Sunday, October 22, 2006

Me make fire. Almost

Rick threw down a challenge for our upcoming camping trip, make fire without a match or a lighter. So I got busy on this prehistoric activity, by Googling it, of course. The first result caught my attention, because it seems likely that I would have a Dr Pepper can with me on a trip.

Yesterday, while the family went to an elementary school carnival, I stayed home to watch some football. And to polish a Dr Pepper can. After more than hour trying to polish with toothpaste and rags, I got the can nice and clean, but not mirror-like. So I cheated and pulled out some metal polish. After 30 minutes working on it with the polish, it was as shiny as I was going to get it.

This is the can, before I started

And after polishing

I was using a bamboo some small leaf bits as tinder, and I used a split bamboo skewer to hold the leaves in the most focused point of light. The can/mirror was focusing a good beam of light, but after a half hour, I saw no smoke or flame, so I switched to use dryer lint for my tinder. Still no dice 30 minutes later.

Trying to prove to myself that it was possible, I snagged the wife's bathroom mirror. Within 10 seconds I set the lint and skewer on fire, using the mirror. Cool!

All in all, my polishing was sub-par. But the polished can might be good enough to use as an emergency signal mirror. Just like starting a fire without matches, though, I hope I never find out for real.


Rick said...

The mirror idea is pretty good.

So is David's magnifying glass idea. I should have nixed that one along with matches and lighters.

I believe you can both pull it off in a clearing at high noon, but will it work in the woods during the late afternoon? It is possible you night not have access to direct Sunlight.

Mike said...

That may have been my problem the other day, a lot of clouds were rolling in and I could only get filtered light.

But it has been raining since, so no second shot.