This Magnifying Lens measures a full 2″ (50mm) in diameter. It is made of high-quality clear glass, not plastic. It has the same 6-power magnification as the smaller magnifying lens in the Hudson Bay Tobacco Box, but is double the size. Larger magnifying lenses gather more of the available light and allow you to focus it more intensely. This additional heat intensity ignites your tinder resource more quickly vs. a smaller or less powerful lens. This Magnifying Lens is the perfect tool for starting fires using the sun. New to using magnifying lenses for solar ignition? Continue reading and learn how:
Excerpt from my first book Surviving the Wild:
Solar ignition harnesses the power of the sun and magnifies it to transfer heat to a tinder resource. It’s the most renewable resource because it consumes nothing from your kit. Of course, it does have its one limitation of needing sunny weather, but when conditions are right and you’re not in an emergency, you should always go with this easy and reliable method.
Rather than try to light an entire tinder bundle with the sun, it’s best to create a small ember that can be transferred into a bird’s nest tinder bundle and blown to flame. It’ll be much easier to focus the sun on a smaller piece of tinder. One of the best tinder resources for solar is dung from lagomorphs (rabbits, hares, and pikas). These are hind-gut digesters that leave behind pellets that are little more than compressed plant fiber. When these pellets are dry, they make excellent tinder for solar.
Of course, this isn’t all you can use. You can create a similar “pellet” by taking some of your fine material like an inner or outer bark, rolling it, and compressing it into a tight ball with your hands. Your goal is to create an ember that smolders rather than burns, so you remove air (or at least restrict it) from the fire triangle by compressing the tinder. Another good tinder resource for solar is a small piece of dry punkwood.
There are really two things that you need to pay attention to when using solar [magnifying lens] as an ignition source:
- The angle of the lens in relation to the sun. When you look at the light that’s passing through the magnifying lens and landing on either the ground or the tinder, it should be centered. That is, the light should be centered within the shadow made by the rest of the lens. This gives you the best possible angle in relation to the sun.
- The size of the circle of light that you are focusing. While maintaining the correct angle, move the magnifying lens forward or back until the light is as focused and pinpointed as possible. This will give you the most heat. If you focus that spot on your tinder pellet, it should begin to smoke almost immediately. Once smoking, make slow, very tight circles with the light on the tinder to increase the surface area that you’re applying heat to with the magnifying lens. This process should take twenty to thirty seconds with good sun. You’ll know it’s lit when you can take away the ignition source and the pellet still smolders. Once smoldering, simply transfer the ember into the bird’s nest and reintroduce air to the fire triangle by blowing it to flame.
Tip for the Unexpected: Solar is best during the summer months from ten in the morning to two in the afternoon, but it can still be done at other times. All it takes is full sun and clear skies with no obstructions. Shadows from trees and clouds partially blocking the sun will reduce your ability to get a fire going using this technique. Keep in mind that the larger your magnifying lens, the greater its ability to gather and focus light. Double convex lenses work extremely well, as do Fresnel lenses.
Another thing to consider with tinder for solar: stay away from anything that is waxy, oily, or resinous. They don’t work well at all with solar because you end up heating the wax, resin, or oil instead of the tinder, and that makes it wet rather than dry. You want tinder that’s as dry as possible.
What is the diameter of the magnifying lens?
The lens is 2-inches (50mm) in diameter and double convex.
What material is the magnifying lens made out of?
This magnifying lens is made of a high-quality glass.
What power magnification does this lens have?
This is a large 6-power lens. Perfect for solar fire starting.