Author Topic: Fire with magnesium striker  (Read 10225 times)

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Offline arngmechanic

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Fire with magnesium striker
« on: February 07, 2015, 12:36:34 PM »
So I got the 8 dollar magnesium striker with the saw like blade chained to it, and I gathered some pine needles in metal coffee can and I went to striking onto a feather stick ( I say that loosely since I'm such a novice I couldn't curl the wood properly, I think it was oak) and I couldn't get anything! Not a single little bit of smoke. So I struck directly into the needles and still nothing. Could yall provide some guidance? Please?


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Offline xj35s

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2015, 01:13:28 PM »
I'm guessing you bought a rectangle piece of magnesium with a ferro rod glued on one side. If that is true then you need to scrap a pile of magnesium about the size of a quarter first. Then scrap the ferro rod sparks into that pile..
Here's a video of my way of shaving magnesium.


If you are using a simple ferro rod only Then it's a matter of getting the sparks into the finest of shavings I have started many fires using just the sparks, no magnesium, to light fires even in wet conditions. Here is another vid on that. The key is the tinder in any fire making.I use birch bark or pine for all my fires.




This is a better example of wet birch bark. I had to turn the pile to get into some finer stuff. You can make life easier with a cotton ball inside your fire prep. It will start with an empty bic flint wheel.

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Offline xj35s

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2015, 01:19:03 PM »
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline xj35s

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2015, 01:20:50 PM »
Now I'm just showing off my skillz...


pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline xj35s

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2015, 01:31:00 PM »
What knife are you using for the feather sticks? A real sharp knife makes all the difference in the world. Here are two videos of just a random branch I picked up. I shaved it down into some fine and rough shavings. It took a spark after a while.
Here I am using a fiskars x7 and a mora to make shavings.





pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline madmax

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2015, 01:39:36 PM »
ok xj35s,  I'll try your mag tech.  Because right now I hate those things.  But I'm willing to learn.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline xj35s

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2015, 02:06:25 PM »
I hate them too. A 5000 degree flame for one to four seconds trumps a 2500 degree spark for a few milliseconds though.

I had one time where I needed a fire right now and was glad I had the mag bar. very wet at 36* and shivering. mag and pine and about an hour of huddling and I was good.
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline madmax

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2015, 03:13:58 PM »
Ha ha.  Yeah.  The Krac friction fire god LetsRock carries road flares in his regular E-bag.

When you need it you need it.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
Hunter S, Thompson

Offline Duece111

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2015, 05:13:51 PM »
I carry one with a small peice of hacksaw strapped to it,i sharpened one side of the hacksaw to shave the bar and strike ferro rod,works pretty good for me
D

Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2015, 08:02:35 PM »
  OK ... hate time maybe... Hope not...Most of us know it... For fire, "Preparation", is the "key"...



According to the "6 P" rules.


Prior Preparation Prevents Pizs Poor Performance.



  Preparation is key, right?. Get your fire prep done right, & you will succeed.


 Just, "Practicing now... So you are in a situation where & when ya don't need to do it at the time, will make things easier when ya DO need to do it."   Doing it in practice in all sorts of conditions, using minimal, limited, or not so optimum materials, prepares ya for the real life times when you have less than optimum conditions & materials.


Just a thought, or two,  from someone who likes "Doin it, Natural."
 ;)


Edit: Syntax, and just to bother those who don't like seeing editing.
 ;)
« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 08:14:50 PM by MnSportsman »
I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline arngmechanic

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2015, 08:06:47 PM »

  OK ... hate time maybe... Hope not...Most of us know it... For fire, "Preparation", is the "key"...



According to the "6 P" rules.


Prior Preparation Prevents Pizs Poor Performance.



  Preparation is key, right?. Get your fire prep done right, & you will succeed.


 Just, "Practicing now... what ya don't need to do at the time, will make things easier when ya DO need to do it."   Doing it in practice in all sorts of conditions, using minimal, limited, or not so optimum materials, prepares ya for the real life times when you have less than optimum conditions & materials.


