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The Reaper
02-28-2004, 23:28
How many ways can you make fire in the field?

What sort of firestarters do you carry and why?

TR

Psywar1-0
02-29-2004, 22:10
Interesting question. I will compare today vs my re-enacting hobby

Modern Day:

Thermite grenade
Claymore
Smoke Grenade
Tracers
Zippo
Bic in Survival kit
Matches in MRE's
Never tried, but I might be able to use BCG's to start a fire
Always have the knowledge to start a fire by friction

I can think of only one time I ever started a fire on purpose the whole time I was on AD, and that was during a Land Nav exercise in January; Failed to negoiate a beaver dam in the NTA trying to save time and ended up totally soaked and had to dry out my clothing prior to completing the course.

18th Century Kit, Brit Ranger circa 1779:
Musket lock
Fire starting kit #1 in Waistcoat pocket:
Brass waterproofed box with:
Flint and steel
Burning lens
Shreaded cedar bark
Charred Linen

Fire Starting kit #2 in Bullet pouch is smaller and hold all in kit#1 minus the burning lens.

I also carry a tin full of birchbark, lighter knots ect in my backpack.

KevinB
02-29-2004, 22:51
I am a big fan of my little Brunton Multifueler stove... :D

I have two BIC lighters - I stopped carrying my LCF Zippo "do the village" lighter in 1988 - unfortunately in this case practically had to outrule the Look Cool Factor.

- a waterproof match case
and in my little surivival kit a magnesium bar and tinder (I think that is tinder right? -->cotton fluff).

I noticed the AntiBacteria hand stuff works well too - a little line of it placed on something then light it with a lighter - poof instant fire (only problem it acts a little like Napalm as it sticks to anything once buring and can cause some issues to the unwary)

Team Sergeant
03-11-2004, 20:41
Originally posted by KevinB
I my little surivival kit a magnesium bar

I carried one of these for almost 15 years and used it once. It was a real pain in the ass and I still didn't get a fire started. I'll stick with the Bic mini lighter.

Team Sergeant

spdch
03-13-2004, 08:53
Starter knot and a bic lighter. That shit would probably burn in the pouring rain.

Ambush Master
03-13-2004, 18:09
An overlooked source, that you may not have heard of, Drier Lint from the screen in your clothes drier !! It will capture the slightest spark and give you a viable propagator for your larger medium.

BMT (RIP)
03-13-2004, 18:42
Way back when!!! The C-ration cases had a thin layer of tar under the first layer of cardboard. That and a pine knot you could burn anything.

BMT
Sr. FOG

KevinB
03-16-2004, 23:34
Team Sgt,

I put it in my kit in 1987... :D

Of course now that you mention it it is still there with stupid small nicks in it...

I can only imagine if I take it out - eveythign else will go to shit and I will regret pulling it.

Razor
03-24-2004, 20:58
That petroleum jelly-impregnated tinder from Coughlan's works well, as does the homemade version using cottonballs and Vasoline.

As for techniques, I generally like to build a small teepee-style lay with my kindling, with a small nest of tinder in the middle and one side partially open so I can spark another small bit of tinder, then transfer the embers into the tinder nest and add O2. Once the kindling gets going, I can either continue with the teepee lay (fast and hot burning fire), or build a log cabin lay around the burning kindling (slower burning, longer lasting fire; good for making charcoal beds).

aSk^Ghost
12-05-2004, 01:48
i tryed to make a fire by friction, but it didn`t really work. does anyone have any tips. i did it like i say it a year ago on tv . with a C shaped piece of wood and a rope ( ? ).

Jack Moroney (RIP)
12-05-2004, 06:23
I think I have used about all the expedients and have gotten the old bow and drill to work, fllint/steel with charred cloth to capture the spark, magnesium match works but takes about as much time as a bow and drill. Prefer a lighter or matches and always carry both. The key to most of the expediants is the availability of tinder that will catch the first spark. Up here in the great northern forest we have a variety of tinder. Cattails, yellow and white birch bark, a variety of critter nests, and lint from between the toes of all those birkenstock wearing peacenicks that seem to congregate in this state. Of course when we used to have LTs as XO on a team, a good way to get a blaze going was to have him run afoal of the Team Sergeant.

Jack Moroney

NousDefionsDoc
12-05-2004, 08:15
and lint from between the toes of all those birkenstock wearing peacenicks that seem to congregate in this state.

Eeeeew


Of course when we used to have LTs as XO on a team, a good way to get a blaze going was to have him run afoal of the Team Sergeant.


LOL :o

Razor
12-05-2004, 09:38
The dry, dead boughs from hemlock and fir trees work well up your way, too, COL M. We used to call it 'indian kerosene'.

The Reaper
12-05-2004, 09:47
The dry, dead boughs from hemlock and fir trees work well up your way, too, COL M. We used to call it 'indian kerosene'.

If you don't believe that, watch how fast a Christmas tree (like a Fraser Fir) goes up some time.

Outside, of course, people, away from the house and other flammables! :D

TR

ZoneOne
12-14-2004, 12:10
i tryed to make a fire by friction, but it didn`t really work. does anyone have any tips. i did it like i say it a year ago on tv . with a C shaped piece of wood and a rope ( ? ).

I've had the chance to take some survival classes with Tom Brown Jr's Tracker School.

Learned a lot about friction fire.

Easiest method - is a bow drill

If you're out w/ boots - you will have the cordage ready. If not - you will have to make it

But here is a website showing some good pics and information about the Bow Drill.

For all interested - click here

http://www.primitiveways.com/pt-bowfire.html


:lifter

aSk^Ghost
12-18-2004, 17:11
thank you =)

magician
12-20-2004, 01:30
heat tabs.

I would always carry a few of them, and then root around for dry tinder.

The best fire was always pyramidal, built into a small pit, with a channel for air flow. Then you either built or situated it so you had a fire wall to reflect heat back onto you. An amazing amount of heat could be reaped from a relatively small fire.

My favorite fire of all time was this one time (not in Band Camp), I was doing Troy Trek. It was, in fact, the first night, just after the land nav course. The enlisted guys were done, and just we officers were out solo, on our long range legs.

I was so smoked....after I made my final leg of the land nav course, I sat in the sun until I got my coordinates for my first Troy Trek point, then took off. I went a few klicks....sat down in a remote little clearing in the sun, just to take a break, and drink some water...and promptly z'd out, drooling on my shirt. When I snapped out of it, the sun was already deep in the west, and I needed to put some terrain behind me.

