Mar 10, 2009 at 5:59 pm #1234705
Blastmatch vs Sparkie
Mar 11, 2009 at 10:22 pm #1484852
I just received an email from the Director of Commercial Sales at Ultimate Survival.
They were very helpful in addressing both of my concerns with the Sparkie.
"I noticed on your video where you thought the spring was sticking on Sparkie. It is actually the smoke from the sparks which leaves a residue behind which makes the rail stick. All you need to do is wipe off the sides and the tip of the rail with your fingers and it will move freely again.
We are coming out with upgrade for Sparkie next month where the Spark bar will be able to rotate for more striking surface."
Sure does make me feel noticed and appreciated :)
m@Mar 20, 2009 at 7:49 pm #1487583Mar 20, 2009 at 8:57 pm #1487599
@pugslieLocale: SLO County
I bought the Sparkie and broke the retractor release mechanism the first day. I could retract the flint into the case but not release it without prying it out. A few days later I broke something whereas I couldn't the sriker to make contact with the flint/ferrocerium bar. I took it apart and got the ferrocerium bar. With the bar and jig-saw blade its very easy to get big longer lasting sparks.
The Sparkie was very easy to use thou even one handed…acurrate spark placement too.
b.ginMar 20, 2009 at 11:52 pm #1487623
I do have a regular flint-n-steel, got it at the Piek Market in Seattle about 20 years ago. Actually it's a magnesium bar set in a cedar handle. There's a strip of flint epoxied to the magnesium, and a 2" piece of sawblade attached to the handle by a thong. Works great. Shave some cedar off the handle for starter, shave some magnesium to mix in with the cedar, it'll burn hot no matter what.
But if you're goal is to go lightweight, you know the anwser- it's the sparlite for sure. Weighs a fraction of an ounceMar 21, 2009 at 9:41 am #1487668
You are absolutely correct. I watched your video and I have not found anything lighter either. This is ideal state for weight.
I have not used this striker. How does it perform if no tinder is available?
I've used a handful of flint & steel strikers. Traditional flint-steel combinations create a spark. However, it's my opinion that Ultimate Survival Technologies is doing something to their Carbide steel striker or their Ferrocerium bar compound to create larger than normal sparks. And the sparks seem to stay light for a little bit longer on the ground.
My best guess is :
– either they are blending the Ferrocerium bar with magnesium to create a longer burning spark
– or the carbide steel's positioning is an ideal angle throughout the entire striking motion allowing for the user to press down harder and get more dig into the Ferrocerium bar.
I have never seen the size of sparks I get from a Blastmatch or a Sparkie. I've tried researching this online – have not found anything yet.
Can anyone chime in and help explain how they get such large and long burning sparks?Mar 21, 2009 at 10:30 am #1487678
Robert BleanBPL Member
@bleanLocale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
My question is what they will ignite. They will clearly ignite fuel (e.g. alcohol), and specially prepared tinder that you must carry with you. But how easily will they ignite commonly available natural materials?
— MVMar 21, 2009 at 3:18 pm #1487743
I found it. 1/4 way into the video Ultimate Survival Technologies states "The spark bar is not a magnesium fire starter. It mixes several metals together to produce hot, intense sparks. The carbide striker is perfectly set to produce those sparks"Mar 21, 2009 at 6:01 pm #1487784
I only just found out about spark-lite recently, I haven't got one yet. I'm confident it will always ignite liquid fuel, esbit tabs, and dry tinder. This thread is the first I've heard of the UST sparkers, looks they definitely spark bigger and hotter. The question is whether that's neccessary.Mar 22, 2009 at 11:19 am #1487907
I would not rely on the SparkLite as an emergency firestarter on its own, but for starting stoves and lighting tenderquik it is fine. I use it to light my alcohol stove.
For emergency firestarting I prefer a misch metal firesteel.It throws molten little globs of steel and sparks that will ignite damp, crappy tinder easily. Using the Spark Lite and LMF firesteels is like taking an empty BIC lighter and sparking away at dry grass hoping it eventually catches, which sometimes it does. Sometimes.Mar 22, 2009 at 11:24 am #1487909
You can order blank firesteels from goinggear.com for cheap.Mar 22, 2009 at 9:58 pm #1488047
thanks for that Dustin, first I've heard of Goingear. Cool.Mar 23, 2009 at 7:20 pm #1488278
Thanks for the tip.
I went on last night and bought a handful of firesteels !!!
They're in the mail.Mar 24, 2009 at 7:32 am #1488354
Murphy's Law says a mechanical fire starter will fail when you need it most. In an "Emergency" situation. You have to get accustomed to starting fires with natural tinder materials found in nature. You need to have the means of producing a spark with you at all times. Carry it with you 24/7. You need to practice your skills on a regular basis until you perfect them. These big "sparkers" blastmatch and sparkie are for campfire conversations and teaching boyscouts how to make big fires with lots of sparks. Small ferrocerium rods start fires just as well as the big guys if you know how and practice. You want lightweight, seek out lightweight ferro rods and implement them into your gear. I have my firestarter with me 24/7 and know my natural tinders found in the environment that I spend most of my time in. Mine is on my keychain and they are also attached to zipper pulls on my gear and in stuff sack and in altoids tins etc. The sparks that come off the last 1/2 inch of your ferro rod is the hottest and most useful. There is a thread on my website that is devoted to surviving with fire. Tells how to make the little firestarter shown in the attached photos. Tells also how to use the bigger 1/4 X 3" rods to start paper towels on fire. The photos show a brass thing with a black tip. The black tip is the ferrocerium rod. That's all I need to gat a spark to start a life saving fire. Hypothermia kills.Mar 24, 2009 at 7:46 am #1488362
"natural tinder materials found in nature"
LOL well when you're right, you're right…there's no arguing with that. I'll just forward this on to the dept. of redundancy dept.Mar 24, 2009 at 2:05 pm #1488498
<"natural tinder materials found in nature"
LOL well when you're right, you're right…there's no arguing with that. I'll just forward this on to the dept. of redundancy dept.>
Thank You Taylor Ginther Thank You Taylor Ginther Thank You Taylor GintherMar 24, 2009 at 5:12 pm #1488554
You have my curiosity. Do you have a link to a movie or thread that shows how to get a spark out of that little ferro stub? :)Mar 24, 2009 at 7:32 pm #1488596
@pugslieLocale: SLO County
Matthew, when you get your firesteels can you do this simple test…how easy is it to get sparks using <1/2 inch of firesteel?
