Monday, February 13, 2012

Making Fire With Flint and Steel Part 1 – The Basics

In this video I wanted to go over some of the basics of starting fire using the traditional flint and steel method. Ironically, this method predates the invention of steel, when during the stone age people used to use a rock of high iron content to create the desired sparks.

The steel striker you see here is not special in any way. The only requirement is that it has high carbon content. A carbon steel knife, or an old file work just as well.


Once an ember is created, it is very difficult to put out, and will give you some time to work with. If for some reason you need additional time to prepare your kindling, just add another piece of tinder to the ember. Here you can see the ember glow even when placed in the snow.


A complete flint and steel kit will have a carbon steel striker, and flint or other hard rock capable of removing shavings from the steel, and a container of tinder. Please do not confuse this method with starting a fire with a ferro rod. That is not the flint and steel method. While they both make sparks, the flint and steel method goes back thousands of years, while the ferro rod/fire steel is a modern invention.


I am sure the presentation could have been a lot better, but it so happened that the weekend I went out to film this, the snow was coming down hard and the temperature was very low. It was very hard to keep things dry. I was fortunately able to go out the following week and take the pictures you see above.

By the way, the kindling I am using in the video is just some grass I gathered. In several places there was some sticking above the snow. As you can tell from the video, it was quite wet. The tips of the grass are thinner, and can catch fire more easily. I placed the tips in the center of the bundle, and twisted the rest of the grasses around to create the kindling bundle.

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