Just a thought, or two,  from someone who likes "Doin it, Natural."
 ;)
thats awesome advice! I think I'll practice a little tonight


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Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2015, 08:13:35 PM »
thats awesome advice! I think I'll practice a little tonight


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No time like the present...
Tear it up!  Practice makes perfect...
 :thumbsup:


:cheers:


 :)
« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 08:25:02 PM by MnSportsman »
I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline arngmechanic

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Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2015, 08:49:04 PM »
So I had success. But only when I shaved the magnesium onto a paper towel (viva) and then struck the ferro. I couldn't get the magnesium to catch on just dry pine needles

Offline Squall

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2015, 03:48:59 AM »
Can I ask how large your pile of shavings are?  And is it together in a tight pile, or spread out across whatever your using to catch them? 
Just a backyard bushcrafting neophyte.

Offline madmax

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2015, 07:54:42 AM »
  OK ... hate time maybe... Hope not...Most of us know it... For fire, "Preparation", is the "key"...



According to the "6 P" rules.


Prior Preparation Prevents Pizs Poor Performance.



  Preparation is key, right?. Get your fire prep done right, & you will succeed.


 Just, "Practicing now... So you are in a situation where & when ya don't need to do it at the time, will make things easier when ya DO need to do it."   Doing it in practice in all sorts of conditions, using minimal, limited, or not so optimum materials, prepares ya for the real life times when you have less than optimum conditions & materials.


Just a thought, or two,  from someone who likes "Doin it, Natural."
 ;)


Edit: Syntax, and just to bother those who don't like seeing editing.
 ;)

Good advice for sure.

Syntax. LOL. 
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
Hunter S, Thompson

Offline Duece111

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Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2015, 07:55:43 AM »
I would try using something with a bit more(not sure how to explain myself) fibre? Also ive found that it burns very fast so keeping everything out of the wind as much as possible and using a good size pile of magnesium shavings,try using some shredded bark and very small wood shavings mixed with your pine needles,that seems to work for me anyways.
Good luck
D

Offline arngmechanic

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2015, 08:22:44 AM »
Oh I didn't use a whole lot. And it was spread out


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Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2015, 08:34:52 AM »
  I would rather give a tip about using it with "natural materials", but for the sake of helping out, I would suggest that you try shaving very fine mag slivers into a pile about the size of a nickel & about as thick as one. Take a small piece of duct tape & place it over the pile & press down till most of the shavings are stuck. Flip it over & spark into the center of the taped pile. Duct tape burns. If you can do that repeatedly, then you can just put a bit of duct taps on the sides of your mag bar & you know you have some emergency fire. The tape keeps the shavings from blowing away from the wind or getting knocked about when you try to strike to f-rod down into the shavings.


  Then you can move on to trying just the pile of shavings again if ya want. BUt, remember that the quality of the magnesium in mag bars varies with each manufacturer, and you also could have just got a mid range valued one which would not perform like a better quality one, but is better than a crappy one. I prefer Doans when I can get them. ( Used to be military issue, ask your friends. Might find them in a F.A. kit in an older vehicle too. or ask your supply guys to piggyback some on an resupply order. ;) ) Coughlans is in the middle I think. Just for a couple names.


   Later on, as you go, you can start other things with just the f-rod. then just get the f-rods alone & you can stick with man made stuff like Petroleum jelly cotton balls or pads, belly button lint or the like.
 ;)


  But I would suggest that you learn other "natural" materials for your area. Things you can use, that grow around ya.
 ;)


  I hope that helps cuz it was a lot of typing if it doesn't help.
 ;D
I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline arngmechanic

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2015, 08:37:56 AM »
Yeah! That totally helps man thanks a lot. I think I'm going to have a fire filled day (hopefully)


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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2015, 11:38:57 AM »
Can I ask how large your pile of shavings are?  And is it together in a tight pile, or spread out across whatever your using to catch them?

I have always used a pile the size of a quarter, and kept it together in one pile.

Some people like to shave up a pile beforehand and just carry the shavings, but the surface wil oxidize and render them unable to take a spark. Best to keep it in solid form until ready to use it.

