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Discussion Starter #1
Don't know if this is the place to post this or not but was wondering how many other people use flint and steel to start a fire while camping. I find myself reaching for the flint and steel more often than the matches and paper.

One thing I've noticed though, is I'm getting less and less sparks. Does a guy need to "sharpen" the flint to get more sparks or what do you do?
 

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Funny to see this post as I have just recieved a magnesium/sparker fire starter after watching some guy on the outdoor chanel.
In playing around I found the oxy-actlene stricker with its replaceable flints and round dish that holds the flintand rub-piece also hols near it a nice wad of dryer lint. Works every time
John
 

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F & S

Turtle Sharpening the flint always helps me get more sparks. I always take 2-3 sharp pieces when I break up a larger piece. Moving the steel over the flint is how I do it, maybe that makes a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. Clodbuster- what exactly do you mean when you say you move the steel over the flint? Are you actually hitting the flint to break smaller pcs off and get an edge sharp again or more like polishing it like sharpening a knife?
-Turtle-
 

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F & S

Turtle I hold the flint still in one hand with the char below it and swing the steel down over the sharp edge of the flint. other do it the other way around. Just knap the edge of the flint a little to regain a good shower of sparks. PS My steel is made from old files, cut to shape, heated, bent and quenched in oil. water makes em so brittle they break like icicles. Around here dry foxtail is everywhere and catches easily.
 

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Hey! I'm a flint&steel man too. By F&S I mean the real piece o' rock and piece o' steel, not the magnesium sparkers. Not that I have anything against the magnesium things.

I'm always interested in ways to make your own charcloth from materials found in the woods. Do you use Foxtail in place of charcloth? Or do you put the charcloth in it?

Yes the sharpness of the flint makes a HUGE difference in the amount, and quality of the sparks. If you sharpen the flint and it still doesn't throw a good shower, try retreating the steel. Some folks heat it to a cherry red, and quench it in oil. Others wrap it in crushed charcoal, leather, and foil and stick it in the fire, remove after it is red hot and quench in water/oil.

Depending on what the type of steel you have to begin with will probably dictate what type of treatment method works best. File steel has carbon throughout the entire piece and will get brittle if water quenched. Milder steel may need carbon added and a colder quench.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yep..I use the flint rock and steel. Now, I'm not sure what type of steel I have but it's the kind that you see a lot at the ronny's that are about a 1/4" wide and are kinda in the shape of a "C".
I bought it at a local BP shop that is kinda the staple around here for Muzzleloader gear and mountain man items.
So...don't really know what kind of steel it is but they are very common. I did buy some flint from there too and it is kind of a brownish/tan color. Then it was suggested to me to try some flint from back east, so I bought some that's kind of off white.
I use them both but seem to have better success getting the char to catch with the tan flint.
I will try to re-harden my steel and see if that helps. Kinda sounds like maybe I just need to knap the flint some more.

-Turtle-[/img]
 

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yeah I have a number of strikers for which I have no idea what type of steel went into them. So far, I haven't had to reharden any of my strikers. I have had to reharden a frizzen on a flintlock tho. I used kasenit for that.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I made a real Pilgrim mistake this weekend. Got the char going and put it in the bird nest and was trying to get a flame. In doing so I noticed out of the corner of my eye that I had left the lid of my char can and a spark had landed in my char can and was burning up my char.
I was trying to light this fire at night with no moon or flashlight and trying to hurry and get a fire going. I know better than to leave the lid off my char can but was trying to hurry and "git-r-dun" and in the process burned up about half of my char.
Leason learned here and though I'd pass it along.
-Turtle-
 
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