Authentic Firelighting

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Grendel2
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Authentic Firelighting

Postby Grendel2 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:01 pm

I'm getting quite interested in the history of firelighting. Does anyone practice authentic firelighting for their period. If so what is authentic firelighitng in your period?

I've been experimenting with it for a while now, using flint and steel, and no modern anachronisms such as char cloth or char tins. This mean you have find a constant natural source of firelighter, have it prepped in the previous fire and carry it to the next one safely. Not so easy. I have the most success with punkwood, but punkwood is not available in all places, chaga so far has been a failure, but this is quite a rare find.



guthrie
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Re: Authentic Firelighting

Postby guthrie » Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:00 pm

I don't think charcloth is an anachronism, at least for medieval times, but I can't recall my sources at all.



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gregory23b
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Re: Authentic Firelighting

Postby gregory23b » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:11 pm

'no modern anachronisms such as char cloth '

it is certainly not anachronistic, there are clear descriptions of using 'burned cloth'.


It's called 'Vulgaria uiri doctissimi Guil. Hormani Caesariburgensis' and it's printed in 1519 :D

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=6519


On this thread.


middle english dictionary

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Grendel2
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Re: Authentic Firelighting

Postby Grendel2 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:20 am

While Char cloth was not unheard of I mean it wasn't common. Everyday folk wouldn't have had it for regular use.



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Brother Ranulf
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Re: Authentic Firelighting

Postby Brother Ranulf » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:41 am

What evidence are you using to make that decision? No offence intended, but it could be viewed as supporting a personal opinion while the available evidence points to the use of a range of different tinder materials. Using whatever was available makes more sense than "it wasn't common" without saying why. It is like saying that rags did not exist, when there is clear and concrete evidence that they did - and everyday folk at all levels of society had access to spare bits of cloth.

Even a cursory look at entries in the Anglo-Norman Dictionary point to a variety of different materials being classed as tinder:

escher = tinder: pirgus, fur, et dicitur a pir, quod est ignis, et potest dici: escher (this is connected with the noun eschete meaning a leftover, a scrap)

For rags and bits of old cloth:

bure, bur, birre = rag, strip of cloth: ancias: bendis, buris; scirmata: anglice ragys . plicas vel tenies gallice, vel burs, lé frengis

In Middle English the term clout is used for "A piece of cloth; a cloth, kerchief, sheet, etc.; (b) a cloth for bandaging.", creste is "A kind of linen cloth; (b)a piece of this cloth", herden is "made of the refuse of flax, made of hards", lin can mean [among other things] a scrap of linen cloth or lint made from scraping linen cloth, linen can mean [among other things] a rag, ragge means "(a) A scrap of cloth, rag; (b) a strip of cloth, bandage; a streamer on a banner or pennon; (c) a flap or lappet of a garment; (d) sg.& pl. tattered or ragged clothing."


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IDEEDEE
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Re: Authentic Firelighting

Postby IDEEDEE » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:47 pm

Horseshoe fungus and King Alfred's cake (another fungus) act like charcloth and are totally natural, though I have no problems using charcloth m'self for all the reasons rehearsed above.



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Re: Authentic Firelighting

Postby Medicus Matt » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:38 pm

Brother Ranulf wrote:everyday folk at all levels of society had access to spare bits of cloth.



Did they have ready access to containers within which to successfully char it though? That, I would have thought, would be the trickier of the two materials to source.
I've not found any evidence for the use of char-cloth during the Anglo Saxon period and would be interested to know if there is any.

I use amadou, made from fomes fomentarius/tinder fungus/hoof fungus when demonstrating in an early medieval context.


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Re: Authentic Firelighting

Postby guthrie » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:56 pm

I'm pretty sure you don't need specialist equipment for it. I did it in a glass jar with a hole in the lid because I could see what was happening. The jar broke, but if you use some bits of old pot you can probably do well enough. IT's too wet and miserable to experiment at the moment, i'll try in march or april.



