The use of ‘Flint & Steel’ is a very traditional way of making fire that stretches back in history to where man first started to use steel. It would have been quickly understood that steel gives off sparks when struck by something that is harder that it, such as natural flint, since the use of Iron Pyrite for creating sparks would have by that time been around for many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years. The discovery that steel could create larger and hotter sparks than the more traditional Iron Pyrite, would have been as revolutionary to them as the discovery of the relatively modern ferrocerium sparking flint rods was to our recent forebears.
Since the sparks created by ‘Flint & Steel’ from say a Hudson Bay Tinderbox, are large enough and hot enough to create an ember in so many more kind of tinder than would have been used when Iron Pyrite was in common use, ‘Flint & Steel’ would certainly, have very quickly superseded Iron Pyrite as the preferred method of fire lighting.
Using traditional ‘Flint & Steel’ is really quite simple to do, at least in principle that is. The natural, commonly held, belief is that all you need to do to create sparks, is to bang the flint and steel together. There is, however, a little more to it than that, a little refinement is required if sparks are going to be efficiently utilised to produce an ember and thence a fire. There are two distinct methodologies when it comes to creating sparks with traditional ‘Flint & Steel’, and these are The Flint on Steel Strike and The Steel on Flint Strike. These two distinct strikes then become, The Tinderbox Strike, The Tinder Bundle Strike and The Two Finger Strike, so let’s take at them:
The Tinderbox Strike is probably the technique that is the most commonly viewed as the way our forbears would have used ‘Flint & Steel’ to create an ember. Personally, I do not see The Tinderbox Strike as being the most efficient way to create sparks, unless the tinder that is being used is in a powdered, or dificult to handle form. Powdered tinder could easily have been made by scraping the charcoal from unburned pieces of firewood and then stored in a box i.e. a Tinderbox!
The practical application of this technique is to directly strike the sparks into the open tinderbox and onto the mass of charcoal, char cloth or some kind of natural tinder such as Amadou or Chaga. Throwing the sparks downwards into the tinderbox, an ember can easily be created in this way, since the tinder in the tin covers a large area and can therefore more readily catch any stray sparks (See Figure 1).
To do this technique you will need to quickly and decisively strike a sharp edge of flint downwards towards the steel at about a 45° angle, as if you were trying to shave off a small piece of steel. The steel should be held a couple of inches above the tinderbox and tinder, so that all sparks are directed downwards and into the tinderbox.
Once a spark has been caught by some of the tinder, you can carefully encourage the embryonic ember to grow a little before you tease it from the main mass of tinder and place it in a previously prepared tinder bundle nest. It should be pointed out that this method may well produce several embers at the same time, since many sparks are generated upon each strike. Each spark being produced has the potential to create its own ember. If this happens, you can use the Steel, or flint, to extinguish the unwanted glowing embers, by pressing on them to eliminate the air and rapidly remove the heat, via conduction.
Figure 2 shows several areas that have caught a spark. If left unattended, for just a few seconds, the whole of the tinder would become a massive ember, which would be a waste of resources and be very difficult to extinguish without replacing the lid to eliminate the air. If the tin lid is not airtight the tinder will continue to burn until it is gone, you may be able to judge that this is the case because the tin will become, and stay, very hot.
The second way is to tease out a small pinch of tinder and place it in a tinder bundle nest that has previously being prepared. Place the tinder bundle nest on the ground and strike the Flint against the Steel as described in ‘The Tinderbox Strike’, above. Once the tinder has caught a spark and begins to glow, you can blow the tinder bundle nest into a flame and then place it in your fire pit.
The third way, which is also my preferred way of using traditional ‘Flint & Steel’, assuming that I have a type of tinder that can be easily held, and then pinched between fingers, without crushing or crumbling, such as Amadou or Chaga.
The idea is to tease out a two finger pinch of the tinder, say Char Cloth, Amadou or Chaga, and place it onto a piece of natural flint, about 2 to 3mm from one of the flints sharp edges (Figures 3 and 4). It is very important that you make sure that the edge of the flint is as sharp as possible.
Whilst holding the tinder firmly against the flint, but without overtly crushing it, with your thumb and forefinger, you should sharply strike the Steel down against the flint edge as if trying to shave off the thinnest sliver of steel. The sparks that are produced should be directed towards the edge of the char cloth. Once a spark has been caught by the tinder, it should begin to form an ember on the tinder’s edge (Figure 5). Encourage the ember to grow by gently blowing on it and then place the ember in the previously prepared tinder bundle nest and gently blow into a flame (Figures 6, 7 & 8).
