My kids aren’t lacking for technological advances in their life. They have handheld gaming devices, Ipods (they wouldn’t even know what a cassette tape is), computers, DVD players and Kindle Fires (electronic book readers). But tonight, I taught them something that was as far from advanced technology as possible. We started a real fire (no offense to the Kindle folks) without matches or lighters.
All we used was some lint from the lint trap on the clothes dryer and a cheap knife with a magnesium rod ($5 on Amazon). You’ve seen these used on survival shows and probably wondered if they reallyworked. The simple answer is yes, yes they do.
Just in case you want to try this yourself someday I’ll go over how we did it. Take the lint and pull it apart into small pieces and make a nest out of it. Trim some small shavings off the magnesium rod into the middle of the lint nest. Slide your knife along the magnesium rod making sparks to ignite the magnesium shavings which will light the lint. The lint is very flammable and catches almost instantly. Feed the fire with small twigs, gradually increasing the size of the sticks as the fire builds.
While building a fire without matches can’t compete for a kids attention like an Xbox can it will at least provide an evenings worth of entertainment when you add marshmallows and chocolate. It also points out that everyone should have one of these cheap knife/magnesium rod combos in their survival kits, hunting packs, and cars. Five dollars is a great investment to make sure you can always start a fire.
Oh, we also learned that puffed cheese balls will burn. That’s a free lesson.