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Re: Authentic Firelighting

Postby Brother Ranulf » Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:14 pm

There isn't enough evidence to go on but I have often wondered if cloth could not be dried out enough in a bread oven - something that was easily available and used almost everywhere, every day. Baking the cloth over several days sounds like it ought to do the trick . . . after all, bark or old man's beard needs to be dried out in some way for use as tinder, so why not in an oven?


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Grendel2
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Re: Authentic Firelighting

Postby Grendel2 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:51 pm

Brother Ranulf wrote:What evidence are you using to make that decision? No offence intended, but it could be viewed as supporting a personal opinion while the available evidence points to the use of a range of different tinder materials. Using whatever was available makes more sense than "it wasn't common" without saying why. It is like saying that rags did not exist, when there is clear and concrete evidence that they did - and everyday folk at all levels of society had access to spare bits of cloth.

Even a cursory look at entries in the Anglo-Norman Dictionary point to a variety of different materials being classed as tinder:

escher = tinder: pirgus, fur, et dicitur a pir, quod est ignis, et potest dici: escher (this is connected with the noun eschete meaning a leftover, a scrap)

For rags and bits of old cloth:

bure, bur, birre = rag, strip of cloth: ancias: bendis, buris; scirmata: anglice ragys . plicas vel tenies gallice, vel burs, lé frengis

In Middle English the term clout is used for "A piece of cloth; a cloth, kerchief, sheet, etc.; (b) a cloth for bandaging.", creste is "A kind of linen cloth; (b)a piece of this cloth", herden is "made of the refuse of flax, made of hards", lin can mean [among other things] a scrap of linen cloth or lint made from scraping linen cloth, linen can mean [among other things] a rag, ragge means "(a) A scrap of cloth, rag; (b) a strip of cloth, bandage; a streamer on a banner or pennon; (c) a flap or lappet of a garment; (d) sg.& pl. tattered or ragged clothing."



I was going on Keith Burgess's research. However if there is evidence to contradict him I would be interested checking it out, if you could point me towards it.


Also it's unlikely people on long trips would have stocked up on char material for the whole journey prior to departure they would most likely expect to find some along the way.




Medicus Matt wrote:
Brother Ranulf wrote:everyday folk at all levels of society had access to spare bits of cloth.



Did they have ready access to containers within which to successfully char it though? That, I would have thought, would be the trickier of the two materials to source.
I've not found any evidence for the use of char-cloth during the Anglo Saxon period and would be interested to know if there is any.

I use amadou, made from fomes fomentarius/tinder fungus/hoof fungus when demonstrating in an early medieval context.



It's possible to make char without a tin, you just hold it on a stick over an open fire then extinguish it, it works fine, just the quality is nowhere near as good.


In fact the quality difference is quite an interesting factor, modern made cotton char cloth is so good quality it is ludicrously easy to light, but other char material works nowhere near as good.



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gregory23b
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Re: Authentic Firelighting

Postby gregory23b » Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:14 pm

'Also it's unlikely people on long trips would have stocked up on char material for the whole journey prior to departure they would most likely expect to find some along the way. '

As the Vulgaria states, char cloth is one of a variety of combustibles. However, you could use your argument about any tinder, surely you stock up with what you have, whatever that is? Besides a little rag can go a long way, similar to amidou, you don't need much to get the fire going.

'
I was going on Keith Burgess's research. However if there is evidence to contradict him I would be interested checking it out, if you could point me towards it.''

The vulgaria would be a good start. see earlier post. 'Vulgaria uiri doctissimi Guil. Hormani Caesariburgensis' and it's printed in 1519 :D


Other methods of lighting fires included using an anhydrous powder applied to a paper strip which when wetted combusts, common? depend on who you are talking about, used? seems to be the case.


middle english dictionary

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John Waller
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Re: Authentic Firelighting

Postby John Waller » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:40 pm

I have used flint & steel, a flintlock tinder lighter, matches, a zippo and a magnesium striker. What period are you talking about depends on what is anachronistic. Like using linen char cloth and tow with a flint and steel best.


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