View Full Version : Fire steels
11-08-12, 05:23 PM
I bought some mini fire steel blanks to put into some spare bits of deer antler I have knocking around. What I'd like to know is how do I use one of these? I've never done it before and stupidly used the blade of a knife to strike it :-/
Nothing else however seems to make it spark. Any ideas? Thanks, Ben
The magic man!
11-08-12, 05:25 PM
Ben, have u tried using the back edge of the blade? This usually works for me or if you have any lying around you could re-use a striker from an old fire steel.
11-08-12, 05:49 PM
If you have nothing else to hand, a bit of old hack saw blade works very well, even better if you can grind the teeth off otherwise they'll rip the fire steel to pieces. What you're looking for is a sharp angle, not necessarily an edge. If you have a knife with a sharp corner on the spine, that will do it.
The back edge of a well used hacksaw blade works well. Make sure all the paint has worn off the bit you use. I hold the steel and run the striker down it with some pressure on it although it's only for my amusement and I never actually lit a fire with it. :D If I want to see a lot of sparks I get the welder out.
There's a thread in Basecamp with some more techniques. :)
Ferro rods (http://www.britishblades.com/forums/showthread.php?2918-Ferro-rods...)
14-08-12, 12:37 PM
Often, user knives will have a section of the spine "squared off" with a file to give a decent edge for striking.
14-08-12, 12:50 PM
I've lit many a fire with a ferro rod, and as said above find the back edge of the blade works best. It needs to be a square edge though, and some blade steels, S30V for example, don't throw a very good spark. 01 blade with a square spine is the best combination.
Another thing I do is only to use the last third or the rod to strike the spark, then as it wears out you can just break it off and use the next bit of rod. I'll post a pic when I get home.
14-08-12, 07:10 PM
Here you go, I said I'd post up a few pics, and I thought I'd turn it into a real quick 'how to' as well. I have tried a fair few different firesteels, and find that the Light My Fire ones throw a much better spark than anything else I have tried. My own steel ferro rod has had a lot of use, but as you can see I only use the last third of the rod. When the inevitable happens and it wears through, I can still make use of the rod for by moving up and using the next portion. If you scrape all the way down it will wear through and break in the middle of the rod, and the remaining bit is often too short to use. Doing it this way doubles the life of the ferro rod.
For striking the rod I prefer the back of a high carbon knife, of which I usually have a few when I'm out in the woods.
People's opinions seem split on whether it is best to use the spine near the tip, thus...
or, my preferred method, near the handle...
A lot of people, in my opinion, strike the rod too fast. There is no need to, fair pressure and a steady strike gets good results most of the time.
In this demo I'm using tampons as the tinder because they take a spark and burn really well. Out in the field you'll have to make sure you have your tinder bundle ready because it doesn't burn for very long. A 'tinder extender' is often a good idea for a longer lasting flame, and a strip of bike innertube works well for this.
Hopefully this'll work, as I haven't tried to post a video before, but I did a quick vid of the technique...
Hope this helps in some way, now all you need to do is get out and practice a little. It really isn't very hard when you've done it a few times.
edit: seems I don't have the skill to get the video to play in the post, but hopefully the link will work
15-08-12, 09:37 AM
FireSteel Super Scrapers are very good indeed. I bought half a dozen as part of an order from the FireSteel website in the US a while back (and subsequently gave all but two away to folks who oooh'd and aaah'd at the sparks they make) but they're now available from a UK stockist (http://www.survivaldepot.co.uk/FireSteel_Super_Scraper/p474753_4232862.aspx) (at a price, but I suppose they have to add import duty, VAT, shipping and still make a profit..........)
By the way - don't scrape down the firesteel. Hold the scraper still and pull the steel sharply towards you, Makes it easier to guide sparks onto the tinder (I use cotton wool balls rubbed with vaseline, torn open). Make sure the paint / protective coat is removed otherwise it just won't spark properly.
15-08-12, 10:44 AM
...By the way - don't scrape down the firesteel. Hold the scraper still and pull the steel sharply towards you, Makes it easier to guide sparks onto the tinder...
I've tried both methods, and find scraping down the ferro rod works better for me. Both are valuable techniques though, and the pulling the rod method would work if you have a hand injury or the like as it works one handed if you trap the scraper under your foot.
18-08-12, 08:45 PM
+1, for downward strike, I just can't seem to control the steel adequately enough when pulling UP. Sparks get lost as a result.
Preparation is however the key. No good getting loads of sparks if the rst of the fire is not ready to burn.
great vid by the way and good idea about using shortr section of the steel rather than a longer strike.
I will practice with that.
I've lit many a fire with a ferro rod, and as said above find the back edge of the blade works best. It needs to be a square edge though, and some blade steels, S30V for example, don't throw a very good spark.
Not so my friend...
That's a Sebenza - albeit one modified with the spine ground to a hard corner - with an S30V blade setting fire to a piece of envelope. There are many things that will get sparks from ferro rods, broken pottery, broken glass, the edge of a broken pebble, the corner of a housebrick. The most important thing is that whatever you use, needs to be hard and sharp. Any steel that has been hardened will work fine. Tungsten carbide is excellent, S30V is also superb. The problem is that the spines of many knives are rounded a little, which pretty much makes them useless, regardless of what metal they are made from.
02-10-12, 08:53 PM
Try these,I get all my fire kit from mark & Helen @ Shark design
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