This instructable will introduce the basics of starting a fire by method of Swedish FireSteel. FireSteel easily ignites damp tinder with a spark in excess of 3000 degrees Celsius (5500 degrees Fahrenheit). This method of fire making is also beneficial when on a prolonged outing as a continual source of matches or fluid would not be available.
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Step 1: Get It!
To create a flame we will need only three very basic items:
- fuel (in this case a stick of oak)
- a knife or scraper of some type (this is only needed if you plan to use wood as a fuel)
- Swedish FireSteel
My FireSteel is made by Light My FireLight My Fire. This is the same company which created the original Swedish FireSteel for the Swedish Department of Defense.
Step 2: Shave It!
For tinder we will be making wood shavings. The texture of our shavings will not be quite as fine as sawdust but our intent is to create as "fluffy" a tinder as possible. "Fluffy" tinder traps the oxygen in the air between its particles creating conditions suitable for combustion even if the shavings are from damp wood.
This tinder is procured simply by rubbing the blade of a knife perpendicular to the grain at a 90 degree angle to the surface of the wood. A handful of shavings is more than adequate for making a simple fire.
This is the easiest and most readily available source of tinder, given that you have wood.
Step 3: Spark It!
Gather the tinder on a dry surface in a mound.
Place the end of the FireSteel at the base of the mound as to help direct the sparks into the tinder. The striker on the lanyard has two unique features. Because the striker is stamped, the edge of the embossed side is rounded (the top), and the back side has a resultant burr (the bottom). As long as the "up" logo is facing towards you, any edge on the striker may be used (the serrated side seems to roughen up the FireSteel). If you do not want to bother with which side of the striker has the burr and you do not mind dulling a blade, the slicing motion of a knife seems to do the trick. If you are experienced, you can get it on the first try ( I have yet to do this). If not give it a few more tries then rearrange your mound or add more tinder to increase your chances.
Step 4: Ignition!
I find there is nothing quite as rewarding as making such a primal necessity as fire without aid of lighter or match.