Fig. 40 shows the proper way to use the knife in splitting a stick, so that it will not strain the spring at the back of the handle of the knife, and at the same time it will help you guide the knife blade and tend to make a straight split. Do not try to pry the stick apart with a knife or you will sooner or later break the blade, a serious thing for a wilderness man to do, for it leaves him without one of the most useful tools.
Remember that fine slivers of wood make a safer and more certain start for a fire than paper. All tenderfeet first try dry leaves and dry grass to start their fires. This they do because they are accustomed to the use of paper and naturally seek leaves or hay as a substitute for paper. But experience soon teaches them that leaves and grass make a nasty smudge or a quick, unreliable flame which ofttimes fails to ignite the wood, while, when proper care is used, small slivers of dry wood never fail to give satisfactory results.
There are many sorts of fires used by campers and all are dependent upon the local supply of fuel; in the deforested districts of Korea the people use twisted grass for fuel, on our Western plains the hunters formerly used buffalo chips and now they use cow chips, that is, the dry manure of cattle, with which to build their fires for cooking their meals and boiling their coffee. In the Zurn belt, in Tartary and Central India cattle manure is collected, piled up like cord wood and dried for fuel. A few years ago they used corn on the cob for firewood in Kansas. It goes without saying that buffalo chips are not good for bonfires or any fire where a big flame or illumination is an object.