This article is how to take an empty disposable lighter and re-make it into an effective fire starting tool for use in an emergency. Think of it as an “apocalyptic tinder box” : )
What you need to make it:
1) empty lighter – they still have a flint & striker w/o fuel
2) lint from dryer lint trap – makes great tinder
3) razor (or hacksaw) – some way to cut it.
4) electrical tape – to cover end
MAKE SURE THE LIGHTER IS EMPTY!
If you don’t this will happen.
Yeah that’s a “blown up” lighter!
The reason it was “bad” is that the button broke off and it quit letting fuel out. Made a little pop as contense is under pressure and you might want to wear safety glasses if you are not sure.
Hold the “gas” button down till all the gas is gone.
Cut off the end of the lighter. I ended up using a little Jr. hacksaw because this lighter was thick walled.
Then remove wick (white straw on right), which leaves you two empty compartments in the housing.
Note: Some lighters have thicker plastic walls.
On the LEFT is a heavy walled plastic lighter I used.
On the RIGHT is a Bic lighter
both were cheapo lighters and they both will have two compartments inside.
Use something to “pull” your tinder out with.
I used a wire tie, but string, fish hook (snelled hooks) or a paper clip will work.
Point is, you’ll need something to “pull” the tinder out with.
Pack in as much of the lint as possible into each side of the lighter.
Press it down but don’t compress it too much or it’ll be hard to get back out.
I got it enough “tinder” in this lighter for about 4-6 fire starts.
Optional: remove the metal cover (spark guard) around the top of the lighter.
We want the sparks to fly!
Removing the guard allows for the sparks to complete shower your tinder.
It’s a quick light!
This is actually burning after I started the tinder burning, laid down the lighter; picked up my camera (phone); and took the picture!
So it gives you a fair amount of time to get your next stage tinder over this.
Wrap a little electrical tape around the bottom to keep things protected or put in a ziplok or pill vial.
Why bother doing this when you can use other fire starters.
First, it’s zero cost, you can make one of these little babies any time you have (or find) an empty lighter and lint in your dryer.
Two, this fire starter is durable:
– temperature proof (keep in a vehicle year round)
– no fuel to leak out or evaporate
– age proof (for long term storage)
– vibration proof
– impact proof (within reason).
Third, when lighters run out of fuel, their flint and strikers are still good and still will work for making sparks. I just used the body of the lighter to carry a “better tinder” close at hand.