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#134039 - 05/21/10 01:50 PM FireSteel Striker
bigsac Offline
member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 83
Loc: Sacramento CA
Recently purchased a Swedish Firesteel at REI and have been fooling around with it at home lighting my alcohol stove. It usually takes four or five tries with the striker that came with it. For some reason the striker has no teeth, although I notice on older models there are teeth on the striker. I'm thinking of using an old broken off hacksaw blade instead of the default striker. Of course the hacksaw blade has a hole to put the lanyard through. Just wondering if any of you do this. It would be nice to light that stove on the first try.

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#134040 - 05/21/10 02:02 PM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: bigsac]
ChrisFol Offline
member

Registered: 07/23/09
Posts: 387
Loc: Denver, Colordo
Originally Posted By bigsac
Just wondering if any of you do this. It would be nice to light that stove on the first try.


Use a match or a mini-bic and save the frustration wink

Seriously, I do not have an answer to your question-- I once purchased the mini firesteel (scout??) and it took me forever to light anything-- I know some people are really proficient with them; I was not and thus it was promptly returned. laugh

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#134050 - 05/21/10 03:46 PM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: bigsac]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Some can even light tender. I want to get one, not too high on my list I guess.

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#134054 - 05/21/10 05:29 PM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: bigsac]
Kieran Offline
member

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 46
Loc: Seattle, WA
I have it and like it. I've never used it on an alchy stove though. You need to keep it close to whatever you're trying to spark, and it takes a little practice to be good with the angle of the striker. Once you get it down though, it works pretty dang well.

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#134055 - 05/21/10 06:05 PM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: Kieran]
MarkNM Offline
member

Registered: 05/03/10
Posts: 141
Loc: Pompton Lakes, NJ
Originally Posted By Kieran
I have it and like it. I've never used it on an alchy stove though. You need to keep it close to whatever you're trying to spark, and it takes a little practice to be good with the angle of the striker. Once you get it down though, it works pretty dang well.


practice practice practice...i use the back of my knife...and i think more force gets me a better amount of sparkage

i still can't guarentee a stove light in one shot but usually by two...and i've gotten tinder before but it took a lil bit of work each time
_________________________
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#134083 - 05/22/10 11:41 AM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: MarkNM]
jasonklass Offline
member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 551
Loc: Denver, Colorado
The hacksaw blade might work better because it has sharper teeth. I just don't think it's a good idea to use a striker to light an alcohol stove. It's pretty easy to bump the stove and spill the alcohol all over. It the spark ignited it, you're in trouble. In my opinion, the best way to light a stove it with a match or to light a small twig or piece of dry grass with lighter, then touch it to the stove. The latter gives you a little more reach and prevents you from burning your fingers.
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#134128 - 05/23/10 12:13 PM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: bigsac]
Andy Offline
member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 52
Loc: Ohio
There is a different sort of striker, but I'm not sure what it's called. It is a small plastic handle about the length and thickness of 4 matchsticks, with a piece of flint embedded in the end and a thumbwheel on top. Think of just the striker part of a butane lighter, without the lighter part. I've used mine to ignite stoves and tinder when it has been too windy to use a lighter or match. It came in one of those pre-packaged survival kits from Adventure Medical, maybe. Don't remember.

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#134141 - 05/24/10 12:44 AM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: bigsac]
Howie Offline
member

Registered: 06/02/03
Posts: 481
Loc: Canora, SK, Canada
I have a flint striker. It works great but a Bic lighter is a whole lot less weight. I have lit my canister stove with the striker just for fun.

Howie

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#134145 - 05/24/10 02:16 AM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: bigsac]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By bigsac
Just wondering if any of you do this. It would be nice to light that stove on the first try.


I use a firesteel, but not for lighting stoves - frankly, in three season trips when I am using an alky stove I just use a mini-bic lighter - take two - because they can break (although rarely) but they are a lot lighter and easier to use to light a stove than a firesteel - My suggestion is buy a couple mini-bic's at the grocery store.

