Pot hanging chain length?

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Iodo
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Pot hanging chain length?

Postby Iodo » Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:14 am

I'm probably massively overthinking things but I only have one piece of chain so I don't want to get it wrong and everyone on youtube and such has a different idea of what the best length is

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what length does the chain need to be for the stick/tripod supporting it to be far enough above the fire not to burn?
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Re: Pot hanging chain length?

Postby Meganbeyer » Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:23 pm

My bushcraft chain is 2ft 6inches... With a large o ring on one end and a toggle on the other.
The o ring is for making a tri pod out of sticks and the toggle can move the pot higher or lower as needed to heat whatever is in the pot... Will have to see if i can dig it out. I never got to use mine, but based it off of a friends that i used for awhile.
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Re: Pot hanging chain length?

Postby Taurinor » Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:27 pm

I don’t use a chain (I just put my pots in the coals), so take this with salt to taste, but I’d think the length required would depend on how you’ve built your fire, what you’re burning (some woods burn hotter than others), and what you’re making your support from (green wood vs dry, hardwood vs soft, diameter of the sticks, etc.).

I’ve also seen a fair few folks use cordage instead of chain, so you could potentially experiment with that before deciding on a chain length (or you might decide you want to stick with cordage, instead).
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Re: Pot hanging chain length?

Postby Elleth » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:31 pm

Hrm - I'd have to measure, but all my chains are quite short.

Then again, I've found I only really use chains at all for feeding multiple people in a fixed camp with a proper tripod.

For "rangery" use I do the same as Taurinor: just nestle the pot in the coals. I grant that's a bit dicier with an unfooted round-bottomed cauldron, and I'd be a little more leery of doing it with soldered ware: but for a single person it's a lot less bother than messing with a field-crafted tripod. Less weight to.
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Re: Pot hanging chain length?

Postby Eofor » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:32 pm

Taurinor wrote:I’d think the length required would depend on how you’ve built your fire, what you’re burning (some woods burn hotter than others), and what you’re making your support from (green wood vs dry, hardwood vs soft, diameter of the sticks, etc.).


This has been my experience and I'd also add in that it depends on what you're cooking. I carry a handful of S hooks which I form into a chain of the desired length on the go, the hooks can do double duty tying down shelters/packs etc and they are quite versatile when cooking as they adjust to any tripod/support I have to hand.

I see your chain has already has a small S hook on it, which allows you to adjust the length of the chain. If you were to upgrade that to a more substantial one then it would let you keep the chain intact and you would have a lot more versatility.

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Re: Pot hanging chain length?

Postby Iodo » Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:02 pm

Thanks for the replies :P

Meganbeyer wrote:My bushcraft chain is 2ft 6inches... With a large o ring on one end

The O-ring idea is interesting, I might try bending an o-ring from steel bar and see how well it works, 2ft 6" is exactly what I was going to cut, then I saw a youtube video where the guy said it needed to be at least 40", his pot was bigger though

I made the S hook on the chain from stainless steel welding rod (the only wire I have at the moment) and it's easily strong enough for the weight of that pot when it's filled, my idea was to cut the chain to a length and put one of those on both ends, so I can adjust the length and attach it round a stick or tripod in the same way it's attached round the pot in my photo, I guess I just need to decide on the longest length I'd be likely to need

Taurinor wrote:I don’t use a chain (I just put my pots in the coals)

Elleth wrote: For "rangery" use I do the same as Taurinor: just nestle the pot in the coals. I grant that's a bit dicier with an unfooted round-bottomed cauldron, and I'd be a little more leery of doing it with soldered ware: but for a single person it's a lot less bother than messing with a field-crafted tripod. Less weight to.

I was going to try this, that pot is stainless steel so I shouldn't have an issue with it getting to hot, how do you make sure it doesn't fall over?

I usually use a spirit burner camping, and you can probably tell the most complicated thing I've ever cooked over an open fire is marshmallows LOL :lol:
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Re: Pot hanging chain length?

Postby Meganbeyer » Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:17 pm

I also have a s hook that i hang in the bottom of the chain to make it easy to get the pot on and off with out having to re-thread the chain through the handle area... Unfortunately where i live now open fires are very seasonal with fire bans and on restrictions on where to have fires on the trails...

Really like the idea of a forged s ring chain, it would be so much nicer than the chain i have.
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Re: Pot hanging chain length?

Postby Iodo » Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:30 pm

Meganbeyer wrote:I also have a s hook that i hang in the bottom of the chain to make it easy to get the pot on and off with out having to re-thread the chain through the handle area... Unfortunately where i live now open fires are very seasonal with fire bans and on restrictions on where to have fires on the trails...

Really like the idea of a forged s ring chain, it would be so much nicer than the chain i have.

That's a good point about getting the pot on and off, maybe it would be better with a small s-hook on the top to adjust the length/attach to the stick, and a bigger fixed s-hook to lift the pot on and off, I'll have to look for some metal to make that from

in the UK open fires aren't aloud at all without land-owner permission (with the exception of Scotland) so your lucky :P
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Re: Pot hanging chain length?

