Sunday, 22 March 2020

Fungus for firestarting

I do love the great outdoors all things bushcraft and a big part of that includes getting a fire started, so I thought I'd show a couple of Fungi that are well known to make great tinder.

Firstly, we've got King Alfred's Cakes - a Daldina species of fungi, also known as COAL fungus:


The inside of the fungus, once dried, looks like Coal as much as it behaves like it, once alight:


It took about half a dozen strikes using my flint stick and knife to catch and hold a spark and once glowing, burns hot and spreads well:


Next up: Horse Hoof Fungus (Fomes fomentarius).
Found mainly on Birch and not always easy to remove if you find a decent sized one. I needed my axe to get this one off and even then it took the bark with it. I dry them out but they will still take a spark when fresh, even it takes a little more effort.


I used a saw to cut in half and the inside shows why it's light, fibrous insides show why it makes a good material for tinder:

I find it's too dense to hold a spark as one piece like that (not to mention a bit wasteful if left to burn) so I scrape off a pile of shavings to use and then keep the rest for another time:


Again, it takes only a handful of strikes with the flint stick to catch and hold a spark. I find the Hoof fungus doesn't burn as hot, as the King Alfred's cakes and also maybe not as fast but there's not much in it.

So there we go. Both are a great source of tinder for starting a fire and easy to store and carry in a daypack, so keep an eye out and give it a try.

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