Making fire using alternative means has been a dying art. But I have noticed a growing interest among some groups concerned with emergency preparedness, camping, bushcraft, and what-not. Of course, outdoorsmen, Scouts, Mother-Earthers, and what-not have an inherent interest in such things. I enjoy demonstrating various methods to groups, old and young. Shown here are some of the tools I use when I demonstrate some of the more popular methods. You may want to try some of them, too.
The first picture shows a kit that is easily rolled up into a piece of leather as pictured. At the top is a piece of fine steel wool and a 9-volt battery for use in demonstrating electricity for starting fire. Make sure the two do not accidentally come into contact or you may start an unintentional and untimely fire. I place these items in separate plastic baggies and store apart when carrying within the roll.
Next is the flint and steel kit. Shown closer is a sort of fire-makers’ multi-tool I like to use for several different methods of making fire. It is a length of seasonally shed deer antler with a point that I have slotted and embedded a piece of High Carbon Steel saw blade into for use as the striker. The antler handle helps prevent hurting your knuckles while making sparks against the sharp chert rock. The flint needs a sharp edge to spark the steel; the antler point has the right shape and hardness to be used to sharpen the flint edge when it becomes too chipped to make sparks. This shaping of rock edges is called knapping. It is the same way many primitive Native Americans and others used anciently to have shaped arrowheads.
Additionally, the antler has been drilled on one of the flatter sides to be used as a socket for the top of a spindle. The polished antler provides a virtually friction-free way to hold the spindle upright while exerting the necessary downward pressure while spinning it with the bow. Sometimes, I make these with a removable piece of steel which can be used to saw and scrape a spindle or make a hole and notch in the fire board. This one instead has the end opposite the point ground flat and sharpened for starting the fire board hole.
Some of my strikers are also drilled and threaded with a piece of para-cord or leather to which a ball of bees wax has been secured for increasing the grip of the bow cord. My kit has four varied pieces of rock to be used as flints in order to demonstrate that many types of rocks are suitable for sparking.
See next post for additional kit descriptions.
Additional Information Regarding Fire-Starting techniques at my other Fire Starting Blog, One Hundred Ways to Start Fire without Matches linked here: One Hundred Ways . . . .