Intro: How to Make a Fire Starter Steel.
In the summer I attend few bush craft shows. After realising that bush crafter don’t buy expensive knife
(maybe rightly so) and that my knives style are not so desire by them. I decided to do some objects that may stand a chance and to be bought.
Not long ago I add a student doing my knife making course and he light the gas stove for making coffee, with his fire starter steel. He suggested that I will try and do some to sale in bush craft events.
So I did.
You will need some tools and material to build the fire starter, so, below is the list.
Angle grinder and belt sander.
Scrap metal, preferably with some carbon in it (see the link). I used broken Hay rake teeth.
Few pieces of scrap metals for constructing a jig.
One last thing before I start. I have a blog, it's name is thedyslexiccraftsman.com . so I am not going to apologies for grammar or spelling mistake.
In order to build the striker efficiently, one need a jig.
Also, what you really want is not to forge to shape the striker from heavy piece of metal but, to construct it out of cut to size stripes of steel. it will save you hell of a time.
However, truth to myself I decided to save some money and forge the fire starter out of abounded springs from car suspension that I have in my work shop. The steel is of the spring steel family and have a 0.6 – 0.7 present of carbon in it. presumably the more carbon the better the sparks. Any way the sparks that steel produce is good enough to light a char fabric or better still a 000 grad steel wool.
Step 2: The Jig Making
I start by making the jig. I cut all the various parts for the jig. In the photo you can see all the parts. the dimensions are not that important, but make sure they are to the size that will make a good size fire starter steel. have a look at the link below, there is more information about it.
Step 3: Making It
I first weld together the parts that form the shape of the Stricker. Then I weld to it a sort of screw to hold tight the hot steel while bending it around the jig. As you can see I used the belt sander to make sure everything is smooth and straight.
Step 4: Straightien the Steel
Now I starting by straighten the suspension coil. Ones it is straight enough I start to shape it to its size ( In my fire starters case it is 7mm by 4mm). I am making sure it is straight all the way trough. In the last two heats, I straighten the steel by squeeze it on both sides in a vice. When the steel get cold I cut it to 180mm segments.
Step 5: Bend It Like Beckham
Now the fun part begin. I heat the steel in my forge, attached it on to the jig and bend it. First I do one end, then the other end. I guess that if you have a little (or big) helper you can bend it complete all in one heat.
I decided to heat treat the steel. I brought the steel to the critical temp' and quench it in water, tough I should have do it in oil. Alas, it didn't crack on me, so all was well. Then I temper it. I check to see if by tempering it the striker produce more spark, but I didn’t see any deferent. Any way it’s better good practice to temper the steel.
Step 7: The Finish Line.
So here is the finished result.
As the design of the fire steel is very simple I decided to wrapped them with leather to give It a good holding grip for the fingers. you can read about it in my blog: http://www.thedyslexiccraftsman.com/my-blog-2/ and you can see it in the first photo.