When making a fire an igniter lights the tinder which lights the kindling which lights the fuel. Kindling consists of small pieces of wood or wood shavings that range from the diameter of a match stick to the width of a pencil. You can find kindling or create it using wood and a knife. One way to create kindling is by feathering a stick using a knife. Use the knife to thinly shave the stick and create a curled ribbon of wood. Repeat this shaving process until the wood is very thin. The shavings make excellent kindling.
When feathering wood a smooth blade bushcraft works best. Use the base of the knife edge closest to the handle. The blade base allows for better control of the knife and it is also the strongest part of the blade. The blade can also split smaller pieces of wood. You can use a larger stick to strike the back side of the blade to drive the sharp edge through the wood.