Making Char Cloth for the sake of catching sparks as a fire starter can easily be done using an Altoids Mint Can.

1. Simply poke a hole in the top of the container and fill it with small size scraps of %100 cotton cloth like that from an old t-shirt or duck cloth tarp. 2. Place the container into a bed of coals from your campfire.  3. Let it sit in the coals until it starts to smoke and than continue to allow it to smoke for a few minutes (about 5 minutes) until the smoke slows and stops.  4. At this time, pull the container out of the fire and let it sit until cool. Remember do not open the container until cool as the cloth may burn if exposed to oxygen.  Without adequate oxygen the cloth becomes charred creating “char cloth”.  5. When cool, test a single piece by throwing some sparks with your flint and steel or steel match to see how well it ignites.  6. When you need to start a fire try placing your char cloth within a bird nest shaped tinder bundle and then the bundle into your built fire.

I’ve read but not tried that one can also use cattail fluff or bull thistle down rather than cotton.  Also, if you don’t have an Altoids tin you can fold a metal can around the cloth or tinfoil in the same way or bury the cloth under the fire in the ground limiting the cloths ability to access oxygen. I’ll have to try these techniques and update this post.

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