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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 T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
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. 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 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

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,, 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

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

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

I liked the more than, 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 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.