutres.
It all starts with your fuel. The larger you want your fire then the larger diameter you will want your fuel. Once you have it all gathered, then you start to stack the fuel in a log cabin pattern (two parallel logs stacked upon two other parallel logs, moving each parallel pair closed together on each level). As you stack the fuel higher you want to use smaller and smaller logs and eventually start to use your kindling.
Once you have a structure built to your liking, it is time to get the tinder ready. It is often advised to place some kindling and tinder in the inside of your fuel too, but don’t pack it too tightly and prevent air flow. At the top of the structure you will want to stuff the kindling cabin part of the strucutre with tinder, then you are ready to start your fire.
The Log Cabin Fire’s success depends largely on the ample supply of kindling and gentle progression in the diameter of the woods used.
One Match Fire Starting Tips
I wanted to throw in a couple of tips I’ve learned when starting a fire (especially if you only have one match).
- Gather everything you need before you start. You don’t want to get your tinder going only to realize that you don’t have any kindling.
- Check, Double Check, and Triple Check. If there is only one chance to get the fire going, then you want to make sure that all prepartions are made for success. Visualize starting the fire and see what all you will need and make sure you have it. If you don’t go get it, and start the visualization over from the beginning again.
- Make Sure it is Dry. Don’t waste your time on wet tinder and kindling if you have any choice. No matter what (save the rain forest) you should be able to find some dry tinder some where – you might have to look hard, but it will be worth it.
- Don’t be afraid to get dirty. Sometimes you have to get dirty and breathe in a little smoke for success, but be willing to make those sacrifices. I can promise that all those efforts have been well worth the comfort and heat the fire offered me when the sun went down.
Have some fun with the fire structures and feel free to post any comments or creative applications you might have!
Baden Powell, the originator of the Boy Scouts, was actually a member of the English Army. He started the Boy Scouts as…
We all remember our dad or grandfather coming home and emptying his pockets after a hard days work. Along with car keys, some pocket change, and a wallet there was probably a pocket knife. So if our predecessors carried one with them it might behoove us to follow in their footsteps. While Dad might have just gone down to the hardware store and picked a knife, we have a bit more variety in this day and age. So we’ll take a look at some of our options.
Key Chain Knife or Penknife
This is great choice if you are pressed for space in your pockets or just need a basic knife. Victorinox even makes a small knife with scissors and a tooth pick. If you are looking for a knife to carry comfortably and do the basics, then this is the route you probably want to take.
Single Blade Knife
This is just a knife a little bit bigger than a penknife. You can find every variation of this type of knife under the sun. You can get it so that the blade locks into place, or not. You can get it with a blade edge, or serrated edge. You can even find some that are a combination with the back half being serrated. If you are cutting often or don’t mind the extra size and weight of this style knife then this is the way you want to go.
From here out we need to address the question of quality. As in most cases in life you get what you pay for, so realize that as you look at a knife. Your higher quality knife manufacturers (Gerber, Victorinox, Buck, etc.) are going to be a bit more expensive than something that uses a low grade steel from China. If you are prone to lose things then maybe a cheap knife is the answer. Conversely, if you want something that will last you for quite a while then spend the money to get a quality knife. I still have the knife I had in boy scouts over 20 years ago.
Swiss Army Knife
Maybe in your day to day activities you have the occasional need for some items other than a single blade. Perhaps you need a screwdriver, or maybe a file, or maybe a set of tweezers. If this is you then what you really need is a
FannyPack Swiss Army Knife. I’m not talking about a multi-tool like a Leatherman. We’re talking good old fashioned Swiss Army knives. They come in about every size you could imagine, with almost ever tool that you could use. The uses are too numerous to list here, so check out their website if you need more specific info (http://www.swissknifeshop.com)
You can even go crazy and get a knife with a flash drive and lazer pointer built in, don’t believe me? Check it out.
These bad boys can get heavy quick and might look funny in your front pocket. So keep that in mind as you make your selection, realistically how often do you need a corkscrew? Our rule of pricing holds true here as well. There are other knives that offer the options of the swiss army knife, so make an informed decision weighing your desire for quality with what you are willing to pay.
So assess your needs and make a decision about what type of pocket knife fits your needs. Once you start to carry it you’ll wonder why you didn’t start carrying one sooner.
Flint and Steel are some very easy materials to get a hold of in many situations and often times you even have the steel with you in the form of a knife, hatchet, key, or even a steel aglet on your shoelace. The hard part is finding the flint and using it properly.
Where to find Flint
Flint is a hard sedimentary rock. It can hold a very shard edge and was often used as a knife. Flint is often found in areas where erosion has occurred. Be sure to check in river beds, eroded ditches and even freshly plowed fields. It is a dark grey to grey rock and is often found in chucks or pieces.
How Flint makes a Spark
When flint scrapes across steel, the sharp edge of the flint scrapes small pieces of steel off and through the heat of friction ignites the steel particles. The sharper and better applied the flint, the more sparks. Obviously, this same process does not work with aluminum and many other metals. And actually, any rock as hard as flint will make a spark (obsidian, quartz, diamonds, etc).
How to start a fire with Flint and Steel
To make a spark with flint and steel. Grab your piece of steel, and then strike your flint against it until you are able to produce sparks. You should try to gather your kindling in a small birds nest type shape to catch the sparks you are creating.
Once you get one spark that seems to have caught in the birds nest and is producing some smoke, then blow the spark gently until a flame results. Then placing the flaming birds nest into your pre-made fire structure and tend it into a fire.