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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I purchased a fire striker. The goal is to be a better flint and steel combo and shoot sparks at a flamable object to elicit a fire.

Trouble is it does not work well with a standard sheet of paper. I have not yet had it light.

What am I doing wrong?
 

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Proverbs 26:4
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Take this for what it's worth since I have never used one...

From everything I've seen, they are not meant to be used on a sheet of paper. You should gather some dry lint/tinder/wood shavings, a cotton ball covered in vasoline - anything that will ignite very easily with minimal sparks and no direct flame.
Start with a small fire then build on it to create the fire you need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Take this for what it's worth since I have never used one...

From everything I've seen, they are not meant to be used on a sheet of paper. You should gather some dry lint/tinder/wood shavings, a cotton ball covered in vasoline - anything that will ignite very easily with minimal sparks and no direct flame.
Start with a small fire then build on it to create the fire you need.
I see. So I need to carry with me some lighter fluid or some super fine fiberous substance?

Seems less useful than I thought.
 

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Proverbs 26:4
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Well they are for the most part water proof but you need something dry to get it started. dryer lint is a good thing to keep with it.
Put the lint in a ziplock with the fire steel.

I've got a few small canisters filled with cotton balls covered in vasoline. A regular lighter works great with them too just to get a quick fire going.
 

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What Diddy said, plus if you don't want to carry or find tinder you can use a magnesium fire starter like doan's (i think) but then you need to carry a knife to spark the flint. It will start anything on fire that burns, wet or not with enough mag. flakes. TP
 

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Christian
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I use dry tinder; very fine shavings of wood or dried grass, birds nest etc and build bigger.

In wet conditions I have cotton pads (some people use dryer lint) with just a dab of petroleum jelly, I wrap mine in aluminum foil to carry them and the sparks catch the jelly almost instantly and the cotton will burn a very long time until the fire gets going.

Practice, practice, practice.
 

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I'd rather be Jeeping...
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I usually carry cotton balls saturated with Vaseline. They work very well and will burn for about 5 minutes. Hand sanitizer on a tissue works, lint from your pocket will work, any dry, broken up tinder will work. I find them very useful, have at least one in each of my vehicles. :thumb:

~JohnP
 

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One of the best tinders I've discovered (by accident) is sawdust. A spark will start it smoldering in a flash. I carry dryer lint with a little vaseline on it. It doesn't catch from a spark as easily, but it burns nicely and will get your kindling going in no time. All it takes is something fine and dry though. Dry grass will work, as will pocket lint. You can also buy compressed tinder blocks in the camping section. These are great! They're cheap and compact. Crumble a little off the block and a spark will have it going in no time.
 

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So I purchased a fire striker. The goal is to be a better flint and steel combo and shoot sparks at a flamable object to elicit a fire.

Trouble is it does not work well with a standard sheet of paper. I have not yet had it light.

What am I doing wrong?
Hey Denver Bill,
Sorry you are having trouble ... first off, you are using the wrong thing to start the fire. Find yourself a spool of "jute" twine ... it is always good to have some kind of string or rope with you, and "jute" will catch fire really fast, so you are carrying one thing that will do two jobs. The bailing twine doesn't work ... sissal won't work cause it melts ... it has to say "jute" on the package. Dryer lint also works, but only if it is cotton. If you have wool or synthetic fibers mixed in, it doesn't work well at all, as the latter two items just melt, but never really light. Secondly, most knives won't work on the magnesium blocks that they sell you to start fires with. They are made of the wrong kind of steel ... stainless steel is not a ferrous metal ... you need the really cheap stuff. We use a "made in china" hacksaw blade that has been cut in pieces ... you need about a three inch piece to be able to grip it, by about ½ inch wide blade. You use the non-toothed side. Some knives will work, but if you aren't sure ... i.e. have tried it with your knife, don't count on it!

