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Pyro tools

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1 Pyro tools on Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:12 am

PalmettoArcher

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Green Horn
Even though I am relatively new to bushcraft, I have already amassed a variety of fire starting tools. I have practiced extensively with flint and steel and the making of my own charcloth using denim from old jeans. Leaning how to make the birds nest from jute twine was the most challenging part of using the flint and steel. I have heard of others having a hard time initiating the spark to charcloth, but such has not been my experience.

The second method I learned was the use of a firesteel. I purchase a used Gerber strike force firesteel from a neighbor. I experimented for weeks on end with different types of tinder rangind from cedar bark, jute, dryer lint, fatwood, cattails, and the list goes on. I finally decided that cotton balls with a light application of mineral oil would be the mainstay of my kit. I can use the oil to put on my skin, coat my carbon steel knife blades after use, and put them back in the small ziplock back and use them as tinder when need arises. A mineral-oiled cottonball will burn 3 to 5 minutes depending on size and the amount of oil remanining in the cottonball when spark is initiated. If my kindling is dry I will shred only use a small amount off the cottonball to start my fire, effectively rationing according to conditions/need.

I have also used fresnel credit card lens to start fires, and this implement takes VERY little room in a kit, but I don't feel it is suitable for a primary fire starting tool. On overcast/cloudy days it is just about useless, except to magnify my fishing hook loops so I can thread them. Again, an essential part of this old-timers kit!

Along the lines of solar ignition, I even spent a tremendous amount of time polishing the parabolic bottom of a soft drink can to work as a solar concentrator. For those like myself who are curious to know if it will actually work -- it will. It's just not worth the time and effort, but it is good bit of knowledge to have if the worst case scenario should unfold.

Fire pistons have long been a source of curiosity for me. I spent the better part of a Sunday afternoon learning the nuances of using this tool to start fires. I was lucky enough to stumble opon this systems primary weakness -- the necessity of an o-ring to seal the plunger. After initiating approximately 20 fires, I managed to break the o-ring, which I learned from the tool's owner, is common if you don't lubricate the o-ring. If you are willing to pack an additional o-ring and some silicon grease, it is a very effective and fast fire starting too. I concluded it was too much maintenance to be a part of my kit. Even as big a "gear head" as I am, I concluded this tool was just too much maintenance to be a part of my SHTF survival kit.

The next firecraft skill I am working on developing is the use of the bow drill fire starting method. I have deferred this technique for last since I planned on using my BOB knife in this learning experience. It's been 3 weeks and counting for TOPS to ship it. I saved what I perceived to be the hardest to learn method for last. In the meantime, I would welcome and hints, tips and tricks to using the bow/drill method of firestarting that might make it easier for the newcomer to be successful. Thanks all.

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2 Re: Pyro tools on Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:09 am

MtnManJoe

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Tender Foot
Thank you for that - Sounds like you have this Fire Thing pretty well covered .. heh!

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