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FIGURE 2: Now that you’ve reached the dry part of the wood splittings, slice off several wafer-thin shavings to use as tinder.


FIGURE 1: Splitting wood is easier (and safer) with two people. Hold the hatch- et with both hands and have a friend knock it through.


it when you split the piece. Reject the wood if it smells damp or punky. The wood is good if it passes both cheek and smell tests. Saw the limb into footlong sections and split each


section into kindling. Note that the hatchet is used as a splitting wedge so there’s no chance of an accident (Figure 1). Hold the hatchet firmly with both hands and allow a friend with a log chunk to pound the hatchet head through. Use that same procedure (with a lighter log) to split


fine kindling with your knife. Then, use your knife to prepare your tinder. Cut a handful of wafer-thin shavings (Figure 2) from your dry splittings. Assemble the tinder (a handful of dry wood shav-


ings no thicker than a match), kindling (one-eighth to one-quarter-inch thick dry wood splittings), and fuel (quarter-split logs). Trim all bark and damp wood from your tinder and kindling, and separate your wood into piles—tinder, kindling, and fuel. If it’s raining, work under a tarp so that all the materi-


als stay dry. ¿


CLIFF JACOBSON is a Distinguished Eagle Scout and the author of more than a dozen popular outdoors books.


40 S COUTING ¿ JANUARY•FEBRUARY 2011


FIGURE 3: Once you have gathered the materials, build your fire from the ground up by following the four steps under “Build It Right.”


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