QC#56 - Gum Wrapper Fire Starter





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Published on Dec 18, 2014

How to start a fire with a gum wrapper, and a flashlight battery.

Some quick links to a few of the materials I used:

✓] flashlight: http://amzn.to/2cRD9mt
✓] gum: http://amzn.to/2clPEXi

Check out the Household Hacker method! http://bit.ly/HHHGumWrapper

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"Quick Clips" are clips of random experiments in a minute or less.

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Music By:
Music by Jason Shaw (RP-Clattertrap)

Project Inspired By:

A Household Hacker video "AA Battery + Gum Wrapper Lighter" http://bit.ly/HHHGumWrapper. If you check it out, please leave him a comment that Grant Thompson sent you :) Thanks!!

WARNING: Open flames are fire hazards, and may cause burns. Do not attempt near flammable materials (unless, of course, making a fire is your intended purpose). Use caution and common sense, and wear gloves if able. Use of this video content is at your own risk.

Project History & More Info:

Nearly 2 year ago, my mind was blown when I saw Dylan, from Household Hacker, demonstrate how to start a fire with a gum wrapper and a battery.

I don't chew much gum, but I had to try this trick. It's another awesome idea to personally experience, and good knowledge to pack away for survival situations. I ran out and got a pack of gum (the kind with foil wrappers) and spent the rest of the day trying to make it work.

I should have watched his video a few more times, because it doesn't get much easier than the way Dylan demonstrated, but in experimenting on my own, I learned a few valuable lessons;

1. Make sure the narrow bridge is around 2mm. (In this case that's the width of one of my scissor blades.)

Anything narrower has the tendency to just break without igniting. And anything larger gets really really hot, but won't burst into flames.

2. Light the wrapper with the battery held vertically.

It works more often, and you can do it one-handed. I point the bottom end (negative) so it's facing upward, and hold the metal part of the wrapper to it with my thumb. The other end of the wrapper is held to the positive terminal with my middle finger so it can be ignited one-handed. I get more success with this method, probably because the heat is traveling upward and contributing to the ignition, rather than being lost to the air.

3. Wear gloves if you can. It can get really hot.

The contact points on the terminal ends can get very hot, especially if you didn't cut the ignition bridge narrow enough. Sometimes it's so hot you'll drop the battery before you get a flame. And when you do get a flame, those are typically very hot as well! :)

4. If you don't have scissors, you can rip the wrapper by hand. It's the width of the inner gap that's important.

I use 1 wrapper to make 3 ignitors, and I suppose you could cut the strips even thinner strips and get 5 or more ignitors, but they won't burn as long because there is less paper for fuel. 3 seemed like a good compromise to me, but at least you know there are multiple options :)

One other observation is that you'll need to have a very flammable tinder that will ignite quickly, with the lick of a flame, and be ready to nourish the fire quickly as it's beginning to grow. In some cases, a lick of a flame is all you'll get, so if it's a survival situation, I'd suggest putting most of your effort into getting all your fire materials ready first, so you can light it on the first try, rather than burning through all your ignitors and failing to light off something too large or wet.

As a side note, this technique is commonly known as a "prison cell lighter", and can be done with a cigarette lining in lieu of a gum wrapper.


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