my box of rocks

Wave Man

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People who are flint and steel aficionados will appreciate this post, I practice flint and steel every night and a part of that is having good flint to work with.

This is my box of flint I have that is my 'working' flint, the tin I use every night that I grab a piece of flint from to practice with.

It is now full of nice, viable flint, with workable, sharp edges to drive sparks off. It is so good to have nice rock again.

this is a mix of Aussie, English, Latvian and American flint and chert.

 

Chigger

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I now know what it is like to have plenty of flint and even have some more coming. When it stops raining will have some practice with the steel.
 

Wave Man

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it is so good to have an excess of viable flint again, and it allows me to freely practice and hone my skill.

I have come to the conclusion you cannot have enough flint on hand, it is a finite resource and as most of us here in Australia cannot simply go out and find it easily I advocate having as much as you possibly can in reserve if you are serious about flint and steel and want to become proficient in the skill of of getting an ember with flint and steel.
 

Boogers

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That's pretty impressive. How long does one piece of flint last? I've got one coming but I'm worried about wacking it too hard against the steel.
 

Wave Man

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That's pretty impressive. How long does one piece of flint last? I've got one coming but I'm worried about wacking it too hard against the steel.
that's a bit of a hard question to answer mate as it really depends on your skill level. I found early on I used to bash up my flints really quickly and they didn't last very long at all (I could easily destroy a single piece in one sitting) but as my skill level grew so too did my understanding of how to make my edges last.

You are going to chip the edge, that's just the reality of flint and steel but you don't have to go really hard on to it to get the steel to spark if you have good stones with nice sharp edges.

Nice glancing strikes will produce a good shower of sparks.

I also found if you keep your strike angle quite acute (say like 90 degrees) you are less prone to chipping as well.

Also avoid bouncing the steel on the edge.
 

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I'll have to be careful then, I'm only getting one small piece of flint so I'll see if I can find some quartz around.
 

Wave Man

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this is one of the best tutorials on how to use a flint and steel I have ever seen, I learnt a lot from it and this is the video I used to develop my own technique.


as far as rocks go, yes if you can find them mate go for it, quartz crystal and quartzite work as long as you get sharp edges on them.

Two places to buy, viceroy on ebay (he doesn't have any flint at the moment, I bought him out, he sells single medium sized pieces of American flint, good quality, great seller)

rockyinstincts, only Aussie seller of bulk lots (as in 1-5kgs) of quality Aussie flint, if you want a large lot of Aussie flint this is the only way of getting it besides harvesting it yourself.
 

Wave Man

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here's my other box of rocks, this is my supply of flint a 32L storage box 3/4 full. I tend to wrap and bag all my flint

there is about 15kg's in there, this will do me for a good long time, maybe years of practice

 

Wave Man

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this lot is going into my box of rocks, 900g of English flint I bought 2 months ago before I got onto RockyInstincts, arrived today


and showing how it sparks
 

Boogers

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I ended up getting a cheap striker to mess around with and I've had a bit of luck getting sparks from random stones. I'm not getting the amount of sparks you do but that could be my technique; the more force I use the more sparks I get at the moment.

I don't know how to identify stones but the ones I have had the most luck with feel like sandpaper and are light brown. I managed to light my charred material but it took a lot of work, maybe processing the charred wood down further would make it easier, I'll have to experiment.

I was going to chuck that one with a rock sling I made, but the texture stood out when I held it so I kept it to test out when home, glad I did. I'll look for some more next time I'm out.

20200913_170203.jpg
 

Wave Man

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mate just keep practicing, you'll find yourself improving with every strike, don't rush or put undue pressure on yourself and have fun.

Flint and steel is supposed to be fun.

Sounds like you are not using glancing strikes at an acute striker/stone angle.

I also will admit I struggled to find my way with those "U" type strikers and they are definitely not among my favorite types of strikers, I found them hard to use, particularly at first. Now that I am experienced with flint and steel I can get good results with them but I really struggled with them early on.

