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Using a firesteel
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Robert Larue
(RobertL) - F
Using a firesteel on 09/10/2010 19:15:09 MDT Print View

I thought that I'd share an effective way to use a firesteel. The usual method involves one hand holding the firesteel and the other holding the striker. Sparks are made by sliding the striker down the length of the steel. Typically these sparks are weak, too far from the tinder, or you hit the tinder and send everything flying!

Another was to do this is to hold the firesteel and striker normally, but use the thumb your hand holding the firesteel is to firmly press the striker at the tip of the steel. It's hard to describe, so I made a little youtube video. This methods produces a few large, hot sparks directly on your tinder, and rarely sends everything flying.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Using a firesteel on 09/10/2010 19:21:06 MDT Print View

An even better method is to hold the striker on the firesteel at a fixed distance from the tinder. Then, instead of moving the striker, you retract the firesteel.


drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: Using a firesteel on 09/10/2010 20:40:10 MDT Print View

Bob, I like your suggestion. I can't wait to try it out. After things cool down and the rains wash fire season away of course.

Robert Larue
(RobertL) - F
Try them both... on 09/10/2010 20:50:40 MDT Print View

Watch the video, and try both methods. The pulling back method does work, but it doesn't make the same large, hot sparks as the thumb method. It doesn't really send the spark forward either. It's all personal preference anyways - if you've got a method that works consistently, go for it.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Using a firesteel on 09/10/2010 21:25:13 MDT Print View

Nice video Kane. Thanks for sharing this technique.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Try them both... on 09/11/2010 14:06:50 MDT Print View

Good technique if you're using a firesteel with an included scraper.

Wouldn't want to put your thumb on the edge of my knife though unless you had a grudge against your digits. :P

I use a similar method with the spine of my knife though. I hamfist the firesteel (I use a blank without a handle these days), leaving an inch or so at the bottom, holding my knife in the other hand, edge up, spine corner against the steel, and forcefully push the flat of the blade with the thumb of the hand holding the firesteel.

Same effect.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Good Idea on 09/11/2010 16:00:39 MDT Print View

Kane, I like your idea. When you think about it thats basically what you do with a pocket knife when you're carving wood. Same idea basically.
Another idea. I noticed that the newer firesteels don't have teeth on the steel. My older one does. I tried holding it backwards and using the straight edge of the steel indstead of the toothed striker part. It seem to work a whole lot better.
If you take kids camping bring a couple of these and a LOT of cotton balls. They'll entertain themselves for a long time lighting the cotton balls. Just make sure they don't light anything else.

Edited by Cameron on 09/11/2010 16:08:01 MDT.

Mountain Warrior
(MountainWarrior) - F

Locale: Northern Cal
Re: Using a firesteel on 09/14/2010 10:49:19 MDT Print View

Great video and technique.

Thanks for the post!

Edited by MountainWarrior on 09/14/2010 10:50:37 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Nice on 09/16/2010 17:04:35 MDT Print View

Nice techique

erik sanchez
(chingon) - F
technique on 11/05/2010 16:17:01 MDT Print View

Your 'normal technique' needs some work. If you applied a bit more pressure to the steel and drag the scraper a bit slower you'll get a big shower of sparks.
Your push cut technique works well though.

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Using a firesteel" on 11/05/2010 18:55:12 MDT Print View

Wow!!! Love it, thumbs up and kudos!

Like Luke said above, it's just like a thumb push cut. Lots of accuracy and control of force/direction. I never thought you could apply that to fire steels like whittling, it's just pure genius!

On a side note, like erik mentioned, your 'normal' technique needs mod. I would suggest from personal experience that you:

1) place the magnesium rod on the ground surface directly next to at an angle so as to slightly hover on top of the tinder. This will cause your sparks to land directly on the tinder, greatly improving chances of a light. Also, it will help keep things still, and with a firm, steady grip, you won't be bumping your tinder around and showering sparks everywhere.

2) like mentioned above, use slow, higher pressure strikes rather than fast, stiff ones. This will produce more sparks showering for a longer time as you slide the striker down (with a firm deal of pressure being applied downward) on the magnesium rod.


Edited by edude on 11/05/2010 18:56:03 MDT.

erik sanchez
(chingon) - F
Re: "Using a firesteel" on 11/23/2010 10:12:26 MST Print View

Thanks for explaining that better.

Just a note. I tried this with a mischmetal firesteel and it doesn't work as well. It takes a bit more effort to get some sparks to fly by increasing speed and pressure. However with the light my fire steel the OP technique works great.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Using a firesteel on 11/23/2010 16:42:07 MST Print View

Niiiice. I'm going to have to try that. Thanks for posting a video. Otherwise, I'd have had no earthly idea of what you were talking about. I guess I'm a visual person. :)