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Thread: Flint and Steel?

  1. #1
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    Default Flint and Steel?

    Iím looking for a good quality flint and steel set. I tend to use ferro rods when camping and making fires. Ya I always have a lighter but making a fire without one is more satisfying to me. Anyway itís been a very long time since Iíve use flint and steel. I canít find the old one I had. Im looking at two different things on amazon.

    This one.
    ESEE Fire Steel for True Flint & Steel Fire Making https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IOC7HZC..._ItqQCbHFK5XZ6

    I would have to find some flint or other suitable rocks Iím not sure how hard thatís going to be around here. I like idea of having the bowdrill socket integrated in the steel. Iíve never used a bowdrill but itís on my things to learn list.

    Iím also looking at this one
    KonvoySG Flint and Steel Kit. Fire Striker, English Flint Stone & Char Cloth Traditional Hand Forged Fire Starter with a Leather Gift Pouch and Emergency Tinder Jute Bag (Coyote Brown) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0757NTNXL..._fEqQCbWB0AGFP

    I like this one because it comes with what appears to be a decent steel and flint Iíve already got char amd tins tinder ect. But I read a lot of nice reviews on this kit.

    Anyway any suggestions on either of these or suggestions on where to get quality flint and steel kits?

    Thanks


  2. #2
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    Peronally, I think they are way overpriced. For that price, you could have a nice fire steel and a good Mora knife to boot.

    Here's all you need to start fires for cheap.

    https://www.harborfreight.com/magnes...iABEgJV1PD_BwE

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    Too pricey for my taste. You should be able to find some natural flint where you live and an old file can be cut and used for your steel.
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    About 25 years ago I taught a high school Resource Science class. For those of you unfamiliar with public school classes... that is a class set up for students with learning disabilities. My group was pretty sharp, they just couldn't read so good and needed to learn things in an unconventional manner. We were talking about reaction rates of combustable materials. So, I figured what better way to do that than to build fires. We studied all the fire making methods and the test was to make a fire.

    The preferred method was flint and steel (none of us knew what a ferro rod was). The preferred flint was a flint rock (free from the parking lot) and for the steel, an old rusty file (free from the ground outside the Ag Mech shop). Those kids got to where they could build a fire in nothing flat with a rock and an old file. They used some natural tinder but their favorite was 0000 steel wool. That stuff burns like nobody's business. Stick a wad of it in a handful of dried grass, whack a spark or two into it, blow, and you've got about five seconds to get it under the tinder before your hand starts blistering.

    Folks have just gotten to dern soft with all these fancy ferro rods and high dollar flint dohickies!

    Alan

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    And NO we didn't burn the school down.

    Alan

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    Nothing better than the answer before the question. Thank you.

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    If I had been able to sell fire steels for that kind of money I would still have a forge working in the back yard!

    One class I taught I furnished with fire kits made from the materials already spoken about here. A two inch long chunk of a file broken off in the vise and one edge smoothed on the grinder, a chunk of flint from a creek bed, and a bit of char-cloth, all presented in a shoe polish or Altoids tin which could be used to make the needed char-cloth.

    Look through a couple of flea markets and fine some of the old Sterrit or Black Diamond files. They are good steel all the way through. I still have a bucket full of rusty ones that I picked up for $5 for the whole bucket a decade ago.
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    In reference to the file for the steel part do you have to remove the teath? Also are new files made with high carbon steel or does it need to be an old one? Iíve got some old file sets that are still useable and in great shape. Iíd rather just buy a new file and use it. Anyway thanks! I do have several ferro rods and a hand full of the magnesium starters. I just want to try the flint and steel again.

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    The most important thing about flint and steel fire making is making sure to not hit your fingers with the flint or the steel. New files, old files, whatever as long as the flint can get through the rust to the steel.

    Alan

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    With regards to removing the cutting surface of the file - it is no neccessary. You will want to use a smooth edge, but you will have that when you break the file. If you want a longer striking surface then I would remove the cutting surface from one edge of the file.
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    Just wanted to mention my best steel was made from a piece of 1/4 x 1/4 1095 key stock from McMaster Carr and water harden with no temper. I have not tried this as I have a nice charcoal forge but I think it may be possible to make a simple U shaped striker using nothing but a small propane hand torch, two pliers and a small tub of water. The small striker is quite light and is easy on the flint.

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    Thanks. I used my chop saw and cut a small section about maybe 2 inches from a new file. I rounded the very corners took off the ďteethĒ on the edges. I left the teeth on the flats figure better grip and a small file if I need one. I drilled a hole and tied some jute to it. I found some rocks that did throw small sparks. I really was not able to nap them so I just smacked them with a hammer which threw sparks. I tried the rocks with some char and was able to get it to light. I had to really smack it though. I tried different angles probably more my inexperience than the materials. Iím still going to keep my eyes open for flint. I know what I found is not flint defiantly not quarts. Anyway thanks for the advice!

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    Keep in mind that the amount of sparks thrown from natural stone and steel is a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of what you will get from ferrocerium rod and steel.

