If you have the right tinder, and the right rock, and the right piece of steel, this is easy.
Flint & Steel & Carbon
#9 of 100 Ways to Start Fire without Matches or Lighters. Striking a freshly found and broken flint-like Rock with an old putty knife onto ash cloth for a one strike fire start. ( Grey-Grey, an especially affectionate and curious cat, insisted on getting front and center. I caught her tail on fire, but fortunately quickly put it out without her being hurt. But, uh, I guess that settles the questions about cattail fluff as tinder.)))
A simple Flint & Steel Fire Starting kit pictured above, contains a hand-full of Chert, one of a family of rocks that fractures with a Conchoidal edge is a common and effective rock used as the flint.The steel striker is made from a piece of discarded High Carbon Steel saw blade set and glued into a slotted piece of scrap pine. The striker must be HCS because it is the carbon that actually provides along-lasting friction spark when knocked off the striker when struck against the flint.
Char cloth is essential for catching the spark from striking the steel against a sharp edge of the flint. It is easily made at home. I provide detailed instructions and videos of how to do this at my other blog link below. The shelf fungus pictured is a natural alternative to char cloth. And finally, the kit includes a piece of Jute twine tinder to produce flames once the char cloth ember is transferred to it. Any number of tinder materials will work, but I like to use the jute because it ignites quickly and is a readily available and inexpensive material I like to use when teaching how to get flames from a small ember.
Primitives used Iron Pyrites and similar stones as strikers to make sparks. It is the high Sulfur content in these stones that sparks as does the Carbon in a HCS striker. The frozen and mummified five-thousand year old remains of Otzi the Iceman found in the Alps, carried a pouch containing bits of Iron Pyrites and Mushrooms, obviously for fire starting. It is more difficult to start a fire using this method, but I will demonstrate how to do it in a future post. Meanwhile, you will be amazed at how easy it is to make fire with common materials shown here.
Char Cloth is not hard to make. You almost have to have it, or other types of char or special fungi tinder, to make fire this way. Given the right materials and proper technique, it is among the easiest and most reliable methods. It has been used pretty much forever.
Soooo, Flint & Steel Fire Starting can be very easy, if you have the right stuff and know how to use it. Many times I get an ember with one strike. With a little practice anyone can quickly make fire this way. Learn the details and view clips at the following live link as I accidentally set our curious cat’s tail on fire during the video.