Postby Elleth » Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:48 pm

I was going to try this, that pot is stainless steel so I shouldn't have an issue with it getting to hot, how do you make sure it doesn't fall over?


Low center of gravity, and care where you place it. That is - you want your pot resting on something that won't shift as material burns away. I'm not heating *on* coals so much as *against* coals, if that makes sense.

Although - hunh.

It just occurred to me that the rounded-but-shallow bottom of my little pot might be a little more forgiving than a purely flat bottom. It can "float" a bit on soft material.
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Re: Pot hanging chain length?

Postby Iodo » Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:07 pm

Elleth wrote:Low center of gravity, and care where you place it. That is - you want your pot resting on something that won't shift as material burns away. I'm not heating *on* coals so much as *against* coals, if that makes sense.

Although - hunh.

It just occurred to me that the rounded-but-shallow bottom of my little pot might be a little more forgiving than a purely flat bottom. It can "float" a bit on soft material.

if I remember correctly you said your iron pot is the same height as it is wide, my modern one is higher than it is wide so I guess it would be less stable, hopefully soon (when I've managed to beg bricks from the builders down the road from me) I'll have a fire pit in the garden and I'll be able to try it
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Re: Pot hanging chain length?

Postby Taurinor » Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:45 pm

Iodo wrote:
Elleth wrote:Low center of gravity, and care where you place it. That is - you want your pot resting on something that won't shift as material burns away. I'm not heating *on* coals so much as *against* coals, if that makes sense.

if I remember correctly you said your iron pot is the same height as it is wide, my modern one is higher than it is wide so I guess it would be less stable, hopefully soon (when I've managed to beg bricks from the builders down the road from me) I'll have a fire pit in the garden and I'll be able to try it

What Elleth said. This is an old picture (that poor pipkin is black with soot now!) and nowadays I'd keep everything closer to the flames and use a lid, but it (hopefully) gets the point across:

cooking.jpg
cooking.jpg (99.79 KiB) Viewed 706 times

What I've done is pull coals (pieces of sticks burned down to small glowing embers) from the fire to the right into a single layer, then put my pot down on it, then pulled more coals to stack around the sides. I'm not trying to set the pot directly on top of burning sticks that will crumble.

I imagine your pot will probably be stable enough to use in that manner; you could even omit the first layer of coals, if you want, and just bank coals against the sides of the pot. But the best way to find out is to give it a go, find a technique that works, and practice, which sounds like what you're planning to do anyway!
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Re: Pot hanging chain length?

Postby Greg » Mon Apr 20, 2020 10:26 pm

Once I get a decent bed of coals going, I actually take a loose stick and hammer on my fire to knock additional coals loose from the larger fuel. Scoop this stuff together into a nice glowing pile and then flatten (or dish) it with the bottom of your cookpot. Makes for more assured balance/less likelihood of a tip-over, but you get all the benefits of a fast boil from direct coals. A chain, I feel, would be an excess weight with a tendency to make noise. Then, of course, the need for lively flames to get the heat effectively up to a suspended pot might also require a fire too big to be discrete when needs be.

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Re: Pot hanging chain length?

Postby Iodo » Tue Apr 21, 2020 7:14 am

Thanks for the advice :P it makes a lot more sense now, putting it on hot materials rather than trying to balance a pot in a fire, I think I'll cut a chain anyway and I'll try both methods, although it seems a lot simpler just not to use it and it's making me wonder why in all the bush-craft videos I've watched/books I've read etc... everyone uses a chain/stick with notches in to hang the pot above the fire when you can just put the pot on the heat instead, there must be some advantage?
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Re: Pot hanging chain length?

Postby Elleth » Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:14 am

Time would be my guess. For nestling the pot, you tend to want to wait for coals, which can take a while. With a hanging pot, you can cook in the flames right away.

(Note that's a generalization- I find cooking over coals far easier regardless of how it's done, and you *can* just set a pot of water near a flame in a pinch. Still, flame is more inconsistent, and frankly I think unless the fire is quite small, it's something of a riskier business getting close enough to it to cook by until it's burned down a bit.)
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Re: Pot hanging chain length?

Postby Iodo » Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:04 pm

Iodo wrote:
Meganbeyer wrote:I also have a s hook that i hang in the bottom of the chain to make it easy to get the pot on and off with out having to re-thread the chain through the handle area... Unfortunately where i live now open fires are very seasonal with fire bans and on restrictions on where to have fires on the trails...

That's a good point about getting the pot on and off, maybe it would be better with a small s-hook on the top to adjust the length/attach to the stick, and a bigger fixed s-hook to lift the pot on and off, I'll have to look for some metal to make that from

I cut the chain to 30" and left my small s-hook for adjusting it's length at the top (between 15" and 30"), and managed to find some 3/16" round steel bar to make a bigger s-hook for ease of lifting the pot on and off:

Image

so I'll try both methods and see what works best :P
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