Mini Project #1: Modding Your Magnesium Fire Starter




About: Hi I'm Alex and I love to make stuff! I mainly work with different metals but I also love to explore new (to me) materials and dabble in woodworking, jewelry, knife making, design and many more.

Hi Instructables community,

thank you very much for all the positive feedback for my previous projects. With this Instructable I'm starting a series of mini projects each focusing on a small DIY project that will take between 5 -20 minutes and only basic tools to complete.

This week I'm starting with a small modification for standard magnesium fire starters. The problem is that most are delivered with a small ball/bead chain that connects the magnesium block with the scraper/striker. This results in two problems:

  1. Each time you want to use the fire starter you have to disconnect the magnesium block from the striker.
  2. This configuration creates noise/rattling which can be negative in a tactical or hunting situation.

To address this problem I started to modify my fire starters years ago. By replacing the ball chain with a length of shock cord/bungee cord you can rectify both problems. In addition to that I replace the factory scraper with a length of quality hacksaw blade. This can not only be used as a scraper & striker but also as a metal cutting tool for every day challenges as well as survival situations.

For a detailed demonstration of how to modify your fire starter I would like to recommend you watch the embedded video.

In the coming days I'm planning to release more mini projects to catch up with my YouTube releases before publishing an all new project by the end of the month.

If you like this Instructable please fav, share, subscribe & comment. You can also check my YouTube, Facebook and Twitter sites for current and upcoming projects.

Take care & stay safe

Cheers Alex

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Step 1: Required Materials

You will need

  1. One Magnesium Fire Starter of your choice - This should be of the type with the build in Ferro rod
  2. One Hacksaw blade
  3. 28cm/11Inches of Shock cord aka bungee cord

Step 2: Tools

You will need:

  1. A pair of scissors
  2. A small hammer
  3. A Metal file
  4. A scriber
  5. A thin permanent marker

Step 3: Mark the Breaking Point

Place the hacksaw blade flat on the magnesium block and align the two holes with each other.

Use the permanent marker to mark the length of the magnesium block on the hacksaw blade.

Step 4: Create the Breaking Point

Use the scribe to create a breaking point along the marked line. Do this on both sides of the hacksaw blade.

Step 5: Break Off the Blade

Use the hammer to gently tap the blade in both directions close to the breaking point.

Carefully bend the blade forwards and backwards until it breaks off.

Step 6: Smooth the Breaking Point

Use the file to smooth over the breaking point.

Step 7: Smooth Edges

Use the file to create 90° edges at the straight edges of the hacksaw blade.

Step 8: Connect the Items

Use the bungee cord to connect hacksaw blade and magnesium block and tie it with a figure 8 loop.

Step 9: You're Done

Wrap the bungee cord around the block when not in use to avoid rattling.

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    6 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Just an addition: A tampon is the perfect match for a magnesium fire starter. It is sealed (so waterproof), strongly compressed (giving a lot of ignition material) and ignites instantly!

    1 reply
    Alex 2Qblueye81

    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi blueye81, thanks for your comment.

    You are right, a tampon is a great survival item since it can also be used in first aid to help stop bleeding and also to filter water as well as many other things.

    Cheers Alex


    3 years ago

    Dip the whole thing in melted paraphine. It will keep it from decomposing. Also is a fire starting adgent.

    3 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Pretty sure that the only component likely to degrade would be the Ferro-rod and that, only if it gets wet, especially with saltwater.

    Looks like one of those harbor freight specials? You might want to invest in a legit army issue, the magnesium is of a much higher quality and will catch a spark worlds better. cheers mate

    Alex 2Q4WantofaNail

    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi 4WantofaNail,

    thank you for reading and commenting on yet another of my Instructables. As usual you are spot on with your comment. Although not a harbor freight special I got a bunch of those magnesium blocks for DIY projects at a decent price. Since some of my projects end up with the starting products altered or destroyed I didn't feel like spending too much on them as they've to be expendable.
    When it comes to magnesium blocks for actual outdoor use I agree 100% with you to spend a little more for a quality product.
    Cheers Alex

    Alex 2Qjmwells

    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi jmwells, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I think the heat and molten paraffin would have a negative effect on the bungee cord and reduce its flexibility. The magnesium block has a protective coating as has the hacksaw blade. Thanks again for your suggestion. Cheers Alex