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Thread: Fire piston and how to use it

  1. #1
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    Default Fire piston and how to use it

    Here is a fire piston and how to use one pretty simple even though a lot of people don't know what they are


    https://youtu.be/fF_YRjHeE2c


  2. #2
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    They are different...and seem to work OK..
    .
    Bought one of these https://www.ebay.com/i/181904204859?chn=ps

    Was reasonably priced...and works...
    Kinda big and bulky...and haven't used one in bad weather....
    Good to know.

    Not at the top of my list of "Take with me fire starters
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Graf's Avatar
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    Iíve got a couple different versions, they do have a cool factor but Ferro Rod is more compact I do prefer to carry Ferro rods
    Semper Paratus

  4. #4
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    I bought a fire piston several years back. Never did manage to start a fire with it and sold it at a garage sale. Do not know what I was doing wrong, especially since I can start a fire in 30 seconds with flint and steel.
    Geezer Squad #2

  5. #5
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    I have one and can easily get an ember in char cloth. I carry fire steel, matches and multiple lighters and am proficient with bow drill etc. I wonder if anyone has worked out the optimal size for a wilderness carry fire piston and rod with length and diameter etc if I were to machine one?
    Bob

  6. #6

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    For me it's a skill I don't own yet; I can get a fire only 1 out of 5 times, and that's with char cloth. I have never gotten one with natural tinders, but I don't give up that easily. I plan to try again this summer and see if I can increase my success ratio.

  7. #7
    Senior Member aflineman's Avatar
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    Grandpa built and used one to light his cigarettes for awhile. I have one I picked up to mess with. Not really practical, but I like the science behind it.
    Have Lights? Thank a Lineman!
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  8. #8
    Member DCorlando's Avatar
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    I find the fire piston to be very interesting. It works the same way as a diesel engine. Takes a batch of air and compresses it very quickly making enough heat to ignite the fine diesel spray or tinder. Ran across a youtube video on making one from copper stubout, wood dowel, and small knob from one of the big home improvement stores for very little cost. I hope to try making one if I can find the stubout. Or maybe I could just use plain copper pipe and a cap (solder on). I love making things and this should be a real fun project.

  9. #9
    Member DCorlando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theJman View Post
    For me it's a skill I don't own yet; I can get a fire only 1 out of 5 times, and that's with char cloth. I have never gotten one with natural tinders, but I don't give up that easily. I plan to try again this summer and see if I can increase my success ratio.
    From what I have seen on youtube making sure you have a real good seal, some vaseline on the oring. It has to be hit hard and fast and you have to pull the piston out very quickly before the ember runs out of air.

  10. #10

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    Usually when a fire piston isnt working for someone, they neglected to lube up the 'O' ring prior to engaging the piston. It should work by the 2nd try ( if not the 1st). I have seen fire pistons that were very light weight and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

    Another common problem is putting in the wrong kind of tinder. Charred cloth works the best, but trying to use just a piece of your cotton shirt will most likely leave you frustrated and cold.

    I also concur with DCorlando, you have to remove the piston quickly so not to starve the ember of oxygen but at the same time careful enough so that the ember does not fall out into the floor.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    I have made a few fire pistons and used a few others. While they are kind of cool, they are not (I REPEAT NOT) something that is worth carrying in a kit, pack or gear. There are just so many other things that work better and more efficiently that carrying one is just a novelty......nothing more.
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    Primitive humans, who I assume were much more adept at making fire with the materials at hand than most folks today, found that the best way to have a fire is to keep a fire. Don't let the dang thing go out, or if traveling, carry coals and make a fire to get new coals when necessary along the way....

    Alan

  13. #13
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    Oh, but a fire piston (I have never used one or even held one in my hand) is hardly a primitive device.

    Alan

  14. #14
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Little known fact. Fred Flintstone had an inline 6 of fire pistons in his Fred mobile.

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