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Firesteels, the reality...

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by francis castiglione, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. francis castiglione

    francis castiglione Empty Pockets

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    I recently purchased a swedish firesteel here. Was up in the Catskills this weekend and decided to test it trying to start a campfire. I did not use any 'prepped' tinder (vaseline cotton etc). I used whatever was around, true survival style. I made thin wood shavings from various dead dry wood, and handfuls of what seemed to be dry leaves. It took a bit to get a good striking technique down to produce the biggest shower of sparks. None of which was able to light the pile. It didnt take long to have a massive blister however. I am aware this type of firestarting takes practice, but I know at the very least to always keep a lighter handy on camping/backpacking trips. Im sure there are a few veterans out there, but my experience with this thing was I know enough now to not count on it. YMMV.
     
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  2. mr.hauser

    mr.hauser Loaded Pockets

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    I had a similar experience with mine. Works great for prepped tinder, but hard to catch anything else.

    I went back to a mini-bic, peanut lighter, and matches.
     
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  3. FlipMag

    FlipMag Guest

    :censored:, and Bear Grylls (Man v Wild) makes it look soooo easy....
     
  4. mikel81

    mikel81 Loaded Pockets

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    I know, right.
    In the jungle rain, soaked tinder, first try.
     
  5. bruner

    bruner Loaded Pockets

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    For lack of having ready tinder, a sharp knife used as a "shaver" against your clothing (jeans, etc...) can create some easily lightable material. I've done it with blue jeans. What you end up with looks like a small amount of clothes dryer lint.

    Dan
     
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  6. Diesel

    Diesel Loaded Pockets

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    Lint picked off cotton socks also works excellent! :luck:
     
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  7. ddashner

    ddashner Loaded Pockets

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    I guess this shows that having the best gear isn't as important as knowing how to use it properly. (practice when you don't NEED it)
     
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  8. Rpuppet
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Rpuppet Loaded Pockets

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    Your hair also works as tinder, but burns quicker than most. Have your next step ready to go.
     
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  9. fishwolf

    fishwolf Loaded Pockets

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    I never seem to have a problem. I guess because I practice every time I go camping. But heck my first time with one was easy. You might want to get a magnesium bar ferro rod combo. That way you always have tender with your spark.
     
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  10. AndyTiedye

    AndyTiedye Loaded Pockets

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    Soaked in GASOLINE more likely. They do that part off-camera. :evil:
     
  11. MattW

    MattW Loaded Pockets

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    +1 on Magnesium.

    25 years ago or so (crap, how did I get old?) they used to sell the magnesium blocks with the flint bar along one side. You'd shave a little magnesium, and drop a spark on it. I'd burn like the sun for a few seconds, which was usually enough to catch your tinder (and completely ruin your night vision for a few minutes). Titanium also burns like this, though I've never tried to light it with a spark. I seem to have a never-ending supply of shavings, so perhaps I'll try it when I get my flint stick in the mail next week. Hey, then I could sell the Ti spy capsules filled with the shavings left over from the machining!
     
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  12. Crocodilo

    Crocodilo Loaded Pockets

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    Good advice on the mag bar. And on the practice.


    But really, people, considering the ease of use versus ultimate reliability, I still EDC a MiniBic and leave my ferro rod stashed somewhere... Besides, how many strikes with the firesteel do you need to light up a cigarrette?
     
  13. panzer

    panzer Loaded Pockets

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    Corn chips
    Alcohol prep pads
    Dryer lint

    there are many improvised means of tinder to be used in a survival situations. The key is to have a kit with you and have many options in your bag of tricks. Relying on one source is risky. Mother nature never plays by the rules. Why should you?! I always teach my newbies to build a small kit that has multiple options of ignition and tinder.

    Good post, thanks for sharing.
     
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  14. francis castiglione

    francis castiglione Empty Pockets

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    Understood, but for me I'd just as soon have a lighter, and maybe a backup lighter or 3. Having to rely on a pile of tinder to stay in place so a spark can hopefully land on it and maybe even stay lit long enough to catch a few leaves or whatever just seems frankly assenine in the age of lighters. I spent a good amount of time preparing shavings and leaves, keeping the pile from blowing away in the wind, trying to direct the sparks into the pile without trashing the pile with the striking movement etc... Very eye opening. My next review is going to be of a lighter, and how awesome they are to start fires with.
     
  15. Brangdon

    Brangdon Loaded Pockets

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    In practice I find the magnesium scrapings tend to blow away if there's any wind.

    I always carry a prepared tinder with a ferro rod, and frankly I find it helps with lighters, too. Improvising tinder in the wild is doable, but it takes knowledge. You either need a very good ferro rod, or else very good fluffy natural tinder (eg a "dandelion clock" head).
     
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  16. panzer

    panzer Loaded Pockets

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    Lighters should always be in your kit. But remember they are mechanical device and they fail either from altitude, damp conditions, etc. Build a small handy kit that has a few lighters and a back-up rod or other sparking tool. It may save your life.
     
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  17. GeneralDiscontent

    GeneralDiscontent Empty Pockets

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    They still sell 'em - my local Army surplus store has them for about $5.

    Everyone one of my frequently carried bags (EDC bag, camping pack, bike panniers, daypack, camera bag, etc) has a "mini survival kit" I put together added to it, and each of those kits has some type of firesteel in it. Each kit also has a mini Bic lighter & a box of waterproof matches. Firesteels are great, but they're not my primary means of starting a fire.
     
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  18. r-ice
    • In Omnia Paratus

    r-ice Loaded Pockets

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    + 1 on the magnesium as well but i find you need at least half a handful of shavings before that will light up the twigs and what not you throw on it. It worked well but getting the shavings took a bit of time.
     
  19. BIG YIN

    BIG YIN Empty Pockets

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    It is difficult to get shavings from a mag bar. Does anyone have a better method or tool for getting a lot of shavings efficently and fast?
    They burn like a sonofagun when you get them but it's hard to do.
     
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  20. Jeff

    Jeff Empty Pockets

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    Have you tried scraping the Mg shavings onto the sticky side of duct tape? You do have some in your kit, right?

    Jeff
     
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