Sep 19, 2011 at 9:13 pm #1279544
Apart from size, are ferro rods all the same?Sep 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm #1781074
They can vary in composition also.Sep 19, 2011 at 9:43 pm #1781075
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?Sep 19, 2011 at 9:53 pm #1781080
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
"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.Sep 19, 2011 at 10:00 pm #1781081
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
"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.Sep 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm #1781082
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.Sep 20, 2011 at 5:26 am #1781137
@stingray4540Locale: South Bay
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.Sep 20, 2011 at 5:46 am #1781144
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. :)Sep 20, 2011 at 6:31 am #1781156
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 techniqueSep 20, 2011 at 11:49 am #1781232
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
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.
-TonySep 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm #1781240
drowning in spamMember
I also bought a couple from Firesteel.comSep 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm #1781242
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
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.Sep 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm #1781247
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.Sep 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm #1781263
you can effectively spark a ferro rod one handed- little practice helps though :)Sep 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm #1781264
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.
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