How to Make Char Cloth Indoors

by Erich

If there were one fire-making skill I’d recommend all preppers get good at it would probably be making fire from char cloth.

It’s a great skill for truly learning and understanding how to build a fire since it prevents fire-making “laziness” — something we can easily develop in the days of lighters and matches — since it forces you to collect and use only good materials and have your skills down pat.

In addition, these skills will also help you easily translate to getting a fire going from a primitive bow-drill, hand-drill or any other friction-fire method.

And finally, if the time ever came where you really needed to get a fire going, and you had an easier fire-starting tool like a lighter (which you should carry with you anyways), it will be that much simpler.

With that long winded intro, how do you go about making charcloth anyways?

Well, that’s the focus of this post and video.

The process is super simple but first let’s start with getting some ingredients:

What You’ll Need:

  • Some metal or tin container: This could be an Altoids tin, a chew tin, or like I use an old pellet tin from my pellet gun.
  • Some plant-based material: Cotton balls, cotton makeup remover pads, even cut up pieces from an old cotton t-shirt will work great. Other materials like flax, hemp, and burlap are also great.
  • A heat source: This heat source is typically an open fire but it can also be your outdoor grill or even your indoor stove top if you need to (for which I”ll explain how to minimize the smoke so your significant other doesn’t kill you)

How to Make Charcloth

Making charcloth is a very simple process. If you’d prefer a visual demonstration, be sure to check out my video on making char cloth here:

Here’s the written description of the process:

Step 1: Step one is just to prepare your heat source if necessary. If this is an open flame than make sure it has burned down to a decent amount of coals for a coal bed. Other wise you can just use your grill or stove.

Step 2: Punch a hole in the top cover of the tin with a small nail

Step 3: Fill your tin with your cotton (or other) material and cover it up.

Step 4: Place your tin on top of the heat source

Step 5: After placing your tin on the heat source you’ll notice smoke starting to come out of the top hole. This smoke will continue until it stops at which time you’ll know the charcloth is complete.

How to Make Charcloth Indoors (without getting in trouble)

Making it indoors is the same process as above but instead of letting the smoke just bellow out of the hole and filling your kitchen and home, you can light the smoke with a flame. It will stay lit much like a candle. When that flame goes out, your charcoal is complete.

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Comment by Sandy
2015-04-11 23:47:33

I make char cloth on the weekends for fun!

Comment by PatriciaD
2015-04-12 03:32:37

Thanks that’s actually a great demo. I am encouraged to give it a try.

Comment by chris mitchell
2015-04-12 15:51:09

Very good info, send us some more.

Comment by いって来ます
2015-06-03 04:50:29

Yes! Finally something about sägs.

Comment by Hank
2016-07-13 21:31:14

This is by far the most simple method to making char cloth. Your trick of lighting the fumes is genius and creates a fool-proof method to know when it is finished. Thank you for your great tutorial!

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