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making fire w/o matches or other gas lighters. I was watching man vs. wild and saw how "easily" he made his fires w/ his flint. Is it really that easy? I had two pieces of small flint and could only make sparks not ever ignite anything. I think he used his knife and the flint. I just rubbed the flint together.

Where do you buy/find flint anyway.
What size should it be?
 

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It's been a long time since I've made fires with flint, but I recall it taking a lot of patience and many tries to do it. My kids often set things on fire (or melt them)on the sidewalk with a plastic magnifying glass, so I have good magnifying glasses in our BOB's as backup for starting fires. On a good sunny day, it takes them less than 30 seconds to get something burning. They've even started wet leaves, but that took a good bit longer.
Dawn
 

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I've got a neat little bottle of stuf you put one drop on a cotton ball and one drop of water poof theres a flame .
a flint and steel works good too as does a magnifing glass if the suns out
 

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Master Of My Domain
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i think he actually had a magnesium "flint" and striker. magnesium makes really hot sparks easily.
 

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One time he showed the magnesium "flint" so we went out and bought one - keep forgetting to test it out. With the magnesium one you shave a bit off with your knife and then strike it like a flint and hope the spark catches the magnesium bits. Anyway, since that episode he appears to have switched to a regular flint and steel.
 

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flint and steel works fine, the tinder is the key.
steel wool catchs a spark easy.... as does hair, blackened cotton cloth, tree punk, ect.

its someting you need to play with till you get the hang of it, after shtf is not a good time.

however, in our big technology cesspool we live in, there are many other ways to make a fire without matches.

from letting a lindeed soaked rag sit in a bucket of newspaper for a while (it will heat up and burst into flames) to using a battery for spark and an excellerant like fuel oils.

pool chlorinator powder and a few drops of brake fluid will make a nice whoosh of flames.

and as always, preperation always works best.... vaccum seal up a few 100 packets of matches and other emergency toys.

buy a case of bic lighters, the universal fire starter. they last forever.

as do standard zippos.

actually a zippo lighter can substitute nicely for a flint and steel, it lights by sparking on a burned cotton wick.

very very few of us will EVER be caught out in the wild with only a knife and a prayere, its just not going to happen.'

there is always going to be human refuse and useable rubble to play with.

we really need a whole thread dedicated to firestarting.... it would be a nice info bank to have here.
 

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Some thoughts;

Fire= heat, signaling, protection, boiling water, cooking, sterilizing.

Ways= lighters(all kinds), matches (all kinds), metal matches(flint and steel w/magnesium), piece of flint/steel (stone), lens (glasses, bottles, ice), fire bow/board (shoe string for bow), fire board (manual rubbing), battery/steel wool, worn out "Bic"(for spark)tinder (steel wool),fire "piston" (compressed air, possible but expensive), gun (remove bullet/powder, fire primer into tender/powder, alum can/chocolate (parabolic mirror).



Scenario= Plane crash/ what would you logically carry with you?
Plane crash/commercial=Not allowed=lighter/matches, gun, knife.

Not sure= flint and steel, parabolic mirror (real one), metal match, fire piston, steel wool.

Leaves you with= glasses, bottles, lens, alum can/chocolate, shoe string, battery w/ any metal to short out, and any fire from the crash sight.

Private plane= any or all of the above (at least you SHOULD carry), BOB bag, flare gun, radio, signal mirror.

How many of these ways have you actually made fire?

Personally accomplished:
Matches, lighters (many kinds), metal matches, flint and steel, (found flint/knife blade), lens/parabolic mirror, muzzle loader/primer/oiled cloth/ powder, battery and steel wool.

Personally tried (and will continue to try):
Bow/board, alum can/polished with what ever, ice lens, "Bic" steel wool, pistol/primer, cloth/powder, fire piston (made one but can't get it to work).
 

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A little prep goes a long way.

I find that "char cloth"is by far the easiest material to catch a spark.

Haven't tried this yet, but plan on looking for some while hunting this year, for catching a spark;
http://wildwoodsurvival.com/survival/fire/tinder/tinderfungus/true.html

Anyway, my "primitive fire kit' contains a piece of flint, piece of a file (for the steel), char cloth, (part of the "secret" of doing it quickly and easily,)small candle and tender.
Kept in a metal snuff can, with one small hole punched in it.

