The Self Feeding Fire is also known as the All Night Fire and can last as long as 15 hours. This was a revolutionary invention at the time because it gave the pioneers a chance to sleep without having to stay up all night long adding logs to the fire. Ever since the first settlers in Jamestown, early explorers made their way to every corner of the North American Continent. For over 300 years, they took whatever this wild new land could throw their way.
A self feeding fire is similar to a Campfire without having to constantly maintain it. It was a necessity for an ever expanding nation. Early America was a harsh and untamed land that was wild and unpredictable. These early settlers were made up of fur traders, farmers, surveyors and miners that all played a key role in expanding the nation to what it is today. It’s hard for us to imagine just how difficult it was for these brave souls as they carved out what would become the greatest nation ever known. There were no comforts out in the wilderness so they had to rely on human ingenuity to survive.
Every step these pioneers took in this new land was full of danger. They battled the harsh North American climate in the summer, fall, spring and winter. Every season presented new challenges and dangers to the settlers. They took every hardship on the chin and not only survived but thrived off the land. The settlers had to battle the germs, the wildlife, the elements and hostile native peoples as they expanded west.
Skills like gunsmithinn, weaving, sewing, canning were just a handful of survival skills that needed to be mastered in order to survive on an unforgiving and hostile land. It was the self feeding fire that helped the pioneers along the way. Check out the short Lost Ways video below and see how to make a self feeding fire the pioneer way below. Horseback Bob (Bon Hansler) will show you how it’s done in this short video presentation below. I hope you enjoy the show!
How To Build Your Own Self-Feeding Fire That Lasts 15+ Hours All night Fire – The Lost Ways
Now that you know How To Build A Self Feeding Fire. Are you ready to build your own? I know the video is short and some of you may need some more instruction on how to build your own self feeding fire. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. With the help of Bob Hansler (Bob is the guy featured in The Lost Ways video above), I’m going give you step-by-step directions below with color images for each step. The images in the steps below are from Bob’s website instructibles.com.
I’ll also go over everything you need in order to build your own self feeding fire also known as the all night fire. The self feeding fire method invented by the early pioneers of creating a fire utilizes the power of gravity to automatically feed fresh logs into the fire. These logs are stacked over one another on two small ramps which you can see in the image below. The reason why the logs are stacked this way is to allow gravity to feed fresh logs into the fire when needed.
The ramps on both sides of the structure are held up by two large braces. The ramp structure is held together with paracord. Build a self feeding fire is simple to do but it does take some work to gather everything you need and put it all together. Let’s go ahead and get started. I’m going to show you the fastest way to get this done step-by-step. Are you ready?
How To Build A Self Feeding Fire FAST!
Here’s What You’ll Need
- 4 small tree trunks or a straight large tree branches (approximately 5 feet in length).
- 4 branches or smaller tree trunks that will support the larger branches.
- 2 branches approximately 2 feet long that will be used in your bracing structure.
- 8 large 3 foot long sections of tree trunk, preferably hardwood.
- 2 small pieces of wood to space your starting logs.
- 50 yards of 50/50 cord.
- Plenty of dry kindling.
- A Shovel and/or a pick ax
Now that you’ve gathered everything you need to make your own self feeding fire. It’s time to put everything together. Before we started, it’s important to note. SAFETY FIRST! Make sure that you take the proper precautions when building your fire. Make sure to build your fire far away from trees and other structures that may catch fire. Make sure to keep a fire suppressor on hand such as a fire extinguisher or a garden hose.
The first step in the process is to gather your materials and put the structure together. Be sure that the materials you gather or cut down are strong and sturdy because it will be holding quite a bit weight. Make sure to look for similar sized tree trunks or freshly fallen branches to create the V shape that you will use to add your fire logs later.
Digging A Fire Pit
Make sure that you are building your fire away from anything flammable as you should do with any fire you build. The self feeding fire needs to have its own fire pit dug for safety reasons and to allow airflow beneath the logs. This fire pit has to be dug exactly as shown here or your fire won’t burn correctly if at all. Here are the dimensions that you need to follow:
The width of your fire pit should be the diameter of the logs you decide to use. The length of your fire pit needs to be about 5 to 6 inches longer than your largest log. Before you set up the V shape frame, take two fuel logs and set them inside your the fire pit side by side. If you dug your fire pit correctly, they should fit inside the pit nice and snug with no room to spare. The depth of your fire pit should be anywhere from 6 to 8 inches deep.
