The Mini Tinder Bundle
I know this is kind of random, but I was thinking fondly of some old friends the other day. I remembered a very fun little contest we used to have. It was the "Mini Tinder Bundle Contest". You probably have already gotten an idea of how it works. Who can produce a flame with the most tiny tinder bundle possible?? We all got quite good at working small bundles of premium tinder. It was typical to see one little spurt of flame that lasted about 3 seconds from a cotton ball sized tinder bundle.
What's the point of playing such a game?? Well, foremost is the practice of frugality. There are usually many fires contained in the wood of the average fire kit. But there are only so many fires in a bag full of tinder. We always had plenty of fire kits lying around, but we made so many fires that we were always running out of tinder. That's how the contest was born.
We made lots of coals, and couldn't bear to just crush them out or let them starve. So we always made a little flame somehow, before letting the coal go out. Call it an offering to the Creator if you need to qualify it. We rarely spoke of such lofty things. It just never seemed right to try too hard to explain the Chain of Fire Command. Which is, if you were wondering… MoreThe Arctic Mouth Drill
The Arctic Mouth Drill technique and accompanying fire kit are remarkable adaptations in extreme cold weather Friction Fire Making. They are also testaments to the creativity, toughness and artistry of our northernmost brothers and sisters. The Arctic fire kits in the Smithsonian Institute collection range from raw and elegantly simple utilitarian fire kits - to beautiful and yet functional pieces of art.
These kits were often made from a very limited supply of materials, like bone, leather and driftwood. Sometimes that driftwood was even Oak! A brutal wood for drills and boards! Some would say an impossible wood for friction fire. The kit in the drawing above was collected in the 1800's near the Anderson River in British Columbia by C.P. Gaudet, then added to the Smithsonian collection in Washington DC.
The kit was later examined, drawn, described and possibly tested by Walter Hough. Mr. Hough then wrote a document called "Fire-Making Apparatus In The U.S. National Museum" which was published in a Smithsonian internal document in 1888. This rare document yielded jewels of information like… More
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