So I kicked it.

I made it to my dog leg, by water, and decided that I would hole up there until next light. I was really smoked, and I did not want to stumble around in the dark, fall into a hole and break an ankle. A man has got to know his limitations. I was old by then, around 30 years old, not a cherry anymore, and I knew when it was time to rest, if possible. It was. So I did.

I found a nice fold in the ground, good and deep, and tucked myself into a thick little area. I dropped my gear, crept down to water, and filled up. Then I went back, dug my fire pit, cleared a buffer area around it, got my fire going, built a firewall, and sat down to some franks and beans. I z'd out again, hard. When I woke up, a couple of hours later, it was very, very light...and I was hot.

It had been wet out....it had been raining...and even though I had cleared a nice buffer area around my pit, and around my fire wall, a spark had flown from the embers and hit the firewall, which had gotten nicely dried by the fire's heat. The fire wall went up, and when I woke up, flames were rising about six feet into the air.

Whoo!

The only thing that saved me from burning down half the damned forest was the fact that I had cleared a good buffer area around my pit and the wall. I was able to kick the wall down into the pit, and stomp it down a bit, where it burned itself down. It scared the shit out of me, though. I was glad that I was deep in the woods, in low ground, well away from the roads. It would have been very embarrassing if someone had driven by and seen the light of my fire silhouetted against the trees.

I covered the embers up, and then slept on the dirt. It was nice and warm.

When I woke up, I felt like a new man. I think that I hit...what? Three points that next day. Yeah. Three points. Lots of miles.

I pulled up again the next night, and repeated the process. Slept like a baby, had some good chow. At my last point that night, I asked one of the cadre if I should just go for it and hump it on in. He told me, "T, you got like 48 hours....and just one more point to go, plus a little further to the extraction." Of course, he really did not tell me this. And I would deny it to the death if anyone ever claimed that anything of the kind happened. Maybe I hallucinated the whole thing. Yeah. That's the ticket. Never happened.

So I holed up, slept good, and the next day, got up at a leisurely pace, humped to my last point, checked in, went through the song and dance about going to the next point (under the illusion that there would be an infinite number beyond it, see), and went a little ways until the trucks were in sight, and I was told to get aboard. And that was it.

I was the second to the last guy in. The last guy was a Filipino who got lost. The cadre had to go out and find him. My classmates...were thrashed, totally thrashed. They had all beaten me in by several hours...the last one had come in early that morning, after humping non-stop for two solid days. They had humped like their hair was on fire, and their feet were torn up....they were limping around, many could not wear their boots. They looked like zombies.

I was fine. I was even clean. I had washed up in a stream. I could have continued at that pace for days, maybe weeks.

It taught me a lesson.

It took my classmates days to recover.

Anyway, that is my favorite memory about a fire.

:)

Rumblyguts
08-31-2006, 08:46
Hello,

I'm not sure about the policy of resurecting old threads, but in the spirit of exchanging ideas and learning new techniques (as in the Survive! thread), here are a couple fire starting methods that weren't in this thread. I don't know if you folks know these as I'm just a civi and haven't gone to your schools. Right then, to the methods:

Steel wool/9-volt battery: Bridge the battery terminals with extra fine steel wool (the kind used to sand between coats of paint, forgot the number). The juice will overload the wool and cause it to burn without flame (like char cloth but faster). Transfer the wool to your tinder bundle and light as you would any other ember. This is an almost foolproof way of getting an ignition source. edit: Rust will degrade the performance of this method. Also, I wonder if this method works with twist ties or any of the silly looking military batteris.

Pop can and Hershy's: Using the foil wrapper, pollish the bottom of the pop can with using the chocolate as a fine abrassive until you can get a crisp reflection. With enough elbow grease you can make a parabolic reflector. Hold something easily ignitable (I used char cloth as its black, but the brown wrapper works fairly well) with your Leathermans or a couple of sticks about 4-6 inches from the bottom of the can. The light should focus to a point like using a magnifying glass. This one is a pain in the butt to do, but it works. Just don't eat the chocolate after using as pollish. The Al is toxic.

Pine Pitch: Hopefully you folks already know this one, but many of the civi's that I have contact with don't. As mentioned earlier in the thread, conifirs are very flamable. That's mainly due to the sap, which is the basis for turpentine. Find or make a wound in a conifir, and coat/wrap the pitch around your mach. Be careful to leave the match head bare. The pitch will produce a larger flame and increase the burn time of the match. I use this method all he time. It seems that jellied alcohol (hand sanitizer, mentioned in this thread) might work the same way.

Back to the original post, I carry a mini Bic lighter (pocket or pack) and matches (matchsafe around neck) in the field for practicle purposes, and a flint/steel set for fun.

How many ways can I start a fire in the field? Well you guys have all of the fun stuff! No pyro, tracers, etc. Including the two methods above, at least 5 methods. I've read about making a lense out of ice and using it like a magnifying glass, but it looks very time consuming, not to mention getting wet in freezing tempuratures. That's the next method I'll try.

As always, feel free to tell me if I've stepped out of line.

Cheers,
Bill D.

7624U
08-31-2006, 14:36
Parachute Silk from the rigger shed burns well for tinder
and its a real hot blob of nylon you can poke and move around with a stick.

Feild lighter is Helios Butane from Brunton.

Few MRE matchs in waterproof container

x SF med
08-31-2006, 14:54
...and its a real hot blob of nylon you can poke and move around with a stick.

And once you get it stuck to the stick, it makes a really cool 'zipping" noise as it drips off in flames.:cool: Kinda like noisy napalm.

Seriously- I carry strike alls dipped in wax, in the butt of one of my field knives, and a ziplock with the same wax dipped matches. Parachute cord is a must for making a fire drill, and if you carry the brass polish that's wadding with petroleum, almost any spark will catch it on fire - it also comes in a nicely sealed/resealable tin. In most piney areas, lighter knot is available, or even just fallen pine branches have enough turpentine in them to be a great tinder source. My zippo is ususally with me, and/or a butane 'crack' lighter (great for searing the ends of freshly cut lines, or heating shrink wrap sleeves).

