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.
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.
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.
4 Directions Bushcraft