Sep 10, 2010 at 6:15 pm #1263175
I thought that I'd share an effective way to use a firesteel. The usual method involves one hand holding the firesteel and the other holding the striker. Sparks are made by sliding the striker down the length of the steel. Typically these sparks are weak, too far from the tinder, or you hit the tinder and send everything flying!
Another was to do this is to hold the firesteel and striker normally, but use the thumb your hand holding the firesteel is to firmly press the striker at the tip of the steel. It's hard to describe, so I made a little youtube video. This methods produces a few large, hot sparks directly on your tinder, and rarely sends everything flying.Sep 10, 2010 at 6:21 pm #1644659
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
An even better method is to hold the striker on the firesteel at a fixed distance from the tinder. Then, instead of moving the striker, you retract the firesteel.
–B.G.–Sep 10, 2010 at 7:40 pm #1644678
drowning in spamMember
Bob, I like your suggestion. I can't wait to try it out. After things cool down and the rains wash fire season away of course.Sep 10, 2010 at 7:50 pm #1644682
Watch the video, and try both methods. The pulling back method does work, but it doesn't make the same large, hot sparks as the thumb method. It doesn't really send the spark forward either. It's all personal preference anyways – if you've got a method that works consistently, go for it.Sep 10, 2010 at 8:25 pm #1644689
John S.BPL Member
Nice video Kane. Thanks for sharing this technique.Sep 11, 2010 at 1:06 pm #1644790
Good technique if you're using a firesteel with an included scraper.
Wouldn't want to put your thumb on the edge of my knife though unless you had a grudge against your digits. :P
I use a similar method with the spine of my knife though. I hamfist the firesteel (I use a blank without a handle these days), leaving an inch or so at the bottom, holding my knife in the other hand, edge up, spine corner against the steel, and forcefully push the flat of the blade with the thumb of the hand holding the firesteel.
Same effect.Sep 11, 2010 at 3:00 pm #1644818
@cameronLocale: Idaho Falls
Kane, I like your idea. When you think about it thats basically what you do with a pocket knife when you're carving wood. Same idea basically.
Another idea. I noticed that the newer firesteels don't have teeth on the steel. My older one does. I tried holding it backwards and using the straight edge of the steel indstead of the toothed striker part. It seem to work a whole lot better.
If you take kids camping bring a couple of these and a LOT of cotton balls. They'll entertain themselves for a long time lighting the cotton balls. Just make sure they don't light anything else.Sep 14, 2010 at 9:49 am #1645481
@mountainwarriorLocale: Northern Cal
Great video and technique.
Thanks for the post!Sep 16, 2010 at 4:04 pm #1646267
Dan DurstonBPL Member
Nice techiqueNov 5, 2010 at 3:17 pm #1661534
Your 'normal technique' needs some work. If you applied a bit more pressure to the steel and drag the scraper a bit slower you'll get a big shower of sparks.
Your push cut technique works well though.Nov 5, 2010 at 5:55 pm #1661580
Wow!!! Love it, thumbs up and kudos!
Like Luke said above, it's just like a thumb push cut. Lots of accuracy and control of force/direction. I never thought you could apply that to fire steels like whittling, it's just pure genius!
On a side note, like erik mentioned, your 'normal' technique needs mod. I would suggest from personal experience that you:
1) place the magnesium rod on the ground surface directly next to at an angle so as to slightly hover on top of the tinder. This will cause your sparks to land directly on the tinder, greatly improving chances of a light. Also, it will help keep things still, and with a firm, steady grip, you won't be bumping your tinder around and showering sparks everywhere.
2) like mentioned above, use slow, higher pressure strikes rather than fast, stiff ones. This will produce more sparks showering for a longer time as you slide the striker down (with a firm deal of pressure being applied downward) on the magnesium rod.
-EvanNov 23, 2010 at 9:12 am #1667249
Thanks for explaining that better.
Just a note. I tried this with a mischmetal firesteel and it doesn't work as well. It takes a bit more effort to get some sparks to fly by increasing speed and pressure. However with the light my fire steel the OP technique works great.Nov 23, 2010 at 3:42 pm #1667388
Hikin’ JimBPL Member
@hikin_jimLocale: Orange County, CA, USA
Niiiice. I'm going to have to try that. Thanks for posting a video. Otherwise, I'd have had no earthly idea of what you were talking about. I guess I'm a visual person. :)
HJFeb 25, 2016 at 2:51 pm #3384595
Alina GBPL Member
@alinaLocale: Toronto, Ontario
I have clicked on your link but it says that the video is not available.
Thank you.Feb 25, 2016 at 4:53 pm #3384615
Ken T.BPL Member
Robert hasn’t posted in over 5 years. Lot’s has changed with YouTube in the years gone by too. Practice. I like to hold the scraper steady and pull back on the steel.Mar 3, 2016 at 10:19 pm #3386627
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