Many people take a lighter or matches camping with them, in the past i've always found these to be unreliable. Whether its forgetting to refill your lighter or damp matches, i find that a fire steel and striker is much better. From lighting the gas stove to lighting a camp fires its my preferred method, it doesn't matter how windy or wet a modern fire steel will still produce sparks at 3000ºC and it won't run out of fuel.
I spotted a stack of fire steel blanks in an outdoor shop and thought id have a go at making a handle for one. I had the choice of deer antler or birch burl. I decided on the antler as it was a nicer shape.
Ferrocerium rod (fire steel blank)
Step 1: Sanding off
I wanted a nice smooth effect for the handle of my fire steel, though you could just as easily leave it in its natural rough state.
I used the sanding piece on the dremel to remove the rough outer layer and sand in a thumb shaped dip so that the polished antler doesn't slide out of my hand when i strike it. This was all done with a rough sanding to P60.
Step 2: Drilling your hole
A fairly simple step. Choose a drill bit thats slightly bigger than your ferrocerium rod and drill a hole that goes deep enough for it to sit in without falling out.
I used an epoxy resin to glue my rod into the hole, but only because thats what i had around, most glues would suffice.
I placed the rod in the hole, wiped of any excess glue, clamped it in a grip and left it to dry for a few hours.
Step 3: Sanding
To give a better finish i used a variety of sandpapers (P100 to P250) to smooth of the antler. I also drilled a small hole in the top of the handle to tread a piece of leather through.