The best scraper for a mag bar is a slightly less than 90 degree edge. A sharp knife edge will dig in to the magnesium and can cause a wavy, rippled edge on the bar after repeated scraping which makes it harder to use. The awl on a SAK makes a good scraper for magnesium.

Offline xj35s

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2015, 11:56:17 AM »
Do you have a hard time seeing videos? or are mine that horrible/uninformative?
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline arngmechanic

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2015, 12:04:12 PM »
Yeah I don't have any kind of fast internet. My phones really slow since I'm on straight talk


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Offline xj35s

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2015, 12:21:33 PM »
Sorry about that. I should have been more descriptive.
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline arngmechanic

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2015, 12:28:10 PM »
It's alright! You tried hard


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Offline offtrail

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2015, 10:44:25 PM »
Just my opinion but mag bars are crap! Now add some cold hands and wind blowing makes for a very hard starting fire. Poor planing will  always be your worse enemy so always carry some flash tinder and regular tinder for your magnesium striker. If you do it right you won't need the magnesium...ever. Truth is all you really need is a good f rod and always carry tinder. you should always be looking for tinder as you walk and replace it  before you run out. The last thing you want to do is rely on mother nature to provide at the last second some fire prep for a very much needed fire. Think of yourself as a walking talking fire prep monster, if lightning ever hit you...you would go up in flames. A lot of times when I find some good tinder ill stop and bundle it up and tie it to the outside of my pack to be used for that nights fire...opportunity + planing = success...and a warm night.     

Offline diogenes

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2015, 11:16:15 PM »
I'm not a fan. In the time it takes to scrape up a big enough pile of magnesium you'd already have a fire going by any other means. Offtrail's 100% correct: one should always carry some kind of tinder or fire starter anyway. If one has the forethought to carry a mag stick, one should be able to make some petroleum jelly cotton balls. I've run them under the faucet and still had 'em light and burn fine.

I'm not saying the mag stick isn't a viable option. If I had to I'd use it. I'd just be cursing myself the whole time for not having something better.
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Offline madmax

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2015, 02:15:56 AM »
A little fatwood and some pine duff sure make it easier.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2015, 03:09:39 AM »
  The advice was good about not being dependent on the mag bar & other tips that were given. I agree. But I also understand when someone is asking how to do something they are unfamiliar with doing. The question was asked how to use a magbar & f-rod. Some folks ask about how to make & use a fire drill set. Folks can tell them how to do it, or show them how to do it, but that doesn't mean that they should depend on that method. Maybe they just want to know, so that they do know if there ever comes a time to do it...
 :)

  So, the mag bar & f-rod tool, like the F-rod, fire drill, F&S, matches, etc... it is just one more way to know how to make fire & have that knowledge tucked away for when you "need" to use it. Besides, I don't think we know yet that arngmechanic doesn't already know how to use other methods to make fire & just wanted to learn about this magbar type. Maybe just wanted to know how to use this particular one because not familiar with it.
 ;)


  Anyway, arngmechanic, I think if you want to use that tool to make fires, go for it. It's your path, walk down it anyway ya like...
 But, I also think that all that folks are saying is that it may not be the best for you to depend on, and you have other choices  that could be more dependable for ya. And that learning to gather along the way, if ya don't already, or carrying some other supplemental fire starting tinder would likely be a good idea.
 :)


 I am wondering if you tried the duct tape deal & if it worked for ya.
??
 ;)
I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline diogenes

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2015, 03:37:55 AM »
What Mn said above. Just so you know, no one's criticizing anyone for learning how to use the mag stick. It's right and proper to understand how to use any tool at your disposal. I think this is just bringing back painful memories of our own frustrating experiences with using the mag stick. We're venting. ;)
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Offline arngmechanic

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Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2015, 08:04:09 AM »
Actually...I don't know any other way to make fire lol. This is my first way to try to make fire without a lighter. And I figured that learning on something like this would be a good way to ease in before I jump into bow drills or Hand drills

