The Swedish fire torch is a popular outdoor survival technique that has been used for centuries. It is a method of creating a fire by lighting a vertical log of wood, which burns from the inside out. This way, the torch uses the fuel more efficiently. This technique has been used by Swedish soldiers, lumberjacks, and modern-day campers. How did it become so popular, and where did it come from?
The Origins of the Swedish Fire Torch
The Swedish fire torch is believed to have originated in Scandinavia during the 17th century. Swedish soldiers used this technique during the Thirty Years’ War to cook their meals and keep themselves warm during the harsh winter months. They would take a thick log, usually made of pine or birch, and cut it into four equal pieces. They would then stand the log upright, with the cut side facing up, and light the kindling at the top of the log. The fire would slowly burn down the log, providing a stable and long-lasting flame. This is the same method used for hollowing out bowls and cups, etc.!
One of the advantages of the Swedish fire torch was that it required less wood than a traditional fire. The soldiers could cut down fewer trees and still have enough fuel to cook their meals and keep themselves warm. The fire also produced less smoke, making it less visible to enemy forces.
The Use of the Swedish Fire Torch in North America
In North America, the Swedish fire torch was used by lumberjacks to burn through large logs quickly and efficiently. The technique was used to clear land and harvest timber. Lumberjacks would use a chainsaw to make a deep cut down the center of a log, then light kindling inside the cut to start a fire. The fire would burn down the center of the log, leaving behind a cylindrical hole. This made it easier to cut the log into sections and transport it.
The Swedish Fire Torch in Modern Times
Today, the Swedish fire torch has become popular among bushcraft enthusiasts, survivalists, and campers. It is a reliable method for creating a fire in the outdoors, providing heat, light, and a stable surface for cooking. The technique is also an essential tool for emergency situations, such as during natural disasters, when traditional fire-building methods may not be possible. Although one would need to keep a saw at hand!
Make Your Own Torch
To make a Swedish fire torch, first choose a thick log, usually made of pine or birch, and cut lengthwise it into four equal pieces using a saw or ax. Make sure the cuts are straight and even so that the log will stand upright without tipping over.
Next, place the log pieces upright with the cut side facing up. Remember to leave enough space between the pieces for air to flow and allow the fire to burn evenly. The inside of the log pieces should be cleaned out to remove any debris or loose bark that could stop the flow of air (and also to be used as fire starter!).
Once the log pieces are set up, place small pieces of kindling or dry leaves and twigs at the top of the log pieces. Best use dry materials that are easy to ignite, so the fire will catch quickly.
Finally, light the kindling at the top of the log pieces and wait for the fire to spread downwards. Remember to keep an eye on the fire and add more fuel as needed to keep it burning. Once the log pieces have burned down to a low flame, we can use the remaining embers to cook food or keep warm.
Always remember to watch the fire! However, the this method is generally safer than most other types of open fires!
The Swedish fire torch is an incredibly useful survival technique that really has proved itself over the years! If you have tried it yourself and have any information to add, please do in the comments below! Otherwise, get out there and light a Swedish fire torch before the weather turns better 😉
See you by the campfire 🔥