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Firesteels, the reality...

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

  1. parawolfe

    parawolfe Empty Pockets

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    Probably the only one that I would put on a split ring is the new one I just bought, the Exotac nanoSTRIKER. It is very compact and well made. Checkout Jason Klass's web blog YouTube video of it. Jon has them for sale at his store for $25 pictured on a keyring.
     
  2. parawolfe

    parawolfe Empty Pockets

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    I like Going Gear's ferro rods too. I have one with a cherry handle. It definitely throws a lot of spark. He also has a good assortment of various size blank's available for sale too.
     
  3. rwdflynavy
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

    rwdflynavy Loaded Pockets

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    I'm a big fan of dryer lint. The stuff burns great with just a few sparks. Burns for a while too, to allow you plenty of time to add tinder.

    With 3 boys, I always have plenty!
     
  4. Minotaur

    Minotaur Loaded Pockets

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    I think the tools, and the skills are being mixed here.

    The point is being able to make fire.

    I always have three methods, often more, and yes one of them is a lighter.

    A fire steel is a modern version of something that would have been used by people day in, and day out. It needs practice, and knowledge to use well. That said there is a reason first, the match, and then lighter replaced them.

    Do I use a fire steel, yes, but I carry stuff to light. I am learning what I can light in the wild, but do I want to need that knowledge, when my life depends on it?
     
  5. parawolfe

    parawolfe Empty Pockets

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    I've never thought making a fire with any firestarter was rocket science. Using more primitive methods like bow drills and the like need practice but using firesteels and ferro rods need preparation. The preparation is gathering the various fuels you are going to use to build your fire. The initial tinder that will take the spark, additional tinder to keep an initial fire, kindling to add slowly to the tinder to build the fire and then fire wood in various sizes to get the fire to be self sustaining. Using things like cotton balls with petroleum jelly combines the initial tinder and the additional tinder because the dry cotton catches a spark very easy and the petroleum jelly adds sustainability and longevity to the tinder making it easier to add local dry tinder and then kindling. Obviously the area where you are trying to start a fire is going to come into play because that is where you will be gathering your fire fuel. If you're going to be carrying a firestarter on you why not carry some tinder tabs or cotton balls either presoaked with petroleum jelly or carry a small tube of petroleum jelly separately.
     
  6. BCountryTrekker

    BCountryTrekker Loaded Pockets

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    :knuppel2: This thread has gone long and far from its beginning post above. :knuppel2:

    I'm pretty sure (my wife says that I'm always wrong) :-X that people are NOT saying that a firesteel is the easiest, go to form of starting a fire.
    Clearly the lighter (bic, zippo, peanut, etc.) is the easiest go to method. I would think that most would agree.

    However, the firesteel is a tool that needs to be learned. Without this knowledge it seems that one can develop blisters and no fire. :brickwall:

    With this firesteel expertise, it is probably the most reliable fire source. That being said, if you put yourself in a position of needing a fire to survive, you should have a firesteel.

    I did infer that I would have a firesteel for my flipped raft episode but I also ALWAYS carry a peanut lighter. Mostly because it is sealed with an o-ring and if filled before my trip, I know it will not be dry for weeks or more. A bic can get the fuel lever depressed in a pack and unknowingly emptied. Unlikely, but reasonably possible. My peanut lighter is where I turn first for fast easy fire.

    So with my peanut lighter and firesteel (I carry dryer lint in a spy capsule, and alcohol swabs), I hope that my needs are covered.

    BUT....you need to have and keep your skills with this item as shown in the awesome post by Andy Wayne! O0

    There have been some ingenious tinder options mentioned in this post. O0 Find the tinder that works best for you and you are all set. :roof:
     
  7. 50ft-trad

    50ft-trad Loaded Pockets

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    WARNING: Sevral whiskies consumed prior to posting this - Alcohol influence could therefore therefore an issue

    One is not enough without the other, both tools AND skills are needed with fire building as much as any other endeavour in our lives, regardless of method used.