I suggest finding an old file and making a file striker, really cheap and the tend to spark really well.

I also suggest spending $7 and getting a good piece of flint from viceroy (he has flint back in stock), or $12 for 2 pieces. It just makes life so much easier early on.

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Single-...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

Lastly, punk wood is great, and good to work towards but I suggest making a small batch of char cloth (use a small tin and make up say 20 pieces) to start with and practice with at first. Char cloth makes flint and steel easy. Get your confidence and technique developed first than start to branch out.

I found charred punk wood sometime doesn't take a spark all that easily, where as char cloth (when cooked right) is all but guaranteed to take a spark.
 

Boogers

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It's very relaxing, I'll have to get some flint to see the difference. I was surprised to get sparks at all, I'll take the striker with me next time and see if I can get more.
 

Wave Man

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I advocate taking your striker with you every where you go, just in case you come upon some rock that might be viable and you can spark test it.

Also as I have found have a look for petrified wood, sparks as good as flint from experience. Easier for us to find here in Australia as well. Also quartz, quartzite and chalcedony all work instead of flint.
 

Boogers

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Yeah I watched your video while at work, the chalcedony worked like crazy, the porcelain was a bit sad though :p

Just doing a quick Google, I think the stones that are working for me are sandstone, apparently they can be up to 7 on Mohs hardness and can contain quartz.
 

Aussie123

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Yeah I watched your video while at work, the chalcedony worked like crazy, the porcelain was a bit sad though :p

Just doing a quick Google, I think the stones that are working for me are sandstone, apparently they can be up to 7 on Mohs hardness and can contain quartz.
Yeah, your rock looks like a sandstone, but its hard to tell from photos.

Sandstone is made from sand, and most sand is quartz, so the individual grains are hard.
The next question is "how well stuck together are the grains?"
It the grains are not well stuck, the rock will be crumbly and will probably crush or break when you hit it with the striker.
If the grains are well stuck together, you should get a spark ... which you do.

If you get a spark, then its a winner !
 

Boogers

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Finding rocks is making this more addictive, I had a look with a magnifying glass & light and I can see chunky white crystals. Got another smooth one that sparks a bit better, found it next to a train track so I'll go back looking for more.

Should I crack em with a hammer to try and get sharper ends?

I still want to test sharpening stones, the Spyderco sharpening stones claim to be 9 on the hardness scale, sandpaper apparently is 9 too.

edit\
Just tried a couple of cheap diamond sharpening stones and didn't get anything. I'm guessing they are too fine, kind of happy the random rock I found works better though haha.
 
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Aussie123

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Finding rocks is making this more addictive, I had a look with a magnifying glass & light and I can see chunky white crystals. Got another smooth one that sparks a bit better, found it next to a train track so I'll go back looking for more.

Should I crack em with a hammer to try and get sharper ends?

I still want to test sharpening stones, the Spyderco sharpening stones claim to be 9 on the hardness scale, sandpaper apparently is 9 too.

edit\
Just tried a couple of cheap diamond sharpening stones and didn't get anything. I'm guessing they are too fine, kind of happy the random rock I found works better though haha.
Good experimenting there !

If you find a rock that works "as is" and is good, I probably wouldn't try and flake it in case you smash it to pieces.
If its ok-ish and you have nothing to lose, then why not, it will either be better, worse, or smashed to pieces....

Have a bit of a search for knapping and Percussion Flaking, that will give you a bit of an idea about how to go about getting a good edge,
but that's a whole other hobby ....
 

Wave Man

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this is not a bad one on keeping your flints edge sharp


if you are handy you can make up a bopper, if not buying one is the only option (ebay, around $70). As Aussie said knapping is a whole other passion unto itself and could take years of practice to get good at.

I haven't gone down that rabbit hole yet.

I am at the stage of percussion, smashing my flints with a hammer.
 
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