Next, take a piece of the jute about six inches long and strip the fibers apart, so that you have tiny little threads. Roll those up into a little birds nest that is about an inch to an inch and a half round. You are going to put the ferro rod directly into the jute nest where you make your sparks. When you strike the ferro rod with the hacksaw blade, you are making a motion like you are trying to scrape the paint off something, or like you would scrape a carrot. Ferro rods come with a coating, I guess to prevent them from making a spark with something during shipping. It will take you five or ten scrapes to get the coating off before you will start to get sparks. You want to hold the hacksaw blade slightly less than 90° to the ferro rod when you scrape. Practice that a bit until you get the feel of where you should place the blade to create the sparks.

Make sure you have your secondary materials ready ahead of time to keep your fire going. Dried grass and dried weed tops are good to use once you get your initial fire going. Then have your tiny, dried sticks ready. Next, your slightly bigger sticks and gradually increase the size of the sticks until you can put the larger sticks and finally thick sticks on your fire. This is a VERY big mistake that a lot of people make when they are trying to light a fire. Once they get their bundles going, they try to put sticks that are too big on the bundle, which only smothers it out. The bundle isn't big enough to ignite larger sticks and keep them burning, so the fire goes out. You start with really small stuff and SLOWLY work your way up to the bigger stuff. Another big mistake is that they don't get enough of each type of sticks ahead of time. When you get your fire started, you can't leave it for a while to go find more stuff to burn, so you have to have that all ready before you start.

Now that you have all your "fire feeding supplies" ready, it is time to light your jute bird's nest. You want to put your ferro rod directly into your bird's nest, because the spark is only hot for about one second. After that, it is too cool to light the bundle. Don't be afraid of the fire, because it takes 5 seconds for a fire to actually burn skin, so once you get it lit, there is plenty of time to pull your hand back. Scrape your hacksaw down your ferro rod and directly into the bird's nest, and you should get a fire pretty quickly. It ususally takes me three or four strikes, but my other half can do it in one ... of course he teaches wilderness survival, so he is over qualified!

This should work for you, so give it a try, and come back and let me know how it worked. Hope this helps!
 

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Wrap jute twine around the striker for storage. Unwrap and unravel the twine so you can make a nice ball of tinder. I keep twine wrapped around all my firesteels.

Melt some wax along the twine to help it burn longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hey Denver Bill,
Sorry you are having trouble ... first off, you are using the wrong thing to start the fire. Find yourself a spool of "jute" twine ... it is always good to have some kind of string or rope with you, and "jute" will catch fire really fast, so you are carrying one thing that will do two jobs. The bailing twine doesn't work ... sissal won't work cause it melts ... it has to say "jute" on the package. Dryer lint also works, but only if it is cotton. If you have wool or synthetic fibers mixed in, it doesn't work well at all, as the latter two items just melt, but never really light. Secondly, most knives won't work on the magnesium blocks that they sell you to start fires with. They are made of the wrong kind of steel ... stainless steel is not a ferrous metal ... you need the really cheap stuff. We use a "made in china" hacksaw blade that has been cut in pieces ... you need about a three inch piece to be able to grip it, by about ½ inch wide blade. You use the non-toothed side. Some knives will work, but if you aren't sure ... i.e. have tried it with your knife, don't count on it!

Next, take a piece of the jute about six inches long and strip the fibers apart, so that you have tiny little threads. Roll those up into a little birds nest that is about an inch to an inch and a half round. You are going to put the ferro rod directly into the jute nest where you make your sparks. When you strike the ferro rod with the hacksaw blade, you are making a motion like you are trying to scrape the paint off something, or like you would scrape a carrot. Ferro rods come with a coating, I guess to prevent them from making a spark with something during shipping. It will take you five or ten scrapes to get the coating off before you will start to get sparks. You want to hold the hacksaw blade slightly less than 90° to the ferro rod when you scrape. Practice that a bit until you get the feel of where you should place the blade to create the sparks.