Thanks… b.ginMar 24, 2009 at 8:36 pm #1488610
Small is good. 1/4 inch of ferro rod is all you need. Don't listen to me though. I'm just a "Stovie" Listen to all the big guys out there selling blastmatches and the like. = ) Or better yet some of the other fire experts in this thread. They can get their tinder off the handle of their ferro rod holder and mix it with mag shavings.
[video src="http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v228/obijiwa/sub%20one/?action=view¤t=MILKWEEDSEEDPOD.flv" /]Mar 24, 2009 at 8:53 pm #1488615
@maynard76Locale: New England
Those small key chain rods are interesting.
The problem I see in a survival situation is the fact that in a real survival situation you should assume that fine motor skills are gone since you will likely have cold numb fingers and will probably not be thinking that clearly.
Thus I believe you should keep your survival gear as simple as possible.
Nothing can replace practice though, you dont want to "see if I can do this" when it counts, its much better to "do this again".
A cheap option is to buy the magnesium blocks at walmart and then put a screwdriver over the rod and lightly tap on it with a hammer, this will dislodge the rod from the block and you will have a nice small light fire starter.Mar 24, 2009 at 11:18 pm #1488629
Well Bailey, I think Dan's video pretty much answered both our questions.
In your video I see a small razor blade (very light weight) and a very small piece of fire starter (also extremely efficient on weight). Both of which are ideal state for an ultralighter, only exception being the motor skills comment above.
HOWEVER, I'm being forced to "look within", deep into myself after watching this video. I'm not quite sold. The primal, savage, mountain man in me isn't satisfied with the razor blade and stubby flint.
There's no logic to what I'm about to say, it's just the "MAN" in me that has a hard time giving up his big knife and big fire steel.
This is coming from the same guy that spent $55 buying a Dremel just to shave 16 grams off of his cooking pot. Some areas I'm willing to cut weight, and in other areas…in this area, I'm gunna stick to my guns.
This forum may burn me at the stake for saying this, but I'm not ready to surrender my over-sized, man knife and obscenely heavy 1/2" firesteel.
I've drawn a line.
who is with me?Mar 24, 2009 at 11:58 pm #1488631
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
IMO, way too small and needs good motor skills. If you are cold, going to be tough to get a fire started.
The Sparkie is a mechanical device subject to failure.
Hard to beat a 1.5 oz magnesium block with built-in rod. These are really effective, if you practice with them. They will dull a knife, but it is not an everyday item. I leave mine at home, except for long trips or bad weather trips.Mar 25, 2009 at 1:51 am #1488634
That 1/4" firesteel looks like a nice campfire conversation starter to me. But what do you use to start the campfire?Mar 25, 2009 at 7:15 am #1488658
In a survival situation your "survival instincts" will kick in. Adrenalin will be flowing to the max. If not you'll be dead shortly. Knowledge of your equiment and environment is what separates the men from the boys. I have a passionate interest in surviving so my skills are extreme and so is my interest in alcohol stoves. It requires a minimum of 1 teaspoon full of magnesium to be scraped of a magnesium bar that has been spoken of. For all of you that have those bars I challenge you to scrape off that amount with your Man Knives into a manageable pile and then light it with the 1/4" ferro rod. Come back to this thread and tell us of your enlightning experience. That excersise will separate the men from the boys. It'll make you think twice about fire and sparks and survival. Let's hope we'll never need the fire making skills that we speak of. It has been an eye opening experience for me to delve into the world of fire making. I've had alot of fun learning and hope that all you will practice your fire making skill. Practice lighting your double walled downdraft wood gasifiers with a ferro rod and hacksaw blade.Mar 25, 2009 at 9:42 am #1488692
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I applaud your survival skills and encouraging others to hone theirs.
As to magnesium bars, they require practice like any other tool. A tablespoon is a lot, much more than I would normally use, assuming some tinder is available. Wind is the issue with mag shavings.
As to an 'enlightening' experience, here is mine. In the '60s I did several weeks of military SERE training in the Rockies. During the evasion part, we had a week to get from point A to point B. We had to travel at night, because during the day the 'aggressors' were trying to capture us. There were fewer aggressors at night. Traveling on trails was a good way to get captured, so I traveled cross country and on ridgelines where possible. This meant we had to sleep during the days under duft, in trees, etc. We encountered the usual afternoon thunderstorms and some snow (it was summer). Those who traveled in groups got caught. Those of us who traveled solo, had a much lower capture rate. I avoided capture.
From what I remember, here was my gear.
– sleeping bag
– topo map without major landmarks
– mag bar
– one day of C rations (had some matches in it)
– NO pack
My C ration "water proof" matches got wet early on and were not water proof :)
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