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he Fire Striker (percussion fire lighting, flint and steel)

Wave Man

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I don't know if people realize this but the humble striker or firesteel is an ancient piece of technology and from my research is at least 5000 years old (though going that far back it was iron pyrites and flint) The below is the beginning of my Blog on ABF but I thought I would I would also post it here.


A fire striker, also known as a strike-a-light, flint striker, striker, firesteel, or simply a steel is a piece of high carbon steel from which sparks are struck by the sharp edge of flint or similar rock (any stone 7+ hardness on the Moh's scale of hardness, with one exception)

These sparks are then caught on to tinder (usually in the form of charred cloth, charred punk wood or prepared tinder fungus) causing the tinder to ember up. The ember is then transferred into a tinder bundle (known as a “birds nest”, because of the way it looks, and sometimes real birds nests were used) and then blown into flame.

This ancient tool has been in use for at least 5000 years, as evidence by Otzi (Otzi the “Ice Man”) who was found to be carrying a fire kit consisting of iron pyrites, flint and tinder fungus.

From the iron age through to the invention of the friction match (which was in the early 1800's) flint and steel was a very common method of fire lighting, with many cultures developing their own styles of strikers and traditions around their uses. Different cultures also adapted to the various rocks need to drive sparks off as flint was often not always available locally.

Each era developed striker styles that are easily recognisable to that period, and while there was some overlap though many of the designs were unique to the period.

Percussion fire-starting was prevalent were ever viable stone was available and iron/steel craft had been mastered and some of the more well known periods are as follows, Roman, dark ages Europe and including the Vikings, Colonial (America), Victorian, Renaissance and medieval periods.

The another item that compliments the flint and steel is the tinderbox. Usually made of metal (brass, tin, and German silver being common), the tinderbox was sometimes used to house the flint, striker and some tinder. It is used to make tinder as well, or to make fire depending on which tinder is being utilised.

A specific tinderbox, the char tin is most likely a modern adaption of the tinderbox is used to make char cloth and charred punk wood (and other char materials) and consists of any small tin (usually an Altoids mint tin is used) with a hole punched in its lid (to let the gasses to escape)

Other tinderboxes (ones used at the home) were larger and made from wood. These were only from storage obviously.

In Tibet and Mongolia, their strikers were instead carried in a leather pouch called a chuckmuck.

The firebag, or firekit is also a common item, consisting of a 'possibles' bag, a leather bag, belt pouch or shoulder bag, usually oiled to make it water-resistant in which to house a tinderbox, flint and steel set, tinder, and some dry kindling.
It seemed that every country that developed iron and steel craft developed their own take on flint and steel fire craft. As an example in Japan, percussion firemaking was performed using agate or quartz. It was also used as a ritual to bring good luck or ward off evil.
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Kindliing

Les Hiddins
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Looks like a good blog .
Ever think of creating something like a Wordpress blog ?

when googling looking for info on something I sometimes come across them .
 

Le Loup

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The bird's nest was just one method used, the tinderbox was a method as was what I call the Joseph method. The so called char tin is a modern idea, not adapted from anywhere, it is simply an easy method to char tinder, because most people don't know how it was originally done using the tinderbox. I have written about this here before.
The tinderbox was used for making fire, even the wooden ones. The wooden tinderboxes have a damper lid for smothering out the smouldering embers on the tinder. Some homes used tinderlighters & kept them by the bedside for lighting a candle at night.
A possibles bag is a very large bag used by Plains Indian tribes to carry all their cooking equipment etc & it was tied to a travois & dragged behind a horse.
Preparing cloth, plant & fungi tinders directly in the fire.

Candle & Tinder Fire Lighting.

Tinderlighter fire lighting.

Flint & steel fire lighting using the tinderbox.

The Joseph method of flint & steel fire lighting.

Tinder in box REDUCED.jpg
Charred fungi & plant tinder in my tinderbox.
tinderbox candle holder REDUCED.jpg
Another type of home tinderbox with a candle holder on the lid.
Tinderlighter 5 REDUCED.jpg
A Tinderlighter with candle holder.
TINDER 7 REDUCED.jpg
wooden tinderbox showing the damper lid on the left for snuffing out the smouldering tinder. This was used when charring cloth directly in the fire, & it was used for making fire. Often spunks/sulphur matches would be used to create fire from the smouldering tinder.
SPUNKS 003.JPG
Sulphur tipped spunks that I made.
Spunks Royal Museum Greenwich.jpg
Some original spunks from the Royal Museum Greenwich.

