There are many different ways to start fires however some of the most difficult involve catching a single spark.
In this instructable I'm going to show you how to make one of the most useable materials for catching that spark. It can be done anyware outside - I did this in a field in Gilwell, the international center of scouting over an MSR pocket rocket. If you've got an open fire that'll work just as well, but it's harder to control the heat - one of my scouts tried using a coke can and unfortunately because the fire we'd built was too hot, the coke can melted and the cloth caught fire.
The second advantage of using char cloth is that the embers burn much hotter than they would in fluffy seed heads or perhaps silver birch bark shavings. It actually burns longer too.
What you need:
100% cotton material - could be socks, tea towel, old rag or in this case, an old t-shirt ruined a year beforehand when I poured a very expensive bottle of red wine over myself. I did my best to reclaim it all by sucking on the t-shirt however it was all in vein.
Lighter - (optional) but makes it easier to see when the job is done. Plus I like burning things!
Knife/scissors - to cut material.
Metal container - in the pictures I used a air rifle shooting pellet container. These were left over from the shooting course I ran in June. Any tin will be fine like an altoids container!
Heat source - as mentioned before, I used an MSR pocket rocket, but you could use an open fire. The important part is it must always be done outside.
Something to spark the finished product!
Beer - Optional.
Step 1: Cut the material
Using your knife/scissors, cut cloth to the same size as the tin. It will shrink when you start the process and the gases are released (you can make it bigger to take this into account). You can do more than one piece at a time, so why not pack the tin out to save time? You will have to peel them apart carefully!