Crisco Cottonball Firestarter
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Pete Schofield
(PGSoft) - F
Crisco Cottonball Firestarter on 04/16/2012 09:29:35 MDT Print View

I decided to dig a little deeper into cottonball firestarters. Far too often I have seen people pull one out and not only does it fail to be an effective fire starter, often they fail to even get it to burn. After some digging around, I learned how, why and when, vaseline works. I then pushed it one step further and decided to see if Crisco shortening would work. What I found may change my first choice in fire starters.

I hope you find this helpful or at least interesting.

url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIkiCcFLAlk

Brennan Wallace
(Bonan) - F

Locale: Southern California
firestarting on 04/17/2012 14:23:05 MDT Print View

I found the cottonball vaseline method very effective. I came to the solution of only putting vaseline on one side of the cottonball mostly so my hands did not get completely covered in the stuff every time I used it.
The cottonball then easily lights, and stayed lit because of the vasiline. After being satisfied with it's ability to burn, I poured water on it to put it out, and it stayed lit for about 5 min, even sitting in a puddle of water.
I was impressed, but be careful about where you practice this.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Silliness on 04/17/2012 15:16:31 MDT Print View

I thought his denigrating of vaseline silly - all you need to do to get even a heavily vaseline-soaked cotton ball to light is to fluff out some of the cotton fibers. Then either a spark or flame will light the thing instantly.

Plus Crisco is partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, which clogs your arteries! ;)

john hansford
(jhansford) - MLife
Fire starting on 04/17/2012 15:21:02 MDT Print View

Hammaro grease paper works every time, and is totally clean. A 1" square is all you need, and takes up less room than cottonwool.

Pete Schofield
(PGSoft) - F
Should have included the study notes for you. on 04/17/2012 16:28:42 MDT Print View

@Stephen, did you really miss the entire point of the video? It was explaining why cottonball firestarters work - wicking. I'm not sure how that is silly and it certainly is not denigrating Vaseline. In fact, I specifically showed that the fibers in an over-saturated cottonball could be exposed and it could still be lit - Vaseline or Crisco.

And, if your eating your cottonball firestarters, Vaseline is going to clog a lot more than just your arteries. :)

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Wicking on 04/17/2012 17:29:14 MDT Print View

@ Pete: If wicking was the point, why didn't you just fluff out a few vaselined fibers from the first cotton ball, and light them to demonstrate wicking? Then discuss how a solid has to be changed into a liquid, then a gas in order to burn (the actual wicking process). Why go through all the stuff about Crisco? Or why not add lard? Or beeswax? Or paraffin? There's really nothing special about Crisco, other than it's artery clogging ability!

Very thin cotton (or other) fibers catch fire from a spark or flame easily. That initiates the process. Oily substances are actually burned when they are in a gaseous state. Starting from a sold state, the solid oils must first be taken to a liquid state, and then to gaseous for them to burn. The solid vaseline/Crisco/lard/beeswax/paraffin is melted to liquid by the heat of the flame/spark. The liquid is drawn up the cotton fibers/candlewick towards the flame. As it approaches the flame, it moves into the gaseous state and ignites and burns. With a cotton ball, the flame is large because the many fibers act as a large wick. The amount of oily substance determines the length of the burn.

Pete Schofield
(PGSoft) - F
Re: Silly on 04/17/2012 22:29:35 MDT Print View

@Stephen - I completely agree with how the process works, but you didn't say anything that was not demonstrated in the video. Why Crisco? Because I have seen demonstrations of paraffin, beeswax, Vaseline, and many other fuels used as fire starters, but I have never seen shortening used. So, I shared it with those who might find it interesting.

Now this usage was definitely known by some, probably known by many, possibly known by most, but most definitely not known by all. It is for the people who don't know the information that I try to demonstrate and inform. I try to do it in a way that avoids sounding pompous and as a know-it-all and hopefully in a manner that is interesting.

So, here is what I find silly: for someone who believes they know everything about the subject to waste their time watching a video; for that person to compound their wasted time by posting negative comments about it; to recount the basic principles demonstrated (as far as I know learned from the video) as universally known truths, but then blast the video for showing them.

Again, quit eating the cottonball firestarters and the shortening absolutely positively will not clog your arteries (by the way, your obsession on this topic is a bit bizarre).

If the information in my videos is of no interest to you, rest assured it wasn't meant for you. If you think the information is presented poorly and you can do better, please do so. I may or may not watch it. I may or may not find it useful. However, what I absolutely will not do is attack you for sharing information with others. The point of an online community is to share information and stimulate conversation. Ridiculing those that share ideas doesn't help anyone.

Andrew Baxter
(adb0406) - F
Wax paper on 04/22/2012 17:34:57 MDT Print View

I wrap my cotton balls in wax paper. Then my hands stay clean.