Creating Char Cloth

Char cloth (or charcloth) – also called charpaper – is a material that is used in fire making. It is a swatch of fabric made from vegetable fiber (such as linen, cotton or jute) that has been converted via pyrolysis into a slow-burning fuel of very low ignition temperature.


It can be ignited by a single spark that can in turn be used to ignite a tinder bundle to start a fire. Depending on its source material and completeness of char, its auto-ignition temperature is between 349 °C (660 °F) and 455 °C (851 °F).

It is sometimes manufactured at home for use as the initial tinder when cooking or camping and historically usually provided the "tinder" component of a tinderbox. It is often made by putting cloth into an almost airtight tin with a small hole in it, and cooking it in campfire coals until the smoking slows and the cloth is properly charred. It is the equivalent of wood being made into charcoal and uses the same techniques.

Char cloth ignites with even the smallest spark and hold a very hot ember, and is therefore commonly used with a flint and steel and fire piston. (wikipedia)

Below, Chombo (@3chombo) takes us through the Char Cloth creation process. Be sure to use fabric made from vegetable fiber…trust me, polyester doesn’t work.

Cloth swatches are cut and placed in tin

Tin put over flame

Tin removed from flame

Smoldering Char Cloth

Once prepared, Char Cloth can be easily transported and can become a very importation part of your Fire Starting Kit

Char Cloth used to start indoor fire