Recipe for Great Char Cloth

I was out today in the 100 degree weather making a bulk batch of quality char cloth by the blazing hot fire. This char cloth is very important not only because I offer a quality product to my customers but it must be done right to ensure easy ignition during use.

Now you can throw nearly anything carbon based into a tin or the ground for that matter and char it by slowly cooking it in the absence of oxygen. This will turn it into it’s base element, which is carbon in this case.

The very good and beneficial reasons for making char cloth while in nature are: it very easily catches the smallest sparks and can be blown into a flame to allow other tinder to ignite.  It is also supreme in lighting damp tinder or in subpar weather conditions. It is a very old technique that was used by the 5,300 year old ice mummy Otzi the Iceman.IMG_1433

Utilizing a one gallon paint can I strategically place my 100% cotton cloth into it. I have previously started my fire and have allowed it to form some good base coals. I firmly tap the top of the paint can down with the butt of my Condor Bushlore. This ensures the lid will not explode off due to the pressure of gasses caused by the charring of the cotton. I puncture a solitary hole in the opposite side of the can (bottom) to allow the gasses to escape but allow no oxygen in. This is key in the charring process because if oxygen is allowed to reach the cloth it will burst into flame rendering it useless. I then place the can into the middle of the fire and build the fire up surrounding the can.

While dripping with sweat, I watch patiently as the gasses escape from the can. I’m not just doing this for fun but it allows me to know how close to done the process is. When the gasses slow the process is near completion and I gently turn the can to make certain the cloth is well cooked. IMG_1434[1]

Now that the gasses are barely visible, I pull the can out of the fire and allow to cool completely. I have found if you pull the lid off the can prematurely your char cloth will smolder and burn. I leave the can to cool for approximately 20 good minutes to ensure smoldering and residual heat is completely gone.

“Voila!” You have premium char cloth great for fire use.

char cloth

 

 

~ Chris

4 Directions Bushcraft

The Art of creating a YouTube video

Hello from our family at 4 Directions Bushcraft. We have been making YouTube videos for our channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUsld9DrfRRNVgZODfEKmgg

a little over a year now, until now not much has changed. It is our experience that you don’t need a very fancy camera or tripod and lighting system to make a good informative video. In our case I have always used my Iphone 6s plus to shoot video and take pictures of our products. It has always worked for us and simple is better for us as well because I am not very technology savvy.

You can keep the viewers attention in different ways such as using multiple cameras and camera angles. Now let me tell you this can be challenging, especially in the editing phase due to the amount of footage but it is worth it.

Here is an example of my very first YouTube video “Alice pack review” seen below. Notice first I look very nervous and I’m not using any technique to keep viewers attention.

Now take a look at this example below “Building my trappers cabin”, first you see the initial thumbnail is a costumized photo of what the video is about then while watching you notice I show multiple camera angles and limit my narration which helps in capturing viewers attention.

Please like, share and subscribe!!

-Chris

4 Directions Bushcraft

Sassafras Root and its medicinal attributes

Nearly every time I’m in the woods I find myself enjoying a cup of Sassafras tea. I love the taste and typically enjoy it unsweetened. I also like chewing on a piece of freshly harvested root during a bushcraft project or hike. IMG_1313

All parts of the Sassafras plant are useful for medicinal, culinary and aromatic purposes but the roots are found to be the most powerful. Medicinally Sassafras has been used for high fevers, urinary disorders, GI problems, pain relief, as an antiseptic and blood thinner. The root can also be chewed like bubble gum and tastes much like root beer.

Directions for tea – Break root up into smaller pieces. Steep root in hot water for 12-15 minutes or until water is amber/orange color. Do not boil, boiling will cause it to loose medicinal properties. Add sugar or drink plan, drink cold or hot tea.

Caution – Sassafras contains Safrole oil. As with all wild edibles please research and consume at your risk.

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-Chris

4 Directions Bushcraft

Chasing Osage Orange growth rings

It has been my experience when working with Osage Orange or Hedge, as it is commonly referred to, that it naturally grows in rings called early growth (spongy layer) and late growth (hard orange layer). This late growth layer is the desired layer wanted when carving and shaping handles and bows. This precision is absolutely necessary when making a bow out of Hedge but not completely necessary when making handles. If the wood working is correct and a single growth ring is obtained the wood is then at it’s strongest most durable state.

osage orange wood

This is the reason that Hedge is a very valuable resource and hard to work with. It has been considered a prized possession throughout North American history.

-Chris

4 Directions Bushcraft