What is a fire piston and how do you use it

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by Bishop, Jan 18, 2018.

  1. Bishop

    Bishop Monkey+++

    Ok here is one of my fire pistons and how it works.

  2. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    I have an Old Brass one I made back in Boy Scouts, works pretty much the same!
  3. sdr

    sdr Monkey+

    Thanks Bishop. I've never seen one used before. I'm impressed.
    Dunerunner, chelloveck, SB21 and 2 others like this.
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

  5. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    So is it worth the money vs. other fire starting methods? Also do you always have to have char cloth to use the piston?
    chelloveck, Sapper John, SB21 and 2 others like this.
  6. Bishop

    Bishop Monkey+++

    No there's a few other tinders you can use milk weed pods charga tinder fungus char cloth is just a lot easier to come by.
  7. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    This link has some useful information about fire pistons, as well as DIY plans for making one (including tools and parts list).

    The Fire Piston | Make:
  8. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    I haven't used a fire piston as a fire starter, nor have I used a bow drill. The question one might ask is what price does one place on the ability to reliably create fire, with minimal effort or skill. Bic lighters are cheap, and one could probably buy a dozen or more, Bic lighters for the price of one fire piston. The fire piston doesn't run out of gas, and has no flint to wear out, they will last a long time without needing parts replacement due to wear and tear.

    A fire piston, could conceivably be carried on an aircraft, as it contains no fuel / flammable / hazardous substances.

    A fire piston could perhaps be concealed as something innocuous, such as a sewing needle holder.

    A fire piston doesn't have to be store bought expensive....they seem to be able to be made with inexpensive bibs 'n' bobs available at most hardware stores.

    the .50 cal Big Boy, may make some TSA folk a little twitchy.... ;)

    5o Cal BMG Big Boy Fire Piston

    Supplementary information on fire pistons and other 'alternative' methods of fire starting. One Hundred Ways to Start Fire without Matches
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
    Bandit99, Dunerunner, Ura-Ki and 4 others like this.
  9. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I eat vegetables. My friends are not vegetables.

    Of all the discoveries that Captain Cook made on his voyages, it was the bamboo fire pistons of the Polynesians that impressed him the most.
    Bandit99, Ura-Ki, Gator 45/70 and 2 others like this.
  10. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    OK how many of you knew that you could use a fire piston to make ice... a valuable commodity when the SHTF, where are you going to get ice for Scotch, or Bourbon on the rocks?

    Bandit99, Ura-Ki, SB21 and 2 others like this.
  11. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I have made fire with pistons, sticks, bows, flint, steel-wool, batteries, potassium permanganate and glycerine, lens, a condom, thermite, still ain't found nothing as reliable, quick, and easy as a bic lighter.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018
    chelloveck, Dunerunner and sec_monkey like this.
  12. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    Be careful if you make a Piston out of plastic. The plastic can melt or hold an ember for a long time and light your pockets on fire at the most inopportune moment! Stick with metals and use or upgrade to silicone seals, or better the high temp Viton seals! Will last for ever and don't need lube!
    sec_monkey and chelloveck like this.
  13. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Let's not bicker,
    Though the bic may be quicker,
    In the field, For durability,
    Flint and steel'd not yield.
    As for using Condoms to start a fire,
    They're the best tinder for Trinder,
    Though in my experience,
    K-Y is the best accelerant. ;)
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