fire lighting

Historic questions, thoughts and other interesting stuff

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Mark
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Postby Mark » Sat Feb 17, 2007 6:39 am

Thats good information Jack,
As I said in an earlier post, I believe that linen cloth was available to be used as Char Cloth in the Medieval period and your information backs that up well.
Looking more closely at the Gaelic word Spong you mentioned,apparently the word Spunk came (no pun intended) from the same word and originally meant "spark".
Oggie.



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Hraefn
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Postby Hraefn » Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:04 pm

From a 16thC book that I've lost the title and date of( 1530-1550ish) it's an English-Latin phrase book for travellers, the idea being when in furren parts(!) you find the priest and point at bits of the book whilst shouting ME NO UNDERSTANDEE JOHNNY FOREIGN, aaah the British abroad.

From the section titled Coquinaria/culinatia/mallcellatria/et ea/quea attinet et affinia sunt iis

'Here as a flynt or a nother stone to smyte fyre can nat begote it must be done with rubbynge of II treen pecis to gether.

Vbi silicis aut alternius viui ignigeni suieignarii lapidis non est occasio lignorum attritu ignis eliciendus est

I shall gette me drye tode stoolis or fyne lynnen clothe half brent to make tynder of

Coquiram fungos aridos aut semiustum xilinum ad excipiendas esilicescintillas

we lack matches to take fyre of the tynder

defunt sulphurata ad excipiendos ingnigena semina'

and then it goes on to ask for anirons non smokey wood complains that the chimney doesn't work ask for a fryng pan/brazen vessel and various other bits and pieces to do with cooking a meal tending fire washing up
One that made me go HUH!? was 'Brennynge colis of palme tre kepe fyre longe but geueth lytll heate.'

Hraefn



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Wim-Jaap
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Postby Wim-Jaap » Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:08 pm

What is the best shaped can or tin or whatever to make charcloth?
Is it a low tin or a high one, wide or narrow, large volume or small, etc.

Greenthings Wim-Jaap


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Mark
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Postby Mark » Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:30 am

Hi Wim-Jaap,
I have used different tins to good effect but it depends on your fire.
I normally use a small,one ring camping cooker to make my Char, in which case a round tin is possibly better than an an oblong one as the entire tin is on the heat, however read my post on making Char on page one because if you put a small hole in the top and bottom of the tin, when the smoke dies down a bit you can (whilst wearing a very thick glove) take the tin off the heat,shake it and put it back on the heat upside down..doing this several times ensures even cooking of the Char cloth.
The depth of the tin dosn't really matter but, I find best results are obtained when I produce about a dozen small (roughly 1 inch square) pieces of Char at a time rather than cramming the tin full.
I am at present using a round tin about 5" across by 2" deep that was full of travel sweets. It is important that the lid is a reasonably tight fit or the gases will push the lid off. The holes to let the gases escape are very important as is your choice of material to Char.
Hope this helps,all the best,
Oggie (Buckinghams Retinue)
Last edited by Mark on Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:50 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mark
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Postby Mark » Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:40 am

[quote="Hraefn"]From a 16thC book that I've lost the title and date of( 1530-1550ish) it's an English-Latin phrase book for travellers, the idea being when in furren parts(!) you find the priest and point at bits of the book whilst shouting ME NO UNDERSTANDEE JOHNNY FOREIGN, aaah the British abroad.
.......................snip............................
Thanks for that Hræfn, great information on Char Cloth,Sulphur Spills,Friction firelighting and Palm trees!
Good stuff,
Oggie (Buckinghams Retinue)



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Wim-Jaap
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Postby Wim-Jaap » Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:53 pm

Thanks Mark.

I was using a sigar tin, now I'm using a big tin... I am also of meaning that it's better to be patient and do multiple sessions of a dozen pieces of cloth then jamming as much in the tin as possible.

I use 2 bunzenburners at work in a underpressure cabinet (we call it zuurkast, acid cabinet... it's a cabinet in which you do experiments with chemicals that are harmfull, it's got a ventilationmotor on top, which sucks out the vapours).

I use denim fabric to make charcloth, it serves me well.
Tried it befor with thin cotton fabric, but that carbonized and crumbled.

The denim fabric stays in one piece.

Greenthings Wim-Jaap


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Gandi
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Postby Gandi » Fri Mar 16, 2007 9:40 pm

Hraefn wrote:From a 16thC book that I've lost the title and date of( 1530-1550ish) it's an English-Latin phrase book for travellers, the idea being when in furren parts(!) you find the priest and point at bits of the book whilst shouting ME NO UNDERSTANDEE JOHNNY FOREIGN, aaah the British abroad.

From the section titled Coquinaria/culinatia/mallcellatria/et ea/quea attinet et affinia sunt iis

'Here as a flynt or a nother stone to smyte fyre can nat begote it must be done with rubbynge of II treen pecis to gether.

