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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Make your own fire starters

This picture shows the materials that we used to make fire starters. These are a used carboard egg carton, parafin wax and wood shavings. The only item involving any cost is the parafin or canning wax. Old candle stubs will work for a free solution. The wood scrapings are left over from shaping an axe handle, by scraping with a sharp blade - but any dry scraped wood would work. Paper from a shredder, cut crosswise into small pieces also works fine. People who want smaller fire starters, can just fill the hollows in the egg carton less full, or collect some condiment containers from a fast food restaurant.
















The wood shavings are put into the egg carton, and they're pressed into the holes as firmly as possible.

Melted wax is poured into the wood shavings, and enough is used to soak the cardboard too, so that it stays waterproof. We melted the wax in a canning jar in the microwave on high for five minutes, but this could lead to a fire if not watched, and so heating the wax container in a pot of boiling water is better. Safety first, people - hot wax hurts!




















you have to use enough wax to soak right through the egg carton, as shown here.







































We did a test on snow at -15C. You'll notice that the wind put out the tea candle. The single segment of egg carton firestarter could not be put out by the wind, and burned for over ten minutes with high heat.




















You will need to use some magnesium shavings to get it started. While this firestarter will start easily with magnesium, cotton baton soaked in petroleum jelly - it's hard to start on its own with just a ferrocerium rod.

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