Introduction: Fire Steel

About: Avid Kayaker, Canoeist, Wildcamper, SUP-er and Photographer,
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)
Deer antler


Sander (Dremel)
Engraver (Dremel)

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. 

Step 4: Engraving

As a final little bit of decoration i thought i would add an engraved rune on the end of the handle. I chose the eldar futhark rune Kenaz (torch or fire) as it seemed appropriate.

Using a fine edged engraving bit on the dremel i carefully engraved the rune into the antler. 

To fill in the shape of the rune i melted the end of a wax crayon, using a lighter, and dripped the wax into the rune. After scraping off the excess wax and fitting the leather strap and your good to go.

To use your fire steel simply run a hard metal edge (like that of a knife) down the length of the steel whilst applying some pressure. 
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