Keith.
 

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Wave Man

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I hadn't thought about that mate but will look into it. I did try to make a free website and create a blog, to begin with, but I am not very tech-savvy and it wasn't very intuitive so I ended up going through ABF (the easy option)

I understand my subject has been done to death but I think I can bring something extra to it as well.
 

Le Loup

Rüdiger Nehberg
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Making spunks.

No Charred cloth (charcloth) flint & steel fire lighting.

Cheyann possibles bag.jpg
Large plains Indian possibles bag used for carrying cooking equipment & other belongings on a travois behind a horse.

fire bag 009 REDUCED.jpg
My belt pouch on the left, & my tinderbox & fire steel on top of my greased fire bag. The top of the fire bag is simply rolled down to keep it waterproof. I do not carry any kindling (dried grass or Stringybark bark) because I know where to find it even if it is raining. I do carry a small beeswax candle though in case I should have damp kindling. The lit candle is placed beneath the kindling to make fire.

I hope this helps clear up an misconceptions that anyone may have had regarding flint & steel fire lighting.
With respect & regards,
Keith.
 

Wave Man

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a few points, with respect, the tinder bundle would have been used exclusively, along with the likes of Amadou and Chaga and other tinder fungi for hundreds, if not thousands of years before the tinderbox was even conceived, I doubt the likes of the Romans or Vikings used a tinder box. They certainly had iron strikers, and flint (or other viable, sparkable rocks) but I have not found any evidence of them using tinderboxes. I would even extend that through to the middle ages right up to the early Colonial period. You could almost call the tinderbox a modern invention.

The char tin is a modern adaption of the tinder box (IMO). Modern bushcrafters took the tinderbox concept and adapted it to use as a vessel to char materials using modern materials to achieve the goal. I use the char tin to char all sorts of materials, not just cloth, it works for any charred material such as punk wood. The brass tinder box is exactly the same as my generic char tin in almost all regards, especially if you fill it full of punk wood. I would also say my char tin is also a bit better in one regard, I can use my char tin to char the punk wood to start with. Something you cannot do with a brass tinder box. I have also shown how I can use a char tin to light a tinder bundle in exactly the same way as one uses a tinder box with charred punk wood using flint and steel.
 

Le Loup

Rüdiger Nehberg
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a few points, with respect, the tinder bundle would have been used exclusively, along with the likes of Amadou and Chaga and other tinder fungi for hundreds, if not thousands of years before the tinderbox was even conceived, I doubt the likes of the Romans or Vikings used a tinder box. They certainly had iron strikers, and flint (or other viable, sparkable rocks) but I have not found any evidence of them using tinderboxes. I would even extend that through to the middle ages right up to the early Colonial period. You could almost call the tinderbox a modern invention.

The char tin is a modern adaption of the tinder box (IMO). Modern bushcrafters took the tinderbox concept and adapted it to use as a vessel to char materials using modern materials to achieve the goal. I use the char tin to char all sorts of materials, not just cloth, it works for any charred material such as punk wood. The brass tinder box is exactly the same as my generic char tin in almost all regards, especially if you fill it full of punk wood. I would also say my char tin is also a bit better in one regard, I can use my char tin to char the punk wood to start with. Something you cannot do with a brass tinder box. I have also shown how I can use a char tin to light a tinder bundle in exactly the same way as one uses a tinder box with charred punk wood using flint and steel.
At no time have I ever said that the kindling bundle was never used, in fact I do mention it's use in my reply post.
As I have said, you do not need a tin to char tinder, you can if you wish, but it is not necessary. So really the char tin is no better than a tinderbox, as good as perhaps but not better.
Best of luck.
Keith.
 

Wave Man

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the problem maybe is you are not seeing the entire post and when I to go more in-depth into char tins and how you do not have to use them to char material, though using them does yield a better result. I also reference your method of charging the material just in the fire.
 
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