Find Tinder & Kindling & Fuel
The main block it what you use your knife to make shavings. (Usually you shave small bits with your knife on the opposite side of the black sparking insert.)
The thin black part down the side is the sparking inset. Sparks from it will ignite shavings from the main block.
Use the back of your knife blade, scrape the length of the sparking insert. Hold the block at about 45 degrees within an inch of the shavings.
You build a pile of shavings at least large enough to cover a quarter. (Guard from wind – Any breeze will scatter them)
Dry and fluffy – without tinder, no fire. In modern times, a match serves the purpose of spark and tinder. So, you could possibly skip tinder if you have a good supply of matches. Tinder is about as big around as a needle or a string. Tinder can be any dry, easily lit, shredded material. Some good examples include cedar bark, grass, pine needles, wood shavings, pitch, milk weed fluff, char cloth, clothes dryer lint, or wax. Finding tinder can be a challenge in damp weather, but that is when it is most important. You can always create wood shaving tinder from inside a split log if all the grass and bark is damp or keep some char cloth in your fire kit. Kindling
Once tinder has caught fire, it’s heat can get larger pieces burning.
Kindling = DRY-little splinters of wood, small twigs, or fuzz sticks, the diameter of a match – to size of a pencil. *You should be able to snap kindling with your hands.
If its damp, split wood and collect the dry inner bits. Even split small sticks and twigs to expose the dry inner surfaces. Use a knife to whittle away the damp bark before using sticks if necessary. Pine makes better kindling than the hardwoods because it is easier to split down and catches faster.
A greenhorn mistake once tinder catches is: too much, too big, too fast. Many fires have been smothered from dropping big sticks onto a small flame. Take your time and build from miniscule to tiny to small to healthy flames.
Hardwoods (ex. Oak, Maple) burn = hot and long While pine burns = fast with more soot.
Fuelwood in a campfire doesn’t need to be bigger around than your wrist. For big, entertaining campfires, your forearm is a good size estimate but there’s no need to burn anything larger than that.
Fuelwood is the life of the campfire. Fuelwood can be damp because the heat of the fire will dry it and then it will combust. But, don’t be tempted to stack damp wood close to your fire in the hopes of drying it out – that is just asking for trouble.