The Reaper
08-31-2006, 15:25
Hello,

I'm not sure about the policy of resurecting old threads, but in the spirit of exchanging ideas and learning new techniques (as in the Survive! thread), here are a couple fire starting methods that weren't in this thread. I don't know if you folks know these as I'm just a civi and haven't gone to your schools. Right then, to the methods:

Steel wool/9-volt battery: Bridge the battery terminals with extra fine steel wool (the kind used to sand between coats of paint, forgot the number). The juice will overload the wool and cause it to burn without flame (like char cloth but faster). Transfer the wool to your tinder bundle and light as you would any other ember. This is an almost foolproof way of getting an ignition source. edit: Rust will degrade the performance of this method. Also, I wonder if this method works with twist ties or any of the silly looking military batteris.

Pop can and Hershy's: Using the foil wrapper, pollish the bottom of the pop can with using the chocolate as a fine abrassive until you can get a crisp reflection. With enough elbow grease you can make a parabolic reflector. Hold something easily ignitable (I used char cloth as its black, but the brown wrapper works fairly well) with your Leathermans or a couple of sticks about 4-6 inches from the bottom of the can. The light should focus to a point like using a magnifying glass. This one is a pain in the butt to do, but it works. Just don't eat the chocolate after using as pollish. The Al is toxic.

Pine Pitch: Hopefully you folks already know this one, but many of the civi's that I have contact with don't. As mentioned earlier in the thread, conifirs are very flamable. That's mainly due to the sap, which is the basis for turpentine. Find or make a wound in a conifir, and coat/wrap the pitch around your mach. Be careful to leave the match head bare. The pitch will produce a larger flame and increase the burn time of the match. I use this method all he time. It seems that jellied alcohol (hand sanitizer, mentioned in this thread) might work the same way.

Back to the original post, I carry a mini Bic lighter (pocket or pack) and matches (matchsafe around neck) in the field for practicle purposes, and a flint/steel set for fun.

How many ways can I start a fire in the field? Well you guys have all of the fun stuff! No pyro, tracers, etc. Including the two methods above, at least 5 methods. I've read about making a lense out of ice and using it like a magnifying glass, but it looks very time consuming, not to mention getting wet in freezing tempuratures. That's the next method I'll try.

As always, feel free to tell me if I've stepped out of line.

Cheers,
Bill D.

Yeah, I have seen Myth Busters too, and if you can start a fire with a lid from a can, I think they want to meet you.

They wasted a lot of time on it, and it never did work.

The ice lens will, with special water and molds. Not happening under natural conditions though.

I will stick with Bics and matches, and if need be, flint and steel.

TR

Pete
08-31-2006, 15:26
My girls still remember the time we went out in the back yard and collected up random stuff and started a bunch of little fires with flint and steel, a magnesium stick with striker and Swiss Army knife, magnifying glass, matches and a lighter.


The wife came home and noticed all the burn marks around the yard and knew we had been up to something. Another one of those roll eyes, shakes head moments.

Pete

Rumblyguts
08-31-2006, 18:16
Yeah, I have seen Myth Busters too, and if you can start a fire with a lid from a can, I think they want to meet you.

They wasted a lot of time on it, and it never did work.

The ice lens will, with special water and molds. Not happening under natural conditions though.

I will stick with Bics and matches, and if need be, flint and steel.

TR
Yes, sir, the basics are the best, and most practicle for a military setting. The methods I mentioned are more for hobby, but are still applicable to a survival setting. As for the Mythbusters reference, actually, I've never watched the series. http://wildwoodsurvival.com/survival/fire/index.html is the site where I got my informaton on the subjects. As for fire from the can, well, respectifully, I'm not sure how or if I could convince you.

Thank you for your time,
Bill D.

Heading for cover

kgoerz
08-31-2006, 20:42
Atomic/Strategic/Tactical Nuclear Bomb......ooops sorry wrong thread

Huey14
09-01-2006, 02:21
Bic/Zippo and rubber strips.

Tuukka
09-01-2006, 02:29
A few matches..

Fiercely Loyal
07-19-2007, 04:51
Bic lighter. I usually find myself burning 550 cord.

RTK
07-19-2007, 06:29
I was raised in Pacific Northwest, the land of the wet. I've pulled off lint from a wool sock that works well as a starter when all is wet. I'm with those preferring the bic. I've had a magnesium starter and its a pain in the ass. I've gotten the bow drill to work only once. I usually get too frustrated with it. Vaseline impregnated cotton balls work awesome. I tried the steel wool and 9 volt when I was a youth and almost burned down a tree in my backyard. I'm going to have to try the hand sanitizer method, since I've usually got a small bottle in my ruck. I've never tried it, but I imagine you could do the same with an alcohol prep pad.

The Reaper
07-19-2007, 08:44
I have misplaced my flint and just reordered a new Swedish Fire Steel.

They seem to work pretty well, but for the cost, I could have bought several dozen BICs.

Doug Ritter favors a one handed solution, which gives preference to automated solutions like the Spark Lite (which I have, is tiny, and works well) and the Blast Match.

Other reviews of the Blast Match found it somewhat fragile and prone to breakage. It is also expensive and bulky.

I think the ubiquitous BIC (several stashed about my person and gear) will remain the simplest, cheapest, most effective solution.

TR

JPH
07-19-2007, 15:53
One I used to start some small fires as improvised road flairs was, after building some crude tepees down the road, I got some steal wool, gas, and jumper cables, from the cars involved or that had stopped to help…. just put a hunk in the jaws of the positive and negative, hook the other end up to battery, small amount of gas on wool, rub together, poof fire, light first small tepee fire then light the rest of the sequence of small fires down the side of the road so you don’t get you’re A!@ ran over.

JPH

The Reaper
07-19-2007, 23:12
One I used to start some small fires as improvised road flairs was, after building some crude tepees down the road, I got some steal wool, gas, and jumper cables, from the cars involved or that had stopped to help…. just put a hunk in the jaws of the positive and negative, hook the other end up to battery, small amount of gas on wool, rub together, poof fire, light first small tepee fire then light the rest of the sequence of small fires down the side of the road so you don’t get you’re A!@ ran over.

JPH

Actually, you can blow yourself up in a nice fireball doing just as you stated.

I would just leave the emergency flashers on the vehicles flashing.

You aren't a Charlie are you?

TR

RTK
07-22-2007, 17:20
The hand sanitizer works awesome. Kinda like a Sterno stove.

I just bought a case of Bic lighters....

