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Fire from a beer can and chocolate

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Make a fire with a beer tin and chocolate?

Believe me it works, although it requires quite a lot of effort.

  • Firstly, take the tin of beer, open it and pour it in a glass or mug. That now, is to quench your thirst during all the hard work that is waiting. You can, of course, also use an empty one.

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    Turn the tin upside down and you will see that the bottom side forms a cavity or concave. This form can serve as a parabolic reflector to concentrate sunbeams with and thus enable you to start a fire, but it needs to be polished first until it shines like a mirror. It is here where the chocolates come in.

  • Tear a piece off from the paper covering the chocolate, melt/lick a piece of chocolate wet and spread it thickly on the rough inside of the paper (it must be rather lumpish). Now polish the cavity underneath the tin to a super shine with the chocolate it until you can see yourself clearly in it.

  • It is not easy or quick. The problem is that the modern beer tin is sprayed with a layer of clear lacquer to protect it from rust, and this stuff is difficult to remove. You can, of course, use any other super fine polish paste or you can cover the underside of the tin with tinfoil to form a parabolic mirror. Ordinary kitchen foil is adequate, also the foil where the slab chocolate is sealed in. Be sure the shiny side is outside and that it is rubbed flat against the tin so that it will accept the true parabolic curve.

  • Now you are ready to make your fire. Take a piece of the chocolate covering or any other paper, roll it in skittle form and straighten the point out with care. Now aim your parabolic mirror perpendicular to the sun (hold the tin against your chest) and move the piece of paper slowly nearer to the point where the sunbeams are focused on through the parabolic mirror. Keep it steady there until it finally catches fire.

  • Dr Wallace Vosloo is an Engineer and Scientist by profession. His family has lived in Africa since 1696 and he has a deep love for the continent. He is a practical outdoorsman and loves traditional hunting, axe and knife throwing, longbow shooting, black powder rifle- and cannon shooting, salt and fresh water fly fishing and tracking. The art of survival is Wallace’s main field of interest and his passion is to transfer these old forgotten skills to young hunters.

    You can also use the parabolic reflector that is in a torch or in the head lights or spot lights of a vehicle (unfortunately the reflector of a sealed beam type vehicle light cannot be removed).

  • Remove the bulb out and push a piece of rolled up paper in the hole up to the focus point and you can again start a fire with sunbeams.


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