Twig fire lesson

Discussion in 'Turley Knives' started by bindlestitch, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. bindlestitch


    Oct 23, 2006
    Yo, guys. I'm taking part in the Bushclass USA free online classes at and thought I'd share with you.
    Fun stuff and lots to learn.


    Thanks for watching,
  2. jcl-MD


    Aug 30, 2008
    Nice Iz!!!
  3. Ridge-Runner


    Jan 21, 2010
    I think you passed the knee on that one Iz! That was up to your chest. :D
  4. wildmike


    Nov 17, 2007
    Good job Iz!!

    And Dad's are too supposed to wear that stuff.
  5. LMT66

    LMT66 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 18, 2008
    Good job on the fire!

    Send me some of that coffee you drink, it really seems to get you going!!
  6. SouthernCross


    Jun 25, 2008
    G'day Iz

    Going by how easily the first grade of kindling lit and what appeared to be a lack of steam throughout the video, that wood looked pretty dry.

    How do you reckon your firelay would work with wet wood (ie your three grades of kindling are wet)?

    Kind regards
  7. bindlestitch


    Oct 23, 2006
    Not worth a dang, brother.;) The key to this one working was cold, cold conditions which meant dry, powdery snow. Twig fires just don't work really well in a hardwoods environment on a consistent basis.
    You'll see the difference between this video and the one below. In the one below notice all the smoke from the cedar bark and from the twigs. Some of that is oil burning off but a lot of it is moisture.
    If I weren't doing this for an instruction I would have used a splitwood fire today.:thumbup:

    As always, this is just my experience and preference. Nothing of this nature is written in stone.

    Thanks, guys for watching and for the support.
  8. paperairplane


    Nov 6, 2008
    Here it has been getting into high 30's and dropping back into the teens at night. Nasty. Bottom line, the ground and everything is cold and damp all the time. Just about have no choice but to split, shave and feather everything.

    Looks like the start of a good trench fire.
  9. SouthernCross


    Jun 25, 2008
    As you already know, the only type of wood available to me is hardwood.

    I don't want to seem like a smart a$$e, but there is a way to consistently light twig fires with wet hardwood (at least it has worked for me for over 30 years :D )

    Have a look at the video I took on a camping trip about 1 & 1/2 years ago. I know it's unusual for Australia, but it had rained for about a week immediately before the video was taken. The amount of steam indicates how wet the wood is :D


    IMO, the trick is in using a firelay that maximise the heat generated by the firestarter and to prepare a lot more kindling than seems to be "commonly advised" :thumbup::thumbup:

    I know this is blasphemy, but truth be known, I didn't even use a blade to get a self sustaining fire going :eek:

    Any time mate, I hope this gives you another method to test to see if it works for you :thumbup:

    Kind regards
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011
  10. bindlestitch


    Oct 23, 2006
    Lol, you're not being a smart a$$ at all. I enjoy learning new techniques!
    Our technique is similar, the only difference is you used more fuel and didn't tie the bundle it looks like to me. You used two braces and I used one. :thumbup:
    From my experience it's easier (while it's raining for example) to get a fast, hot split wood fire going than it is to get a smoky, wet twig fire going. It's more work but to me it's worth it.
    Or really the best of both worlds for me is to make shavings and split out pencil lead and pencil thick pieces, then put on finger and thumb size twigs and finally put on split wood fuel. That blend works for me under most conditions.
    But if it's raining at the time or has just finished with a toad strangler then then I won't even mess with twigs, I go straight to splitting wood.:thumbup:
    Good stuff, man. I like seeing how other people do things.
  11. SouthernCross


    Jun 25, 2008
    G'day IZ

    I hope you don't mind if I respond individually to the points you have raised :thumbup:

    Whilst there are some similarities (including the use of a base & a wall), there are a few more important differences than this. :D

    What I would class as genuine wilderness areas over here, doesn't seem to suffer from the same amount of human traffic that your "wilderness areas" areas seem to (based on 6 years of observing on the internet). So we have seasoned firewood in abundance (from the smallest grade of kindling through to tree limbs :D ).

    So it takes me less time to gather the fuel you see in the video than it does to process the same amount with a knife. :thumbup:

    Here's just a couple of examples :D




    Another difference is that I use a couple of layers of "second grade kindling" as the base. IMO, the gaps between the kindling allow greater air flow from underneath the infant fire), than the bark you use. It takes longer to burn through 2nd grade kindling than it does 1st grade kindling, so your fire will stay off the wet ground for longer.

    I also trim the 1st grade kindling so that most of it is above the firestarter, rather than have at least 1/2 of the kindling sit away from the heat source as you have shown.

    I also use 3 braces (one at the back and 2 along both sides rather than one).

    This ensures that most of the trimmed kindling sits immediately above the heat generated by the firestarter & this heat is not lost at the upwind end of the firelay, due to the brace at the end (have another look at where the steam is moving :D ) and that no heat is lost from either side. :thumbup:

    Therefore all the heat from the firestarter must pass through the wet kindling, which is initially used to dry & then ignite the first grade of kindling that can then be used to ignite the subsequent grades of kindling (as shown). :thumbup:

    What you are seeing in the previous video is not smoke, but steam (as I previously mentioned, it really is an indication of how wet the wood is that I am using :D ).

    Don't get me wrong. Using the dry inner wood is always easier to light (have a look at the video I took on the same trip to obtain drier inner wood (note: this was done under the drier conditions of a tent fly :D )...


    .....and it gave me sufficent kindling for a couple of fires.


    I readily admit that many here would consider that I'm splitting hairs :D

    But please consider that I was taught by a genuine outdoorsman (my Father) that insisted that I know how to light a fire with wet wood without an edged tool (ie either a hatchet or a knife), then you might understand where I'm comming from :D

    I've got to be honest here, but just about anyone can light a fire with dry wood (especially when allowed to use a match).

    I'm also kinda suprised that the BushcraftUSA forum didn't make it a requirement to start a fire with wet wood (after all this would have really sorted out the men from the boys :D ).

    Please give both methods a try (and please pay attention to the details).

    I know that "others in the past" have noticed it really does make a difference with wet wood. :D

    I sincerly hope that you and others who read this take the time to read the whole of the linked post, "cause" you'll see the text that supports my opinions. :D

    Take care Iz :thumbup:

    Kind regards
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  12. bindlestitch


    Oct 23, 2006
    I understand exactly where you're coming from, I get the feeling you're having a hard time believing that though.:D
    I've started wet wood fires without tools before, I just prefer to not do it that way if I have a choice.
    There nothing revolutionary in what either of us is saying. Your emphasis is on wet wood skills, I emphasize split wood skills. I can make a split wood fire with no tools, too as I'm sure you can. So the no tools aspect isn't that important, imo.
    And that's what this all is, opinion. Just two different perspectives on solving the same problem.
    It's all good, man. :thumbup:
    P.s. I read your whole post....both of them.;)

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