Make sure you have your secondary materials ready ahead of time to keep your fire going. Dried grass and dried weed tops are good to use once you get your initial fire going. Then have your tiny, dried sticks ready. Next, your slightly bigger sticks and gradually increase the size of the sticks until you can put the larger sticks and finally thick sticks on your fire. This is a VERY big mistake that a lot of people make when they are trying to light a fire. Once they get their bundles going, they try to put sticks that are too big on the bundle, which only smothers it out. The bundle isn't big enough to ignite larger sticks and keep them burning, so the fire goes out. You start with really small stuff and SLOWLY work your way up to the bigger stuff. Another big mistake is that they don't get enough of each type of sticks ahead of time. When you get your fire started, you can't leave it for a while to go find more stuff to burn, so you have to have that all ready before you start.

Now that you have all your "fire feeding supplies" ready, it is time to light your jute bird's nest. You want to put your ferro rod directly into your bird's nest, because the spark is only hot for about one second. After that, it is too cool to light the bundle. Don't be afraid of the fire, because it takes 5 seconds for a fire to actually burn skin, so once you get it lit, there is plenty of time to pull your hand back. Scrape your hacksaw down your ferro rod and directly into the bird's nest, and you should get a fire pretty quickly. It ususally takes me three or four strikes, but my other half can do it in one ... of course he teaches wilderness survival, so he is over qualified!

This should work for you, so give it a try, and come back and let me know how it worked. Hope this helps!
What a nice person you are to write this out in such detail. I appreciate it.

I am going to try all of the methods mentioned. Jute string, Cotton w/ Vaseline, and pocket lint.

I'll let ya know my findings guys.

Not that anyone needs it here except me. :)
 

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What a nice person you are to write this out in such detail. I appreciate it.

I am going to try all of the methods mentioned. Jute string, Cotton w/ Vaseline, and pocket lint.

I'll let ya know my findings guys.

Not that anyone needs it here except me. :)
DB,
Sorry about the previous comment, honest I am. I've been using one of these things since I got it at a Scout-o-rama when I was 9 and I've seen them talked about on the forum and I kinda thought you were being silly after seeing your SHTF post earlier.

On a serious note, stay away from pocket lint as it's too tough to collect enough of it to be worth while (kinda like belly button lint). Cotton dryer lint, on the other hand, is AWESOME. Used in conjunction with the cotton balls w/vaseline you should be unstoppable. The dryer lint will catch almost accidentally and start the cotton balls which the previous poster mentioned sometimes take a bit to catch with the vaseline. The cotton then burns for a good long time while you get the rest of the fire going.

Couple of other things to keep in mind. The more you use it the more comfortable you will get with the striker rod. You will also find that you 'strike' the same place over and over and will eventually start whittling the rod down and creating a flat spot if you aren't careful. You do NOT want this for a couple of reasons.
1) When you do eventually turn it you will create some MONSTER sparks as you go along the edge, which is cool for a little while but extremely wasteful.
2) The flat part will eventually get past the middle of the rod, which is where the strength is, and it will snap off shortly after you you have used half of the rod...again, wasteful.

Rotate the rod as you use it and try to use all sides of the rod equally and you can use 80%+ of the rod before it snaps off of the handle. If you are gentle you can get sparks off of darned near the whole thing.

Hope that helps a little more than "Dude, you made me giggle".

--DL
 

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I carry a pencil and a pencil sharpener. Twenty pencils and two sharpeners for two bucks at dollar general. Pencil shavings make great tinder. The sharpeners do pencils and crayons. Got no pencils or want to save them for writing? No problem twigs work greats...
:thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb:
 

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Lately I have been starting fires with only what tinder I find in the woods. Most easy is find a stump pr rotted wood if its been raining dig into it or split it usally easy to do when rotted. Take some rotted wood crumble or shave thin bits with your knife. If pine trees are available they fire pretty well or there sap, dry leaves or grass etc. spark it and watch it go. Also very easy to make is char cloth it you want to have another substituion for cotton balls, it doesn't flame but slowly smolders wirh glowing ember.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
DB,
Sorry about the previous comment, honest I am. I've been using one of these things since I got it at a Scout-o-rama when I was 9 and I've seen them talked about on the forum and I kinda thought you were being silly after seeing your SHTF post earlier.

