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Thread: Preparation of cotton balls

  1. #1
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    Default Preparation of cotton balls

    Whilst trawling the other day I found a write-up on how to prepare cotton balls with Vaseline as tinder. Now I can't find it Does anyone know where it was? If not, would someone go through it again for me please?

  2. #2
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    It's easy enough.
    Take one cotton wool ball.
    Stick your finger in a tub of vaseline. Smear finger/vaseline all over the cotton wool.

  3. #3
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    I don't want to be obnoxious or picky but it works better if you only cover about 2/3rds of the cotton ball.
    "Everyone Who Has Not Already Done So Should Avail Themself Of The Magnificent Panorama Provided By Nature!"

  4. #4
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    there are a few different methods.
    Some advocate heating up the vasaline, dipping it in with forceps, and squeezing out the excess.
    I rub a blob into the bottom of a 35mm film capsule, place a ball in, add more vasaline, add ball, and repeat.
    Push down to compact.
    Works for me.
    I've even put it in drinking straws for survival tins.
    Just hot Crimp or seal the ends with wax.
    If the thought of something makes me giggle for longer than 15 seconds, I am to assume that I am not allowed to do it.
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  5. #5
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    Many thanks, I think it was a 'recipe' using heated vaseline and dunking the cotton balls. I couldn't remember the ratio though

  6. #6
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    I'm of the "dunk the cotton ball" school.

    Be careful about melting vaseline. It's flammable. Use an electric stove or hotplate. Don't smoke. I melt a bunch of vaseline, then pour in a big handful of cotton balls, (pure cotton). I remove them one by one with long forceps. Each one gets pressed in a garlic press to remove the excess vaseline. To light, just fluff some of the fibers up and it will easily catch a firesteel spark. The full soak will make the cotton burn for a long time and help light a fire in wet conditions.
    Hoodoo

    . . . deliverance will not come from the rushing, noisy centres of civilization. It will come from the lonely places. - Fridtjof Nansen

  7. #7

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    I prefer the flat cotton pads my wife uses to remove makup smeared with vaseline on the top. Fit more snugly into an old shoe polish tin. Just prize apart a little before lighting with a spark.
    True happiness is waking up cuddled into a warm woman on a cold morning.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    I don't want to be obnoxious or picky but it works better if you only cover about 2/3rds of the cotton ball.
    What he said

    Forward where the knocks are hardest, some to failure, some to fame;
    Never mind the cheers or hooting, keep your head and play the game





  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by rik_uk3 View Post
    What he said
    Ditto RIK and GREG
    ---------------------------
    www.mikelamperphoto.co.uk

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    it works better if you only cover about 2/3rds of the cotton ball.
    I didn't know this. Ta for that advice, I'll try it next time I light my hobo stove with cotton balls.
    Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. ~John Muir
    My blog

  11. #11

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    Just be careful not not to over load the cotton ball with Vaseline because if you do you wont be able to get at the cotton fibres to light them!

  12. #12
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    Thanks guys. I made up a load last night - only have gas at home so took it easy. Did about 22 part-balls in all, used two as 'test samples' and managed to get the rest into a 35mm film container. The two test samples were one with 'no vaseline', and then 'moderate dip' in vaseline. The one 'with' was fantastic so I'll definitely be trying some at the weekend with my new Hobo Stoves, unashamably copied direct from examples shown here on recent threads.

    I've also packed another container with shavings from a hexamine block, along with a sheet of Hammaro Lighting Paper and a few pieces of Bulgarian Borina (pine) I doubt if I'll get any fire started with a fire steel, but I will try. And if not, that's what the lighter is for

  13. #13
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    Well, I've never had a problem lighting cotton balls given the full soak, as long as the excess is squeezed out. A pointy knife or a sharp twig can pull out more than enough fibers to catch a spark with a firesteel. Done it well over a hundred times at least. The advantage is that the cotton ball burns longer and will do a better job of lighting damp tinder.
    Hoodoo

    . . . deliverance will not come from the rushing, noisy centres of civilization. It will come from the lonely places. - Fridtjof Nansen

  14. #14

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    I am lazy and take the fast, good enough approach. I smear vaseline on a cotton ball, shove it into a container and repeat as necessary. If I use a film canister, the vaseline gets smooshed around fine. And if I use a baggie, I just smoosh it around with my hands (outside of the bag). No fuss, no mess and works every time.

    For really wet weather fire making, I always carry some fatwood with me. Fatwood and vaseline cotton balls with whatever else you have to start your fire is awesome. I haven't had that fail me either. And I have used it in heavy rain and with very wet fire wood.

    The key to me is lots of dry tinder and kindling and preparation. Fatwood for tinder and kindling is very reliable, especially when used with the vaseline cotton ball.

  15. #15

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    fgs just learn to light a fire without cotton wool
    if your mother says she loves you , verify it , verify everything.

  16. #16

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    birch bark!

  17. #17
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham_S View Post
    I've even put it in drinking straws for survival tins.
    Just hot Crimp or seal the ends with wax.
    I like that idea Graham!
    "Everyone Who Has Not Already Done So Should Avail Themself Of The Magnificent Panorama Provided By Nature!"

  18. #18
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    Thumbs up

    I've been collecting thistle teasles for fast tinder ,would vaseline work with this as well, I havent tried yet but would welcome any advice ,if it does it would be really cool as I've got loads of them.
    Or I could just put a small tin of vaseline in my rucksack.
    K-NYPH

    http://www.knyph.co.uk/

    ...YOU KNOW IT'S MINE BY THE NAME ON THE SPINE...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by william# View Post
    fgs just learn to light a fire without cotton wool
    Thanks William for your useful advice. I will do my best, but as this will be my first fire in I don't know how many years, do you mind if I try out one or two of the other suggestions I've received?

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