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Old 08-06-2015, 06:42 AM   #111
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Back many many years ago my X father-in-law would keep 4 or 5 charcoal bricketts soaking in lighter fluid in a coffee can,,, he would put then in his BBQ pit,,, pile charcoal on top,,, then lite the pre-soaked bricketts,,, it worked pretty well !!!

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Old 08-06-2015, 07:19 AM   #112
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this was a fire we had at the Camp-site.

After several attempts by NON - BOY SCOUT members of the clan...
I used the Chimney method I described earlier in this post.

Don't cheap out and buy lighter fluid or gas.
not saying to go the caveman route either but build a real fire the honest way...
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Old 08-07-2015, 07:54 AM   #113
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We tend to bring frozen hamburger patties that come with wax paper in between the patties. Those little squares of fat coated wax paper are awesome fire starters!!!
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Old 08-09-2015, 11:00 PM   #114
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Am I the only deer hunter/former scout here? Gas! Torches!

I am always amazed at the horrendous odor of naptha lighter fluid and / or smoldering attempts at campfires that look/smell like smudge pots must have in a 1855 thyphoid encampment.

The original poster requested help to build a campfire that would impress his children....I would assume the intent is to gather materials and construct a fire pile in the way that historically represented a campfire.

Here's how to construct a one match fire that, once lit, will gradually build into a nice fire from cozy, to what we used to laughingly call a "white man's fire" AKA roaring bonfire that waste a lot of fuel.

First, think of a teepee framework - a conical structure built with a center of easily lit material (tinder) surrounded by gradually longer and thicker twigs, sticks, kindling, and finally cord wood. Each subsequent layer requires more heat to ignite it because it has less surface area to mass ratio. Yes, there's both some chemistry and some physics to be taught to the kids when starting a campfire:

1. Start with a crumpled 1/2 sheet of newspaper or the liner from that empty box of snack crackers or dry cereal (never waste fire starting materials on the trash bag)....put it in the center of your fire ring. Do not overstuff this central area. Too much paper produces little more heat and blocks air get smoke and this displaces oxygen flow, dooming your fire.

2. Next tear up the outer carton of that cardboard cracker/cereal box into strips and place it atop the paper. A six pack carrier for beer or 24 pack carton for soda pop works fine. Corrugated cardboard also works well. This layer of cardboard produces more heat than the paper, and will in turn ignite the next layer. It can totally be replaced by twigs, but most campers have a more abundant supply of box board and card board than dry twigs and very small sticks (though we never walk back towards our camp without searching the ground to gather such debris to place next to our camp woodpile).

3. Build a teepee of twigs around this pile of tinder - the smaller and drier the twigs the better. I can usually walk around the campsite we have and kick around in the leaves to find a large amount of twigs that fell last winter (here in Michigan). They are not big, but can really make fire building go easier!

4. Dead branches come next. Break them up into sticks of approximately equal length. Form them into a circle surrounding you pile of tinder with their tops intertwined above the center (a teepee).

5. The idea is to have everything you add supporting what's on the opposite side of the circle; and in turn being supported by the opposite side. The benefit of the teepee design is that it allows air to draft into the fire between uprights, and the tops of the ever increasing diameter of combustible material lies just above the heat of what is burning below it. The spacing of a teepee is ideal to allow the proper mix of heat/fuel/oxygen.

6. Try to have some dry limbs of about 1 inch diameter - alternately, you may need to split some cord wood into kindling with a small hatchet or axe. If you are buying campfire wood, look for some smaller pieces that you can easily stand on end and split lengthwise. We've had hikes, and even 2-track trips with the truck back into the forest, specifically to gather dry branches to bring back to camp. If it's on the ground, it's legal to gather on government land here in Michigan. Dead pine burns fast and doesn't "hold a fire" but is excellent for staring one....Branches with dead needles provide excellent aroma and are the "sparklers" of campfires.......treat them with caution as they can "burst" into flames. If it "snaps in two" without bending first, it's good for fire starting.

7. The last circle of wood is cordwood pieces, again leaning inward at a 30 to 45 degree angle, against the topmost section of cordwood placed on the opposite side.

8. If you have a fire pit/fire ring that incorporates a grill that pivots, it can come in handy when constructing your fire. By positioning its edge down one side of your fire stack, you can eliminate nearly half of the cordwood required to build the fire......if you're like we are, and only want a friendly campfire with flames 1 to 3 feet high.