On a serious note, stay away from pocket lint as it's too tough to collect enough of it to be worth while (kinda like belly button lint). Cotton dryer lint, on the other hand, is AWESOME. Used in conjunction with the cotton balls w/vaseline you should be unstoppable. The dryer lint will catch almost accidentally and start the cotton balls which the previous poster mentioned sometimes take a bit to catch with the vaseline. The cotton then burns for a good long time while you get the rest of the fire going.

Couple of other things to keep in mind. The more you use it the more comfortable you will get with the striker rod. You will also find that you 'strike' the same place over and over and will eventually start whittling the rod down and creating a flat spot if you aren't careful. You do NOT want this for a couple of reasons.
1) When you do eventually turn it you will create some MONSTER sparks as you go along the edge, which is cool for a little while but extremely wasteful.
2) The flat part will eventually get past the middle of the rod, which is where the strength is, and it will snap off shortly after you you have used half of the rod...again, wasteful.

Rotate the rod as you use it and try to use all sides of the rod equally and you can use 80%+ of the rod before it snaps off of the handle. If you are gentle you can get sparks off of darned near the whole thing.

Hope that helps a little more than "Dude, you made me giggle".

--DL
LOL. Thanks for the advice. I am not offended and I hope you did and do get giggles from my lack of knowledge. I can laugh at it too.

I also hope someone got a laugh out of my other funny post.

I like the other thing someone mentioned about a pencil sharpener. Cool idea and simple.
 

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LOL. Thanks for the advice. I am not offended and I hope you did and do get giggles from my lack of knowledge. I can laugh at it too.

I also hope someone got a laugh out of my other funny post.

I like the other thing someone mentioned about a pencil sharpener. Cool idea and simple.
If you want a good laugh, you should see me trying to master primitive flint and steel. I'm big into muzzleloader rendezvous and I try to light my fires the old fashioned way. A proper flint is about as sharp as a scalpel. I wear a small curved piece of steel over my first two fingers and strike at the flint with it. As you might imagine, anything less that a perfect strike, at best doesn't create sparks, or slices your fingers at worst.

Nothing worse than sitting around a campfire at a primitive rendezvous, that you ended up having to light with a Bic, wearing half a dozen modern bandaids on your fingers. At that point, you might as well break out an MRE and call it a night.
 

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Proverbs 26:4
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If you want a good laugh, you should see me trying to master primitive flint and steel. I'm big into muzzleloader rendezvous and I try to light my fires the old fashioned way. A proper flint is about as sharp as a scalpel. I wear a small curved piece of steel over my first two fingers and strike at the flint with it. As you might imagine, anything less that a perfect strike, at best doesn't create sparks, or slices your fingers at worst.

Nothing worse than sitting around a campfire at a primitive rendezvous, that you ended up having to light with a Bic, wearing half a dozen modern bandaids on your fingers. At that point, you might as well break out an MRE and call it a night.
Or use your I-phone phone to order pizza or Thia food ;)
 

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Normal paper usually does not work well as initial fire tender.

What I like to use is Jute twine from the hardware store. I cut a piece about a foot long, unravel the 3 pieces, then reverse twist the individual pieces until the fibers are all straight. then I pull them apart. I continue this process until i have enough to make a bird nest size tender pile.

Jute is very flamable, but will only burn for a minute, so have more tender near by (such as your paper)

take your firesteel and your striker, point at the tender pile, maybe a inch or two away, place the striker perpendicualr to the firesteel and draw back the firesteel holding the striker at a fixed point. You should be able to start the fire from this point
 
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