    One single spark into charcloth is all it takes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Twig View Post
    Thanks. I used my chop saw and cut a small section about maybe 2 inches from a new file. I rounded the very corners took off the ďteethĒ on the edges. I left the teeth on the flats figure better grip and a small file if I need one. I drilled a hole and tied some jute to it. I found some rocks that did throw small sparks. I really was not able to nap them so I just smacked them with a hammer which threw sparks. I tried the rocks with some char and was able to get it to light. I had to really smack it though. I tried different angles probably more my inexperience than the materials. Iím still going to keep my eyes open for flint. I know what I found is not flint defiantly not quarts. Anyway thanks for the advice!
    All of that work on the file might have drawn the temper from the steel. Especially if you managed to drill a hole in it. That is generally impossible without annealing the file or a specialized drill bit and even then it might have built up too much heat.

    As for the stone, "flint" is a generalized term we use and many stones will throw good sparks. My favorite spark stone is a broken arrowhead I found many years ago. It is some kind of chert and not real high quality, but it throws good sparks.
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    I kept everything cool by dipping it in water. When I filed it down I used my bare hand to make sure it never got hot. Took my time. The drilling was the easy part. I used Milwaukee drill bits intended for hardened steel along with some oil. Drill bit quickly ate through it. The drill bits for hardened steel are awesome. The main issue I’m having with the rocks is not that they are not sparking very well. I believe they are granite. The issue is the edge goes away very quickly! I’ve tried to break them so they produce a sharp edge. Not working. I did start my BBQ with it last night using charred cotton balls. I’m tempted to put a rock in my portable table vice and grind on it with an angle grinder to see what happens! Hahahahaha

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    Quote Originally Posted by Twig View Post
    I kept everything cool by dipping it in water. When I filed it down I used my bare hand to make sure it never got hot. Took my time. The drilling was the easy part. I used Milwaukee drill bits intended for hardened steel along with some oil. Drill bit quickly ate through it. The drill bits for hardened steel are awesome. The main issue Iím having with the rocks is not that they are not sparking very well. I believe they are granite. The issue is the edge goes away very quickly! Iíve tried to break them so they produce a sharp edge. Not working. I did start my BBQ with it last night using charred cotton balls. Iím tempted to put a rock in my portable table vice and grind on it with an angle grinder to see what happens! Hahahahaha
    Hi, looks like you have it backwards. It's the steel that sparks and burns not the rock. That's why the type of steel is so important. Simple high carbon steels like 1095 are best. The alloys tend to suppress the burning. When striking a sharp piece of flint with high carbon steel little bits are shaved off and burn. Regarding granite, it is a mix rock - look closely and you should see some off white shiny spots, that's quartz. Find a spot of quartz with a edge and it will spark if struck with high carbon steel. The rest of the granite not so much.

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    Twig, you are in a flint wasteland in SC. The only natural stone you are going to find will be some low grade chert. Arrow point hunters in your area are often astounded at where the Indians imported their stone from and find very few points made of local stone.

    You do have options.

    You can order musket flints from black powder supply stores on line. Musket flints are about an inch square and will give you thousands of fires if you do not abuse them. Track Of The Wolf is one supplier. You can also order flint shards from reenactment suppliers such as Smoke and Fire company or Jas Townsend. Look in their fire kits section. You may be surprised to find that you can buy a nice flint and steel kit complete with several shards, the steel, char cloth, tow, and a charcloth making tin for $20 or put your own together even cheaper.


    https://www.smoke-fire.com/product-c...essories/fire/

    You can also look on the internet at your state parks website. You will have archaeological sites scattered around the state and all of these sites hold events called "Knap-ins", where flint knappers come to display their skills and creations. They generally leave large piles of waste flakes lying about. These guys alse bring pickup truck loads of flint to the sites to sell or trade. The park websites will have these events listed.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 04-17-2019 at 02:35 PM.
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    We have lots of flint. Even so, I'm one of those people who picks up rocks everywhere I go. Pretty rocks, ugly rocks, any kind of rocks. When they clean out my stuff they are going to find boxes of rocks... They'll likely draw some parallels...

    The predominant concrete aggregate down here is river rock (gravel). It is largely flint, some sandstone but mostly flint. I've found some really good sharpening stones in gravel piles.


    Alan

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    When I lived down in Tennessee we only had one rock. It was one big single chunk of limestone that ran from Knoxville to just west of Nashville, 6" under the ground.

    No kidding, we used to have to buy dynamite to install a new mailbox!

    Over there the Indians had "flint mines" where they traveled to quarry stone for their tools. Other areas had the same situation.

    Where I am now the content is a lot of glacial moraine and you can find almost anything if you look long enough.

    I learned a long time ago that when searching for sparking flint or something to knap that the dominate stone in any area was going to be leverite. You take your striker down to the creek and start checking stones. If they spark you put them in your pocket.

    If they do not spark you "leave her right" where you found her.
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    We don't have rocks unless they are picked up at the landscaping store. Now, if sand sparked........
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