The Versatile Firesteel

Sure the firesteel will light your camp fire but what else can it do?

The firesteel  works on the same principle as a standard cigarette lighter, that is a hard metal striker is struck against a softer metal alloy rod made up of a complex mixture of elements that includes magnesium.  The striker shaves off small filings of the rod and imparts enough energy, if used fairly firmly, to cause the magnesium within the filings to ignite and quickly reach a temperature of aroung 3,000 degrees C. befre burning out.  So what we have to work with is a short intense high temperature spark.  It is this type of spark that was used in a Flint lock musket or pistol to ignite the primary charge.  Not alot of use nowadays, our weapons have become far more sophisticated!  The manner in which the fire starter produces the spark means that the flint and steel will work even if it is wet.  Now this leads me onto the summer barbeque, organise one and it will rain!  The firesteel then comes into its own.Army Model - the Best Firesteel?  I use barbeque lighter fluid to start the charcoal burning, and like to ignite this with my firesteel.  The problem that I found was that the liquid tended to put the sparks out rather than lighting the charcoal.  The answer to this was easy, just soak paper, wood shavings, cotton wool or some other kindling in the lighter fluid place it in amongst the charcoal and ignite that with your Swedish firesteel.  This gives satisfactory results even in the rain.  Click the link see the video.   Firesteel versatility

I tend to back up my barbeque with a camping gas stove to ensure that everything is cooked properly and that the kettle is boiling when I want it to rather than an hour or so after I need boiling water for tea, coffee or to do the washing up, any way because of the heat produced by the spark from the firesteel the gas, either propane or butane, is very easily ignited.

My trangia uses metholated spirit as its fuel and I have found that the vapour cn be quite tricky to light, the easy way to overcome this I have found is to twist a small piece of paper into a wick and stand this up in the open well of the trangia, igniting that and letting it burn for a while will set light to the metholated  spirit vapour coming from the outer ring of small holes in the burner.  Now the easy way to light the paper that is acting as a wick is with a firesteel.

For bush craft and survival the firesteel is an essential piece of kit, not only will  it ignite tinder to start your camp fire, it will also act as a distress flare.  Repeatedly striking a good quality Swedish Fire Starter produces a shower of  brightly burning sparks that will attract attention at night.

So there you have it, in more ways than one a fire steel and striker, Swedish Fire Starter, flint and steel or magnesium firesteel is a must have and versatile piece of equipment for anyone.

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