Making Char Cloth

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What is char cloth?  Char cloth is a piece of fabric that has been converted into a slow burning fuel using pyrolysis and used as a fire starter in conjunction with your flint and steel.  Char cloth will ignite extremely quick with just one spark.  After you get your ember from the char cloth, place it in your tinder bundle and start fueling it with oxygen.  Eventully your little ember will burst into flames allowing you to build your fire up on the tinder.

Making char cloth is a simple process with the right material and tools.  Here is how we made it. Video below.

Items Needed

  • 100% Cotton Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Metal Tin
  • Hammer and Nail
  • Heat Source
  1. Take your metal tin and punch a hole into the top to allow for the gas to escape. Make sure to punch the hole from the inside out.
  2. Cut your fabric into small pieces and place loosely within the metal tin. Make sure not to compact the pieces into the tin.
  3. Place onto the heat source and keep on until the fabric stops smoking.  Remember, this smoke/gas is flammable. Do not open the container too soon, or near the heat source as this could cause contents of your tin to catch on fire.
  4. After your tin has cooled, remove the char cloth and place into an air/water tight container.  An old prescription bottle work great.