Charred cloth

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Charred cloth

Making charred cloth.

Making charred cloth is not difficult.

All you need is a metal can with a lid (old sweets Box), and some cotton or linen.

Obtain a proper size can and punch a small hole in the lid.

I make it from old T- shirts, but old jeans are also very good. Cut the cloth into squares of two inches, or so, and put them in the can (picture right).

Fill the can, but not so much as to compress the squares.  Put the lid on and set the can in an open fire or on a trangia/gas stove like I`ve done for this demonstration.

As the can heats, you will see smoke streaming from the hole in the lid (below left).

The smoke stream may catch fire, from time to time, but that is nothing to worry about.

When smoke stops coming from the hole, drag the can off the fire or stove and let it cool.

If you open the lid it too soon, the rush of oxygen may cause the charred cloth to burst into flame.


Once the cloth has cooled, examine it. It should be Nice and black.

If you examine mine, from the demonstration(below),

you see it is a bit brown, and it could have been heated a little longer.

Try catching a spark with it. If it easily Catch a spark and continue to glow it is finished.

One could also char other materials; punk Wood, polypore and so on. Just Experiment a bit and see what Works.