The Reaper
07-22-2007, 17:36
The hand sanitizer works awesome. Kinda like a Sterno stove.

I just bought a case of Bic lighters....

Same mechanism. Alcohol.

The lighters are great, except every time I travel, TSA gets one or two of the half dozen I carry.

TR

Sdiver
07-22-2007, 17:49
The lighters are great, except every time I travel, TSA gets one or two of the half dozen I carry.

TR

LOL :D

Well it looks like TSA will be lifting the "lighter" ban on AC, starting 4Aug.

http://www.cfnews13.com/News/Local/2007/7/22/tsa_allows_lighters.html

Blitzzz (RIP)
03-24-2008, 10:39
If you have batteries you can short with small pieces of wire and some fine kindling. Oh yeah, Also two files of glycerin type fast fire mixes. Also the SAS carry little fat candles and matches. light the candle and then use it to make a fire. Blitz

Go Devil
04-01-2008, 06:17
Lip balm with sun protection and a Bic lighter.

These two items fit easily into any pocket.

Lip balm can be used on other body parts as well.

Work the lip balm into any fabric, lint, cattail fluff, dry grass, sycamore seed...

Light and use as a fire starter. Signifigantly extends the life of the little Bic lighter.

Pete S
04-07-2008, 02:40
I'm still in the process of refining my method. I like things that can be used for more then one purpose (to save space) and easily fit into a survival kit i.e. an alcohol swab and hand sanitizer used with a lighter. I don't like matches because I have had bad experiences up here in the wet weather with them, and a lighter will give you more uses.
If I can find a dry form of natural tinder I will always use that first, so i don't drain the resources from my survival kit. I have used feathered pine, and madrona/ birch bark with success.

f50lrrp
04-07-2008, 09:51
Small, strike anywhere matches waterproofed with nail polish in a 35mm film canister.

Mike

Team Sergeant
04-07-2008, 10:00
I'm still in the process of refining my method. I like things that can be used for more then one purpose (to save space) and easily fit into a survival kit i.e. an alcohol swab and hand sanitizer used with a lighter. I don't like matches because I have had bad experiences up here in the wet weather with them, and a lighter will give you more uses.If I can find a dry form of natural tinder I will always use that first, so i don't drain the resources from my survival kit. I have used feathered pine, and madrona/ birch bark with success.

With the invention of the Bic lighter I would never again carry matches. Somewhere on here I told of carrying a Bic lighter for decades just for the purpose of fire lighting, never had it break or malfunction.

If I went into extreme cold weather, I'd carry two-three of them (mini's).

Team Sergeant

SF_BHT
04-07-2008, 10:27
I still carry BIC's....But.... I have had problems with them in the mountains, I mean High in the Mountains. AT 12,000 + the BIC's have a problem at times, especially when they are low. I still carry coated stick matches just in case. Nail polish is the way to go with them. If your not at high altitude BIC Is all you will need.

trailrunner
05-02-2008, 14:20
Anyone ever use or heard of a fire piston?

EX-Gold Falcon
05-02-2008, 15:11
I have found potato or corn chips work quite nicely as a source of post tinder. They are dripping in nice burnable oil. Nowadays I always 2-3 single serving bags (water proof container) into my ruck whenever I head out camping.

A magnifing glass will even start them up...


Travis

JumpinJoe1010
05-03-2008, 07:35
I tried this the other day after searching about this topic. Take a round from your firearm. Remove the bullet from the casing, and light the gunpowder. The gunpowder works great at getting the fire started.

The Reaper
05-03-2008, 08:59
I tried this the other day after searching about this topic. Take a round from your firearm. Remove the bullet from the casing. Pour the gunpowder on the ground, then reinsert the empty casing with primer. Point the muzzle of your gun at the gunpowder on the ground and fire the weapon. It sets it ablaze.

The times I have tried this, the blast merely scattered the powder, and the flame propogation from a primer is not long enough to make it down the barrel and ignite the powder.

What calibers have you done this with, and what firearms?

TR

Pete
05-03-2008, 10:19
I tried this the other day after searching about this topic. Take a round from your firearm. Remove the bullet from the casing. Pour the gunpowder on the ground, then reinsert the empty casing with primer. Point the muzzle of your gun at the gunpowder on the ground and fire the weapon. It sets it ablaze.

I think Survivorman tried this in one of his colder location episodes. Either that or Myth Busters. Anyway, whoever, went through a number of rounds.

Better to just dump the powder under your tinder and use your sparking device of choice to touch it off.

IIRC the Strike Anywhere Matches were done away with in the early 80s and the SAMs of today a a lot safer - IE they don't Strike Anywhere anymore.

Ah, the joys of having a burning chunk of sulfer under your thumbnail.

Jack Moroney (RIP)
05-03-2008, 11:31
I have seen 175mm "long toms" melt barbed wire, but then they are a little difficult to pack in a ruck and the lowering line on the weapons case is a little excessive:D You know, I think I was going to waste round I would rather waste it on someone I needed to kill and then just take their bic.

Jeff Randall
06-05-2008, 11:06
My apologies if someone has already posted this before, but a trick I teach when building fire with a Ferrocerium rod (artificial flint) and a striker is to hold the striker (sharp rock, knife edge, etc) static over your tinder and rip the ferro rod backwards (towards you) along the striker. Doing it this way keeps you from hitting your tinder bundle with the striking tool and scattering it everywhere.

As for true flint and steel, here's part of an article I wrote a long time ago that explains it pretty well. I've also got an article somewhere on my hard drive that detailsfriction fire with the hand drill and bow drill pretty good - my two favorite primitive methods of building fire:

__________________________________________

There’s a major difference between artificial flint (Ferrocerium/Metal Match) and true flint (a generic term used for hard rocks with an ability to fracture into sharp edges - such as chert, quartz, obsidian, etc.). Not only is the composition of the two flints different but what occurs to produce a spark is also different. With artificial flint, the spark is created within the ferrocerium when struck by a harder substance (steel, rock, glass, etc.). In true flint, the spark is created by the steel that is striking the flint.

True flint and steel (not Ferrocerium) requires that a certain hardness be maintained within the striking steel for the hand strike process to work. If the steel is too soft, a couple of things happen 1) it grabs the flint instead of smoothly striking 2) the carbon levels of the steel are too low at the striking surface for a spark to be generated by a hand strike. In order for sparks to occur from a soft steel with true flint, either a larger shaving has to be removed with a greater force, or the material has to be exposed to higher friction rates such as grinding wheels or constant friction such as cars dragging tail pipes down the road. This is typically not an option for those needing fire for survival purposes.

