FLOWER OF THE MONTH
When your tinder is wet, lighting a roaring blaze can become a near impossible task. The feather stick – nature’s own firelighter – is a fantastic solution to this familiar problem
Poppy – the flower of remembrance.
You will need: fallen branch, heavy piece of wood, penknife
5. Once you’ve finished carving, begin your fire by setting light to the whittled shavings of the feather stick, before adding larger wood to the flames.
4. Choose one of the ridges and cut down along it, stopping above the base. Repeat this cut, working your way around the wood to create the ‘feathers’.
1. Take a fallen branch or length of wood and split it down the middle using a piece of heavy wood to knock your knife downwards.
2. Split the wood again into quarters, using the same technique. Typically, the inner wood will be significantly drier than the exterior bark.
3. Tilt the point of the blade upwards and make a shallow cut from the middle of the wood to just above the base, leaving ‘ridges’ on either side of the cut.
Extract from 50 Things to Do With a Penknife by Matt Collins. Illustrations by Maria Nilsson (Pavilion, £9.99).