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John Gilbert
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Firesteels on 06/10/2008 09:30:54 MDT Print View

Can any of you bushbuddy users (or woodcraft skills people) comment on how well the Light-my-fire firesteel Scout works compared to the much cheaper (& smaller) BSA Hotspark ? Any big difference with either one when trying to light natural tinders (dried grass, scraped bark, etc).

Related question: Does anyone have any tricks for scraping magnesium off the Doan / Coglans block-style fire starter - that don't involve using the file from the multi-tool I don't carry ? I tried shaving the magnesium off a Coglans one with my knife, and it took so long to get a small pile that I concluded that carrying cotton balls was the way to go even though it's 1 more thing to need to pack & keep track of, and they can run out...

Thanks.

Edited by JohnG10 on 06/10/2008 09:33:31 MDT.

Daniel Goldenberg
(dag4643)

Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: Firesteels on 06/10/2008 09:44:55 MDT Print View

I don't have any experience with the bsa hotspark but have used all three of the firesteels (mini, scout, army model), and various other devices, and generally speaking, I'd say the smaller steels are OK for lighting prepared timber, like cotton balls, tindertabs, etc, but if you are trying to light natural tinder you've collected, the larger steels put out lots more sparks and make it much easier to light the tinder.

David Poston
(dgposton) - F

Locale: Texas / Colorado
Firesteel Mini vs. Scout on 06/10/2008 10:30:24 MDT Print View

I have been using my Firesteel Scout as my main igniter for my cannister stove. Does the Mini do as good a job? If so, it would be worth the weight reduction, it seems.

Kathleen B
(rosierabbit) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Firesteels of any sort on 06/10/2008 13:27:35 MDT Print View

The video in the link below has some nifty ideas on how to light a variety of tinders that would probably make using any type of firesteel successful. If I could get it to work with my firelight mini, anyone can! Of course, it would probably help if you don't have a spouse standing there welcoming you to the Cenozoic era when it finally works.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4E1G2DQjrSs

Christopher Holden
(back2basics) - F - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Firesteel Mini vs. Scout on 06/10/2008 15:33:03 MDT Print View

David,
I have both. The Scout works much better. It throws more sparks, more distance... plus the Scout is a bit longer and more rigid, so you can get your hands away from tinder, gas, alcohol, etc a little faster. I've heard of people breaking their mini when striking it, but never a Scout.

Kathleen B
(rosierabbit) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Firesteel Mini vs. Scout on 06/10/2008 15:41:48 MDT Print View

Christopher - when you use your firesteel, do you pull the steel up along the striker, or do you do the traditional pushing the striker down on the steel? The main point of that video I referenced in my post above was to pull the steel up while holding the striker still. That technique seemed to cause less stress on the steel for me, but then I've only used the mini and have no experience with the scout.

David Poston
(dgposton) - F

Locale: Texas / Colorado
Re: Re: Firesteel Mini vs. Scout on 06/10/2008 16:47:39 MDT Print View

Christopher,

Yes, getting your hand away from that spurt of flames from your cannister is often tricky. (I've burned my hand at least once doing this). However, I've found the firesteel so reliable that I threw away matches and lighter and am just using the firesteel. I suppose I'll have to order the mini and see if I burn my hands. :)

Is anyone else using the firesteel (Scout or mini) to light their cannister stove?

I suppose if I went with the Snowpeak stove with Piezo ignition, I wouldn't the firesteel, eh? (I wonder which system is more efficient in terms of weight and versatility?)

Kathleen B
(rosierabbit) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Firesteel v. Piezo on 06/10/2008 16:53:51 MDT Print View

Speaking from personal experience, the piezo lighter works most of the time. I've been glad for a backup, although it was matches and not the firesteel.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Firesteels on 06/10/2008 17:10:45 MDT Print View

Ah-hem, just an observation here that SOME of us find that we are "firesteel challenged." The guilty party shall remain nameless, but I will admit that my wife got a lot of entertainment value at my expense. :)

My advice is to buy your firesteel from REI so you have the option of taking it back!

Stephen Lastname
(hootyhoo) - F

Locale: East TN
Re: Firesteels on 06/10/2008 18:23:01 MDT Print View

I have the scout and have only been able to start a fire using cotton balls once. And it was not easy.I have also had a lot of trouble lighting cigars with it. It must be my technique. It works great on alcohol stoves and canister stoves. My backup lighter does all the fire and cigar lighting. But the good thing is that I only light one fire and one cigar a day so the lighter lasts a lot longer in conjunction with the firesteel.

