Jon posed a good question:
Have anyone ever started a fire without using matches, lighters, flint, etc. while camping in Algonquin?
This could include a magnifying lens or a bow or scratchboard or any other "primitive" means.
And I'll be the first to chime in with "no", not in Algonquin. We've done it in Pennsylvania but not north of the border. It's an important distinction because the local wood will behave differently. We did it with a string and bow with a straight stick as a spindle.
It is not easy and you work up quite a sweat doing it the first time. I'm sure it gets easier as you improve your style and skill. I would've loved to follow a native northamerican for a year back in the seventeenth century just to learn what they knew. I'm sure they could routinely whip up a fire without too much effort, let alone be able to live off the land without merely subsisting.
My son starts a fire with a magnifying lens at least once every spring, ( on sunny days ) , think it is more for the fun part of it more than anything,, not sure where we got this one from of but it is approx. 5" across and at least 3/4" thick.....does not take long on a sunny day..
I am 60 this year and have been playing and burning stuff with those since I was in my early teens...
some dry birch bark, some dried pine needles and maybe some leaves , not hard to find in the spring time in camp....
but also going to start bringing in the lint from the dryer, that was something we had not thought of.....
I learned how to start a fire with the fire bow a few years ago and thats all I pretty much use now to start my fires. Once you get the hang of it, its really not too difficult providing you have the right materials. Getting the ember is the easy part... getting from the ember stage to a fire is the toughest part.
Wow, I had a good chuckle on that one...
swedish pimple...It's fair game I suppose, if you kept that cigar going from the minute your canoe came off the car.
Years ago, when I was a lot younger we use to use a small piece of SOS pad attached to a battery with two wires. When the circuit was made the metal fibres of the SOS pad would begin to glow red hot. We used a 6V or 12V battery. Now whether it would work from the batteries of the new LED flash lights is questionable. However, if you had 4 D cell batteries and a small amount of SOS pad, it just might work.
I can say with first hand knowledge the it does work with 3 AAA batteries and a little duct tape to hold the batteries in place.
Oh, if you happen to neglect to remove the batteries before the fire gets to large, be glad that you tried it in the fire pit in the back yard first lol.
The best luck I have had has been using a magnifying glass and shavings from a cedar tree. The shaved bark really holds an ember and it was actually quite easy to get going. I ground up some birch bark and mashed it in the shavings and it only took a minute to get going with some well placed breaths. Doesn't work well on a cloudy day though .
Like Preacher, I always tell myself I'll try it out on a rest day or something.. haha same goes for coal-burning a spoon and a few others.. but I always find on my rest days I actually rest, or explore the lake.. stack firewood, etc.. but never my intended ideas..
I've said this before, but I'm gonna give it a shot.. I know how to make a fire bow, now I wonder if i could make fire from it.. I'll let you guys know how that worked out..