Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Come on Baby Light My Fire - Using an empty Bic

Most people would be disappointed to discover their Mini Bic Lighter was out of fuel. But not me. When I found an empty Bic I realized I could finally try this hack: Micro Fire Starting Kit Howto. The idea is to turn a normal Bic lighter into a knock off Spark-Lite Fire Starter.

The how-to has you completely disassemble the lighter, then only reassemble the spark generating portion of the lighter. Here's a few action shots:

(The video walks you through all these steps, and it doesn't take more than a few minutes to do. The majority of time is spent being careful you don't break off some plastic part or have a spring go flying.)

I've marveled before at the miraculous nature of the simple Bic Lighter, and taking one apart only makes me appreciate it more.

Next up, it was time to try it out. I started by trying to get some tissue paper to light, but had no luck. I then cheated, by spraying a few puffs of Everclear on the paper. As you might imagine, that quickly caught fire:

Later on, after I had put the camera away, I tried again with getting a piece of tissue paper to light. I held the sparker just over the paper and sure enough, it caught.

The video calls for cutting down the created lighter to a 1/3 of the Mini Bic size and packing the newly created void with tinder. I haven't gotten to this step, as I'm not sure what I'll be using the sparker for.

On one hand, this tiny sparker is a terrific piece of kit. It's super small and fulfills a really important task (generating a spark). On the other hand, a filled Bic Lighter is far more valuable, as it doesn't call for high-quality tinder to actually use the spark. And, if you have a Bic Lighter and it runs out of gas, you essentially have the sparker. So for now, I think I'll rely on the Bic Lighter that I carry in my man bag, though it is awfully tempting to attach this guy to my key chain as a backup.

The most valuable aspect of this project is that it shows you that by removing a few pieces of metal, you can get far better access to a Bic's spark. In fact you, don't need to take the entire lighter apart to get this behavior. This is important, as it lets you turn a dead lighter into a more functional tool. It boils down to this: don't be the guy or gal who preaches about how even an empty Bic Lighter is useful. Instead, be the one who actually shows this to be true.

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