Life hacks: Keeping the home fires burning

Last updated 05:00 18/02/2013
bic lighter
NOT USELESS: An empty Bic lighter can still be used to make fire.

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Every day someone, somewhere, needs fire. Whether it is to light a Valentine's Day candle, start the BBQ or, heaven forbid, light a cigarette.

The humble Bic lighter is our saviour, unless it has lost the magic gas and becomes another useless piece of plastic tucked away in the bottom drawer.

Many a time I have experienced this predicament and suffered the miserable consequences of being unable to produce the romantic dinner I promised my love on Valentine's Day or, even worse, taking an empty lighter with me on a rainy weekend camping trip.

It is not my idea of fun being out in the back country in a leaky tent, sitting in damp clothes with no solace in the warm and tender glow of an open fire. But, I shall no longer suffer this indignant pose nor shall I endure the 'if looks could kill' glare from my partner. I've had an idea.

Just because a lighter no longer has fluid does not mean fire cannot be started. I can hear the "yeah, right's" sounding out across the land, but trust me with this and follow these simple, yet effective instructions. 

You need three basic elements to create fire: Fuel, oxygen and heat. Keep this in mind as I show you how to save yourself from heartbreak or pneumonia.

Firstly, you will need to find yourself some tissue or toilet paper. This will act as a fuel and a containment vessel. Fold the tissue in half making a deep crease and twist one end of the fold in to the shape of a handle. You will need it when ignition suddenly erupts.

Secondly, take the supposedly useless lighter and hold it upside down above the crease in the fold of the tissue. Using your thumb, rotate the striker wheel back and forth without causing a spark. Do this over and over until you see grey filings collecting in the crease. This is flint.

Then, manipulate the filings in to a mound and once you have a small lump about the size of a fingernail hold the lighter close to the mound and strike the lighter. The resulting spark will ignite the flint which in turn will burn the tissue paper.

Viola! You have fire.

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