Start a Fire With a Hammer! (Strike Until Its Red Hot!)




Introduction: Start a Fire With a Hammer! (Strike Until Its Red Hot!)

My name is Chris, and I make things. Follow my makerspace on Instagram @makeeverythingshop And ch...

Did you know you can start a fire just by striking steel with a hammer? Check out the video below to see how, or head into this instructable for a step by step route to make fire by force (including some helpful GIFs)

Step 1: Choose Your Material and Tools

I tried doing this with several different size steels and different weight hammers. What worked best for me was 1/4” x 1/4” square bar stock. The steel I used came from home depot, and its mild steel.

I tried a few different weight hammers as well. I wound up having the most success with a 4 lb mini sledge hammer.

Your probably going to need an anvil for this. But if you don have a traditional anvil, a railroad track, or even another sledge hammer head will do fine.

The other item you will need to start a fire is something thats easily ignited. I used printer paper. ALWAYS HAVE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER NEARBY WHEN PLAYING WITH FIRE. BE CAREFUL

Step 2: Going Through the Motions

A very important part to the success of this trick is the way your rotate the steel between blows. You are going to want to rotate the steel 1/4 turn per blow. The idea here is your pushing the molecules of the material into each other from different angles, thus heating them up faster.

Step 3: Hit HARD, Not Fast

I tried to hammer steel red hot for quite a while before I finally got it, and what I learned was that speed didn't win this game, force did. At first I tried to hit the steel as fast as I could but I wound up just wearing myself out. The trick here is to hit the steel with HARD controlled strikes, and keep an even pace. As you get closer to red hot you can hit it a little softer and with more frequency.

Step 4: Don’t Give Up!

It took me over 100 tried to get the steel red hot, I am not a blacksmith, and I was learning as a went. I guarantee that trying to accomplish this will make you a better striker, so give it a try! Have questions? Ask them in the comments! Ive got this entered in the “Gif” contest, so please vote for me if you enjoyed this little instructable.

And be sure to check out my youtube channel for more cool videos!

GIFs Challenge 2017

Runner Up in the
GIFs Challenge 2017



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    18 Discussions

    Well done!

    Not sure how I would re work the old Confucius saying "man who chop own wood, warmed by same wood twice" for this but sure looks like it would fit some how. Bet your biceps get a real good work out! :)


    11 months ago


    Please don't forget to use ear protection - this is very harmful for your high frequency hearing!

    Novedosa forma! Muy bien!

    If you watch the YouTube video you can see it in real time. It takes me less than 2 minutes from start to finish!

    This is a wonderful thing to learn; emergency when out in the woods. Thanks!

    That is extremely cool. Never saw such a thing!

    The thing is it can be dangerous to strike hardened steel against hardened steel, so using a sledge to back up the steel being beaten could cost an eye.

    Excellent!!!, friction between molecules, when you put that much mechanical energy in to the equation, things start to heat up (activation energy), - the same heat factor can be introduced when you bend a piece of steel back and fourth - but it would fracture before getting that hot. - a piece of fine steel wool used as igniter with grass then tinder works well too....

    Very unique, I like it and I voted for this instructable for a great use of gifs. Nice job.

    Tent, check, sleeping bag, check, backpack, check, steel bar and mini sledge, check... wait, don't forget the rail track! : )

    Impressive, I didn't see what won the Macgyver contest but this would've got my vote

    And dont forget your anvil!

    I... ... don't... know what to say, even though I WANT to say something, 'cause this is so cool!!! Darn it, just... speechless!

    Very unusual technique, fav'd & voted for sure!

    I'm impressed!!