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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Making Fire with a Magnifying Glass

I took the kids out today and showed them how to start a fire with a magnifying glass.

Here is the tool. This one was made by Bausch & Lomb. It is 2x with a small 4x area embedded in it. They make one that is smaller in diameter that is 2x with a 6x area embedded in it. I'm not sure if that would be better or not.

To start a fire you need a dry piece of wood and some kind of tinder. I used some bits of Johnson grass that I'd cut down a week or so ago. Use the magnifying glass to create a small, bright circle of light. With this particular glass it is difficult to get a circle because of the small embedded lense that is off center. We did the best we could.
The bright spot in the middle is so bright that it is difficult to look at. Be careful about getting your hand or the brim of your had in front of that spot because it will burn you.

I tried to get a picture of the smoke but the camera wasn't cooperating.


In this case we didn't have to blow on it or do anything dramatic. It just flamed up nicely.

I'm not an expert at this but I've found that sometimes you can take a small stick and burn one spot and get nothing but smoke. Then you can move the bright spot of light just a 1/4 inch to one side and you will instantly get flame. Maybe one part of the stick is drier than the other? I don't know.

If you don't quickly get a flame after you see smoke then you can blow on that spot and it will glow. From there you can use a little tinder and get the fire going.

At this point you put some of the smaller bits of grass and twigs into the flame and make sure the wind doesn't blow it out.

If you have bright sun on a clear day this is a very low effort way to start a fire.

1 comment:

The Other Mike S. said...

Man does that bring back memories. One of my grandfathers was a scout master, and he gave all of us very nice pocket magnifying glasses when we were 8-ish. Showed us how to start fires, just like you did here.

We mostly used them to fry ants crawling around, but I did get to use it once for real when I was 10 on a backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon.

I need to get another one of the nice, high-quality ones from my preps. You can never have too many ways to start a fire.


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