Now let’s look at the physics behind the primitive striking steel. Nearly all striking steels are case hardened carbon steel. When a steel has been hardened properly the carbon levels at the surface, or case, are much higher than the carbon levels of un-heat treated steel. Thus, a simple hand strike against a sharp edge of a hard stone shaves a micro-grained amount of steel and turns it into a molten piece of metal - a spark.

The fire making process requires several components to produce a flame: steel that will produce a spark when struck against flint, material to catch the spark, and dry tinder that can be blown into a flame from the coal. Charred cotton cloth, charred punk wood (soft spongy material from dead vegetation and trees), and 0000 steel wool make the best spark catchers while cedar bark, crushed pine straw, dry grasses, bird nests, and many other similar materials make good tinder bundles.

Char is made by burning cotton or other vegetable material while robbing it of oxygen. A good process for this is to “bake” the material in an enclosed container over fire. The container should have a small hole punched in the lid. As the material heats up smoke will escape from this hole. Once the smoke stops, the material should be charred and ready for use. This type of charring, although the best way, is not the only way. Small pieces of cotton and punk wood can also be charred by catching them on fire and snuffing out the flame.

A brief explanation of the fire building process is to hold the flint rock in one hand with a sharp edge extending outward. Angle the edge up about 30 degrees and hold the charred material or steel wool on top of this edge with your thumb. Using the other hand strike straight down with your steel in a smooth even stroke scraping the sharp exposed edge of the flint as you travel downward. When done properly this will throw a spark upwards into the charred material. Once the spark catches, gentle blowing will expand the size of the coal which is then placed inside the tinder bundle and blown gently to produce a flame. Experimentation with the striking procedure will teach you the best angle and methods to produce the best sparks. A critical factor in doing this is to keep the edge of your flint reasonably sharp and experiment with the striking angle. As the flint wears dull, break it to expose more sharp edges.

When learning this method of fire starting it’s best to break it down into three separate steps. 1) Practice smoothly striking the flint with your steel until you produce sufficient sparks on every strike 2) Practice catching sparks in char or steel wool and blowing those sparks into larger coals. During this step you should also experiment with charring methods and different materials to see what works best. Always take into account humidity and the difficulties it can pose. 3) Practice blowing a coal to a flame within a tinder bundle. Again, try different tinders and various refinements of the tinder. You can also use a lit cigarette as your coal for this practice.

As a final note on techniques, when starting fire with true flint and steel the sparks produced are of considerably lower temperature than those produced by artificial flint (Ferrocerium). Due to this, charred material or fine steel wool is the only thing that will catch and hold the spark. The only exception to this is a true tinder fungus found on Birch trees in the Northern United States. Proper material preparation (such as charring) is important for this to be a successful method. With that said, most survival instructors refuse to teach this method since it requires char and good steel. I feel it is a sound survival technique since it gives the survivalist a method of making fire on a continual basis after an initial fire has been made. For example if you were lost and attempting self rescue by moving, you may find yourself needing to build more than one fire on your trek out. Carrying fire or using friction every time may not be an option. Simply charring punk wood or pieces of your clothing from the first fire will give you an easy method of starting additional fires when needed.

Throughout my adventures in the wilderness survival world, I’ve taught true flint and steel to numerous students. For the newcomer it’s almost a magical way of starting fire and it leaves a solid knowledge base from which the student will explore, experiment, and learn on their own, thus leading to confidence and increased survival potential should a situation ever occur. Even if you never use the process, it is wise to invest in a small C-Steel or other piece of striking steel for inclusion in your mini survival kit. It might just save the day.

Chris Cram
06-13-2008, 12:16
-Potasium permanganate and glycerin-
Potasium permanganate is an anticeptic powder and glycerin is used to treat ear infections. You should cary these items in your first aid kit. When these two substances are combined they burst into flame. If portability is an issue, its a good idea to carry items with multiple uses.

from ( http://www.freewebs.com/barksoup/survival.htm )

The key word above is 'burst'...

Have a good 'Fathers Day' Dads...

triQshot
06-21-2008, 06:54
I always cheated when it came to making a fire.

1. Zippo
2. Zippo (Lighter Fluid)
3. Cotton/Leaves/Pinestraw/brother's homework

Almost burned the house down starting a fire with a plastic cup and a bic lighter in my parents bed room. They were not happy campers. :D

long trail
06-25-2008, 23:24
I can get a fire going w/ a bow and drill. Its definately not my first choice for fire starting but its a skill and no one can take that from you..

I generally use matches but i often use a mag block. They are a PITA but its takes time to get use to shaving the magnisium off, using tghe striker and having proper materials at the ready for your fire. if im in a hurry Ill use the striker to light up a triox tab..

MAB32
08-09-2008, 11:15
I just found out today that my fire starter tabs from, I believe Gerber; you know the ones that claim they will light on top of water, well anyways, they would not ignite? None of the 9 I had would not ignite even under a propane blow torch. They are about 6-7 years old and were in my survival kit. Bottom line is, to check your gear before you pack it to make sure it works first. HMMMmmm, sounds like somebody I know here on this forum! :o

The Reaper
08-09-2008, 12:08
I just found out today that my fire starter tabs from, I believe Gerber; you know the ones that claim they will light on top of water, well anyways, they would not ignite? None of the 9 I had would not ignite even under a propane blow torch. They are about 6-7 years old and were in my survival kit. Bottom line is, to check your gear before you pack it to make sure it works first. HMMMmmm, sounds like somebody I know here on this forum! :o

Has anyone checked the expiration dates on their survival gear lately?

I have seen some people put that sort of stuff on their calendar to remind them to check it.

Many products are good well beyond their expiration dates, especially if stored in a cool, dark, dry place, but you have to test them. The worst place to store items with a limited shelf life is in a car. Next worst would be an attic, then the garage. Yes, I understand that is where many people store items they do not often use. A basement is usually great.

If you check the MRE threads, you will see that every ten degrees storage temp above 50 or so cuts the shelf life almost in half.

Great advice, MAB.

