Carving a Fuzz Stick
Whittle a boyscout-inspired fire starter in three easy steps
The idea behind the fuzz stick is to increase a stick’s surface area so it burns easily. No, it's not the quickest way to start a fire, but that's not the point. The entire process of finding the right stick, sitting down to whittle it, and then using it to ignite a fire is, in my opinion, one of life's simple pleasures. As I see it, carving a fuzz stick is a nice counterbalance to our all too often plugged-in world. Do it with your kids and the whole experience becomes even more enjoyable. It's fun, practical, and more satisfying than you might think.
STEP 1: Branch Selection
Find a dead branch that is about thumb-thick. Your best bet is to break off a branch from a fallen tree. The low dead branches of a conifer also work well. Listen for a cracking sound, the sign that the branch is dry.
STEP 2: Fuzzing
Carve (or fuzz) the stick by peeling back shavings with your blade. The key is to leave the shavings attached to the stick so the stick becomes “fuzzy.” Start at the bottom of the branch and work upwards until most of the stick is converted into shavings.
STEP 3: Ignition
Before you ignite your fuzz stick, surround it with kindling and a nest of tinder (dried grass or whatever you can find around the campsite). Your fuzz stick should ignite easily, creating enough flame to have your fire crackling in no time. Once it's lit, go get a beer, and settle into a another great night around the campfire.