    I think succeeded would be more accurate than replaced. To me the methods discussed here and entailed knowledge are still valuable items in certain situations. The lighter is a fantastic and very effective and convenient tool in the right situation. In fact it is my prefered method of lighting a cigarette several times each and every day, but I take pride in learning and knowing what to do and how, should I need to produce fire for something more important than my next nicotine fix and my lighter fails for any reason.

    When your life depend on it, there is no such thing as want! Those who EDC anything are preparing themselves for certain situations, be it cutting something, prying something or communicating something to someone via a mobile (cell) phone or any other "need" or desire. Those who chose to carry something for firestarting are probably either smokers ensuring their next ciggy or pipe load will perform as required, or are prepared for something more severe. If it is something more severe, I personally would also like (strike that - NEED) to have both the tools AND skills (multiple options) to produce warmth, potable water, and signalling abilities required to be able to wake up the next morning ... and have another cigarette ... perchance a large whisky. Fireseels with therefore ALWAYS be part of my life, along with the knowledge to use them effectively to reach the intended goal. For now I carry various tools and a smattering of knowledge along with a supply of effective tinder, but I fully intend to compliment this with the knowledge to source/create my own tinder from whatever may be available

    I am not knocking what you are saying in any way, but the whole purpose of every day carry, or occasional daily carry (every day we present ourselves with a certain situation or environment), is to prepare for what we think may happen and how we may need to respond. For that I believe that knowledge is equally , if not more important, than the equipment at our disposal.

    This is one thing I love about this forum. The fact that there are people who carry thing everyday that make me think WHY? Why on earth would someone carry THAT? But as I read on I learn to accept the needs, concerns, and desires of other people in their own spheres all very different to my own. This is the sole reason I chose this forum over any other, the diversity of everybody's own lives, the various challenges they all face or envisage facing, and their own message of responding to that situation.

    Long live EDCF and thank you JonSidneyB for creating this arena for us to share these questions, view and opinions!
     
  8. Andy Wayne

    Andy Wayne Loaded Pockets

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    Just be sure it's from a load of cotton clothes, not synthetic.
     
  9. parawolfe

    parawolfe Empty Pockets

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    I've had a Bic lighter empty unknowingly on a couple occasions. What I ended up doing is putting one that I pack in plastic tube that I stumbled across at a Hobby Lobby one day while I was bored out of my mind waiting on my wife.

    I also own a CC Peanut Lighter and think they are the best lighter you can get, period. I have a bag I keep camping gear in and add a few other things so it also serves as a BOB. I periodically go into the bag to get this or that and when I do I check things out. It can be months since the last time I checked the Peanut lighter and it always works. I even keep a CC Split Pea lighter on my keyring.
     
  10. Andy Wayne

    Andy Wayne Loaded Pockets

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    You can do this:
    [​IMG]

    Or, use a small rubber o ring.
     
  11. parawolfe

    parawolfe Empty Pockets

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    That is an excellent idea Andy! :roof: Simple yet really effective. I put mine in a cheap, clear, plastic tube that has a cap on it. The zip tie is an excellent idea for long term storage. Like in a BOB. The rubber O ring would be great when you are using it often and then packing it away afterward. Thanks for the tip.
     
  12. bigfoot

    bigfoot Loaded Pockets

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    :doh: I've used the zip tie method but the rubber O-ring... why didn't I think of that?! Great idea. :)
     
  13. parawolfe

    parawolfe Empty Pockets

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    I went through a bunch of extra O rings from various flashlights I've bought. A couple were too thin and the tab could still be depressed a little. After digging around more spare parts I found a thick one and it works perfectly. I take it from the picture the zip tie is a 4".
     
  14. BCountryTrekker

    BCountryTrekker Loaded Pockets

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    :D O0 Awesome bic lighter mod. O0 :D
    :ty:
     
  15. Andy Wayne

    Andy Wayne Loaded Pockets

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    I believe so. It was one of the little ones, not sure the exact measurements, but that sounds about right.
     
