How to Start a Fire Using Flint




What happens when you are out camping in the middle of the woods and you need to start a fire but all of your matches are wet? You don't want to wait around for them to dry because it is getting dark, and they might not even work. What do you do? Well, if you had some flint, your problem would be solved.
Knowing how to start a fire using flint is very useful and can save you a lot of trouble. Unlike matches, flint can be used in almost any situation at almost any time, and you don't have to worry about your flint getting ruined if it gets wet.

Step 1: Materials

Here is what you will need to start a fire using flint:
-A pocket knife (Only if your flint does not have a scraping tool)
-Small kindling to get your fire going (Paper, cardboard, dry grass, and small dry twigs all work well)
-Larger fuel to keep your fire going (Sticks and eventually logs, once your fire gets big enough)

Step 2: Getting Ready

Before you start the fire, you need to get everything ready. First make sure you are in an open area without any trees or anything directly above you, you don't want them catching on fire! Next get your kindling. If you have dry grass, make a little "bed" for the flint shavings to go in later. You can't just lay sticks down and hope they'll light. You need small stuff first, which is why dry grass works so well (the "bed" also keeps your shavings from being blown away). Put the "bed" on some smaller twigs and have other pieces ready to put on the fire. The shavings and dry grass will burn quickly, so be ready!

Step 3: Flint Shavings

Now, take the flint, and pocket knife if you need it, and scrape some of the flint off of one side (If you see sparks, flip it over. You're using the wrong side). You should be making a nice little pile of flint shavings in the "bed" of dry grass. A pile of shavings about the size of a nickel should probably work, you can always add more if need be. Now you're ready to light it.

Step 4: Lighting the Fire

This time you will use the other side of the flint (the side that makes sparks). Hold the flint down next to the "bed" kind of at an angle so the sparks fall into the "bed." Take the scraper, or pocket knife, and scrape down the flint towards the "bed." You should see sparks, if they don't catch right away, keep scraping. This make take a few swipes. Once a spark hits the shavings, it should light the rest of the "bed." When you have a small flame, add some of the smaller twigs. Once the fire is going, continue to add increasingly larger pieces of fuel. Don't add too much too quickly though. The fire might go out, and it's also important to control you're fire. And that's it, you made fire with flint! 

Step 5: Trouble Shooting

If nothing happened or it didn't work, keep reading. If it worked, then you're done, congratulations! 

Here are some things that might help:
-Is your wood and kindling dry? 
-Is too much wind getting to the embers?
-Do you have enough flint shavings?
-If the fire starts but doesn't keep going, try blowing gently on the glowing pieces (Fire needs air, but not too much!).

Here's an example:



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    8 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Good instructable. I just tried this with paper, then with dryer lint. Both burned well though the lint smelt bad, probably some hair in it.

    I think you meant dry "tinder" instead of "kindling".


    3 years ago

    Useful article and thanks for sharing. Recently I bought this Waterproof Firestarter, The ferro rod and which are both included in 1 fire starting kit and that fits conveniently in your pocket. I found this discount code. Use this code "PD10"and save 10%.


    3 years ago

    Unclear. Second your opinion. Using magnesium shavings into a tinder bundle creates a night burning point aiding in greater chance of damper material catching.

    If you have got this to a T then try Iron Priorities. Found on beaches. Has a spark temp of only 200C


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Oh, and one more thing. When I first got my flint rod, I could hardly get a cotton ball to start, then 4-5 months go by with a little practice, and I was able to grow a little ember into a fire. I still am far from mastering it, but it is very fun when you get it to work.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    How did I not see this before, I was looking all over Instructables for something just like this. I don't know if you already said, but flint and steel does take a lot of practice, and getting used to. I also learned to use any kind of "fluffy" plant, like the tops of milkweed, there are these pods filled with the best fire steel tinder on earth.


    6 years ago on Step 3

    I have the same starter! Great instructable. Not to be a snitch but i'm pretty sure it's magnesium shavings, not flint.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    what you are using is a magnesium bar,and the shavings are that of magnesium not flint,otherwise not bad.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Oh ok, thanks! That's what I was thinking it was, I figured it wasn't flint, but I wasn't totally sure. Thank you.