Remember: - Fire making skills needs to be practiced to be perfected.
Practice these skills with safety at the forefront of your mind.
Products - For Making Fire from Sparks
These very popular tinderboxes are beautifully crafted exact replicas of the traditional Hudson Bay Tinderboxes as used by the old-time early pioneers of Canada and America. These tough European settlers’ would have needed a fire lighting method that was reliable, robust and compact enough to be carried with them when weight was at a premium. These traditional Hudson Bay Tinderboxes are complete fire starting kits contained in one small compact and beautifully crafted unit with an ergonomic construction that was designed for easy and reliable fire making.
More information about this item can be found on Hudson Bay Tinderbox.
This tinderbox is an exact replica of the 1700 Tinderbox that was carried by old-time early pioneers, trappers, traders, soldiers and frontiersmen of Canada and America in and around the seventeen hundreds. These tough Europeans would have needed a fire lighting method that was reliable, robust and compact enough to be carried with them when weight and space was at a premium.
This ergonomic 1700 ‘Trappers’ Tinderbox is a complete fire starting kit in one small compact and beautifully crafted solid brass box. It was designed for easy and reliable fire making.More information about this item can be found on Traditional 1700 'Trapper' Tinderbox.
This tinderbox is an exact replica of the 1790 'English' Tinderbox that was carried by old-time early pioneers, trappers, traders, soldiers and frontiersmen of Canada and America in and around the late seventeen hundreds. These tough pioneers would have used a tinderbox that was reliable, tough and compact enough to be carried with them when weight and space was at a premium.
This ergonomic 1790 'English' Tinderbox is a complete fire starting kit in one small compact and beautifully crafted solid brass box. It was designed for easy and reliable fire making.More information about this item can be found on 1790 'English' Tinderbox.
The Traditional ‘Flint & Steel’ Tinderbox (1.1) is one of our best selling tinderboxes, due to its reliable, robust, lightweight, and compact design. The Traditional ‘Flint & Steel’ Tinderbox (1.1) is small and light enough to be kept in any small pocket and will enable the making of a fire in almost any weather conditions. This ergonomic fire making kit has been honed right down to the absolute essentials, yet contains everything you need to create traditional spark based fires. It is easy to use - and then master, will give you years of trustworthy fire lighting and will instil a sense of traditional satisfaction that comes from using this phenomenal fire lighting technique.
More information about this item can be found on Traditional ‘Flint & Steel’ Tinderbox (1.1).
The Traditional ‘Flint & Steel’ Tinderbox-Pouch (#1.2) is a great little fire making kit that is both a traditional and a very dependable way of making fires. The principle of spark based fire lighting has been around for hundreds of thousands of years, so it has well and truly stood the test of time. Initially the technique was used with ‘Iron Pyrites and Flint,’ and then later, tens of thousands of years later, only about two-thousand years ago in fact, with the development of steel, came the relatively modern ‘Flint & Steel’ method. Sparks created from ‘Flint & Steel’ were much more efficient at creating an ember, generating hotter and longer lasting sparks that would catch on a wider variety if tinder. Millennia before the development of the modern day match, gas and petrol lighter, the well-practiced hands of our forebears would have deftly used this kind of ‘Flint & Steel’ fire lighting kit for making fires in mere seconds.
More information about this item can be found on Traditional ‘Flint & Steel’ Tinder Pouch (1.2).
This is Grade 'A' authentic Amadou Tinder is made from the Horse’s Hoof Fungus – (Fomes formentarius). You will never see or use any that is better for fire making we practically guarantee it!
Amadou is made from the Horse’s Hoof Fungus, which has a fine, velvety layer resembling suede leather. This suede-like trama layer is sandwiched between a tough nut-like, outer, layer called the Cuticle and the pores, which are thousands of tiny tubes all packed together. The Horse’s Hoof Fungus is mainly found on dead trees such as the Birch and Beech, and it resembles a horse’s hoof – hence its common name. Amadou is very hard to source, and even more difficult to make well.
Amadou was used by our ancient forefathers because it makes excellent tinder able to catch even the vaguest of sparks, it is probably one of the best tinder that can be found in nature. It is has a beautiful velvet feel and is as resilient as suede leather and can be stored indefinitely. Amadou has been used for fire-making for thousands of years, and would have been found in virtually every travellers tinder box because of its great reliability.