When I *do* use a firesteel is for one purpose - lighting fires in Really Really Really cold winter - canadian winter - thing 20 to 30 below zero, and you are wearing wool gloves and you really don't wish to take them off. bic lighters don't work well in that cold and are hard to operate. Matches work ( and I take them ) but they are difficult to operate with gloves on.

A ziploc of dryer lint, or cattail fluff (or a combination thereof because you refilled it) works fantasticly for it though. a small pile of this fuzz ignites really easily with a single "zap" from the firesteel, and can be done with gloves on and not a lot of dexterity. The "default" striker seems to work fine for this for me.



Edited by phat (05/24/10 02:18 AM)
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#134146 - 05/24/10 09:34 AM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: phat]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Like phat, Jason and others have said, use a lighter or matches for an alchy stove. But, I do have a firesteel and use it a lot. I also teach my scouts how to use it. I thought it was easy, but after having tried to teach 12 year olds, I now realize that a lot of people will have a hard time at first. How you hold is important. The angle of the strike is important. The amount of pressure you exert is important. There is a technique that you have to learn. Also, there is a black protective coating on brand new ones that you have to scrape off before it works. Oh and by the way, it took me longer to teach 12 year olds how to light a lighter than spark the firesteel. I thought the lighter would be easier, but apparently it is not.
_________________________
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#134147 - 05/24/10 09:35 AM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: phat]
ohmatt Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/24/10
Posts: 6
Loc: Ohio
If you carry a knife with a carbon steel blade (not stainless), the back or spine of the blade can make a great striker. The blade spine produces the best sparks if you file its back edge very flat(so the two edges on the spine have a sharp 90 degree angle). I throw away the included striker and just count on using the back of whatever knife I have along.

Also, a good source for cheap ferrocerium fire steels is a site in Hong Kong called DealExtreme. They have 10 different ones of various sizes ranging from $2.30 to 5.80 all shipped free albeit VERY SLOWLY(expect to wait 3-6 weeks for the item to arrive).

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#134148 - 05/24/10 09:37 AM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: ohmatt]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By ohmatt


Also, a good source for cheap ferrocerium fire steels is a site in Hong Kong called DealExtreme. They have 10 different ones of various sizes ranging from $2.30 to 5.80 all shipped free albeit VERY SLOWLY(expect to wait 3-6 weeks for the item to arrive).


Or you can try firesteel.com. They are in the states and have very cheap ones with fast shipping. laugh
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#134149 - 05/24/10 10:20 AM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: bigsac]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
I’m not too good at the flint/firesteel. We have a couple of older scouts that only carry firesteel. I’m very impressed how good they are with it. When we get about 5 or 6 alcy stoves lined up, we ask one of the scouts to ‘light’ them. He lights a stove with one strike and from about 1 foot away! We watch the spark arch through the air and land in the alcy. So it’s entertaining to watch. We all go ooh and agh.

Me--- I just carry paper matches.

-Barry

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#134153 - 05/24/10 11:51 AM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: BarryP]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By BarryP
When we get about 5 or 6 alcy stoves lined up, we ask one of the scouts to ‘light’ them. He lights a stove with one strike and from about 1 foot away! We watch the spark arch through the air and land in the alcy. So it’s entertaining to watch. We all go ooh and agh.


Works when it's warm out. Too often I'm lighting my alky when it's a bit cooler (ok, likely frosty) in the morning - and I find when it's cool the sparks often just don't ignite the alcohol that easily. not enough nice warm vapor. I need flame (matches or bic)


Edited by phat (05/24/10 11:51 AM)
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
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#134155 - 05/24/10 11:58 AM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: phat]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
phat
I've seen it so cold that white gas didn't want to light unless you first warmed it a bit. The BIC flame warmed it and lit it, but sparks would not.

Fire steels are fun to play with, sort of gee whiz, but you need a flame sometimes. Now if you pick up two rocks or use a rock and a knife edge to light a fire, let me know. Otherwise a fire steel is no different than any other high tech fire lighting device that you take with you.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#134158 - 05/24/10 12:35 PM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: Jimshaw]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By Jimshaw
phat
Now if you pick up two rocks or use a rock and a knife edge to light a fire, let me know.


