We can make our amadou very easily with potassium nitrate and it works every time, but out in the field with next to no true tinder fungus in this part of the world how can we get artists conk to take a spark easily? Now I've heard guys say they just fluff it up and it takes a spark straight away but that doesn't work for me and I've noticed a few other people also tell the truth and say it doesn't work for them either, and that they have to prepare it before hand, and that's what works for us. So to prepare amadou in a traditional way we first need to prepare a lye solution, and this is how we do it although you may do it differently and if you do, let me know your recipe!!
Main component is some very well burnt down wood ash, any excuse for a fire!
Next we remove the white wood ash from the charcoal, I know some guys who just boil it in the wood ash but we've found after numerous tries that the ash can block the amadou and prevent a clean long lasting smoulder.
Next we boiled up 2 litres of water with the wood ash to form the lye, you can also just pore the water over the wood ash and collect it in a bucket but we've found we get a more concentrated product this way.
Then strain the solution to prevent any material clogging the amadou, at this stage we are hoping for a urine coloured liquid to show that enough ash has dissolved in the water, depending on the wood used this colour can vary between green/brown/yellow. Once we have the liquid strained we reduce it to about 1/6th of it's original volume and we've found this is about the right strength for the amadou.
The finished product. Now all you have to do is soak the fungus in this solution and pound it flat and once it's dry you're all set to go.
Please note that this finished solution can be very caustic so don't get any on your skin and if you're going to keep it for later use store it very safely!
If we come across any good ganoderma next time we're out I'll put up another post showing how we finish prepping it, but really it's dead easy from here on!