The ember that is created from the smouldering Amadou is VERY HOT, which makes it an outstanding basis for ALL primitive fire making techniques such as the Traditional 'Flint & Steel' Tinderbox (1.1) or the Hudson Bay Tinderbox. This amazing tinder is ideally suited to be used with Flint & Steel, Modern Sparking Flints, Fire Pistons, and Solar Ignition, like Parabolic Reflectors or Magnifying lenses.
If you try Amadou with any modern pyrophoric sparking rod, you will see that it is virtually impossible for you not to catch a spark that instantly creates an amazingly hot ember.
Once your Amadou has caught a spark, it will begin to glow and gently smoke. This newly formed ember is very hard to extinguish since it burns so INCREDIBLY HOT. Any wind or breeze that blows on it will cause it to get even hotter!
Once the ember has become established, to your satisfaction, you have more than ample time to place the Amadou ember into the centre of a previously prepared tinder bundle – and then blown into a flame. Whilst Amado burns very hot it burns at a steady and slow pace; a small piece, about the size of your thumb nail will burn for a good minute or so.
(PLESES NOTE: Amadou is a natural product, all pieces will vary in size, shape, density and weight form those shown in the photos.
This is Grade 'A' authentic natural Chaga tinder is made from the fungus – ‘Inonotus obliquus’. You will never see or use any that is better for fire making we practically guarantee it!
Also available is our natural Grade 'B' Chaga pieces and Grade 'C' powdered Chaga. Both are exceptional forms of natural tinder and ideal for most all forms of fire lighting. Grade 'C' Chaga is simply Grade 'B' Chaga that has been powdered.
Our Graded 'A' Chaga is available in 10 gram and 50 gram bags and our Grade 'B' Chaga and powdered Grade 'C' Chaga is available in 50 gram and 100 gram bags.
(PLESES NOTE: Chaga is a natural product, all pieces will vary in size, shape, density and weight form those shown in the photos.
The original Fire Steel was developed by Lars Fält the Swedish arctic survival expert who has made several guest appearances on some of Ray Mears TV programs.
All of these Striker Flints can be used with any of the Knives that are for sale on this site, like the Mora ‘Clipper’ Training Knife, Golok Machete, Fallkniven TK4 and the Martindale Golok Machete. They can also be used with be used with any hard sharpened object, such as a hacksaw blade, piece of natural flint or glass, or with our special Shark Tinderbox - 'Super Alloy Striker', to create reliable long lasting, large super white-hot sparks at around 3000°C (5000°F). These super white-hot sparks are so hot that they will easily ignite most types of prepared dry tinder.
They can be used to ignite a myriad of things that include Gas, paraffin or petrol stoves, Tinder Card, cotton wool, Amadou, pages from our exclusive Shark-Tinderbox 'Tinder Book', shredded Paper, birch bark, honey suckle bark and whole host of other types of bark.
These flints are a very reliable method of starting a campfire and work well in wet and cold conditions.
Each Striker Flint is made from Ferrocerium, which includes over 15 different metals that are bonded together in the form of a rod.
These fire flints are protected and strengthened with a brass casing, a full metal jacket that will help prevent corrosion and accidental snapping whilst in use. Each PyroFlint™ – 'Full Metal Jacket'™ fire flint has a split key ring attached to one end, so that it can be secured to a lanyard, and is fully designed to pack into the smallest of survival kits.
This genuine – 3.0mm Full Metal Jacket™ PyroFlint™ is an excellent ferrocerium sparking rod for its size. It is very easy and safe to use, and will provide you with many hundreds of fires if used judiciously (see instructions that are supplied with this product).
The PyroFlint™ – 3.0mm Full Metal Jacket™ is just 3mm in diameter by 57mm long. A split ring is attached to one end, for fastening to a key ring or lanyard.
This is the smallest PyroFlint™ in our ‘Full Metal Jacket’ range, yet will still give you a massive shower of sparks for fire lighting.
Please Click here to purchase One x 3.0mm Full Metal Jacket™PyroFlint™
Please Click here to purchase Five x 3.0mm Full Metal Jacket™ PyroFlints™
Please Click here to purchase Ten x 3.0mm Full Metal Jacket™ PyroFlints™
This genuine – 4.5mm Full Metal Jacket™ PyroFlint™ is only 1.5mm larger in diameter than the 3.0mm yet contains about twice as much ferrocerium. It is an excellent ferrocerium sparking device that gives a great shower of sparks when needed. The 4.5mm Full Metal Jacket easily stowed in any survival tin ready to be used for your fire making emergencies.
It is very easy and safe to use, and will provide you with many hundreds of fires if used judiciously (see instructions supplied with this product).