Char cloth is cotton burned in the absence of air. Really catches a spark.

The above mentioned metal snuff can is used to create the char cloth by filling it with cotton gauze, t-shirt cloth, old sheets, what ever, just so it isn't treated with fire retardant.

Toss into fire, charcoal fire or what ever, let get hot till it quits smoking out of the small hole, pull out of fire and let cool.
P.S. any metal can will do, like a bandaid can.

Then I use the small candle, melt the wax, seal the hole, to make water tight.
Insert your flint, steel, candle, tender and you have a "fire starting kit.

Inside is "char cloth", strike the steel with the flint and it will catch and start glowing.
Place in your tender and blow on it and away you go.
When done, close the can and snuff out the char cloth to use again. Use the candle wax to seal the hole back up.
 

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this was called the big flint by the manufacture.it was the largest they made at the time.it came out of california.first off you dont strike a flint.they are fragile and soft materials(sorta).all you need to do is rub the little piece of metal that is with this flint down it.slower than if you was whittleing wood and it will send sparks like a road flare.that is all it needs.....you do not need to "strike" the flint like you were going to kill something....lol....jsut rub the striker down the flint...that is all....but hwat you ned to do is have some sorta tender for it to catch a spark form the flint.the spark is then blow on and it sets the tender on fire then you start small and work your way up in size form a tooth pick...to pencil size then ..so on..and so on....also a flint will work no matter what...it works while wet also.jsut scrape it a couple times and it will spark for you.the magnesium/flint bars are for scrapeing off magnisum on to a piece fo bark...when a spark from the flint side of this thing fallls on to it(magnisum)..it will start to burn....magnisum is the tender...then you start putting your small sticks like i said before and work your way up to the bigger woood.it is easy to build a fire without matches.i may try and do a step by step picture post for you folks that dont know how to build fire.maybe if i could get someone to film it i could do a short video from my still camera.

 

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comfortablynumb said:
flint and steel works fine, the tinder is the key.
Very true. Sparks are no good if you don't have suitable tinder ready. I keep two cotton balls in a pill fob on my keychain. They catch a spark easily. Impregnating them with petroleum jelly works well too.

comfortablynumb said:
we really need a whole thread dedicated to firestarting.... it would be a nice info bank to have here.
I agree. It would be a nice resource to have.

Maggie
 

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Somebody start the fire starting thread, and people post on it, and it will become a stickey. I'll move something old out of the way for it.

Angie

edited later to add: Do you want this thread to be the one to add onto?
Just as easy.

Angie
 

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hunter63 said:
How many of these ways have you actually made fire?
Matches and lighters, of course. Also, magnifying lens, magnesium fire starter, and battery and steel wool.

The mag fire starter works very well, but it is like the flint and steel in that you need something to hold a good bed of the flakes with good tinder before you strike the sparks. It is easier than the flint and steel IMHO.
 

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most everyone has a shoe string. use it to make a bow and use the time tested method of bowing an ember. you need a nicely round stick to twist in the bow string...the drill, a small flat piece of wood as a block to hold the stick steady as you spin the stick, and another block as the medium you spin on. both the top block and the bottom need an indentation to hold the drill. this can be made with a stone by turning the stone to "drill" a shallow indented hole. you also need a notch in the bottom block. picture a "v" notch that joins with the hole you made. this allows the embers you create to fall into a pile of prepared tinder.

build your basket of tinder, a piece of bark holding cat o' nine tails down, shaved wood or wood fibers like the fine stuff you find between locust bark and the wood of the tree, cotton fibers from clothing, dried grass, etc. set the "basket on the ground, place the bottom block on top with the notch in a position to drop the ember on the tinder basket, hold the bottom block down with your foot, the top block with one hand and use the bow with another. work the bow until you nearly pass out and scrape the ember onto the tinder. blow like the dickens and protect the resulting fire with your life.

maybe someone can elaborate on the "plow" method like tom hanks used in the movie "cast away".
 

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I lost all respect for Man vs. Wild, (Bear Grylls?) after it was disclosed that he stages the whole thing, staying in luxury resorts at night, eating fine cuisine, and doing the 'grisly' show stuff, just so it looks like he's roughing it.
 

