Tag Archives: pop can

fire making methods

6 Fire Making Categories

There are numerous ways to light a fire but you can categorize them in 6 classes.

1. Fire By Friction

Friction methods create fire rubbing linearly or rotationally a surface against another surface.

Fire Plow

In this method a stick is rapidly rubbed against the groove of a long piece of wood to produce hot dust. Then the hot dust is transferred to the tinder, and blowed until it ignites.

Fire Saw

The fire saw method produces friction by using a piece of wood as a saw over an other piece.

Fire Thong

A strong piece of wood is kept in position with your foot, and a narrow thong of cane or other appropriate material is looped around it. The friction is generated by pulling the ends of the thong alternately so that it is sawn across the stick or post producing a fine hot dust.

Hand Drill

The hand drill method requires a thin stick to be quickly rotated with the hands against a fire board. The fire board is simply a flat piece of wood with a notch. The prolonged rotation combined with downward pressure generates a black hot dust in the nick of the fire board. The dust is properly transferred on a tinder nest and blown gradually until a flame starts.

Strap Drill

To make the hand drill method easier you can add more pressure by looping cordage between two thumbs and over the top of the fire drill

Bow Drill

The bow drill method uses a bow to rotate a spindle against a fire board. The Bow drill requires less effort because the bow transforms the linear movement of your arm in a powerful rotation, and with the free hand you can apply much more pressure downward.

Fire Pump

A fire pump is enhancement of the bow drill. A rope is coiled around the spindle to create friction on a fire board.


2. Fire By Compression

This methods uses the heat of compression to ignite a tinder. In modern days, the same principle has been used to develop the Diesel engine.

Fire piston

A fire piston is a device composed by a tube with one sealed end and a piston that can run inside the tube. The piston has a small depression where the tinder is placed. When the piston is swiftly pushed into the tube, the air is violently compressed igniting the tinder.


3. Fire By Percussion

Percussion is a kind of friction that happens in an instant.

Flint & Steel

Flint is a family of very hard rocks (8 on the Mohs hardness scale). When a flint is stricken against a piece of steel (5-6.5 hardness), it peels a tiny piece of steel off and ignite it.

Ferrocerium rod fire starters

This method is definitely the modern version of the Flint & Steel method. The flint is replaced by a hard scraper while the steel is replaced by a ferrocerium rod. Ferrocerium consists of an alloy containing Cerium, Lanthanum, Iron, Magnesium, Praseodymium and Neodymium. When it’s scraped it produce very hot (1650 °C) sparks.


4. Fire By Sun

This class of methods employs a condensing reflector to focus sun’s rays to a single point, producing an intense heat. The condensing reflector can be:

  • a lens (solid or liquid filled) such as magnifying lenses, a plastic bag filled with water or a very clear piece of ice.
  • a concave mirror such as a pop can bottom

5. Fire By Electricity

Electric Resistance

This method employs electricity on an object with electric resistance. When the object is red hot it ignites the tinder.


Electricity is used to generate a spark to ignite a gas or a fluid.


6. Fire By Chemical Reaction

There are few ways to produce fire by chemical reaction:

  • potassium permanganate and glycerin (few drops of water can accelerate the reaction)
  • acetone, sulfuric acid and potassium permanganate
  • sodium chlorate, sugar and sulfuric acid
  • ammonium nitrate, zinc and hydrochloric acid

Modern Mixed Methods

Modern fire methods as matches o lighters fall in more than a class (friction/percussion and chemical classes). Matches are small piece of woods coated with chemicals and ignited by friction. Lighters employ ferrocerium or electricity to spark butane or gasoline fuel.




Outdoor Survival: How To Start Fire With A Pop Can And Chocolate

Extreme situations call for extreme solutions. If you happen to find yourself in an outdoor survival emergency and have a pop can and a chocolate bar you’re in luck. You can make fire. That’s right, with a pop can, a chocolate bar, and tinder you can find at your location (and may even have in your pocket) you can start a fire even with no lighter as long as you have some sun. Read on to learn how simple this process is and how it could save your life in an emergency.

Materials You Need For A Pop Can Fire Starter

You can use any pop can. What you want is the bottom of the can, which you are going to turn into a reflective mirror-like surface by polishing it with chocolate. You will also need a chocolate wrapper, or bit of cloth such as a torn piece of denim or an abrasive wrapper. In addition, you need pocket lint or other tinder to catch the reflected heat from your pop can. Then you need to prep the materials and wait for the sun to come out.

How To Polish Your Pop Can Fire Starter

It’s actually easier to polish the pop can if it’s full – so save that precious liquid until later. Unwrap the end of your chocolate bar and smear it liberally over the bottom of the pop can. If it’s too hard, you can warm the chocolate it by placing it in your pocket for about 10 minutes first. You will be using the chocolate as a polish, but the denim, wrapper or piece of torn cloth you will be using to rub in a circular motion is very important. This is creating an abrasive force which will polish your dull aluminum can into a mirror-like reflective finish.

You want a clear finish free of chocolate when you’re done, but you will need to add chocolate and move your cloth around to get more abrasion over time. If there’s sand nearby you can add some in periodically to help with the shining process. In general it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour to get a good reflective surface going but the end result is well worth the effort.

How To Use Your Pop Can Fire Starter To Create Flame

Once your pop can is polished, you will need a source of tinder. However, before your get that first spark igniting you will need to collect dry branches, pine boughs, and items such as thrush, grasses, cat-o-nine tail fluff or birch and oak galls to burn. When you have your wood and grasses stacked to create the fire, it’s time to drink your pop and seek the sun.

Hold the empty, polished bottom of your pop can up to the sunlight tilted at an angle where it will reflect the sun. In front of the “bowl” of the pop can you will need to hold a piece of tinder. Paper from inside the wrapper can catch fire, or you can use a cat-o-nine tail fluff, dried grasses, or your pocket lint if nothing else is available – wind it around a dry stick and it will catch fast. Since your pop can is essentially a mirror now it will catch the sunlight and begin smoldering or get a spark of fire going. Then all you need to do is to transfer the lit tinder to your fire pile and keep it going by adding in your collected kindling and wood.