Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Fire Muffin From Spark....To Roaring Fire in Seconds

From Spark....
Fire Muffin

...To Roaring Fire in Seconds

The fire muffin is a fire starting aid you can make in your own home, for a very reasonable price.  It's basically a highly flammable ball that can be carried safely without a high risk of spontaneous combustion.  It’s best usages are camping, bonfires & survival.

Here’s your ingredients for about 30 muffins:

  • 1/2 a newspaper (or bunch of papers that need shredding)
  • 1 household shredder
  • 1 heat safe bucket (strong plastic or metal)
  • 1 stock pot
  • 1 roll of aluminum foil
  • 1 jar of petroleum jelly
  • 1 large candle (citronella candles have an added benefit)
  • 1 Bag of cotton balls
  • 1 large strainer (buy a new cheap one, trust me)
  • 1 pack of muffin wrappers
  • 1 glass jar
  • (optional disposable muffin pans)

Since I was retiring from the USAF, I used this method to also destroy a lot of personal identifiable information (PII).  What I found was once I started, I still needed the newspaper for some extra tinder.  I suggest you collect all your items and find a nice safe, quiet place to begin, one, it's a little time consuming and two, it can get messy.

First, shred all that paper with your handy household paper shredder.  If you're using a newspaper, make sure you keep your bulk thin, no more than a double folded page at time to limit clogs.  If you plan on making a lot, like for a boy scout expedition, grab a Sunday paper, but you’re going to be shredding for some time. But I promise, it’ll be worth it in the long run.  With a household shredder, remember to give it time to cool between long periods of shredding, like 10 mins for every 20 mins.  

While the shredder is cooling, take your large stock pot, fill it more than halfway with water and start it boiling, did I forget to mention you need a stove, lol.  You could technically do all of this on your grill and keep the wife from kicking your ass, but what’s the fun in that.  Since the water will take a little while to boil, let’s get back to shredding.  What's interesting is, you're going to fill up your shredder at least twice and think to yourself, this has to be enough, but you’ll be surprised what hot water does to paper in a few more minutes.

Once your water is boiled and your paper is ready, go ahead and place the bucket on the floor and carefully pour that hot water into that bucket.  I say carefully, because even though this is meant for adults and I absolutely expect under 18’er  and Army folks to have parental supervision, it can never be stated too much to be careful.  

If your bucket is melting, I’m sorry….just joking, but really move those old Christmas decorations so you don’t have to replace everything and refer to my ingredients again.  If you didn’t make the same mistake I made, please continue to the next para, lol.  Yes it happen, no I didn’t ruin Christmas decorations, I’m Jewish, I ruined a bag of Diatomaceous Earth, (to be mentioned in another article.)

While the water is hot but safer to handle, start stuffing your shred in.  What I noticed was my paper started falling apart almost immediately, but if it doesn’t, give it a stir every couple mins, while it’s still hot.  Once you’ve got a beautiful pulpy mess, drop that strainer on top of your bucket and drain it.
 If you live in California, please call your city office for a wastewater consult and permission to walk and chew gum at the same time also, lol.

After draining your water go and chill because today’s work is done.  No really, it’s going to take the paper about 2-3 hrs to dry enough to work with easily.  You could wait over night, but once it’s hard it’s a little more trouble than it’s worth.  So Netflix and chill for a bit and check in after a few episodes of Justice League Unlimited.  Or you could start prepping your next evolution of tasks for this arduous trek.

While I was waiting, I grabbed a couple muffin pans and started dropping muffin wrappers into them.  Then I wiped the insides of the wrappers with petroleum jelly.  I did this by hand, finger actually, and it was a  glorious mess. If you want to be civilized, you could use a old toothbrush or popsicle stick, but it was fun for me, lol. You can also start cutting (or smashing) your candle into small pieces to ready the next step. A glorious mess indeed, this is what 40’s men do when we’re tired of playing Xbox, lol.
Next I took my stock pot, filled it about a quarter of the way up and grabbed my glass jar.  
I proceeded to fill the jar halfway with spoons of petroleum jelly and pieces of candles, then set it to a low flame.

Now that your pulp is wet but not dripping, I started squeeze-ringing the pulp and stuffing it into the muffin wrappers.  Not too much, just fill it to the top of the wrapper.  Another method is to layer the pulp with a smear of petroleum jelly in between each layer.  

Once you completed filling your wrappers, your beautiful mixture of candle wax and jelly should be ready to pour. Get your cotton balls ready cause this stuff dries fast.  Carefully carry your wax/jelly liquid to a your safe work-space.  I used oven mitts to carry the jar.   Start pouring around the outer edges and watch as the liquid starts to fill in the empty spaces in each muffin.  Next, pour a small amount on top, and drop two cotton ball on top of each muffin.  Start your clean-up process while waiting for them to cool.  I usually leave them overnight  so the pulp dries completely. Finally, pull them from the muffin pans and wrap each in aluminum foil.  
Don’t get me wrong, I know each side of foil is supposed to do something different, heat or insulate, but I’ve tried it both ways with no problem.

Congrats, you have ready made solution for starting a strong fire in any season.  I can’t say they’re hurricane proof but, lighting in a light rain shouldn’t defeat the muffin, Just keep it dry until ready to light.  To test them out, throw a spark into the cotton balls and let them burn, in a second, you’ll have a hot self sustaining flame, for at least 20 mins.  Tell me about your DYI camping tips in the comments. Cheers.