How can you survive without a container to boil water or cook food?
Fashioning a heat tolerant, waterproof container can be a difficult task during seasons when the tree bark doesn’t peel, or in places where no bamboo grows.
So when you get pushed to that point, you can do what people have done for thousands of years, burn out a container from a piece of wood.
Controlled Burning Wood
Controlled burning is a process of shaping wood by slowly and repeatedly burning it with coals from your fire, and then scraping away the charcoal. Many different types of wooden articles and tools can be made with this method, including wood bowls, tool handles, and even canoes.
Any red-hot coals from a wood fire will work. However, coals from hard woods will burn longer and hotter than soft wood coals. Only a few hard woods (dogwood and black walnut) are a poor choice for coal burning because the coals tend to go out quickly, rather than continuing to burn.
How To Coal Burn
Begin by carefully taking coals from the fire with wooden tongs, and placing them on a chunk of wood. This piece can be a block of wood that you split with a hatchet, a piece of chunky driftwood, or the side of a log that’s lying in your camp. Blow on the coals lightly. You can use a straw or reed to serve as a bellows. It takes a few minutes for the wood to begin to burn. Don't let the coals flame up, as this extra heat may crack the wood. When the coals are almost burned up, or you have burned into the wood and made a layer of charcoal, the coals can be dumped back into the fire. Let any burning charcoal go out in the walls of the bowl, then use a shell or stone to scrape away the char to reveal the browned wood underneath. Repeat this burn-and-scrape process until you have burned out the wooden object to your satisfaction. To keep any spots from burning, wet the area or smear wet clay or mud over the area that you are trying to protect.
To Boil In A Wood Bowl
If you were wondering how to boil in a wood bowl, that’s a great question. It’s not like the “boil in a paper bag” trick, where the paper gets wet and won’t burn. The bowl will certainly burn if you put it over the fire. So with a wood bowl of water, you can heat up egg-sized stones in a fire for 30 minutes and use tongs to pick them up and drop them in the water in your wooden bowl.