Edit: corrected errors in grammar


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Offline wolfy

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #30 on: February 09, 2015, 08:09:19 AM »
Arngmechanic, just so ya know......if this ain't a typical B&B response-string of VERY helpful replies to your original question, I don't know what is! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Take them all with the good intent in which they were posted & you'll have the mag bar mastered very quickly and then you can move on to perfecting the next method of firemaking.
                                                                           :fire2:
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Offline arngmechanic

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #31 on: February 09, 2015, 08:10:22 AM »
That exactly what I plan to do me wolfy. I shall be...firemaster! Just kidding. But I like being warm


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Offline Yeoman

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #32 on: February 09, 2015, 08:59:38 AM »
You got some good tips here already. Scrap enough for a quarter-sized pile, duct tape (one of the best tips I ever learned), practice until it's natural and having good fine kindling ready to go.

The only tip I can add to what's been said is: When scrapping either the magnesium or or the sparck stick, do not strike down with your scrapper. Rather pull up on the mag bar/spark stick. What I mean is keep your hand with the scrapper steady and pull the hand with the bar/stick backwards. This prevents your scrapper from hitting your tinder and spreading it all over.

You've probably seen by now how fast the magnesium burns so I'm hoping you know that the piece of duct tape has to be right in the middle of your find kindling.
If you do not yet know how to make a tinder ball or birdnest it will go a long, long way in your fire making skill set. A good tinder bundle is useful for all fire making methods no matter what ignition source you use: lighter, matches, sparck stick, flint and steel, friction.
That being said, once you get the hang of a tinder bundle and proper tinder/fine kindling preparation, you'll find you can skip the magnesium scrapping step.

Two nice things I like about mag bars is the bar allows me a better grip for when I'm scrapping the spark stick. I like the wrist angle better than holding it straight.
Second is that a Coughlin's mag bar is the least expensive source I have for a spark stick. I often just pop the spark stick off the mag bar and then tape a loop of string on it for compact pocket carry.

Keep at it and let us know how you're doing and what other questions or clarifications you come up with.
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Offline xj35s

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #33 on: February 09, 2015, 09:10:22 AM »
I don't care how many other way's you have of starting a fire. This magnesium will start a car tire on fire by itself. Pretty handy to know you have THAT kind of intense heat to work with.

I want to recommend This e-bay seller for the cheapest ferro rods you will ever find. It's all I used. They are harder to strike than the dave canterbury rods, but I don't need to send hot globs of molten metal 6 feet and I prefer a longer life span.

This is a 1/2" thick by 5" long one for under$8 with free shipping. I have two of the 1/2"x6" and cut one in half for carrying in my watch pocket. The shipping is pretty quick too.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1x-Huge-1-2-x-5-Ferrocerium-Rod-Flint-Fire-Starter-Magnesium-Camping-tool-Gear-/380743948520?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item58a61b98e8

This is the greatest deal anywhere and I have and use a lot of these. 5/16"by a  little more than 3". you get 2 of them for $3.98 and free shipping. They actually come in a small envelope so it only takes a couple day's. If you scroll down on this page he uses my fireplace video on there.

It shows a handful of pine I picked up off the living room floor after Christmas and started with just the rod.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lot-2-Ferrocerium-5-16-Flint-Fire-Starter-Magnesium-Rod-kits-lighter-Survival-/150797017657?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item231c33e239
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #34 on: February 09, 2015, 10:06:40 AM »
Considering that this is your first method to try, I would suggest maybe getting a ferro rod like xj35s describes.

Here is my thinking on this. Magesium shavings, once they are shaved and collected make a great tinder. But you need to know how to find and make your own tinder that will take a spark from a ferro rod.

Remember that the best tinder is dry, flammable, and has plenty of surface area and "loft". Surface area means the individual fibers or particles are small. A pencil doesn't have a lot of surface area. But if you grind it all away in a pencil sharpener, the shavings will. More surface area means more oxygen in contact with the tinder.