Vbi silicis aut alternius viui ignigeni suieignarii lapidis non est occasio lignorum attritu ignis eliciendus est

I shall gette me drye tode stoolis or fyne lynnen clothe half brent to make tynder of

Coquiram fungos aridos aut semiustum xilinum ad excipiendas esilicescintillas

we lack matches to take fyre of the tynder

defunt sulphurata ad excipiendos ingnigena semina'

and then it goes on to ask for anirons non smokey wood complains that the chimney doesn't work ask for a fryng pan/brazen vessel and various other bits and pieces to do with cooking a meal tending fire washing up
One that made me go HUH!? was 'Brennynge colis of palme tre kepe fyre longe but geueth lytll heate.'

Hraefn


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


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Postby Mark » Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:47 pm

One that made me go HUH!? was 'Brennynge colis of palme tre kepe fyre longe but geueth lytll heate.'

Hi Hraefn,
I think I understand this. My favourite Tinder at the moment is straw wrapped in a thin layer of Coir.I obtain the coir by tearing up hanging basket liners,leaving them to soak in water to fluff up and seperate the fibres then drying them.
This is my MOP Tinder and I didnt think it would ever be authentic ,but, colis of palme tre could well be Coir which is the Fibres from the Coconut Palm.
The reason I wrap the straw in it is twofold:-
1. It holds the straw "nest" together.
2. It seems to keep on burning and even when you think its all burned up a quick blast of air usually fires it up again long after straw alone would have flared and gone...Like the document says....."'Brennynge colis of palme tre kepe fyre longe but geueth lytll heate.' This is all good stuff! I'm now at 15-20 seconds from first strike to flame using the above Tinder,a palm sized piece of freshly knapped Flint, my own Char Cloth and a 18C style upside down U shaped striker (my favourite shape)
Oggie (Buckinghams Retinue)



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Postby gary.mccann@homecall.co.u » Wed Jun 20, 2007 10:33 pm

I have been lighting fires with flint and steel for around 20 years. I was once timed and went from strike to flame in 6 seconds! Most usual is about 10-15 seconds. I prefer the 'C' type of steel. I knap my own flints and retouch the edges with my steel.

My char making tin is an old oxo tin, about 4 x 4 x 3 inches high. Its the first, and the best tin I've ever used. The small travel sweet tin was too small and the biscuit tin was far too big. I can only make about 10-12 pieces about 2 inches square at a time with this oxo tin though, but I can control it better than with a big tin, because there are no real cool or hot spots. (tip: I put a couple of large nails in the bottom of the tin. The cloth rests on these. I find that it 'cooks' more evenly allowing the heat to circulate rather than only those sheets of cloth at the bottom 'cooking' and those at the top simply going slightly brown)

I make my char on a camping stove outside, low heat, watch the smoke come out of the hole in the top, and when the smoke stops, I put on thick welding gloves, open the tin and immedaitely throw the char on the floor and firmly smother any glowing embers. I have tried waiting, like Mark, but: 1) I am impatient and want to start the second load and 2) I have waited for a batch to cool, only to find when it had, that the char had all been consumed when the oxygen re-entered as the tin cooled.

I make my char cloth from OLD close woven linen or cotton. This is important. Old linen has all of the modern chemicals, sizes and dyes washed out. The old worn fibres are loose, often frayed and so 'catch' sparkes easier.

I have used rosebay willowherb and thistle down as tinder. Both are difficult but are easily to store and readily obtainable at the right time of year, and have the advantage of being native to the UK. The technique is the same as the previous posting, to place embers inside a small not too tightly packed nest of down, and blow steadily and firmly on the glowing coals until a flame appears.

I also use crampball fungus instead of char . These fungi have to be thoroughly dried before first use, although this often happens while the fungus is still attached to the dead wood. Bigger crampballs are better. They have more surface area to 'catch' sparks, Use the structured, powdery inside of the fungus. It often helps to stratch the surface of the fungus to loosen it up just prior to striking. The technique here is to strike the sparks down onto the fungus rather than hold it in the hand (as shown in the utube video). The effect is the same as char cloth and anything you would do with char, you can do with crampball fungus. Once this is lit it is very difficult to put out, so have a little water ready to dab out the glowing bits you don't need. The water will not readily soak into the rest of the fungus, so only the burnt bits are effected. With careful nurturing a large fungus, about 5 inches in diameter will give dozens of lights but gradually become more hollow as the inside is used up. I have used the same one for about 6 years and given talks to museums, schools and other groups (eg Antique metalware association, LAPADA) as well living histories all with the same fungus because its so economical.

I have obtained some of the tinder fungus or horse hoof fungus 'Fomes Fomentarius' but not yet tried to make amadou.

