Posted on April 22, 2012
Great for Survival kit or Emergency.
It’s not often we would consider fire building an emergency necessity. But it happens; and it is a simple enough skill to be worth practice.
Over a century ago, an Austrian scientist incorporated the spark producing qualities of the rare earth metal, cerium, into an alloy containing iron. Hence, the name ferrocerium. When commercially produced, the percentage of cerium varies. I will be treating my post as if we all have the harder varieties, since they are the most common.
These ferrocerium rods, or flints as we have learned to call them, when scraped with hard steel such as the back of a knife or hacksaw blade, emit long lasting sparks of over 3000 degrees. I durned near set fire to the table cloth I used at sales until I got smart and started aiming my demonstrations towards a frying pan.
So, did I mention PRACTICE? Just a suggestion, but perhaps you might retire to your back yard; pour your beverage of choice; and familiarize yourself with this simple technique before you found yourself trying to learn with half frozen fingers. (As an aside, I recommend Jack London’s short story To Build a Fire as an attention getting recount of the necessity of preparation.)
Remember you are literally scraping pieces of the metal rod in order to produce sparks. Aim your spark directly at tinder as close as you can without barking your knuckles. Once you have flame, immediately begin adding smaller kindling until you have a sustainable fire. That’s it! Have fun!
Just Google “Flint Fire Starter” and you will find dozens of how to videos.
In this video, my Grandson, Alex shows how to light a 3×5 card with just a Firesteel.