ManHacks: Lighting a Rapid Fire

The manly art of knowing how to start a good fire is viewed by many as an essential skill to have in one’s back pocket. It goes without saying that there are not as many ways to light a good fire as there are ways to fail at lighting one. The process of gathering wood, positioning it with meticulous intent, and expecting nothing more than nearly instantaneous combustion has been an art handed down from man to man through the centuries. Every avid fire lighter has his tried and true method. Perhaps your method, like mine, judges a fire more worthy if it is lit with no more than one match, or even better, flint or friction. On the other hand, use of any sort of fire starter or combustion agent seems to emasculate the sacred process of fire lighting. But what if you had valid obstacles to overcome in order to get a good fire going? Perhaps the fuel is wet or damp, maybe the kids are dying of hunger and need to roast a hot-dog instantly, or maybe a storm is on the way and you need a solid coal bed before the rain hits. If you need a quick fire and still don’t want to use a combustion agent, then here is a ManHack for you!

Every fire needs three elements: fuel (wood), ignition, and air. Once the wood and kindling has been collected and positioned, a flame or spark is introduced. Often, the flame begins to smolder and can easily die. To overcome this, the next step is to strategically blow on the flame to encourage it to catch the surrounding fuel, and thus grow into the gracefully roaring fire you’re looking for. This third step adds the third element, air, and alas, for many of us, the job of adding air to the flame via the use of our own lung power is not only a recipe for lightheadedness and loss of breath, but it almost always means temporary blindness and suffocation as thick damp smoke wafts into your face. If you desire to avoid this image, then here is a ManHack is for you!

With this ManHack the benefits are fourfold:

  1. You maintain your full consciousness and continue regular respiration
  2. You spare your eyes from burning smoke, blindness, and tears of pain
  3. You have a rip-roaring fire going in no time
  4. AND you do this all without compromising the worthiness of your fire, while at the same time demonstrating your masculine ingenuity!

How, you might ask? Just add more air to the mix. In short, a leaf blower (You could also borrow a bellows from your local blacksmith). All it takes is a low and constant draft to ignite your stack of wood into a nearly instant high quality fire. Be sure to watch for sparks and aim the air stream in such a way that hot ash and coals remain contained. So the next time you need an instant fire just add air!

MFahlman - catholic gentleman fire lighting air leaf blower flame

Happy Rapid Fire Lighting and Happy ManHacking!

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Disclaimer: Please take these tips with a grain of salt and  exercise your manly virtues of prudence and discretion. Perform or recommend at your own risk. Catholic Gentleman’s Guide assumes no liability for any damage or loss that may arise as a result of your use (or failed use) of these ManHacks. We stress strongly the use of your own intellect and common sense.

~ The Catholic Gentleman's Guide

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