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Thread: Fire Piston

  1. #1
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Default Fire Piston

    I have always dismissed the fire piston as a cool toy...more than a valuable tool.

    That said...had tried building one out of wood....using sinew and/or rubber "O" rings.

    Was never able to get one to work.....didn't have the compression to heat the air...
    This was a quality control problem on my part... LOL

    Most offering I have seen for sale were kinda of pricy around $50 bucks up...so wasn't ready to spend that amount to see if it would be worth the money.

    Found this on Amazon for $25 bucks...Soooo

    Bought one to play with......came with several spare 'O" rings and char cloth.

    Put a ring on...Lubed up with PJ...loaded the end up with char cloth (Good stuff)...gave it a hard push.

    First try slipped out of may hand...wasn't expecting that much resistance I guess....so kinda dropped it.
    Char cloth came out..... then dropped in trash can under wood bench....as an ember...LOL
    Worked!

    My streak of setting stuff on fire on my work bench...or my self...remains unbroken.

    Quickly pulled out that ember....made sure nothing was still burning.
    Then carefully tried another piece of char cloth......Got another ember right away.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Not gonna be a carry all the time tool...but was good to see one work.

    Too bad I wasn't smoking any longer....would have need a hoot to light up smokes....and amaze my friends....They don't smoke any more either.

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    Last edited by hunter63; 04-08-2017 at 08:23 PM.
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  2. #2
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Default

    I hope I get your name this Christmas. I'm getting you one of these....

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  3. #3
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Default

    Bhohahahaha....Not a bad idea.
    My streak is still going.....
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
    Evoking the 50 year old rule...
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  4. #4
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Chief, the address is not coming up on the GPS.

    That's OK son. We're headed to H63's place. Been there a bunch.....gotta check our frequent flyer miles.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member WalkingTree's Avatar
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    Default

    I feel like even though a fire piston takes some time and skill to build (if not buying), and some skill to use unless made perfectly...when observing that it's just not necessary and a bow drill or bic lighter is easier and quicker, the truth can potentially be the other way around: The fire piston is the primitive equivalent of a bic lighter. Once you have one made or bought, it really is just a flick and done, like with a bic. A person could time and again have a fire with a quick pop before someone else drills one out. Not much defense against the speed and convenience of a bic...except, is it really rendered very obsolete against the bic? Don't need it if you have a bic, but then, don't need the bic if you have the piston. Not really that much of a speed difference. And even though a bic's fluid last quite a while, a piston don't need it in the first place. Just such a tiny bit of char cloth, and it's a choice between char cloth which you can make easy or the fluid, I guess.
    The pessimist complains about the wind;
    The optimist expects it to change;
    The realist adjusts the sails.

    - William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Yes...what he said.
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
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  7. #7

    Default

    Nice write-up, Hunter! I too have always thought of fire pistons as kind of toys; great back in the day but kind of irrelevant today. After all if I was going to carry a gadget I'd rather have one that's a bit more potent/versatile like a fire steel. Still it's cool to see they work well. I can see picking one up myself.

  8. #8
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Truth be known.....I do not view fire starting as a religion....but rather a tool to stay warm, see in the dark, cook food, disinfect water....and make coffee.

    That said...I do find different methods interesting.....and like to try them out.

    Since the beginning of fire use......when lightning strikes and hot lava were popular....man (or a version of) has tried to improve methods to make it easier, faster, ...under as many conditions as possible.

    To that end thinking on primitive methods....I have always wondered what came first:
    sparks from rocks, sparks from rocks and metal... or... a version of friction fire... "rub two sticks together"...fire plow, hand drill, bow drill w/variations.
    And am now convinced that people carried aroun their favorite tools rather like we do today...what ever it is.

    Improvement have entered into the mix over the millennia...different materials for drills plows, spark catchers, tinder, fuel...up to today's matches, ferro rods, ...resulting in "lighters" as we know them...Zippos, BIC's, even the glow wire/butane lighters...still a basic rub tow sticks togethers arrangement.

    Along the way comes lens burning glass, chemical reaction, battery steel wool/tinfoil and in this case, heat developed by pressure (I'm sure there is a scientific law to explain this).......and of course my favorite when something Needs to burn...road flares.

    This was a method I had tried and failed at (my own fault)...but then the reason goes back to playing with interesting methods rather than "Have a Need"

    When I do fail on a first try......I can get over it...but always try to become successful...just because....
    So working backwards....a tool.. (or set of) that I know works....Not one that I built....makes it easier for me to try it out then pick up on the reasons why mine didn't work.

    Besides I was willing to send $25 bucks a whole lot easier that $50 buck plus.......
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
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  9. #9
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    I think the biggest draw back to the piston is cold hands. You may not have the dexterity to do everything with a piston and you should be able to get a BIC working even with cold fingers.

  10. #10
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Bic is still my go to......
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
    Evoking the 50 year old rule...
    First 50 years...worried about the small stuff...second 50 years....Not so much
    Member Wahoo Killer knives club....#27

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