  16. Andy Wayne

    Andy Wayne Loaded Pockets

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    Another tip, what you see on the right of the lighter are clear straws full of cotton. These are easy to make and great to stash all over in your gear. I cut them to length, then pinched the end shut with some locking forceps. Then I used a lighter and melted the end shut. Then I stuffed them full of cotton, and pinched and sealed the other end. You have waterproof firestarting material that's cheap and takes up little space. I've also used the same method to make little tubes of various items, like salt and spices, potassium permanganate, 1st aid cream, etc. The brown stuff you see on the one on the right is fatwood dust with the cotton. I also thought of making some with magnesium powder in it. Have to be really careful sealing it up! :) Maybe use a bit of cotton at the ends to make sure no sparks hit it.
     
  17. xthereal

    xthereal Loaded Pockets

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    I am totally taking that straw idea! Love it, thanks!

    This thread inspired me to dig out the firesteel I picked up two summers ago. It is a larger one, that came with an attached length of hacksaw blade as a striker. When I first got it, I spent a lot of time outside trying to light some natural tinders...with nothing to show for my time but a blister, much like the OP. I could light toilet paper and cotton balls, etc, but if I couldn't make it work with whatever I could find/prepare outside then it wasn't very valuable to me. Since then I have found some tinder fungus, cattail fluff, stuff like that, and was able to get a fire going but it just didn't seem to work very well.

    Now that I have an indoor fireplace, I figured what better way to pass a snowy afternoon than trying to develop my skill so I got my firewood ready to go and went in search of some natural tinder. I also tried my carbide 'speedy sharp' knife sharpener as the striker instead of the hacksaw blade. I think that made all the difference in the world! The saw blade created long ridges in the firesteel from its teeth, and i think maybe as a result was throwing a fair number of sparks, but they were all smaller and less intense. With the carbide striker I get sparks that hit the floor, bounce, and stay burning for a moment or two. I've been able to light small pieces of birch bark in one or two strikes, I just peel the bark down to a single papery layer and presto, instant fire. I also tried shaving and powdering some wood and scraped bark, which also worked but was more work. Since there are a couple feet of snow covering everything where I live, I cannot (easily) get any dried grass/leaves to make a nice tinder nest which would make things easier with the powdered wood. My son and I are going to take a walk and see what other things we can try, I already spotted some dead hanging pine needles and also a dead hanging cedar branch which we will be trying the inner bark from that. My son is 8 and I'm teaching him to use it as well with dryer lint and cotton cosmetic pads which he can get going right away. The birch bark still takes some work but I want to keep it fun while he learns to throw consistent sparks. I have some pieces of old files that I am going to make my own striker from as well, and replace the hacksaw blade.

    It's been a fun experiment for both of us, instead of using newspaper and a lighter to get our fires going now in the evenings, we are batoning and splitting kindling into the various toothpick-matchstick-pencil sizes, making feather/fuzz sticks and using nothing but that and our natural tinder with the firesteel to get things going. Great experience, and a fun way to learn and make it a natural skill!
     
  18. patches152

    patches152 Loaded Pockets

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    this fall/winter i started every fire with my firesteel/mag. block. BBQ, fire place, etc....got it for xmas a few years ago. it's on a deer antler handle :D so it looks hella cool. +1 on practice before you need it. if you mess with it for awhile you'll notice that there are a few different ways you can strike it (included striker, back side of a knife, back of a key, etc) i find that slow strikes the full length of the steel, with lots of downward and inward pressure creates the most sparks, and it's easier to handle. so what i'll do is take the steel, hold it vertically, or tilted slightly towards me (not very much, just enough to see around my fat arm). this also prevents the tinder from being knocked away with my striker when i hit the ground.

    keep in mind, that the fire steel can also be used as an improv signaling item. the sparks are very bright and can be seen from very far away. also remember, signals work both ways. you can't prevent people from seeing it if they're looking for you.

    i'll always have a fire steel with me in my kit.
     
  19. Andy Wayne

    Andy Wayne Loaded Pockets

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    If you’re in the field and need tinder and can’t find anything, hold your knife at a 90 degree angle and lightly scrape your jeans. It will produce lint, which you can use to start the fire.
     
  20. storl

    storl Loaded Pockets

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    My wife hates when I do that. She insists I am ruining my jeans. I probably am going to have a hole on my right thigh, but it sure is fun to do. ;D