Start a Fire Using a Flint Sparking Tool

Discussion in 'Survival Articles' started by survivalmonkey, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. survivalmonkey

    survivalmonkey Monkey+++

    Look toward the base of trees, under dead falls, etc. for the driest stuff you can find. Pine stumps are the best because frequently they will be so loaded with pitch that they will light even in wet conditions.

    If there is no dry stuff to be found, find a dead fall, dead branch, etc. and either split it open or hack at it until you have a section that is dry.

    As you are splitting this open, you will find ample opportunity to select relatively dry splinters and smaller sections of wood. Set this aside until later.

    Find a place that is sheltered from the wind/rain/etc. and shave bits from your dry section of wood. I like to start big and then work my way smaller.

    After you have developed some kindling, take the driest piece of wood you can find and scrape it perpendicular to the grain. What we are looking for here is soft, light fine wispy stuff

    Continue until you have a pile about as big around as a silver dollar and about 3/4 of an inch high. DO NOT SCRIMP AT THIS STAGE!

    Make a little Tepee with your other kindling. Move from small to large. At this point the small should be shavings, then toothpick sized pieces, all the way up to chop sticks.

    Make a little hole in one side of your pile and in front of that, put your little pile of downy tinder. Preferably, this will be on a piece of bark or something and it will be sheltered from the wind.

    Place the tip of your fire starter (Blast match, Swedish or BSA) just in front of your tinder pile and strike. Once it catches, push it quickly into the Tepee.

    Blow gently, and watch as blaze erupts.

    Note: Every time I have taught someone verbally how to build a fire like this, they nod and smile and look at me like I am an idiot. Then, I let them try it. I have NEVER had someone get it on the first try. Why? They are too lazy. They think that 30 seconds of prep should be enough. If it is wet out, I could see 10 minutes or more of prep.

    Tip: If you are having a hard time getting that fine downy tinder, try holding your knife on a hard surface (spine down) and PULL the wood across the edge. This also will work well with the sparker if you are having trouble (knocking your tinder pile over, etc.)

    chelloveck and Tully Mars like this.
  2. DMGoddess

    DMGoddess Monkey+++

    Thanks for the tutorial. I have one of the Swedish type, and the first couple of times I tried to start a fire, I had trouble getting a spark. After I got a spark, I had trouble getting the tinder to light. FYI, carrying a few tampons (yes, I know it's weird) would make it easier. I have no trouble getting a flame started in cotton from a tampon.
    chelloveck and Tully Mars like this.
  3. Troy brownrigg

    Troy brownrigg How my next home will be constructed!

    In the winter time use a flint to start your fire place. Practice in perfect conditions.
    chelloveck and Tully Mars like this.
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    That is indeed the plan for this week.
    chelloveck likes this.
  5. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Place a piece of lamp wick 'under' sparking bar.

    Then you'll have a glowing wick, so - no hurry for starting your tinder on fire.

    Better than char cloth, as it isn't the least bit fragile....
    chelloveck, Tully Mars, Hanzo and 3 others like this.
  6. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Use an older wick that you have replaced from a lantern. The residual kerosene makes for a hot flame.
  7. vonslob

    vonslob Monkey++

    When you try to make spark with a ferro rod it helps if the striker is made of high carbon steel. I think that i throws off more and hotter sparks. I make char cloth using old blue jeans and i always carry cottonballs mixed with petroleum jelly. Pine moss (old mans beard) catches a spark well but it has to be really dry. If you use natural tinders the material have to prepared well if you want to catch a spark.
    chelloveck likes this.
  8. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    I actually carry a short length in my wallet along with a brass Sparklite. But to me, the cotton filler cord (craft store) works way better. Especially if you get a 3/8 inch+ diameter one. Once you char it, it will take the smallest spark, even from flint and steel. And you will get a large very hot cherry like at the end of a cigar.
    chelloveck likes this.
  9. B540glenn

    B540glenn Should Be Working Founding Member

    I usually have char cloth in my tinder pouch. It takes a spark nicely and burns hot.
    SB21, chelloveck and BTPost like this.
  10. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Welcome back to the tree...though you probably never left it...just sitting and watching the $hitfights happening in the lower branches...nice to see a silverback make their presence known. (y)

    and necro-resurrecting a thread that is worth revisiting again after a long period of dormancy.
    Brokor likes this.
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