A Step-by-Step Guide to Making and Storing Char Cloth for Tinder

Char cloth is a product that is used to start a fire without the need to have matches or a lighter. Therefore, knowing how to make char cloth is a handy skill, especially if you don’t have standard equipment used in making fire, such as a lighter or a box of matches.

One of the biggest challenges people have when using primitive methods to make fire, such as lenses or frictions, is finding a tinder that will catch fire quickly. As a result, creating fire using primitive methods is difficult and time-consuming. The last thing you want is to have a tinder that does not catch fire quickly. Good tinder should catch fire with a single spark. The only way to create a tinder that catches fire quickly is by making and storing char cloth properly.

So, do you want to make char cloth for kindling, but you don’t know where to start? If yes, then you are in the right place. Below is a step-by-step guide to making and storing char cloth for tinder. Also, make sure to follow Ready & Armed to stay updated with more topics like this one.

Materials needed: 

• Sealable tin can
• 100% cotton material
• Nail or any other puncturing tool
• Scissors

Step by Step Process

Step 1: Look for an Empty Metal Tin

The first thing to do is finding an empty tin that is made of metal. The size of the container should depend on the amount of char cloth you intend to make.

For instance, if you plan to make a large amount of char cloth, you should use a large container like oatmeal or paint tin. Ensure that the tin that you choose is made of 100% metal. Not even a single part should be made of rubber or plastic. Additionally, the metal container should also have a sealable lid.

Step 2: Make a Hole in the Tin

This process is not complicated. All you need to us is use a nail and a hammer or a very sharp knife to make a hole in the tin. The hole should be large enough to stick the tip on the pen.

However, the hole should not be too large because it may allow air into the tin and set the cloth on fire, thus burning it to ashes instead of making char cloth. Therefore, the primary role of the hole is to vent smoke.

Step 3: Find an Old Clean Fabric Made of Cotton

Find a fabric that is old but clean and made of 100% cotton. This could be a cotton T-shirt or old denim jeans made of 100% cotton. Please do not use a cloth that is made of or contains synthetic material.

A white cotton cloth is the best option since you can quickly tell whether it is charred. Additionally, you will also not worry about dye compromising the quality of your char cloth.

Step 4: Cut the Fabric into Small Pieces

Once you have found a suitable old, clean cloth made of 100% cotton, the next process is cutting it into smaller pieces. Remember that the fabric will shrink during the process of charring. So, don’t make it very small. Make it at least two inches to allow you to remain with a sizable piece of char cloth.

The small pieces that you cut don’t need to be even or of the same size. So, don’t put too much focus on ensuring that you cut the cloth to even or equal measures.

The size of the fabric should be small enough to fit into the lid lying flat. Please do not roll the material because it will not char evenly. Small pieces of cloth usually burn faster than larger pieces. So bear this in mind while citing the fabric.

Step 5: Put the Cut Fabric into the Container

Once you are done cutting the fabric into small pieces, insert them into the metal container. You can fill the container or leave a small space. Please ensure that all material lies flat in the container.

Also, don’t over-pack them because you will have a hard time getting them out. Some pieces of cloth may also not char well if they are overcrowded on the metal tin. Once you are done dropping the pieces of material into the container, seal the container with the lid.

Step 6: Start the Fire

Place the container on a stove and let it burn for between 15-30 minutes. However, the process could take longer, depending on your heat source and the size of the container. The charring process will remove all ashes and gas, leaving behind a char cloth that mainly comprises carbon that is ready to light.

Keep the container upright; the hole venting smoke should remain facing upward. Smoke and fire leaving the hole is a good sign that the cloth is charring. Don’t remove the container from the heat until the smoke stops venting.

Step 7: Remove it from Fire and Let it Cool

Once the smoke has stopped venting, then it means that the charring process is complete. It’s time to move on to the next step. Remove the metal container from the fire and give it time to cool down before opening the lid. While the cover is cooling, place a small nail on top of the hole to prevent oxygen from entering the cooling can.

Remember that the newly made char cloth is super-hot and can easily ignite if too much oxygen is allowed to enter the lid. To prevent this, it is recommended that you close or cover the punched hole.

Step 8: Inspect the Char Cloth Before Storing

Once the container has cooled down, remove the char cloth and inspect them to see if the charring process is complete. For example, if the char cloth is entirely black like charcoal, then it means that the charring process is complete. On the other hand, if you spot some areas with the original color, then the charring process has not been completed.

It would be best to place the container back on your heat source in such a scenario and let it heat until the charring process is complete. Once you are satisfied with your new char cloth, store them in a waterproof bag that is rigid to avoid crushing.

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