Before you can start making fire, you know the basics. Fire is a consequence of the right mix of oxygen, fuel and heat.
The heating fuel will corrode (partially transform into a gaseous state, pyrogenic gasses), this gas will be mixed with oxygen and burn.
Because warm air is lighter than cold air it will rise up, which heats the material presented and what sucks fresh air from below.
This provides a new gas mixture at the heat source which keeps the fire going.
Everything can burn
Contrary to popular belief, you can even burn steel. (conditions see "Start a fire")
Take a candle and light it, sprinkle steel grindings out over the fire (40cm). Powdered milk has the same effect. Why is this?
The mixture of oxygen and fuel, combined with the heath of the candle, is good enough to create combustion.
You take one of the three elements away there will be no ignition.
The same is to apply on any fire: Try to light a large block of wood, it will not develop enough gas mixture to ignite.
As previously indicated anything anything can be used as fuel, but you need to start with small amounts.
For a wood fire, this must be thin wood or wood splinters. We call this a tinder.
When an instigator or match is used you might tamperwith the tinder. When try a fire a bow, lens or flint the tinder is of great importance.
The material and thus the composition needs to start with a single spark. Examples of these materials:
Bird Down, cotton lint from clothing, ground tree bark, dried grass and houtschraapsel. Also dried and ground fungi or feces provide a solution.
The products as mentioned above only produces heat for a short period of time. For this reason you need to add , easily flammable and sustainable
fuel to the tinder.
Examples of these materials:
Birch Bark (the dried sheets), dried tree sap and dead undergrowth of small birch, larch and the pine.
These products need to be harvested while on the tree, anything on the ground, normaly is humid.
When the tinder is lit you only need to add fuel, in proportion. This is best done by placing timber in vertical direction against the tinder.
In this manner you create a tepee. Do not place to much wood, oxigen needs to reach the heat source.
The result of your creation has heat at the bottom, wich sucks in the oxigen and it has fuel on top that keeps the fire going.
As previously determined, in a survival situation, you can make almost anything flammable.
Strand with your car, and the seat cushions, oil, rubber hoses and other parts are often enough to keep a temporarily fire going.
If the situation has a longer duration, you will have to rely on what nature has to offer. In wich the most obvious material is wood, and
each wood has its own burning characteristics. It's good to know these characteristics when you start to look for fuel.
In general it can be assumed that hardwoods burn longer and provide more heat. Soft woods burn fast and spark significantly more.
Remember that wet or living wood is not suitable to start a fire, but they will keep a fire going for a longer period of time.
Especially after a night it is nice to wake up with hot coals in the fire.
An overview of wood and their properties as a fuel:
The birch bark and loose branches of the dead undergrowth are ideal to start a fire.
Birch Wood burns fast and bright.
Beech gives a nice steady flame and even burns well if the wood is not dead.
Dead undergrowth, tree sap and pine pellets are ideal starting materials.
Above the ashes of pine spheres can be baked.
Pine Wood burns irregularly and tends to sparks and fast.
Oak gives a nice steady flame, burns long and leaves good ashes.
Ash wood burns slowly and gives a nice even flame.
Maple burns well but quickly.
Holly burns well but gives little ash.
Elm only burns when dead and dry.
Chestnut only burns when it has withered and dry.
Dead larch undergrowth, tree sap and larch balls are ideal to start a fire.
Larch burns irregularly and fast, it allso tends to spark.
Lime Wood must be dry and even then it has the tendency to self-extinguishing.
Best used in combination with other woods.
Hawthorn Provides good starting materials. What gets roasted above tastes sweeter.
Poplar wood only burns when dead and quite dry.
Besides wood, other fuels can be found in nature, so there are the excrement of animals.
These give, if properly dried, a good smokeless fire. Tibetans gather the dried excrement of their yaks (a type of cow), for cooking.
The easiest way to start a fire is of course a lighter. This does not take any place and when it gets wet you
just need to dry it before it starts working again.
Matches are also an excellent source of heat. If in a survival situation you only got matches then you should consider as very important.
Not squander them, but use them sparingly. Preferably seal them watertight.
It is possible to split a match, doubling the yield. Matches dipped in wax are also very water resistant. Befor use you need to scratch the wax.
Wet matches will perform less then dry matches do. By rubbing a match in dry, not too greasy hair, the static elektricity will dry the match.
Magnesium rods are available in almost any outdoor retailer.
By scratching the magnesium with the steel plate sparks which will form, a good tinder will ignite.
When the tinder is not dry enough, or too many large pieces. You might scrape get some magnesium directly into the tinder and ignited it.
Because magnesium burns very bright a tinder will ignite easier.
Flint is found in many parts of the world. When beaten with steel it easily creates sparks which could ignite the tinder.
A knife can be used as steel, but u should use the back of the blade to prevent you knife becoming blunt.
With a magnifying lens (sphere) sunlight can be focused at a point. Lenses are in items like binoculars and work very efficiently.
You will however need direct sunlight. If you find a concave lens do not waste your time with it. This gives a diffused light and can
not make a focal point.
Just before a circuit is closed there a spark will arise between the poles. If you have fuel near the spark this will probably ignite.
The spark is best used for ignition with easily burning liquids.
Gasoline and paint thinner are good examples of these substances. Remember that it are the gases that ignite the liquid.
By short circuit a battery on steel wool, you get multiple sparks. When placing the steel wool into a gas vapor you should only
need a few attempts to start a fire.
A heat source can also be created by friction. Perciveirance and patience are the keywords.
It is important that you do not use resinous woods.
By twirling a hardwood stick on a wooden plank of the same material a hole will be created, by friction.
Make a recess in the board to the design.
If you turn the stick again wood pulp will emerge and gather in the groove, the heat caused by friction will eventually glow that pulp.
Only when smoke is created between the rod and shelf, do not look in between, a glowing coal can emerge.
Catch the glowing coal in your tinder and gently bring additional oxygen (blow on the glowing coal). The tinder will ignite.
Friction as described above is made easier by adding a fire bow.
Make an elastic rod (green wood) an arc. Consider using a shoelace. Wrap the stick in the shoelace and reciprocate the bow.
The stick will run faster and the wood will develop heat easier. However, it is necessary to support the stick at the top.
Do this with a hollow stone or container to hold the stick. (Sea-shell)
Friction can of course be created in several ways.
Opinions differ but there are people who prefer the fire plow in stead of the spinning method.
As this is a friction method, no resinous woods may be used. The board may be of softer wood than the plow.