9. If you were forced to use greener sticks and/or some of the unseasoned slab wood that is sold in, or around, some campgrounds - here's a tip for you: When purchasing groceries for camping, buy a quart bottle of cooking oil more than you think you'll need for cooking. Canola oil, corn oil, vegetable shortening make a great fire starting aid! Leave the charcoal lighter fluid for starting charcoal and gasoline for the outboard!!!!!! After you have constructed the entire teepee of wood - drizzle less than 1/4 cup of cooking oil (the bacon grease from breakfast - I often lay the campfire for that night before cleaning up from breakfast just so I can use bacon grease) down the center of the teepee and allow it to run down and soak into the fire stack.

10. Lighting the fire consist of using a stick match or long lighter to ignite the paper tinder. For this reason I usually have a strip of paper that runs farther to one side - or light a "twist of paper" and carefully push it into the center of the teepee.

11. Once lit, you should be pleased with the fasion in which the center section of flame gradually grows wider and taller. You should be able to sit back in your chair as you and your fellow campers about 2-3 minutes the larger sticks and cordwood will begin to about 5 - 10 minutes campfire TV should be "on the air!"

12. At about the time that the entire wood mass has begun to flame up, the teepee might collapse. Do not panic and do not over-react! The worse thing to do is to attempt to reposition everything. Use a fire stick or poker to gently pry up one or two pieces of cordwood that seem to have begun burning well and drop them back down over a section of rapidly burning tinder and smaller sticks (those with glowing ember and active flame). Let the fire do the work of finding the fuel (wood) and soon these larger pieces will be fully engulfed. Too much rearrangement of cordwood in too short of a time will result it mismatching the hot embers with cold cordwood - producing smoke - which will block oxygen entrainment........remember that only small adjustments are want to keep the twigs/sticks/kindling/cordwood intertwined (not stacked) to allow the best ratio of heat/fuel/oxygen. Pretty soon the fire will have spread "naturally" and the entire pile will be contributing to your campfire.....then and only then do you need to consider adding another "chunk or two" to the hottest spot of the fire to build it up larger, or replenish the fire "cause we just want to stay up a little longer".

Final bit of advice to campers: If you burn candles in your home, never discard the stubs - they go into a bucket or box and find their way into your camping supplies. As others have said, nothing like some candle shavings on top of your tinder pile to make up for rain dampened wood.

Good luck with your fire building oddessy. Go slow, build out, feel the zen.

Let's go camping!!!!!

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Old 08-09-2015, 11:02 PM   #115
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Hey! This is AKA "the chimney method" mentioned abovr.
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Old 08-10-2015, 05:52 AM   #116
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Originally Posted by sparty047 View Post
Am I the only deer hunter/former scout here? Gas! Torches!

X2! Our troop preferred Sterno.

The biggest problem I see people make is trying to start a fire with just logs (bought in the campground store). You need to have tinder, kindling, and fuel to get a fire burning easily.
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Old 08-14-2015, 10:47 PM   #117
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The way I start a fire is very simple. I use a propane torch, you know like the plumbers use. All I bring is one foot long 2x4's. You don't even have to split them, I do sometimes because it starts faster. I don't like the idea of burning cardboard with ink in it because of the chemicals. Also one bottle of propane will last you years for just a few dollars a bottle. We just came back from Hocking Hills just south of Columbus Ohio. We had a few hard rains and everyone was borrowing my torch to get a fire started. The only way to go!!!!

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Old 08-15-2015, 07:58 AM   #118
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12 pages of how to build a fire,,, AMAZING !!!
I saw a guy last year using a torch,,, worked very well !!! On charcoal also !!!

Leaving TSC the other day I saw some little fire starters by the door,,,
I think they were called Scarecrows ???
Brought this forum to mind right a way !!!
LOL !!!
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Old 08-15-2015, 08:08 AM   #119
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Originally Posted by Ford Idaho View Post
White Phosphorus and Napalm are always fun.

Seriously, a fire is a fire what's not cool about that?
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Old 08-15-2015, 08:28 AM   #120
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We find these in camp stores for as little as 50 cents each. They work very well. We always carry a few in the storage compartment.

Qwickwick | Qwick Wick Firestarter

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