tutorial, how to cook char cloth in the back yard

Wave Man

Jun 22, 2011
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Brisbane, QLD
no problem mate. I have had great success cooking up batches of char cloth, just takes a bit of perseverance and patience and usually produces a superior product. It doesn't take long to master the skill of cooking it up. Those butane burners are wonderful, very controlled heat and inexpensive to run.

The only thing is if you are doing this in a suburban setting be prepared to piss your neighbors off with the smell of the smoke as it does produce an unusual 'burnt cotton' smell that many people find unpleasant. The smell seems to travel as well and can be smelt for a ways off.
I personally don't mind it but many people don't like it. It will bellow smoke for a good while depending on the size of the batch you are cooking.

From experience denim makes the best char cloth, it is slightly more robust and when ripped in half produces those lovely ragged edges that catch sparks so well.

Buy your denim jeans from Op-shops, usually costs about $5 (or less) a pair (don't worry about what size they are, even buy kids jeans, or small or large sizes that don't normally fit you) just make sure they are 100% cotton.
You will get a heap of char cloth from a single pair of jeans, probably at least 100 squares (or more). I usually buy $20 worth and then have enough for several hundred squares of char cloth. Make sure you use all the seams and off cuts as well, they aren't as good as the squares but waste nothing and char it all up. If it won't take a spark from flint and steel use a ferro rod or a magnifying lens to get it to ember.

If you cook up a large batch of char cloth store it in sealed Ziploc bags (probably best to double bag them) and throw in a large moister absorbing pack and all of that in a storage box to make sure the char cloth doesn't get affected by humidity (as it will effect its performance over time).