How to Carry Embers





Introduction: How to Carry Embers

Hello fellow Makers!

You can light a fire using multiple methods, matches, flint and steel, bow drill etc. But you can also carry the embers from you last fire and use them to light a new one, saving you both time and matches.

Step 1: Materials

For this you'll need:

A piece of a Fomes fomentarius (more commonly known as: tinder fungus, false tinder fungus, hoof fungus, tinder conk,tinder polypore or ice man fungus)

A tin can

Some sort of lichen or moss ( I used Cladonia rangiferina)

You actually only need the fungus to carry the embers, but it will last longer and be easier to carry if you put it in a tin can.

Step 2: Foraging Fungus

The fungus is not that hard to find. They grow mainly on dead or sick birches, but can also grow on beeches. The size of the fungus will determine how long the embers will last, a bigger fungi will last longer (speaks for itself).

The lichen, or moss, will not be hard to find. You can use any type of lichen, moss or similar plant, as long as the fumes isn't poisonous.

And a can is probably the easiest to find. Just make sure the fungus will fit inside the can.

Step 3: Lighting a Fire

If you want to carry the embers from your last fire you'll need to light one first. Wait until most of the wood has burned up and mostly embers remain. Now you can put the fungus on the embers until it starts smoking. Meanwhile you can fill the bottom of the can with lichen or moss.

When your fungus is cooked blow on it to see if it starts glowing, if it does put it in the can and cover it with more moss. This will lower the oxygen level inside the can and the embers will last longer. As a plus the can will turn into a handwarmer. You can also use a piece of charcoal from the fire, but it won't last as long.

Step 4: No Can, No Problem

But what if you can't find a tin can?

No need to worry, you don't need a can at all. If you use a larger fungus you can carry it with your hands (just don't put in your backpack) for quite some time. A fungus the size of a fist will probably last 2 hours before it becomes too hot to hold.

Step 5: Now What?

Now you can start a new fire using the embers from your last. If you blow on the fungus you'll see that the embers start glowing. The one in the GIF is the larger fungus after an hour. The smaller one in the tin can will probably last for 8 hours if you insulate it well. The picture of the smaller one is taken about two hours after putting it in the can, and it hasn't changed much since. It might look like the embers has died, but if you blow on the small white spots the embers will flare up.

Now you can spend your money on other things than matches.

OutdoorEnthusiast out!

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12 Discussions


1 year ago

I use the cold embers (charcoal?) from my old fires to get a new fire to become hotter more quickly. We need rocket hot fast fires in the mountains, where we live. Active or cold embers are very helpful in making a lovely warm fire. Thank you for the Instructable.

You can also just toss them from hand to hand and yell "ow, ow, oo, ow, hot, HOT, ow, ow, ow!"

this is cool I saw someone do it on a show called dude your screwed and he put a coal in the tinder fungus would that still work

1 reply

Yeah it would, but the coal would probably make the fungus burn quicker.

True tinder fungus is rarer then what you show, which is a shelf fungus, Tinder fungus works much better. Less processing if you get it fresh. True tinder fungus "Chaga" is the thing that kills a birch tree. Looks particularly ugly. It grows on living birches and a sign the tree has about 6 years to live, depending on the size of the chaga.

Proper chaga is so good a fire starter, the spark from a worn out pocket lighter will catch. Steel and flint would work well as well. Sisal twine and dryer lint work very well also, but chaga and second choice, shelf fungus work really well to carry a fire start.

Nice instructable,

FLAME ON!!!!!!!!

1 reply

No beeches or birches in this part of the US; are there other tree fungi that will work?

1 reply

Most tree fungi can be used to carry embers, just be sure the fumes isn't poisonous. Phellinus igniarius (know as Willow Bracket or Fire Sponge)grows on sallows and willows. Inonotus obliquus (Chaga Mushroom) and Piptoporus betulinus (Birch Bracket or Razor Strop) can also be used, but they only grows on birches.

Hope the info was useful :)