Making Fire with Flint

tawood

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2021
Messages
19
Location
Michigan
Clearly you don't aspire to be on Season 9 of Alone then.
My girlfriend and I have been big fans of the Alone series. Over the summer, I bought us both ferro rods and strikers to try our hand at this type of fire starting. When they arrived we agreed to a contest to see who could start a fire the fastest....I guess we both lost (or it was a tie) because neither of us could do it, until we tried doing it together. What finally worked was putting numerous dandelion seeds in an old birds nest, shaving a large portion of the rod on top of the dandelion seeds, then striking together to create a big shower of sparks.

Guess neither one of us could be on that show, as it was way harder than either of us thought it would be.
 

Lando

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2018
Messages
142
Location
Arizona
My girlfriend and I have been big fans of the Alone series. Over the summer, I bought us both ferro rods and strikers to try our hand at this type of fire starting. When they arrived we agreed to a contest to see who could start a fire the fastest....I guess we both lost (or it was a tie) because neither of us could do it, until we tried doing it together. What finally worked was putting numerous dandelion seeds in an old birds nest, shaving a large portion of the rod on top of the dandelion seeds, then striking together to create a big shower of sparks.

Guess neither one of us could be on that show, as it was way harder than either of us thought it would be.

I have had the same problem. The only luck I've had with a ferro rod has been with dryer lint or vaseline soaked cotton balls, so I wouldn't cut it either.
 

bsnedeker

Senior Member
Joined
May 17, 2018
Messages
1,880
Location
MT
I have had the same problem. The only luck I've had with a ferro rod has been with dryer lint or vaseline soaked cotton balls, so I wouldn't cut it either.
Birch bark or pine resin...best things to catch a spark and start a fire with the least amount of work!
 

EdP

Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
81
Birch bark or pine resin will burn like crazy once it catches, but it will not "catch a spark." Certainly not a real spark from flint and steel.

I worked on my bow drill skills about 10 years ago and got to where I could have a live burning coal in about 45 sec of "bow drilling." That "coal" is roughly equivalent to a piece of char cloth that has caught a spark. It took doing it every day after work for a few months to become proficient. While practicing, your foot board, spindle, and to a lesser extent your top bearing, are partially consumed with each attempt and you have to keep making new ones. Without a prepared kit, finding the material and making the necessary tools in the woods would be a much longer process. For the next couple of years every time I went to a rendezvous event (8-12 per year), I would start my fire with the bow drill. It was a lot of fun, but it is a perishable skill. When I tried again a few years later I could make a lot of smoke but not a live coal. I'd hate to have to depend on it for a fire now.
 
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Cedarsavage

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2017
Messages
443
Location
Upper Michigan
What are the things to look for, quality and feature wise, when choosing a ferro rod? Thanks.
Sorry I missed this. Honestly, I don't know. Just bought it off amazon to try it. That's the only one I've ever used. As someone said earlier it'll last longer if you use the spine rather than the blade of the knife, but you get a bigger shower of sparks with the blade. I tried it with paper and couldn't get it to go, I had best luck with light shavings sawdust size, and curls (scrap from bowmaking) once that's lit the birch bark takes right off, then it's like any fire. I think if you get wood shaving and birch bark like I did in the video, you'd have it under control in an hour of trying.
 
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Cedarsavage

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2017
Messages
443
Location
Upper Michigan
Birch bark or pine resin will burn like crazy once it catches, but it will not "catch a spark." Certainly not a real spark from flint and steel.

I worked on my bow drill skills about 10 years ago and got to where I could have a live burning coal in about 45 sec of "bow drilling." That "coal" is roughly equivalent to a piece of char cloth that has caught a spark. It took doing it every day after work for a few months to become proficient. While practicing, your foot board, spindle, and to a lesser extent your top bearing, are partially consumed with each attempt and you have to keep making new ones. Without a prepared kit, finding the material and making the necessary tools in the woods would be a much longer process. For the next couple of years every time I went to a rendezvous event (8-12 per year), I would start my fire with the bow drill. It was a lot of fun, but it is a perishable skill. When I tried again a few years later I could make a lot of smoke but not a live coal. I'd hate to have to depend on it for a fire now.
Pretty cool that you got it with a bow drill. I'm gonna make some char cloth this weekend to try.
 
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Cedarsavage

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2017
Messages
443
Location
Upper Michigan
I have had the same problem. The only luck I've had with a ferro rod has been with dryer lint or vaseline soaked cotton balls, so I wouldn't cut it either.
I never tried those. I tried paper a bunch, and could never get it. I think you have to have really light stuff like the woodshavings or your dryer lint.
 

Where's Bruce?

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2013
Messages
5,601
I tried it but every time I called Flint he was busy and couldn't make the trip. Bummer, he's a serious fire starter. Now I call Bic...Bic is always there ready to go.
 
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