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you have to respect any man who has the guts to jump in an icy lake or a nasty peat bog, lol.

i used to like les stroud, but i really get tired of hearing him "boo hooing" about having to tote camera gear.
 

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Humid environments change a lot of things, especially with the bowdrill. Everything has to be notched fairly good to begin with, then you "burn in" your set by working it for a while. Check the bottom board and see if your notch is starting to get smooth and black. You will sometimes have to lubricate the spindle at the top where your bearing block goes into it. Easiest thing to do is to rub the top of the spindle on the areas of your face near your nose- there is usually a little oil there- you don't need much.

The tendencies are to bear down too much on the bearing block and to let the spindle waggle around. There's a few ways to counter this, one is to place your left foot (assuming right handed) on the base board (but not over your notch, the notch should be to the right of your left foot with your left foot facing forward. Bring your left arm kinda around your left knee and "lock it in" at the elbow. Your left arm is going to hold the bearing block in place. "Locking it in" like this helps to keep you from wobbling all about with the spindle and since some of your downward pressure is now on your leg, there's less of a tendency to try to push the bearing block into the ground! This means easier strokes with the bow.

Make your bow cord tight and twist the spindle around the bow. Hold it in place and place the spindle on the notch on the bottom board. Place your bearing block on and start working it. If you work it about a minute or two past where you start seeing serious smoke, you can usually work that into your bird's nest (tinder bundle) and get a fire going.

Still though, I'll stick with magnesium firestarter if I have it. :baby04:

Lowdown3
 

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I used to do rendezvous and you could count on seeing fire starting contests with flint and steel. The hands down winner could have fire,( not just smoke) in under 5 seconds! I asked him his secret and he said" pre-heat your tinder"..he would set his fire starting can in the sun to warm up before the contests. For us in a survival situation, I suggest keeping the fire makings on your person close to the skin to keep then warm untill you have your larger materials gathered and ready, Then take out your flint and steel and charcloth and make fire. Also remember heat rises..if you catch that first spark and proceed to blow down thru the spark setting on the ground chances are you will put it out. Rather catch that spark in the charcloth, drop in prepared tinder, scoop up bundle and blow up thru to fan the spark..as soon as you see flame place in larger fire fuel. Extra care with this for you furryfaced fellas!! As a point of fact the spark is actually a small metal shaving from the steel. The action is that you strike the steel across the sharp edge of the flint(with charcloth held on that stone edge) and the stone"shaves" off metal(spark) that is "caught" by the charcloth and then placed in tinder. I have "cooked" charcloth in a small can and I like a cap can for this..I shoot percussion. I use a small stack of cotton wads(what goes down the barrel after the powder but before the ball)..small hole in lid and place over the pilot light on my gass stove. When you see smoke rise from the hole take a match and light it, when this flame goes out the charcloth is "done"..cool and it is ready for use. Got birchbark??
 

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Howdy folks. Been a while since I've posted. Busy, sorry. Pretty good info already stated, but I'll offer my 2 cents worth as well.

Spark based fire making is pretty simple, providing you have the tinder properly prepared. Modern "firesteels" are usually ferrocium, and when scraped with a piece of carbon steel, actually shed really hot pieces of the rod itself. This can catch fire to just about any suitable tinder like fluffed crass, dry leaves, etc.

Traditional flint and steel is a different animal altogether, as when struck with a piece of steel, it is the steel that is shaved off(broken really) and shed off at much lower temps. (This is why you can really scar up a knife blade's spine like this). As a result, these sparks will usually not last long enough to be blown to a coal without the use of some type of tinder to keep the heat in. Charcloth is the best known for this, but true tinder fungus is even better... but hard to find.

I make my charcloth in a sealed stainless steel container with two pencil lead sized holes in it. Pack it in there rather loosely, and just toss it in the fire. When it stops smoking, pull out, shake up, and toss back in. After it stops again, take it out and set it aside. When it is totally cool to the touch, it is probably ok to open and use. If not, then it might make your endevour for nothing if you remove the lid when still warm, because just a bit of fresh oxygen can ignite the whole batch into a glowing mass. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions, and I'll try to help.
 
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