Putting Together Your V Shape Frame
The V shaped frame we are building for the self feeding fire requires two sides. Each side consists of two upright logs and one horizontal log tied together to resemble a capital H which you can see n the image above. The upright logs need to be positioned so that they are wide enough to place your fire logs so gravity can feed them into your fire. Another thing you want to do is make sure the logs you use for the ramps are smooth and straight so your logs will easily roll into the fire.
In order to tie the frame together, you should use a square lashing with a 1/4 inch sisal rope for tying these V shaped frames together. You can use other materials as long as you understand your fire design and take everything into account. Make sure that you secure your frame well as you can. Also make sure the the rigid parts of your frame are strong enough to handle the weight of the logs you are using and the ramps are smooth as I mentioned earlier.
Lining Up Your V Frame
Now that you’ve tied your frame together, it’s time to line them up with the fire pit you dug earlier just like in the image above. This step will help you to determine where the holes need to be dug so you can raise both sides of the frame. This is also the time to make sure that everything is tight and secure. This is the last chance you’ll get because in the next step we’ll be raising the frame.
Digging The Holes For The Frame
All you need to do here is to dig a shallow footing or hole in order to set both of the frame uprights. Your holes need to be just a little bit larger than the upright post’s in diameter. You want to also dig partially into the pits side walls because they are going to be set at an angle.
How To Raise The V Frame
The best way to set your V shaped frame is by placing the frame poles inside the footing and lifting while using the horizontal cross piece to lift it into place. The next step is to prop up the frame by using frame poles just like you see in the image above. Make sure that each side is evened out and raised so that the inner angle of both ramps combined are 90° or a little more. Ideally, your frame should be at a 45° angle on both sides.
There needs to be a clay or dirt layer packed around and up the base of your frame uprights. This is very important to do because this dirt barrier will insulate the vulnerable wood from the heat of the fire and keep your frame from collapsing before all your logs burn out.
Loading Your Fuel Logs
The first logs you place must be prepped so that they will light in a very specific way. You are going to need a gap of an 1 or 2 inches between the first two logs. You can easily do this by placing a couple of wedges in between the two logs. This gap is extremely important because it will allow for uniform ignition of the fire and it will have easy access to the tinder below the logs. It is imperative that the fire be made to be contained in this manner because this is the best way to get this fire initially started.
If you do not contain the flames in between the two starter logs, your self feeding fire will turn into a bonfire instead so make sure you follow these instructions exactly. I’d hate to see your 15 hour All Night Fire turn into a 2 hour fire. After all, it does take some work and time to set this all up so make sure you do it right!
Sealing The Ramps With Dirt
The next thing you need to do before adding the rest of your fuel logs is to add dirt behind your ramps. The dirt must be formed up to in order to create a seal. The reason reason why you need to build a dirt seal is so you’ll be able to stop any air from flowing under your fuel logs. Not creating this dirt seal would eventually lead to an uncontrollable blaze, this way you can control the breeze and the heat coming out of the fire.
This simple little trick will help you to control the fires amount of air and its source. Always remember that hot air rises so let it escape the way you want to and at your pace.
It’s Time To Start Your Fire
Now that the seal and fuel logs are in place, it’s time to finally get this fire started. Before you start your fire, take one last time to make sure that everything is in place and ready to go. Make sure that your ramps are tied up tightly and they are properly secured. Once you’ve checked everything out and you’re ready to go, you are ready to light you’re self feeding fire which is designed to tend to itself and burn all night long for 15 plus hours or so.
I mentioned this earlier but I’m going to mention it again. You MUST always have safety measures on hand when handling fires should anything go wrong. It’s always better to be safe than sorry so NEVER NEVER NEVER set a fire without the means to extinguish it. NEVER! Make sure that you properly build this project and seek help from someone that has some outdoor experience. Starting fires comes with risks and should not be attempted without supervision from someone who is knowledgable and experienced. Make sure to have a fire extinguisher on hand as well!
