Making char cloth

Posted by Christopher Wood on

Char cloth has been used to make fires for centuries. Char cloth is created by combusting material in a way that releases its gasses without burning it up completely. I like to use 100% cotton but you can also use plant material. The end product can be lit with just a low temperature spark. 

You will need a few things to make char cloth, I use an old tin from mints but you can use any tin that can be sealed as long as there is space for the gasses to escape. The next thing you will need is your material to char, let say 100% cotton. 

  1. To ensure complete and even charring cut your cotton material into pieces that can be placed into your tin without their being folded or rolled up.
  2. (IF using a tin with a hinged lid you can skip this step) Make a small hole in the top of your tin with a nail or other tool. The hole will allow the gasses out of the can. You don’t want the a big hole because it will let oxygen into the tin  causing the cloth to burn.
  3. Put the material to char in the tin and seal it. Place the tin in a small fire or a bed of coals. Smoke will start escape from the hole in the tin.When the smoke stops flip it over and It will begin to smoke again. Once this smoke has stopped, remove the tin from the fire and let it cool down. 
  4. Open the tin and look at the char material. It should have turned black and feel semi-rigid but not brittle.

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