TR

D9
08-10-2008, 12:33
In spite of the previously posted frustrations I also like the magnesium blocks. I spent a little time practicing with mine and now I've got it down and it's reliable, but it is not an easy to use product right out of the package. The thing I like most is its durability (wet/dry), small size, and light weight. Also, I think it only ran me $5.

I've also got an emergency flint starter that works very well, and is relatively small and light. A little pricier at about $20.

Of course, I keep several Bics spread throughout my kit as the first option. But if the possibility of long-term survival situations is considered, I think the longevity of the flint tool or mag block are serious benefits.

MAB32
08-10-2008, 14:04
D9,

If you or any other QP's want one, they still have a NSN and I am sure can still be ordered through the proper channels.

D9
08-10-2008, 15:30
If you don't mind post the NSN. Thanks.

MAB32
08-10-2008, 16:45
D9,

It is written on the magnesium on mine. Here it is: 4240-01-160-5618. Let me know if it does or does not go through. I will check my Airforce Survival books for what they say is the NSN in their kits.

Juliet Delta
08-10-2008, 17:35
Fire building has always been an interest of mine. I had the pleasure to spend some time with a true survival expert a couple years ago, and learned a lot from it.

Regarding the bow drill....it's all about selecting the proper wood to use. The most challenging part for me, at the time, was identifying which trees to select for material.

With a kit made, it took little more than 30 seconds to get an ember under ideal weather conditions. I've tried making a kit in the rain, and just after...and not had good success. Ceder and Willow are two of the better woods I know of, for use in the fireboard and spindle. This is certainly a skill that requires practice, as the fine points can really make or break your shot at a fire. After a few times doing it, you start to get a feel for it.

This site goes over the terminology, concept, and technique in about as best detail as I've found in written form. http://wildwoodsurvival.com/survival/fire/bowdrill/pmoc/basicbowdrill.html

The person I learned under operates out of central Virginia.
http://primitivetechnology.com/
I can't recommend him highly enough. Flint knapping, bow building, fire making, snare and trap construction, debris shelters...etc. I would go back to him before I looked up Tom Brown. He did mention that Tom had him beat when it came to tracking though, hands down.

Personally, I carry 2 bics, a flint rod (fake flint), and look for tinder and kindling. I have had Bic's fail me, if their striker was allowed to get wet. What I do now with them, is duct tape a loop of 550 cord to the bottom of the lighter, then hang the lighter around my neck once I get into camp, upside down (protects flint from droplets).

Dryer lint is wonderful tinder, as is "Fire ribbon" or "rat dung" (the toothpaste container of fire-putty). All you need to do is hit it with a spark...it'll even float on water and burn. I've been able to use this stuff to ignite stubborn damp kindling. Birch bark is great if you can find it, as is the inner ceder bark (fibrous material).

Another trick I've seen is to whittle away on some fir/ ceder and create a large handful of shavings. It'll take more than a spark to ignite, but can act as a good bridge between your match and some medium sized kindling.

Small candles are under-rated, also. It's pretty easy to light a candle with a match, and pretty easy to light a large fire with a candle.

All the best,
JD

AF Doc
11-02-2008, 18:03
Nice thread.

I am a big believer in redundancy, so I carry fire 3 ways: Bic (zip tie to prevent fuel button from being accidentally pressed), matches in safe (w/ mini compass and a cotton ball for tinder/noise reduction), and fire steel.

The fire steel is a PITA to use sometimes. As others have said, the tinder is the key. It must be fine enough to 'catch' a spark. As Col Moroney (RIP) pointed out, cattails work well if fluffed up; in the same way the seed pods from thistles are oily and can work well. I have scraped the dry interior of bark to form a kind of lint that can catch a spark. I have also scraped my pants with the edge of a knife to form 'dryer lint' -- this requires that you have some dry clothing though. And are desperate enough to abuse your clothes.

I do practice with the fire steel because it can be tricky to get it to work. As one poster mentioned, I find it is best to keep the striker still with the tinder on a flat surface and pull the fire steel to avoid smacking the tinder you so painstakingly assembled. I have also found it works to cup the tinder and steel in your hand and pull the striker toward the tinder. You now are holding a small fire in your hand, so you better have prepared some more tinder and kindling to light with the little flame created thereby.

I've never had a Bic fail -- at least not since zip tying them closed -- and a few Bics are probably all you need. (In cold weather keep one in an interior pocket to keep it warm.) But I still think it's a good idea to feel confident using other techniques.

My 2 cents. (Sorry for the poor picture quality, I think I need a new camera)

MAB32
12-09-2008, 12:56
Found these while surfing the web. They also appear to be very cheap.


www.usaknifemaker.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=69&zenid=7d7b408466c937c53025ab1b5b67eab5

Soft Target
12-09-2008, 16:03
During Robin Sage, an allied officer (SEAL) was burning a lighter knot to ward off the Uwharrie cold. We heard helicopters approaching and, since we didn't have any, we began to take immediate action. He proceeded to "stamp out" his smoldering lighter knot. We found some concealment and noted a terrible smell of rubber burning. You can guess where it was coming from; only PERSEC keeps me from identifying Jim F. - You know who you are.

rm1249
12-09-2008, 17:39
I saw this recently on 'Survivorman' on the Discovery Channel:
Gently break the glass bulb of a flashlight without breaking the filaments inside, Once the glass is removed replace the 'bulb' -- now only the insides of the bulb in the flash light, then gently place light, dry tinder against the filaments and turn on. On the episode the fire started immediately.

I am making a trip to the store this weekend to pick up a cheap flashlight to give this a try, I'll let be sure to update whether this is a plausible option for fire-starting.

rm1249

msm28145
07-26-2009, 23:44
To get the spark on my tinder the easy choice is a Bic lighter. But I always carry my "metal match" with my Leatherman at all times just in case that lighter doesn't want to work.

My personal favorite man made tinder is Trioxine. You can get head high flames with one bar of Trioxine and soaking wet "squaw wood" in just a few minutes. Another great multi use tinder is Cotton balls and vaseline. Great for starting a fire and also good to have for chapped lips after a few dehydrated days in the field.

Waymaker
08-19-2009, 11:06
I carry a little bit of jute twine for tinder. It has never failed me, even when wet. I soaked a length of it in a jar of water for a couple of days, took it out, wrapped it around my hand, took that big loop off and took two sticks and twisted all the water out of it I could, and then immediately frayed it into a little bird's nest, and it caught right away from a ferro rod spark. I tested it to the assumed point of failure, and it didn't.