The PyroFlint™ – 4.5mm Full Metal Jacket™ is just 4.5mm in diameter by 57mm long. A split ring is attached to one end, for fastening to a key ring or lanyard.
This is the middle sized PyroFlint™ in our ‘Full Metal Jacket’ range that will provide you with small but powerful fire starter.
Please Click here to purchase One x 4.5mm Full Metal Jacket™PyroFlint™
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This genuine – 5.5mm Full Metal Jacket™ PyroFlint™ is only 1mm larger in diameter than the 4.5mm yet contains more ferrocerium than the 3.0mm and 4.5mm combined.
The 5.5mm Full Metal Jacket is compact enough to be easily stowed on a key ring or around the neck, yet it is large enough to be used as an economical beginner’s instructional fire-starting tool, since its size allows it to be used is a variety of ways. The 5.5mm Full Metal Jacket easily placed in a tinderbox ready to be used for all of your fire making emergencies. It is very easy and safe to use, and will provide you with many hundreds to thousands of fires if used judiciously (see instructions supplied with this product).
The PyroFlint™ – 5.5mm Full Metal Jacket™ is just 5.5mm in diameter by 56mm long and has a split ring is attached to one end, for fastening to a key ring or lanyard. This is the top end sized PyroFlint™ in our ‘Full Metal Jacket’ range that is used in any of our exclusive range of Shark-Tinderbox, Tinderboxes.
Please Click here to purchase One x 5.5mm Full Metal Jacket™PyroFlint™
Please Click here to purchase Five x 5.5mm Full Metal Jacket™ PyroFlints™
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Our full range of Shark-Tinderbox 'PyroFlints™' are of the highest quality and designed to be a plain, simple, no frills utilitarian ferrocerium pyrophoric flint rods used to, reliably, start a fire when it is most needed.
Our 'PyroFlints™' fire Starters range in size from the mini PyroFlint™ – 'Mini-Match' to the massive PyroFlint™ – 'Priest', which is so big that it will last even the most ardent Bushcraft and Survival expert several lifetimes. The PyroFlint™ – 'Priest' is truly a forever fire starter that weighs in at 209 grams (7 1/2oz) and measure a whopping 130mm long X 18mm diameter (5 1/8 inches X 11/16 inch diameter).
We offer our whole range of PyroFlint™ at ‘Bulk Buy Discount’ rates of up to 40% discount (subject to availability), making it easier for Survivalists, Bushcraft Schools, Scout Groups, Military and Survival instructors, as well as Small Volume Resellers to purchase larger quantities of these products. Please email us email@example.com if you require larger Quantities of our PyroFlint™ range of ferrocerium rods, or if you would like to ask us any questions.
The Swedish FireSteel will easily generate 12,000 strikes during its lifespan. It they is easy to gripped even when your hands are cold and wet, and it has a lanyard hole that will enable you to safely attach it to your belt after use.
The BCB Ranger Fire Flint is a standard issue armed forces survival item and very compact. The flint is attached to a steel brace, which will prevent snapping whilst in use. It will generate sparks that will make hundreds of fires.
Good little flint that replaces the old BCB FireBall Flint. Will generate sparks to make thousands of fires, over many years.
Good little flint that replaces the old BCB FireBall Flint. Same as the BCB FireBall Flint (above), but with a Mini Button Compass. Will generate sparks to make thousands of fires, over many years.
Magnesium Fire Starters are simple, waterproof devices that require no maintenance or refilling and yet can be used for starting thousands of fires.
The Striker Flint rod is attached to the magnesium body, and will last many years of constant and reliable use.
To use any of these simple devices, simply shave some of the magnesium into a pile, using your knife or the Steel Striker provided, about the same size as a 10 penny piece, smaller if you think that you can get away with it, being careful not to let the wind blow your magnesium scrapings away. Once you think that you have enough magnesium slithers to ignite a fire then simply showering the magnesium pile with the white hot sparks from the artificial striker fire flint. The pile of magnesium will burn, quite quickly, with a heat output of approximately 3,100°C (3,370°K; 5,610°F) , which will ignite, with uncanny ease, just about any tinder, such as Amadou and Tinder Card it was placed under, or near, into a steady flame. The heat output is so great that the burning magnesium will even set light to damp and sometimes wet tinder that would normally be difficult or impossible to light.
When an emergency requires that you make a fire both quickly and with absolute certainty you should always use a lot more of the magnesium scrapings than you would normally use. When lives are at stake you should not mess about with unnecessary failures, confident speed and certainty are primary requirements for successful results.