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Magnesium powder & tinder
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Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Magnesium powder & tinder on 03/18/2011 18:30:37 MDT Print View

I shaved magnesium powder from a big bar of a Coleman firestarter I got at Wally Mart.

I put about 1/2 teaspoon on half of a stretched out Vaselined cotton ball and that sucker REALLY took off when I sparked it with my Swedish fire tool.

It lit the cotton ball on the first strike. I'm carrying a small Ziploc "snack bag" ot that powder with my cotton balls from now on.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Magnesium powder & tinder on 03/18/2011 18:49:30 MDT Print View

Use to see super bright fires in the desert when people would ignite old magnesium vw engine cases. Careful it burns really hot.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Magnesium powder & tinder on 03/18/2011 19:31:35 MDT Print View

Most military aerial flares are made from magnesium powder, plus whatever else they need for other effects like color. If you use really finely powdered magnesium, it will flare up very quickly, which may or may not be what you want. If you shave magnesium off a firestarter block, you will get shavings that will probably go up a little slower. Most magnesium burns will spit out hot sparks that will destroy a UL shelter.

If you want super hot instead of super bright, then switch over to thermite, which is iron rust plus aluminum powder. That can be used to melt through a steel safe.

I would think that a normal firestarter needs to catch a spark and make a moderate amount of fire and heat, and that is all.

If you light up the whole Ziploc bag at once, they will see the light in Las Vegas.


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Upon further experience... on 03/23/2011 19:08:28 MDT Print View

... I find that the Vaselined cotton balls are sufficient W/O the magnesium powder.

In fact I've cut the cotton balls in half since that's all I really need to get a fire in my CC Sidewinder going quickly.