To light the fire, place your kindling in between the two starter logs just like you see in the illustration above. Make sure to place some underneath the logs as well. You also want to have some space under neath the sides of the two logs. This will allow you to place more kindling underneath the logs and all a little airflow to help get the fire started.
Do not remove the spacer between the two logs that you already have in place. They will eventually burn away. Having success with your kindling will mean that your first two logs are burning tight against one another down the entire length of the logs. It will most likely not be a roaring flame but there will be an orange glow that will burn for hours.
Should your fire smolder out before the main logs start burning. Don’t worry, all is not lost! All you have to do is is to space the logs out again with a couple of more wedges and add more kindling. We are not back in the pioneer days so if you’re still having trouble getting this fire started, use an accelerant.
The self feeding fire will easily burn for 8 plus hours and even more depending on the size of the logs you decide to use. The larger the logs the longer the fire allowing you to get a great nights sleep without having to add wood to the fire every couple of hours.
Ignite Your Fire
If you want your fire to burn all night long, it is imperative that the fire be started along the entire length of the two logs. Make sure that the logs burn evenly or the logs above will not feed the fire correctly. Take your time when starting the fire and be prepared for it not to start that easy. It may take a few times to get the fire started so be patient and be careful.
This self feeding fire is based on the pioneer design so be careful. If you do not build your frame correctly it will make your self feeding fire unpredictable so again use caution. Other than that, if you’ve followed these directions and checked your work as you were building this project, you should be just fine and the fire should last all night long.
This forgotten skill is a true testament to what the human race is capable of when faced with adversity. The self feeding fire allowed the pioneers to explore every corner of the North American Continent. There were no Motel 6’s on their journey west so camping under the stars with a self feeding fire was the next best thing.
Building a self feeding fire does take a lot of work and takes a lot longer than building a simple campfire. However, the next time you go camping and take the time to build your own self feeding fire. I can assure you that when you wake up warm next to that fire with the sun just about to rise. It will all be worth it because that fire will still be burning just in time to cook breakfast.
Here Are A Few More Tips:
- Build your base of sturdy materials and don’t skimp on your paracord.
- Make sure that you bury each one of the legs of your structure that touch the ground.
- The early stages of the fire will be all about the oxygen so make sure you provide enough airflow.
- Use several different sizes of kindling and make sure you distribute it through the length of the first two logs.
- And when in doubt, use an accelerant!
That’s pretty much it. Always remember to be safe when building your self feeding fire and use every precaution that you can. All you have to do is follow the steps exactly and you should have no problems building your own self feeding fire. It’s also a very good idea to have a friend or two help you out because those logs can be pretty heavy. Again, make sure you have a way to put that fire out should anything go wrong. Always keep a fire extinguisher or water hose nearby at all times!
Now You Know How To Build A Self Feeding Fire Just Like The Pioneers Did It!
Learning how to build a self feeding fire is just one of many lost skills you’ll find inside Claude Davis’s The Lost Ways Book. These are the same skills our forefathers used to survive daily life 150 years ago. Inside this awesome book are step-by-step instructions on how to build a self feeding fire as well as countless other survival skills. You will learn skills like how to render lard, how to make pemmican, how to make hardtack and get access to dozens of lost pioneer recipes that will make your mouth water.
You haven’t eaten a real American meal until you try some of these delicious pioneer recipes yourself. You won’t believe how good these recipes really are! Each recipe comes with step-by-step instructions including the same ingredients the pioneers used for each dish. These ingredients are pretty darn close to the original pioneer recipes and absolutely delicious.
Here are just a few of the pioneer recipes I’m talking about and they’re so good. You will learn how to make buttery sweet potatoes, bacon fried apples, 1875 cottage cheese, potato pancakes, lemon pie filling, pepper and eggs, dumplings, elk backstop with spiced plumb sauce and so much more. Every American should own a copy of The Lost Ways Book. Claude Davis beautifully preserves our heritage and past in this wonderfully written book.
Go ahead and click on the button below and check out The Lost Ways for yourself. You got a little taste of what’s inside the book by learning how to build a self feeding fire. This book will take you back in time when America was wild and untamed. Inside these pages are the blueprints that built the GREATEST country ever known. If you have any questions or comments about the Self Feeding Fire or The Lost Ways Book. Leave them below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Thank you for stopping by today,