I have lots of Fomes Fomentarius Tinder Conks up in the woods! Along with various medicinal uses, You can use these to dry out your fly fishing lures quickly once they’re soaked. Another use since Ötzi the Iceman’s time and the actual reason he was carrying 4 of them, is to hold an ember deep inside one and travel with fire. An ember in a tinder conk will burn for a day or more. The Iceman had 4, enough to keep an ember burning on his cross-alpine excursion that led to his entombment.
Amadou is a spongy material derived from Fomes fomentarius fungi that grow on the bark of coniferous and angiosperm trees, and have the appearance of a horse’s hoof (thus the name “horse fungus”). It is also known as the “tinder fungus” and is useful for starting slow-burning fires. The fungus must be removed from the tree, the hard outer layer scrapped off, and then thin strips of the inner spongy layer cut for use as tinder.
Amadou was a precious resource to ancient people, allowing them to start a fire by catching sparks from flint struck against iron pyrites. Remarkable evidence for this is provided by the discovery of the 5,000-year-old remains of “Ötzi the Iceman”, who carried it on a cross-alpine excursion before his death and subsequent ice-entombment Amadou has great water-absorbing abilities. It is used in fly fishing for drying out dry flies that have become wet. Another use is for forming a felt-like fabric used in the making of hats and other items.
Before such uses, amadou needs to be prepared by being pounded flat, and boiled or soaked in a solution of nitre. One method of preparation starts by soaking a slice in washing soda for a week, beating it gently from time to time. After that it has to be dried; when dry it is initially hard and has to be pounded with a blunt object to soften it up and flatten it out.