Way

Dozer523
08-20-2009, 16:10
I saw this recently on 'Survivorman' on the Discovery Channel:
Gently break the glass bulb of a flashlight without breaking the filaments inside, Once the glass is removed replace the 'bulb' -- now only the insides of the bulb in the flash light, then gently place light, dry tinder against the filaments and turn on. On the episode the fire started immediately.

I am making a trip to the store this weekend to pick up a cheap flashlight to give this a try, I'll let be sure to update whether this is a plausible option for fire-starting.

rm1249 While you're at the store, pick up some candles cuz your flashlight won't work anymore.:) Are you sure you didn't get this idea from Myke Hawke?

ZonieDiver
08-20-2009, 16:37
Hey, if you're going to take a flashlight, why not just buy a little waterproof one and fill it with matches? Then you won't have to try to carefully break the glass bulb, without damaging the filament, all while your hands are trembling from cold-wet. Of course, I ain't "Survivorman" or Myke Hawke! :D

Toaster
10-18-2012, 21:29
I like to have a Bic lighter or two, and generally carry a camp hatchet.

A really nice tinder is small pieces of wood from a pine tree stump. It lights when wet, burns quickly and hot, absolutely wonderful.

Hit the stump with an axe and get a piece off, if it smells like pine oil, you've got it. Leaves sap on your axe head which is a pain to clean off, but what do you expect with pine?

medic&commo
10-19-2012, 14:24
Carried a 'metal match', BIC lighter and various kindling (plain / soaked patches; pine shavings sometimes dipped in paraffin) in a zip-lock bag.

After reading the other posts, I see I'm behind the times and there are more sure fire ways (pun intended), more elegant methods.
Always learning, thanks.
m&c

Eyes Wide Open
10-20-2012, 09:40
When camping / hiking, I always keep fire steel and a small medication bottle with a table spoon of vaseline and the rest stuffed full of cotton balls. I usually use these as a last resort or when severe laziness kicks in. Normally, I'll try to grab birch bark when I can, which when shredded makes phenomenal tinder. If not, I feather a dry stick, usually pine, and use the fire steel.

Mistwalker
06-30-2013, 15:18
As has already been stated here multiple times, it really doesn't get more simple than the bic. I have been studying fire craft all my life. Fire was my area of responsibility as a kid when my family did commercial fishing and trapping. I would be dropped at our chosen camp or work site, and I was to have the fire up and going good and hot by the time my father and brother returned with very cold wet hands, regardless of the weather. I got pretty good with fire at a young age, but it became a subject of serious study after dealing with frost bite while in an unfamiliar environment and nearly losing half my toes.

I never go to the woods without at least one bic, but mechanical parts can fail and fuel can leak so I also always have at least one ferro rod fire starter on me. Not all ferro rod fire starters are created equally. The LMF are ok, I've went through a few in the course of teaching classes. My favorite standard style ferro rod is the polySTRIKER from Exotac Inc. They throw awesome sparks. My wife had no trouble getting fire started using birch bark tinder the first time she used one.

Mistwalker
06-30-2013, 15:20
More pics

Mistwalker
06-30-2013, 15:30
Another of my favorites is the nanoSTRIKER XL also made by Exotac Inc. Ferrocerium's main weakness is salt from sweat or salt water. The nanoSTRIKERs are a sealed unit that store the rod in the handle and have their own striker. On these the rod is threaded and replaceable so when you wear it down you just replace the rod not the whole unit. I have a few of them, and a smaller Ti model that has been on my key ring for nearly four years that I am never without.

MAB32
06-30-2013, 18:25
-Potasium permanganate and glycerin-
Potasium permanganate is an anticeptic powder and glycerin is used to treat ear infections. You should cary these items in your first aid kit. When these two substances are combined they burst into flame. If portability is an issue, its a good idea to carry items with multiple uses.

from ( http://www.freewebs.com/barksoup/survival.htm )

The key word above is 'burst'...

Have a good 'Fathers Day' Dads...



I have to admit, that I have this in my kit. Works well in warm temperature and makes a very hot fire. I also, build a "Log Cabin" type of fire starter with the small ignitable material(s) inside the cabin.

Ambush Master
07-01-2013, 18:24
-Potasium permanganate and glycerin-
Potasium permanganate is an anticeptic powder and glycerin is used to treat ear infections. You should cary these items in your first aid kit. When these two substances are combined they burst into flame. If portability is an issue, its a good idea to carry items with multiple uses.

from ( http://www.freewebs.com/barksoup/survival.htm )

The key word above is 'burst'...

Have a good 'Fathers Day' Dads...

I missed this post back when!! I was doing a "Quan/Qual" Analysis in Chem II in High School and added some of the "Subject Liquid" to Potassium Permangenate, it melted a crucible and gutted the fan in the Vent-Hood!!!

Mistwalker
07-02-2013, 20:27
Friction fire has been mentioned. I'm curious if any have used the two-stick hearth board technique for the bow drill method? It requires less cutting and precision, and in general a better bow drill technique for survival applications in areas where good materials for it are available.

PSM
08-13-2013, 18:54
My wife and I recently returned from and week and a half camping in SE WY. SGT son was able to join us for a couple of days after his annual training down at Ft. Carson. One afternoon he and I decided to try our hand and fire starting with the methods that we regularly carry in our pockets or packs (except the BICs and matches).

SGT son frustrated himself with a mag-block and ferro rod. I didn’t even try because it was too windy. I frustrated myself by trying the use the magnifying glass on my Type 15 compass. I tried note paper, tissue paper, lint, ants, and dead, dry, pine needles. No joy. The only char marks were on the pine needles. (Not sure about the ants, because they ran away screaming.)

My son was successful with char-cloth and a “bird’s nest” of dry grass and char-cloth with a bird’s nest of jute. Also, he found a cigarette butt and started the fluffed up filter with the ferro rod. I was successful with my EDC Swedish Fire Starter and dryer lint in pine needles and SFS with pine needles and EDC hand sanitizer (packet). Obviously, the hand sanitizer was the easiest and best.

The char-cloth my son used was mine and is made and carried in an Altoid can that I punched a hole in for charring. I also carry my mag-block and a couple of inches of jute in the can. I have made char-cord using the jute, but did not have any with me this trip.

A good time was had by all! (Except the ants.)