Loft is another thing. If you took the same shavings and compressed them together in a clamp so that they were all pressed tightly together, you might get the edges to light but the part that is tightly squeezed will not burn easily. This is because even though the shavings have a lot of surface area, there isn't a lot of contact with the air.

So things like dry grass that is fluffed up make a good tinder. Curly wood shavings in a loose pile are good. Fibrous bark shredded and piled loosely is good. Seed fluff from cattils, dandelions and milkweed is almost too good. Dried leaves in a loose pile are good.

Also, remember that fire preparation requires a progression from smaller sticks to larger ones. The best tinder in the world won't light a log on fire. You use the tinder to light thin sticks, then have some pencil sized sticks ready. Then once those are lit, you can add thicker finger sized sticks and so on until you have a big hot fire that will light a log.

I have a mag bar testing video somewhere where I light 3 piles sitting on a 2x4 and it gets scorched but it does not light. It has low surface area and no loft so it doesn't light.

Offline arngmechanic

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #35 on: February 09, 2015, 10:08:53 AM »
Great advice! I leaned about scaling the sticks from my grandpa running a wood stove in the winter but tht really helps me with learning about a tinder bundle. Thanks!


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Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #36 on: February 10, 2015, 12:17:00 PM »
   I was out for a walk with the dogs yesterday & I was thinking about this topic and some of what was mentioned here. Gathering as ya go, "fluffing" or "prepping" what ya find & all of that.  As many of you all know, I prefer & use natural stuff just about all the time for tinder, rather than home made stuff. I just made it a habit long ago, but some folks may not have. So, as I was walking along I noticed that by habit I was ID-ing all sorts of stuff on my short walk without really thinking about it. There was dried mullien leaves & pith, birch bark, horse hoof fungus, dried grasses, pine sap & fatwood, plus cedar bark to name some of them as I walked by. All in just a short walk.


   After a while, I stopped to talk a break, so I was standing there & looked over at a cedar tree & thought, "Heck, I'll just make a short video showing just one of the ways a person with a F-rod can harvest & process some dry cedar bark to use as tinder to make a fire.". Just to share here in this topic. So using the lil teeny F-rod I carry with me, I processed some cedar bark & in about 5-6 strikes, lit it up. Realized I forgot to turn the camera on video, so I had to repeat the process & although it took more strikes, did it again, but this time on video.


I realize that many of you already know how to do this,, but there are some that don't , as this topic demonstrates. So , along with the videos that xj35s presented here, I am just gonna add this one here for "shets & giggles". LOL
 ;)


    And, for anyone who is interested, if you look around B&B you will find quite a few tips hidden around the forum that deal with these sorts of things. Just got to go and look to see what is here.
 ;)


Anyway, here is the video:
I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline offtrail

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #37 on: February 12, 2015, 03:28:37 PM »
   I was out for a walk with the dogs yesterday & I was thinking about this topic and some of what was mentioned here. Gathering as ya go, "fluffing" or "prepping" what ya find & all of that.  As many of you all know, I prefer & use natural stuff just about all the time for tinder, rather than home made stuff. I just made it a habit long ago, but some folks may not have. So, as I was walking along I noticed that by habit I was ID-ing all sorts of stuff on my short walk without really thinking about it. There was dried mullien leaves & pith, birch bark, horse hoof fungus, dried grasses, pine sap & fatwood, plus cedar bark to name some of them as I walked by. All in just a short walk.


   After a while, I stopped to talk a break, so I was standing there & looked over at a cedar tree & thought, "Heck, I'll just make a short video showing just one of the ways a person with a F-rod can harvest & process some dry cedar bark to use as tinder to make a fire.". Just to share here in this topic. So using the lil teeny F-rod I carry with me, I processed some cedar bark & in about 5-6 strikes, lit it up. Realized I forgot to turn the camera on video, so I had to repeat the process & although it took more strikes, did it again, but this time on video.


