Some of you have seen me talk about Keith from Woodsrunner’s Diary before. He has great dept of knowledge with respect to traditional techniques and tools, and I wanted to share one of his posts here with you.
A while back, Keith contacted me about a post I had done, where I was very loose with the tinder/kindling terminology. These days there is a good deal of confusion about what constitutes tinder as opposed to kindling. I believe that is mostly due to the use of modern fire starting devises such as ferrocerium rods, which while resembling primitive forms of fire lighting such as flint and steel, are nothing of the sort.
In this post Keith describes the traditional use of the terms tinder and kindling as used with flint and steel.
Due to new terminology, some people are getting confused with the term Tinder. The old meaning of tinder as used with flint, steel and tinderbox means a plant based material that will catch a spark and produce an ember from which fire can be made.
But in modern terms, mostly due to some people refering to the commercially made flint Ferrocium Rod as a "fire steel" (which it is not), tinder now includes kindling. As you can imagine, being now no distinction between kindling and tinder, Pilgrims are getting confused when they are unable to catch a spark on kindling when they have just read that you can.
So my purpose here is to try and make it a little more clear and understandable. Firstly whenever you read the term "fire steel", take the time to ask the person if they are using a ferrocium rod. If they are, then you can ignore most of what they are talking about because it will have no bearing on YOUR use of a REAL flint and steel. Below are some examples of Kindling.
Top is some sisal rope strands, and below that the outer bark of the Stringybark tree.
A disused birds nest mostly made of dried grasses. In this form such kindling is often called a "tinder nest", which again can be confusing. This is kindling, not tinder.
Dried leaves from trees.
To the right in this basket are the dried stalks of the Jerusalem Artichoke plant, and to the left Mountain Gum bark. Sizes of kindling going up from this would be twigs and sticks of various sizes.