American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Northstar IS still the king

I spent several days at the lake and learned a few things about natural tinders. My parents put in a fire ring in the back yard as soon as they learned of my penchant for firecraft and the back yard had been cleared of trees and scrub shortly after the house's purchase. That means I had a)lots of fuel wood b)a place to burn it c)skills to reduce "a" and practice "c" while clearing the yard.

One of the few tree species to remain was the mighty oak. This time of year the oak trees are dropping what my mom calls "worms" which are, I suspect, seed pods. The clusters of "worms" can be found in large clumps all over the yard and they looked airy enough to be used for tinder but had been liberally doused by rain storms on and off before my arrival.

Now add to this that my dad has one of only four Northstar prototypes with custom handles which has been sitting idly since he received it. I had to do something about that now didn't I?

He's got the sheath with the firesteel loop AND a Light My Fire Army Model Firesteel.

I snagged his knife, put it on my belt, and headed outdoors to test the usefulness of the "worms" as tinder. The first few strikes did little but I was trying a new technique I read about at BCUK that uses a smaller strike area on the firesteel to get a more precise spark placement. Maybe ten strikes into this experiment and the "worms" jumped to life. There was enough air in the clump to allow the spark to flare up and burn some material while drying the rest at the same time.

Next up was fuzzed maple bark. Using the edge of the knife held perpendicular to the material, scrape back and forth to fuzz up the inside of the bark. You'll end up with some fluffy fibrous dust. This, too, takes a spark well.

More to come...



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