Pat

MR2
08-13-2013, 19:36
Wind in Wyoming? Who'd of guessed...

PSM
08-13-2013, 19:44
Wind in Wyoming? Who'd of guessed...

Not my son. :D To be fair, he was trying to learn to light a fire in wind and rain. We didn't get much rain, though.

Pat

Requiem
08-13-2013, 20:07
We just returned from a month of camping on the beach on Kodiak Island. It rained the first week and everything was wet. We kept some wood under a tarp, along with kindling and tinder (dried beach grass). But it was damp, too. Normal methods for fire-starting in the wind and rain resulted in cold hands and no fire.

That's when we would use a small amount of gasoline from the boat's supply. Feels like cheating. But the object was to have a fire. (Use of gas was carefully done. My husband once worked in a burn unit. He's seen first-hand what gasoline and fires can do.)

On good days, a little beach grass, driftwood and a Bic did the trick. Used the teepee method for building it. Both boys practiced their fire-building skills. One thing they discovered is that nylon/polyester rope burns long and slow. It could be used in a pinch to start a fire.

Does anyone have suggestions for building fires in wet/windy conditions?


Thanks,
Susan

Brush Okie
08-13-2013, 20:34
We just returned from a month of camping on the beach on Kodiak Island. It rained the first week and everything was wet. We kept some wood under a tarp, along with kindling and tinder (dried beach grass). But it was damp, too. Normal methods for fire-starting in the wind and rain resulted in cold hands and no fire.

That's when we would use a small amount of gasoline from the boat's supply. Feels like cheating. But the object was to have a fire. (Use of gas was carefully done. My husband once worked in a burn unit. He's seen first-hand what gasoline and fires can do.)

On good days, a little beach grass, driftwood and a Bic did the trick. Used the teepee method for building it. Both boys practiced their fire-building skills. One thing they discovered is that nylon/polyester rope burns long and slow. It could be used in a pinch to start a fire.

Does anyone have suggestions for building fires in wet/windy conditions?


Thanks,
Susan

Its not cheating its improvising. Here are a couple of videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjWRkNP_PLM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwr5ybkqBss

Requiem
08-13-2013, 20:56
Brush Okie,

Those were excellent. Thank you. The rubber inner-tube must burn much like the synthetic rope. I also liked his idea of building a platform for the kindling, though air-flow is not a problem on the beach. :) Whittling down to the dry wood is also a good idea (and sort of a "duh" moment for me). :o

Susan

The Reaper
08-13-2013, 22:29
During a week of rain in the SFQC, and after many conventional firestarting failures, I actually tried to start a fire with a magnesium trip flare and the tinder (including lighter knot) would not stay lit.

Now THAT is wet!

TR

BryanK
08-14-2013, 06:40
...That's when we would use a small amount of gasoline from the boat's supply. Feels like cheating. But the object was to have a fire. (Use of gas was carefully done. My husband once worked in a burn unit. (He's seen first-hand what gasoline and fires can do.)

Good point. I will add this video of why NOT to use gas in large quantities to start a fire :eek:

How NOT to start a fire (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA0wUW_p5Ns) (Short YouTube video)

You can't fix stupid.

BMT (RIP)
08-14-2013, 07:07
Ambush Master can probably relate to this story.
We moved from Ban Me Thout to Duc Co to set up a Launch Site.
Shit burning roster was posted.
The night before it was our chase medic's turn.
He ask me how much Diesel and JP-4 to mix to get a hot fire.
I always used 5 gals of diesel and maybe a 1/2 gal of JP-4.

Bac Si decdied he could get a better fire with 3 gallons of diesel and 2 gallons JP-4.
He should of hollowed "FIRE IN THE Hole" before torching that MF'er off.
Needless to say Bac Si didn't have any hair on his arms.

BMT

PSM
09-30-2013, 22:36
Catching up on Les Stroud's Suvivorman: 10 Days episodes, I saw a fire carrying method that is pretty clever and may not need a lot of forethought: Cigars. You will probably be forced into buying and transporting some Churchills, or larger, but they do serve more than one purpose which fits pleasantly into the weight/cube equation. ;)

Pat

Streck-Fu
10-01-2013, 07:34
If I remember correctly, it still went out on him...It still needs to be watched.

PSM
10-01-2013, 10:32
If I remember correctly, it still went out on him...It still needs to be watched.

It did. Cody Lundin once said about starting a fire: "It's like a baby, if you turn away for a second the baby drinks the Drano." :D

Pat

TacOfficer
10-01-2013, 11:40
Good point. I will add this video of why NOT to use gas in large quantities to start a fire :eek:

How NOT to start a fire (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA0wUW_p5Ns) (Short YouTube video)

You can't fix stupid.

ROFL :D:D:D
Thank you for that video

PSM
07-20-2015, 23:57
Just got back from the winds (sic) of WY again and had all of the success of post #75 above. :D My son's ferro rod has pretty much been whittled away with very little success. The magnesium shavings blow away easily in the wind. We had 15 to 20 mph most of the stay there.

I wanted to make a Swedish Candle (AKA Swedish Torch, Swedish Log Candle, NTM it's named for every other Scandinavian country and Canada). We set out to use only scrounged material except for what we normally carried (not including Bic lighters).

I found two saw cut pine logs and some wire. I spit the logs partially and wrapped the wire around them. My son wanted to start the tinder/kindling on top with his mag/farro bolck, but was unsuccessful. In my scrounging I just happened to find a Kingsford Match Light® briquette and a match in my backpack. ;) OK, maybe they were in the trailer and the match blew out and I used my Bic. :D Ya use what ya got!

Turns out the SC burns too quickly in windy conditions. I brought the 2nd SC home and will try to get a more favorable result here without the freaking wind.

Pat

MAB32
12-30-2016, 15:22
Here is another way to start a fire in the wet and windy:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWVTO0OFwEo&t=1s

I wonder if "Rawhide" has a good "survival" school?

Peregrino
12-30-2016, 21:02
Here is another way to start a fire in the wet and windy:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWVTO0OFwEo&t=1s

I wonder if "Rawhide" has a good "survival" school?

He's the real deal. I worked with him at SWCS just before I retired. He's on my "short list". Unfortunately, I lost track of him shortly after he returned to 5th SFG(A). I'm glad you stumbled across this video and will be using the info to reach out and re-establish contact.