I have used rocks with an axe head to strike sparks, as an academic exercise. Took me about 30 minutes of blue language on an ideal day with char cloth - you don't get a lot of sparks from rock and steel, and they don't like to land where you want them too. I've also used a bowdrill and board - that was faster - about 10 minutes of fiddling and huffing, but I had pre-carved the board, and conditions were also ideal.

I think such things are a useful exercise and everyone should do them at least once. Nothing will teach you the value of a bic lighter more effectively smile




Edited by phat (05/24/10 12:35 PM)
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#134168 - 05/24/10 02:45 PM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: phat]
Redfacery Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 82
Loc: NY
Quote:
Nothing will teach you the value of a bic lighter more effectively


Agreed. I used my fireSteel last week with some 10 year-olds on a cookout, the other groups already had flames and were roasting their dogs, and my boys were patiently making ever-finer piles of birch bark. In the end, we used a bic the next night, but they were the only group aware that there were other ways (and that a bic was easy-as-could-be).

A couple years ago, I did that same experiment with a bow drill, with similar results.

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#134169 - 05/24/10 02:52 PM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: phat]
taM Offline
member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 112
Loc: Nashville, TN
Originally Posted By phat
Originally Posted By BarryP
When we get about 5 or 6 alcy stoves lined up, we ask one of the scouts to ‘light’ them. He lights a stove with one strike and from about 1 foot away! We watch the spark arch through the air and land in the alcy. So it’s entertaining to watch. We all go ooh and agh.


Works when it's warm out. Too often I'm lighting my alky when it's a bit cooler (ok, likely frosty) in the morning - and I find when it's cool the sparks often just don't ignite the alcohol that easily. not enough nice warm vapor. I need flame (matches or bic)


I keep the flint/striker portion of an old bic lighter in my cook kit to light my alky stove, but I've found that anything colder than around 55-60F and it won't do the job.

I really only have it in there because it fits in my nesting stove/cup/pot kit, and usually works during summer months. I have a mini-bic elsewhere in my pack, but I generally have to dig for it some, so I always try the striker first.

The trip I just got back from yesterday in the NC Smoky Mountains, I think I only had to get the Bic out one morning, when it was around 50F.

I agree with Jason though, that you need to be careful with any sort of sparking device though, so as not to spill fuel, and cause a big fire. It's easy enough to do with my sparker, but with a knife/firesteel I'd be pretty leery about it.
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#134240 - 05/25/10 05:42 PM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: phat]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
“Works when it's warm out.”

Definitely true there; our little show has been above 60F.
When it’s below freezing, I have to touch a lit match to the alcohol. Even then, I haven’t prewarmed it but the stove still comes to life smile
But to make that work, the stove has to be on a foil which is on some CCF.

-Barry

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#134245 - 05/25/10 06:32 PM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: bigsac]
routerdoubter Offline
member

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 17
Loc: Seattle, PNWet
I picked up the UST strikeforce a few weeks ago. Haven't had a chance to test in the woods yet, but screwing around in the backyard, i learn that angling the striker is crucial to make useful sparks. angle it away from you and it directs all the sparks really well at what you're trying to light. also it has a flat piece of steel, no teeth for the striker.

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#134396 - 05/28/10 09:54 PM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: bigsac]
ConnallMac Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 25
Loc: Eastern Indiana
I've not had much trouble with my firesteel, and it works like gangbusters when paired with some Nenr-Dull. It usually catches on the first strike and burns for quite a while. I always carry these two things paired together as a back up to a couple of bic lighters and match case. Fire starting is one of the things I don't mind duplicating items on!

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#134403 - 05/29/10 09:50 AM Re: FireSteel Striker [Re: bigsac]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
Firesteels are just one more method of firestarting and I carry one. They seem to light dry cotton balls/dryer lint with one feeble strike. For grass, leaves, paper, alcohol, I use a match or a bic. For gas stoves, the firesteel works great....one strike and it lets you keep your distance.
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