Christopher Holden
(back2basics) - F - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Re: Firesteels on 06/10/2008 18:24:15 MDT Print View

Kathleen,
It depends. If I'm aiming at a small point (tinder, sawdust, etc), I hold the striker still and move the firesteel. My aim is better that way.
If I'm lighting a stove, it's usually the firesteel that's still and I'm moving the striker to throw sparks.

Michael,
Did he who shall remain nameless remove the coating before using it? He who shall remain nameless needs to rub off the outer black stuff to get down to the good stuff. It takes a few scrapes to get a new one to work. Also, the striker plate only works correctly in one direction. Make sure he who shall remain nameless doesn't have it reversed.

Chris

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Firesteel Mini vs. Scout on 06/10/2008 19:10:23 MDT Print View

>>Is anyone else using the firesteel (Scout or mini) to light their cannister stove?

David, I've been using the firesteel mini to light my canister stove. Like you, I've found the firesteel to be much more reliable than bic lighters or matches in all weather conditions. It's also more reliable that the piezo igniters I've used. I haven't used the Snowpeak but the piezo weight on another stove I have is 0.4 oz. My firesteel mini weighs 0.5 oz. and is, of course, multi-use.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Re: Firesteels on 06/10/2008 19:10:30 MDT Print View

I hang my head in shame with the group who just can't use the Firesteel. I had the darndest time trying to get a cotton ball to light. I keep the Firesteel (Mini in my case), on a lanyard as an absolute last resort. I prefer my Mini Bic or some matches though. Maybe I just need more practice.

Adam

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Firesteel Mini vs. Scout vs Piezo on 06/10/2008 19:16:03 MDT Print View

"I suppose if I went with the Snowpeak stove with Piezo ignition, I wouldn't the firesteel, eh?"

Above 8000' piezos become more and more useless.
The decreasing air density acts more and more like an insulator than a conductor.

My Snowpeak piezo, at 7500', was almost reliable.
Above 9000' - forget it.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Firesteels on 06/10/2008 19:21:35 MDT Print View

"I hang my head in shame with the group who just can't use the Firesteel. I had the darndest time trying to get a cotton ball to light."

I've had good success with the tinder provided by BPL. However, I learned to open and fray the tinder to create lots of single fibers across a larger area.

When initially learning I got a good flame the first time and was pretty proud, until I tried to replicate it. Nothing happened. Lots of spark. No flame. Cursing. No flame. New tinder, not charred, lots of fuzz - FLAME. Old tinder, lots of new fuzzing. FLAME.

Edited by greg23 on 06/10/2008 19:22:45 MDT.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Firesteels (challenged) on 06/10/2008 19:24:15 MDT Print View

Chris,
thanks for the encouragement. Maybe I'll give it another try, someday while I'm home with nothing else to do, perhaps during the NBA playoffs! If it works, then I will have set my couch on fire! Oops! :)

Christopher Holden
(back2basics) - F - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Firesteels on 06/10/2008 19:45:40 MDT Print View

Greg,
If cotton balls aren't handy, try dryer lint. Denim, cotton socks, etc.

John Gilbert
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Firesteels on 06/11/2008 18:07:18 MDT Print View

Has anyone tried the BSA hotspark ? It's rod is about 1/2 the length as the LMF scout, and it's diameter is about midway between the Scout and Mini, but it's handle is like the longer one that is on the mini. The BSA one is comparatively inexpensive, so I might order a few for some scouts to use - but only if they work well enough to use on natural tinder.

Also, has anyone had sucess getting magnesium shavings off the bar-style firestarters without a file ? Does the Doan's magnesium shave any easier than Coglan's ?

ps: Firesteels are pretty easy once you get the paint off, and learn to scrape at the correct angle. They throw even more sparks once they are worn down about 1/3 of the way and have developed a flat spot. My kids press hard and move the striker while holding the flint bar in place. Even my 7 year old can light a cotton ball with the narrow 1/8" bar on the side of the Coglan's magnesium block. Using a knife blade is easier than the striker and throws more sparks, but dulls the knife pretty quickly. Caution: Dryer lint only works if it's mostly cotton (Test each batch before taking it on campouts).

tkkn c
(tkknc) - MLife

Locale: Desert Rat in the Southwest
Re: Firesteels on 06/11/2008 19:31:00 MDT Print View

I have used the BSA hotspark. I am able to get natural tinder to light. I can also get wet wax paper to light. Soak some wax paper in water for 5 or ten minutes, then shake off the water, the hit it with the sparker until it flames up.

John Gilbert
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
BSA firesteel on 06/11/2008 19:43:18 MDT Print View

Ken,
How well does the BSA Hotspark throw in comparison to the Light-my-Fire Scout model firesteel ? ie: Throws 75% as many sparks, etc.

Thanks.