Flint sparking to a flame

Discussion in 'Stove Forum' started by snwcmpr, Aug 25, 2018.

  1. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    How do you do it?

    Late to the game. I know one or two of you will blast me for the laziness. Oh well, I know that you cannot restrain yourself. I will just ignore you.

    I have always put flint/steel sparkers in my bag/pack but did not use them. I assumed they were for emergency use.
    Recently I started using it. Starting the BioLite, Bush Buddy, & Solo stoves. Starting a camp fire. And just playing around with wood.
    Now, I find it is not as easy as simply striking. There are a few factors that can make it more difficult, or easier.
    Good tinder.
    Low wind.
    Holding the sparker still, over the tinder.
    Magnesium scrapings.

    It is easy to light alcohol this way. And I am asking with the consideration that using some accelerant, like alcohol, is cheating. Magnesium may also be consider a cheat, but a lot of strikers come with magnesium.

    Ken in NC
     
  2. Murph

    Murph United States Subscriber

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    I guess I'm a lazy tosser, I've built a Coleman/Coghlan spark lighter into my 8R, 502, Primus 2260, and M1950 stoves.

    In all fairness, the M1950 had the lighter built on to the servicing wrench, not the stove proper, and I've found a place to hide a spark lighter in the Coleman 520 and 530, drilling holes in either would be sacrilege, a sin of the first order at the least!

    My rule of thumb is I have to be able to start my stove in total darkness (or blindfolded!) by feel alone. All of here can understand the logic involved.

    Murph
     
  3. Optimust

    Optimust United Kingdom Subscriber

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    @Murph.

    Hi, Optimust here. My rule of thumb when attending Vespa rallies, was to erect a Bukta Wanderlust tent, extended flysheet, & enclosure sheet ie, door, when arriving
    very late @ night @ campsite. I also practiced with my eyes closed. It makes sense to be @ one with all our equipment.
    Seldom have to do it now unfortunately. Best regards. Optimust.
     
  4. butthead

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    "blast me for the laziness"

    No way! I have taken to carrying a small bottle of alcohol years ago, at first to prime gasoline burners. 2 years ago started being lazy and found a quick squirt on a piece of wood works very good for igniting a campfire, squirt spark and watch the fire go. This year went even lazier by obtaining a SS mesh folding fireplace, https://www.ebay.com/itm/Portable-S...nd-Rack-Fire/263883939274?hash=item3d70b55dca
    Plenty of air flow eliminated splitting pieces into much smaller splits, have used it about 20 times this year, hardly ever needed a second squirt and spark to get going.

    P7290011.jpg

    P8010037.jpg

    Now that I'm looking at my 67th year on earth I find justifying laziness much easier! Ken in WI
     
  5. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    Fine, I know I can do it the EASY way.
    If you know how to start fires with a flint and steel, please share.
     
  6. Brian Whyte

    Brian Whyte United Kingdom Subscriber

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    I’m a char cloth man myself. Scottish snail pattern striker and flint, but quite often it’s ferro rod and Damascus striker
     
  7. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    How do you do it?
     
  8. Brian Whyte

    Brian Whyte United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Just catch spark on charcloth them placevin cotton wool of jute fluff and blow
     
  9. butthead

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    Sorry, got caught up in lazy old guy routine.
    As I spend most time in northern WI/MN/MI, birch bark is plentiful. I collect scraps from the ground, split into narrow strips/curls, scrape the inner side with a knife to accumulate some birch bark dust. Even wet bark will light with a spark. Ken
     
  10. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    We have birch here. Inner bark of the birch.

    I had some char cloth I made, but cannot find it now.
     
  11. orsoorso

    orsoorso Subscriber

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    my striker is a piece from old file, I use it mostly as a quick an dirt test for presence of silica fragments in conglomerates (geologist)
    tinder from fomes fomentrarius a piece of sulfur to get flame from ignited (glowing) tinder.
     
  12. Brian Whyte

    Brian Whyte United Kingdom Subscriber

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    I have made sulphur matches before. They are good fun
     
  13. Murph

    Murph United States Subscriber

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    Made some trick matches once, made the heads from sulfur, potassium permanganate, and a spot of glue, and lit them by touching the head to a felt soaked with glycerin, a few seconds later, they react and burst into flame!

    Murph
     
  14. Marc

    Marc Subscriber

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    I've only lit volatile fuels and petroleum jelly soaked cotton strands with a spark. I'll be paying attention to this thread, though practice will have to wait until we get rain. My whole county is a tinderbox.
     
  15. Jim Lukowski United States

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    Ken,

    Using a ferrocerium rod, have you tried fatwood? The shavings are really easy to light and I believe fatwood is waterproof. You can harvest your own or do as I did and buy a bag. I got it at either Lowe's or Home Depot. Admittedly, I got it just to play around with. I don't use the blade of the knife to strike it, but use the spine. Some knives need to have the spine sharpened to get a good corner edge, making it easier to use the rod.
     
  16. Brian Whyte

    Brian Whyte United Kingdom Subscriber

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    I take makeup pads ( not my own!) and dip in melted candle wax melted in a wok. Tear open takes a spark burns 5 mins. Waterproof too. Tried chaga fungus but not a lot of luck. Usually just drink it as a tea
     
  17. MartyJ

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    1808F6F9-3231-4AAC-B1B5-A5D5A52D9969.jpeg I have one of these!
     
  18. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    I have been reading about vegetable based wax. It is good when you are going to use the fire for cooking food. Melting that into sawdust.

    We just got a load of 3 cords of hardwood. There are plenty of shredded pieces I can melt wax into.

    The thing is, I have been trying to get a fire going with only what is in the woods, a steel/knife, and a sparker/flint. I find it is not as easy as it looks in the videos. So, that seems to be why we carry so many fire starters, to make it easier.
    Thank you for the tips.
     
  19. MartyJ

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    It is definitely not as easy as the videos or books elude. It very much depends on your local flora and the weather conditions. Dampness and high humidity is the enemy of course. I spent some time practicing it once and it is a whole mindset. Even when I knew what I was looking for (tinder) I found I was looking in the wrong places, damp creek bottoms rather then south facing hillsides. I got better at flint and steel by building all my winter fireplace fires using those tools. I would save charred wood that would catch a spark instead of using char cloth. Practice does build skills and patience.

    If you read the old pioneer accounts there were many times they had difficulty building fires in adverse conditions. modern matches were a great invention. Fire starting as a survival need should never be taken for granted.
     
  20. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    I have a pile of charcoal left over from the Biolite tests.