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flint and steel tips

Wave Man

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I have been playing around with a flint and steel kit now for a while, and have learnt a few things about this traditional fire lighting method that may help others.
(this is a tip from a good friend of mine, Thanks mate)
*I used to use the steel in my dominant hand(right hand for me as I am right handed), striking the steel with the flint(which is in my left hand) and producing spark like that. It was suggested that I swap the kit around, holding the steel in my left hand(off hand for me) and striking the steel with the flint in my right hand, in a downward motion. This allows you to direct the spark far more easily. I place a piece of char cloth down and spark straight onto the cloth.
*another thing I have learned, don't scrimp on the char cloth size, I have found a piece say 4cm square is about the minimum size that is useful. Any small, reduces the time you have to get it into the tinder bundle, but more importantly the smaller the piece the less "heat" you will achieve when you blow the ember into flame. I failed several times in the beginning of my experiments with flint and steel to produce flame because I was scrimping on the size of my char cloth, ending up wasting more char cloth then I originally tried to scrimp on...LoL
here is my flint and steel
2011-10-20_15-55-24_832.jpg

and the steel held in my RIGHT hand, I advocate using the steel in your off hand, opposite to this pic
2011-10-20_15-55-36_465.jpg

(no pic of me holding the steel in the left hand, not very good at taking pics one handed)
any one else have tips for this fantastic, and traditional fire lighting method?
 

Howling Dingo

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I love making fire like but can be hard on the knuckles sometimes.For sure a bigger bits if chat cloth makes a bigger target to catch the spark.I found using a sharp bit of flint makes heaps more sparks.If you need more flint let me know I got heaps in the shed mate.
 

Corin

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That is really cool waveman! After my recent failures to make anything useful knapping I am not so sure how I would go with this, nut if OZ brings along his fire kit next week, maybe he can show me what to do???

Thanks for sharing!
 

Wave Man

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I bought the whole kit off ebay, search flint and steel kits and you will find plenty.
here is my complete traditional fire kit, I placed the tin in a water proof container, added some strike anywhere matches and more char cloth, in a zip-loc bag, and then duct taped to the out side of the water proof container..
latestfirekitsbetaandtrditional14.jpg

latestfirekitsbetaandtrditional15.jpg

contents(T-B, L-R)
tin with char cloth, water proof container and spare char cloth, hemp rope(for tinder nests), strike-anywhere matches, 2 pieces of flint, steel
 
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Wave Man

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I found using a sharp bit of flint makes heaps more sparks.If you need more flint let me know I got heaps in the shed mate.
mate that is very generous, PM me as I would be interested in purchasing a few pieces off you.
 

Blake

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Its certainly much harder than using a ferro rod thats for sure. You need to made sure you are stiking a good edge of the flint. I find bits break of over time so you need to keep looking for an edge on the flint. Angle the flint so it takes shavings off the steel. Stike hard and fast. Its alot harder than it looks.

really good combustable tinder helps alot.
 

Hairyman

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I believe quartzite (in all of its manifestations) is a reasonable substitute for flint for striking a spark and much more common.
 

Aussie123

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Apparantly there is a place near Mt Gambier that flint is found naturally.

Yes - you are correct. If anyone is passing that part of the world, there is abundant flint.

I have achieved a few sparks from plain quartz, but quartzite should work too (I haven't tried). Quartzite is basically quartz sand re-compressed into a solid rock, so the hardness is the same a quart. The degree to which is has been metamorphosed will determine its brittleness, and hence its suitability to use.

At the moment, I don't have a proper steel to play with, but I'm hoping to get one fairly soon !
 

Wentworth

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I've used flint and quartz, but have never got a spark from chert, which is supposed to be great ...?
 

Templar

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Most glassy stone will work, however, with some you have to change the technique, that is bring the stone to the steel or the steel to the stone... always get the sharpest edge you can on the stone for the best sparks, in the old days they would use the knapping hammer from the gun kit to touch up the edge.
 

Aussie123

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Flint, quartz, quartzite, chert and even pertified wood are all basically Silicon Dioxide SiO2, so in theory they all have the same hardness ie 7 on Mohs Scale.

What will probably make the difference between two samples are the brittleness, which can be influenced by impurities and micro fractures. Also your ability to select a piece of rock with a good edge which can actually shave off a piece steel to create the spark.
 

Wave Man

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always get the sharpest edge you can on the stone for the best sparks,

Karl is quite right, the sharpest edge you can find on your flint is the best for producing spark. As far as pieces chipping off the flint, the technique I describe in the OP
seems to reduce this occurring, tho it is going to happen no matter what.

As far as I knew there is no naturally occurring flint in Australia, the only flint here came over with the first fleet as ballast used in their ships. I may be wrong but that's what I have been taught.
 

Hairyman

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Sounds like we this is begging for some experiments to be done on different rock types.
I think mower blades can be heat treated for the steel and ill try out the rocks I can get a hold of and report back.
I have white quartz, ortho quartzite,meta quartzite, jasper,metachert,silicified mud stone, agate, petrafied wood and silcrete.

Hairy
 

Aussie123

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As far as I knew there is no naturally occurring flint in Australia, the only flint here came over with the first fleet as ballast used in their ships. I may be wrong but that's what I have been taught.

There is flint in SA, in the Mt Gambia region.
 

Stewart Townsend

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I think mower blades can be heat treated for the steel .........Hairy

Don't know, regarding my previous post, don't know about the carbon content in mower blades, old WHILTSHIRE files with a W in a circle on the tang have something akin to 1095 so they would work. 2 out of 3 spring steel ones didn't work but that intimates that 1 did so maybe my heat treat wasn't quite right????
 

Howling Dingo

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mate that is very generous, PM me as I would be interested in purchasing a few pieces off you.

Sent me you address wave man I send you some bits.Interesting thread I too was under the impression that there was no natural flint in Australia.Seems that there is some but I never seem it for sure..!!
 

Templar

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Just remember too that SiO2 is known as both Flint and Chert, the difference being in colour only, flint is typically the darker variation, where as chert is more the reds and browns due to iron oxide content.
 
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