I did once try with papery dried birch bark. It worked but was so much more hard work than sulphur spills that I never did it again.

I cheat with sulphur spills. A single teaspoon of flowers of sulphur, melted gently over candle flame will coat the tips of about 30 spills. Heat the teaspoon gently. The sulphur turns to yellow liquid. If it goes orange, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for a moment back to yellow because the next stage is the sulphur spontaneously combusts! While the liquid sulphur is yellow dip the tip of the spill into it. The sulphur hardens within a couple of seconds. (Tip - drop the spills spaced out onto a cool surface like a plate, so that they don't stick to each other)
My spills are simply Costa Coffee stirers cut to size. I cut both ends to points and dip both ends in sulphur to maximise the space in my tinderboxes. (I own 4 working tinderboxes and 2 working tinder pistols)

Having had access to a wheel lock pistol, I also tried using pyrites in place of flint. The techniques are the same as flint and steel. The sparks are fewer but curiously, more reliable in damp weather. Unlike the flint and steel, where the sharp flint shaves sparks off the steel, I think some sparks may be formed from the pyrites by the friction of the steel on the pyrites as well? But I'm not sure.
Pyrites can be found in areas where flint sometimes cannot (i.e. away from chalk land), so may have made an acceptable substitute in those areas?



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Grymm
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Re: fire lighting

Postby Grymm » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:26 pm

I know it's raising another thread zombie but I thought it would be best to keep it together.
15thC picture of a man striking flint and steel from the altarpiece of the Saint Georges church in Haguenau, Bas-Rhin, France.
Though he has a box he's got the tinder possibly amadou/tinder fungus ontop of the flint, not using the box as a hearth, and what looks like tiny birch twig sulphur dipped spills.
All in all a lovely piece =o)

Image


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Gockee
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Re: fire lighting

Postby Gockee » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:07 pm

Orbis Pictus by Comenius 1658.
A children's picture book, translated out of the latin. It would probably have been familiar to any schoolchild learning to read and write.
The text is quoted directly.

The Fire gloweth, burneth, and consumeth to ashes.
A Sparke of it is struck out of a Flint, (or Firestone) 2. by meanes of a steel, 1 and taken by Tinder in a Tinder-Box, 3. lighteth a Match, 4 and after that a Candle, 5. or Stick, 6. and causeth a Flame, 7. or Blaze, 8. which catcheth hold of the Houses.
Smoak, 9. ascendeth therefrom, which flicking to the Chimney, 10. turneth into Soot. Of a Firebrand, (or burning Stick) is made a Brand, 11. (or quenched stick.)
Of a hot Coal (red hot piece of a Firebrand) is made a Coal, 12. (or a dead Cinder.)
That which remaineth is at last Ashes, 13. or Embers (or hot Ashes.)

I believe perhaps the 'Firestone' is a reference to Iron pyrites, although I have no primary evidence.

There are several pictures of sulphur dips from the mid 17th century, Possibly the best are by Pieter Claesz
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... GA4966.jpg
http://siftingthepast.files.wordpress.c ... entury.jpg
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The Iron Dwarf
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Re: fire lighting

Postby The Iron Dwarf » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:54 am

a piece of metal can be hammered to get it red hot, softer steel or wi works best and from that you can light your forge


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Lord High Everything Esle
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Re:

Postby Lord High Everything Esle » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:02 pm

Hraefn wrote:From a 16thC book that I've lost the title and date of( 1530-1550ish) it's an English-Latin phrase book for travellers, the idea being when in furren parts(!) you find the priest and point at bits of the book whilst shouting ME NO UNDERSTANDEE JOHNNY FOREIGN, aaah the British abroad.

From the section titled Coquinaria/culinatia/mallcellatria/et ea/quea attinet et affinia sunt iis

'Here as a flynt or a nother stone to smyte fyre can nat begote it must be done with rubbynge of II treen pecis to gether.

Vbi silicis aut alternius viui ignigeni suieignarii lapidis non est occasio lignorum attritu ignis eliciendus est

I shall gette me drye tode stoolis or fyne lynnen clothe half brent to make tynder of

Coquiram fungos aridos aut semiustum xilinum ad excipiendas esilicescintillas

we lack matches to take fyre of the tynder

defunt sulphurata ad excipiendos ingnigena semina'

and then it goes on to ask for anirons non smokey wood complains that the chimney doesn't work ask for a fryng pan/brazen vessel and various other bits and pieces to do with cooking a meal tending fire washing up
One that made me go HUH!? was 'Brennynge colis of palme tre kepe fyre longe but geueth lytll heate.'

Hraefn


I used to have a foreign phrase book too, it translated English into five European languages

"Do you hold cheese races here?"

"I asked for a bedroom not a bathroom cabinet"

I think we have got ruder as time went on!!


Will/Dave, the Jolly Box Man and Barber Surgeon

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