Mythbusters -- Making fire

A strip of graphite from a pencil will also do the trick, without combusting - it just gets red hot and starts smoking, you drop it in some tinder, and you’re off. The thin graphite from mechanical pencils works best, but any pencil lead will do.

I’m going to try the coke can method; I wonder if a little smear of mineral clay from a riverbed would make a better fine abrasive.

Yeah, and he uses a different fire starting method on about every episode. He has started fires with the bow and also just spinning a shaft between his hands (that method was a LOT of work).

I’m sure everyone realizes that this was a joke, but “thong” in this context refers to a thin strip of leather, and is typically used as the string of a firebow. Despite the jokes which inevitably accompianied any uniform inspection, there’s no Official Boy Scout Underwear.

But there are Official Boy Scout Underwear Songs! :smiley:

The large ball of ice, the size of a football, that sculptor Kari made got the fire lit almost immediately. The small lens-shaped pieces melted too quickly to hold a focal length well.

Along that same line, I once saw where a jar of water had been left out and it just happened to focus on some grass and make fire all by itself. :eek:

I would imagine a darn good reflector could be made like by stretching a piece of mylar over an the open end of a coffee can, securing it with a strong rubber band and then drilling a small hole in the can to suck some of the air out - it should pull the mylar into a nice smooth dish shape.

  Somehow I doubt it. Dryer lint usally contains a fair amout of synthetic fibers and if you tried to char it, you would end up with a melted mass rather than usable char. 

 The best way to make charcloth is to take a piece of fabric (natural fabric, don't try this with synthetic, I use old cotton denim jeans), and cut it into small pieces, about an inch square. Get a small metal box (altoid tins work great),and punch a hole in it.  Put cloth into the box, close, and place on fire (a backyard barbque works good for this, don't try this indoors).

 It will beging smoking from the hole profusly in a short time, once it stops (or at least slows down), remove from fire (not with your hands, the tin is very hot) ,and set aside to cool. 

Open the tin, and you have charcloth.

I tried making a soda can reflector and couldn’t get good results. Both toothpaste and baking soda make adequate abrasives for the rough finish, but I couldn’t get it any shinier than that- the chocolate did nothing at all. Any advice?

Where do the synthetic fibers come from?

  It depends, dryer lint comes from the clothes in the dryer. If you have clothes made of polyester or other synthetics or blends, fibers from those will end up in the dryer lint.

I wear cotton or wool. Cotton gets washed, wool goes to the dry cleaner.


Yep, I noticed that when I re-read the part I quoted.  

  Give it a try, I have never tried lint, always using old jeans from the rag pile, or denim scraps from sewing projects.

Wednesday Night Barbecue is at someone else’s place this week, so I won’t be able to try it until we cook here again. I’ll try to remember next week and report the results.