flintstones(!), firestarters, ferrocerium bars, whatever... dead?

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Lightbringer
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flintstones(!), firestarters, ferrocerium bars, whatever... dead?

Whatever they happen to be called, do they just die after a while?

I got a few of these

https://www.gearbest.com/fire-starter/pp_009810755111.html

a ways back, and as expected, you need to scrape them a few times to get them going (protective coating or somesuch), and then they spark beautifully.

But after a while, you scrape… and scrape… and scrape… and scrape, and end up with a small pile of splintery silver-colored shavings, but not a single spark.

The main bar seems to be plain Mg or other soft metal, but with the black coating “painted” on. After the coating’s scraped off, just the Mg (if that’s indeed what it is) is left, and it might very well be flammable with enough coaxing (like a blowtorch), but no sparks are forthcoming anymore.

Am I doing something wrong? What gives?

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Oli
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You must scrape it with carbon steel. Not a stainless steel knife.

Paul321
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You may have the less than optimum variety.
From my knowledge (only know from what I read in books) the Swedish firestarer is the one , all the rest are copies

Paul-

Lightbringer
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Oli wrote:
You must scrape it with carbon steel. Not a stainless steel knife.

I’ve been trying it with the come-with scraper that’s tethered to it. Worked fine all along.

In fact, I just tried it now with the scraper, and on virgin area on the bar. Scraped through the black coating, put quite a few metal shards in my slippers Facepalm , but not a single spark.

Good thing I don’t need to start a campfire out in the woods or anything…

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Lightbringer
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Paul321 wrote:
You may have the less than optimum variety. From my knowledge (only know from what I read in books) the Swedish firestarer is the one , all the rest are copies

That’s why I’m not sure if “real” ones are solid FC and these are just coated, or what.

Not sure if I’m supposed to get a 26650 of a firestarter, but instead got one with a 10180 inside and the rest filled with sand.

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Oli
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If it is like the one you linked to then it is a magnesium rod with one narrow strip of Flint on one side. Only the Flint makes sparks.

Lightbringer
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Oli wrote:
If it is like the one you linked to then it is a magnesium rod with one narrow strip of Flint on one side. Only the Flint makes sparks.

Bugger! That’s it!

I scraped off the coating from the end, and sure enough, there’s one strip (an inset smaller-diameter rod), and the rest is just Mg. With the “paint” on everything, that part was obscured.

With they’d include, well, a clue, at least. LOL

Hey, thanks! Now I can go starting fires… (Umm, wait, not the way that sounds.)

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Oli
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Bic mini Piezo. They can be hard to find.

RobertB
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Here’s a good place to buy high quality firesteel. https://firesteel.com/

The UST Strikeforce is a good one too

AlexGT
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If you have a flashlight you could “carefully” use the battery to light up fine steel wool with dryer machine lint to start a fire or you could also carry a 9v battery.

hank
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One useful fact I learned from camping in the rainy Pacific Northwest.

Even in the rain, if you dig down through a rotted conifer stump, you will probably find some chunks of wood saturated with resin down among the roots that will work quite effectively to get a fire started.

lumenzilla
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I was about to mention the method as suggested by AlexGT Big Smile

freeme
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I am really impressed with the speed. laughing

RobertB wrote:
Here's a good place to buy high quality firesteel. https://firesteel.com/ The "UST Strikeforce":https://www.amazon.com/UST-StrikeForce-Construction-Backpacking-Emergenc... is a good one too

©freemex1thedeals.com

gadabout
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I have a few of these. Further to what Oli posted, the idea is you’re supposed to scrape off some of the magnesium into a small pile of shavings and then ignite them with a spark from the striking surface (or “flint”).

Used that way they are ok, but good luck trying to do that in any kind of breeze.

I mostly use a Swedish “Light My Fire” now, similar to this
https://lightmyfire.com/products/cookn-fire-collection/swedish-firesteel...

kat
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these fire steels are all bs.

for 3 bucks you can get a lighter wheel, and with 10 flints and it will last you a lifetime of sparks.

but the fire steel bs will be useless once the coating wears off, like after a few rubs

Petr J.
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Some are fake. No magnesium, they are made of aluminum. Yours has a thin body encased in plastic.

I have this:
It works 100%. I use any knife, iron saw etc.

https://www.gearbest.com/fire-starter/pp_009857948704.html

PBWilson
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The Harbor Freight magnesium blocks with a strip of firesteel on the side are pretty much garbage. Avoid them.

Lightbringer
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lumenzilla wrote:
I was about to mention the method as suggested by AlexGT Big Smile

Or just get those Ukrainian guys to hammer on an 18650 ‘til it bursts into flames…

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raccoon city
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Flintstones, meet the Flintstones
They're the modern stone age family
From the town of Bedrock
There a page right out of history...

Helios azimuth
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Oli wrote:
You must scrape it with carbon steel. Not a stainless steel knife.

That is true for flint and steel, but not for ferro rods. Using eye protection you can even scrape with a sharp but strong piece of broken glass, and still get as many sparks.

There are two types of ferro rods. Some hard ferro rods are LMF (Light My Fire) and Strikeforce; some soft gob spark rods are nano striker and firesteel.com. People who rarely use them often like the soft ones since they throw gobs of sparks. People who use them a lot often like hard ones since they last much longer and work just as well with proper technique. There are exceptions, so each to his own.

And there are cheap ones that do not work well, if at all. Take a back up method and enjoy your explorations in the woods!