Sunday, 3 June 2012

Check Your Firesteel - Is The Fire Steel Striker Any Good ?

We often read in Bushcraft Forums, "What Is The Best....." and fire steels are no exception. So what is the best fire steel ?

Any bushcrafter worth his salt carries some form of firestarter, usually in the form of a ferrocerium rod (Or ferro rod) and striker, but which is the best one to use.

I recently uploaded a video to my Youtube channel - JesterBushcraft, looking at the different firesteels that I personally own and how they differ in quality, compared to price.

Whilst shooting this video I made a little discovery, regarding one of my firesteels in particular. It was a Magfire firesteel that I picked up on the well known auction site, for very little money. But having used it, found the spark to be... well, rubbish to be quite honest !

But during the making of the video, I decided to try a different striker with the Magfire and produced some dramatic differences in its performance. Now call me naive, but it had never even crossed my mind that it would be the striker that was at fault. I just assumed it was the quality of the ferro rod.

Consequently the Magfire was thrown in the bottom of a box, only to be used as a last resort should my other firesteels (Light My Fire & Firestarter) ever get lost or break.

But in a dramatic turn around the Magfire has now taken pride of place in a new firestarting kit I have put together, which includes a cheap multitool. The multitool has a saw blade with a great square edge on it and works brilliantly as a striker for my Magfire firesteel, producing a much MUCH larger spark.

The photo (left) demonstrates the type of spark you should be getting from your ferro rod.

So, I have learnt a number of valuable lessons here :

1. Don't assume that your kit is faulty or works badly... It may just be a small aspect of the kit that is inadequate. Change the weak link and you may well end up with a great piece of kit.

2. Always test your kit before taking it out into the field. If it isnt satisfactory, change it, modify it, so it works how you would expect it to work.

So when asked the question "What is the best firesteel" ? I would always say, that the firesteel is only as good as the striker used to create the spark.

Bushcraft is all about getting out there and trying new skills, learning from your mistakes and discovering new (more efficient) ways of surviving the great outdoors.

Thank you for your continued support and please do comment or add any advice you may have.