ferro rods
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Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
ferro rods on 09/19/2011 22:13:31 MDT Print View

Apart from size, are ferro rods all the same?

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: ferro rods on 09/19/2011 22:40:09 MDT Print View

They can vary in composition also.

Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: ferro rods on 09/19/2011 22:43:57 MDT Print View

OK. I had a suspicion. I received a Mg bar/rod as a gift. Compared to my Light my fire, it's really hard to create a spark.

Who else sells good rods?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: ferro rods on 09/19/2011 22:53:53 MDT Print View

"Misch metal" is interesting stuff-- it gives of flaming gobs vs sparks. I made a couple fire steels using misch metal blanks and the top barrel off a wood bodied ballpoint pen with JB Weld epoxy. That gives you something to grip and has a pocket clip and the wood looks cool. I like a good ol' Light My Fire mini for my emergency backup though. The pen barrel rigs have languished in my gear locker.

http://goinggear.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=4 has the misch metal blanks.

DIY firesteels

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: ferro rods on 09/19/2011 23:00:18 MDT Print View

"OK. I had a suspicion. I received a Mg bar/rod as a gift. Compared to my Light my fire, it's really hard to create a spark."

Try a different scraper, like a section of hacksaw blade. Go slower and more pressure. You may need to work through the coating too.

Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: ferro rods on 09/19/2011 23:01:02 MDT Print View

Very aesthetic! I took a chisel and hammer to the handle of my Light my fire to remove it (too bulky and useless weight for me) and wrapped/glued some string to the end of the rod to create a loop. This is then threaded on a lanyard. With the lanyard wrapped around 3-4 fingers, it creates a "handle" for a good grip on the rod blank.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
firesteels are different on 09/20/2011 06:26:34 MDT Print View

Yes, firesteels can be very different in the sparks they produce as well as how to get those sparks. Personally, I would second the recommendation for goinggear.com firesteels. They will produce giant globs of sparks that burn for a long time(compared to LMF)As far as strikers are concerned, I've found the best to be the squared off spine of a fixed blade knife. I always carry a fixed blade knife, even if it's a small one. Just put it in a vise(between some leather) and take a file to the spine until it is nice and flat and you have to nice sharp 90degree angles.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Ferro Steel far superior to scraping the mag blocks... on 09/20/2011 06:46:30 MDT Print View

I want to check out that mischo-metal or whatnot, after reading its description -- which underscores that there are different alloy/mixes in the market for ferro-steel striking rods. I like how they sell various sizes.

I've tried a few and like those used in the Light My Fire units, which seem easy to generate sparks with for me, and for the youth in my Scout troop. I have also seen a few that are much harder to generate good spark with, including one this summer that a boy couldn't even get to spark at all and I had to really wrench on it to force a spark. Blah.

Now, those "classic" blocks of magnesium with a striker embedded in one edge? Double-blech! First, they're hard as heck to carve shavings off of without hauling around a file, and they're a great way to ruin the blade of a knife after you figure out the back of it ain't gonna do. Second, the shavings are more work than they're worth unless you do use a file and then the striker is only so-so. Don't do it at Scout camp, but the best use might be as a "beacon fire" when you're out in the desert with the big kids... think of it like a little bitty piece of a VW block. :)

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
technique on 09/20/2011 07:31:04 MDT Print View

the technique for the "harder" ferro rods (ala LMF) is different than the "softer" misch metal ones (going gear, firesteel.com, etc), the misch metals ones need a faster, more aggressive stroke- takes more practice imo but the reward are larger, longer burning globules of sparks- the LMF style ones produce a spark more readily and you can use a slower, more controlled stroke

like anything, practice makes perfect

I use both and don't really have a preference, both are effective- just need to use a slightly different technique

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: ferro rods on 09/20/2011 12:49:45 MDT Print View

May not directly answer your question, but I have bought fire steels from this site and they come in a number of sizes and very reasonable, dare I say, cheap too.


I hot glued one of the shorter ones into a cork to make a very light weight handle.


drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: ferro rods on 09/20/2011 13:09:17 MDT Print View

I also bought a couple from Firesteel.com

Lyan Jordan

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
ferro rods on 09/20/2011 13:17:01 MDT Print View

I liked the firesteel.com more than goinggear.com, but both had larger globs than LMF products.

I have an easier time sparking the firesteel rods without a special sparker.

Steve Gaioni
(sgaioni) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
LMF vs Spark-Lite on 09/20/2011 13:23:55 MDT Print View

I gave up on ferro rods after injuring a hand in the backcountry and realizing that I was then officially SOL with a LMF. I've since gone to a Spark-Lite. Lighter, easier to operate (one-handed). Same, if not better result IMHO.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
one handed on 09/20/2011 14:13:53 MDT Print View

you can effectively spark a ferro rod one handed- little practice helps though :)

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: ferro rods on 09/20/2011 14:16:55 MDT Print View

Yeah the Gobspark rods from firesteel.com are great.

You need a really hard sharp piece of steel to get great strikes off them, or a piece of carbide (the best striker material ever), but they drop huge embers that burn forever.