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Thread: Which steels throw the best sparks when making a fire steel??

  1. #21
    2%er Erratus Animus's Avatar
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    I made fire steels for years. I did period work from the Romans and what is believed to be from the Vikings. Both of which were mere wrought iron . There forges add carbon into the iron is why it would throw sparks.
    5160 will throw sparks just fine and 80crv2 , which I am told is 5160 on roids, has thrown the best sparks I have found. You can hear the sparks sizzle and his as the hit the floor and bounce they are so large.
    The thing you may be missing is that you need to make sure your not overheating the steel and growing the grain and quench in a fast oil. From there make certain you grind away all the decarberized steel from the forging process. If you don't it won't spark.
    Here are a few I forged from some pattern welded steel I made. The first is a san-mai with 1080 in the center. Guests can not see images in the messages. Please register in the forum.

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  2. #22
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Nice strikers EA.
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  3. #23
    2%er Erratus Animus's Avatar
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    Thanks Crash. I wish I had never sold them as I don't have any pretty ones for myself lol. I was happy to see that the pattern welded ones threw good sparks as well. Not as good as 80crv2 but still good.
    Its the bits between birth and death that define a life well lived.

  4. #24
    2%er Erratus Animus's Avatar
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    Oh another trick to get good sparks is to round the striker face. This lets the flint grab fat pieces of steel off. Also using black English flint with generate more sparks. Its harder than most and is a reason its prized for use in flintlocks.
    Its the bits between birth and death that define a life well lived.

  5. #25
    Senior Member DSJohnson's Avatar
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    Erratus Animus,
    Those are really good looking strikers. So, do you still make strikers or are you out of that business nowadays? I sure agree about the black English flint being great for making sparks. I bought a couple of big "nodules" from Dixie 30 years ago and I wish I had been smarter about managing them. I gave a lot of pieces of flint away to kids and folks. Oh well.

  6. #26
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DSJohnson View Post
    Erratus Animus,
    Those are really good looking strikers. So, do you still make strikers or are you out of that business nowadays? I sure agree about the black English flint being great for making sparks. I bought a couple of big "nodules" from Dixie 30 years ago and I wish I had been smarter about managing them. I gave a lot of pieces of flint away to kids and folks. Oh well.
    Agree, very nice....work of art ..or work of Err....LOL....and if you are gonna make more.....put me down for one.
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  7. #27
    Senior Member Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TXyakr View Post
    "what is the best steel for fire steel?" For what conditions or application? The more time you spend camping in various wilderness areas all across North America and the rest of the world during all seasons and weather conditions the more you will learn that there is no gear that is perfect for everything you will encounter.

    So if you can make a great tinder bundle in dry conditions a typical China ferrocerium rod that is high in iron and throws a lot of sparks is probably ideal. However, if you are in extremely humid conditions where it has been raining for days and you don't have time to throw up a shelter, just fell threw thin slushy ice and are minutes from death and all your tinder is thick with no time to crush it finer (all cotton and jute balls with p.j. etc were washed down stream, i.e. SHTF and you may see Jesus, Allah or oblivion soon) perhaps you would prefer one with a higher magnesium content with slower burning sparks, even if fewer of them and rod does not last as long, wears out faster. Here is a good video where the guy talks about several rods from both ends of the spectrum from different vendors and manufacturers and then demos some strikes from each. So try both types in a driving rain or have a friend spray a garden hose on you and decide for yourself.


    Frustrating video - great ideas - lousy playback...I don't think its his fault _ I have the latest browser and thank you for this find.
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  8. #28
    2%er Erratus Animus's Avatar
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    I may make a few this winter for Christmas gifts but I no longer make them to sell. I sold my forge after having carpal tunnel surgery. I was told it was from the years of forging. I have a buddy 1hour away that has a power hammer and I can use his forge anytime. I would like to attempt some 80crv2 billets if I could get them to weld up. If not 1095 will weld its self up practically.
    Its the bits between birth and death that define a life well lived.

  9. #29
    2%er Erratus Animus's Avatar
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    I will add that I came up this the design you see through much trial and error only later to find a very old steel that was very similar. Its my favorite style of striker.
    Its the bits between birth and death that define a life well lived.

  10. #30

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    I ended up forging some 5160 and some W2. It's a fact the 5160 will sizzle as it leaves the steel, very effective sparks.
    It seems anything with Carbon will spark as long as it is properly hardened.
    2015-08-05.jpg
    5160
    2015-08-05 (1).jpg
    2015-08-05 (2).jpg
    W2
    2015-08-05 (3).jpg
    ----NSFH

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  11. #31
    Senior Member MrFixIt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoStrangeFireHere View Post
    I ended up forging some 5160 and some W2. It's a fact the 5160 will sizzle as it leaves the steel, very effective sparks.
    It seems anything with Carbon will spark as long as it is properly hardened.
    2015-08-05.jpg
    5160
    2015-08-05 (1).jpg
    2015-08-05 (2).jpg
    W2
    2015-08-05 (3).jpg
    Although I don't do the flint/striker fire start method, I must say I like the looks of these!
    When all else fails, read the directions, and beware the Chihuahuacabra!

  12. #32

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    While 5160 can throw sparks, it is a poor spark producer duw to the low carbon content. 5160 makes better knives. I prefer high carbon steel files - Nicholson, black diamond, heller, etc for forging into fire steels. I have also had good luck with a coil of garage door spring. It can be finicky if you pound on it too much as it wants to crack.
    Tha is something else you might notice if you forge a firesteel. You did everything right and it won't spark ..... It you look closely with a magnifying glass, you will notice a long hairline crack somewhere along the length of the firesteel. That ruins the steel for firemaking. Steels can be round or flat. I prefer to make them flat as that gives a good strinking edge for the flint.
    Ohio Rusty

  13. #33
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Firesteel? Don't you mean striker for a piece of flint?
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