I realize that many of you already know how to do this,, but there are some that don't , as this topic demonstrates. So , along with the videos that xj35s presented here, I am just gonna add this one here for "shets & giggles". LOL
 ;)


    And, for anyone who is interested, if you look around B&B you will find quite a few tips hidden around the forum that deal with these sorts of things. Just got to go and look to see what is here.
 ;)


Anyway, here is the video:

Nice job MS I'm with you on the natural tinder collecting and using, It's what I use the most. I do however carry other homemade tinders just in case. For that fire you need now not 10 minutes later or longer. Truth is I can't remember the last time i used a lighter or man made tinder to light a fire. I do however know better then to take off in the wild without a sure way to light a fire...I'm sure you do the same...nice video!

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #38 on: February 13, 2015, 08:49:03 AM »
  I had missed this thread when it got going and was playing catch up reading all the posts and watching the videos,  some good stuff being presented here,  some not so good.

  This is not a critique in any way,  just some observations and comment based on my experiences.

  As far as fire tools go,  some work better than others,  but they are all good to have and to master,  each has it's place in a well rounded fire kit,  each has it's strong points and it's failings,  that's why it's a good idea to have and carry at least three means to get a fire going in all types of weather,  a Bic lighter or any lighter will usually give fast results,  but if it gets wet or the temps get down below freezing chances are they won't work,  matches will also give a quick flame, but are not reliable most of the time.
 Flint and steel also are a time proved fire starter, provided you have char material and it's fairly dry,  over all I prefer to trust a good ferro rod,  but if your tinder is damp unless you're using birch bark you'll need a bit more to get your tinder going.
 A decent magnesium bar will usually get the job done where other methods fail when conditions aren't quite rite,  but it takes practice to get the hang of making fine shavings from the bar,  knowing how much shavings you'll need in different situations, and where best to place your magnesium in your fire lay to get the best results,  that is best learned through practice.
 Probably the most important component of getting successful ignition is finding the best tinder you can muster and processing it to get the best out it,  MtSportsman gave a good example of that in his video above,  another good tip shown in his video (whether intended or not) is the use of dedicated strikers and scrapers,  a sharpened piece of hacksaw blade works well on a ferro rod,  a good high carbon hard piece of steel like a piece of a file makes a great strike for Flint or chert,  most awls on a pocket knife will work to scrape a ferro rod or shavings off a mag bar.
 If you have a decent quality knife with a flat and sharp 90 degree spine it will work well for shaving magnesium,  birch or cedar bark for fine tinder, and will draw sparks from a ferro rod regardless of whether the blade is high carbon or stainless,  if the spine is sharp it'll do the trick.
 One thing that I've noticed all too often in videos and stills is someone scraping bark or a mag bar, or drawing sparks off a ferro rod using the cutting edge of their knives,  I'm not saying that there's never a time when you may have to,  I'm saying it's not a wise thing to do if you value your knife,  and it's not something you should do most of the time,  the cutting edge of your main knife should be kept sharp and never used or abused when there are suitable substitutes that can be carried and used like dedicated strikers and scrapers.
 
 
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.

Offline Punty

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Re: Fire with magnesium striker
« Reply #39 on: February 13, 2015, 09:35:35 AM »
I'm not a fan. In the time it takes to scrape up a big enough pile of magnesium you'd already have a fire going by any other means. Offtrail's 100% correct: one should always carry some kind of tinder or fire starter anyway. If one has the forethought to carry a mag stick, one should be able to make some petroleum jelly cotton balls. I've run them under the faucet and still had 'em light and burn fine.

I'm not saying the mag stick isn't a viable option. If I had to I'd use it. I'd just be cursing myself the whole time for not having something better.

  While I am not a fan of the magnesium bar/flintrod, I do understand some of the advantages it has over a ferro rod. Primarily, a good magnesium bar, in skilled hands, can light tinder even if it is wet....a ferro rod just isn't going to have that ability.

  Magnesium burns at a temperature that will cause water to break down into hydrogen and oxygen. That's why magnesium will keep burning, even under water.

   So, if you have tinder that is properly, let's say "fuzzy", but wet, a ferro rod will fail to ignite it, but a magnesium bar will get it lit.

   Having said all of that, I prefer a ferro rod.
If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.
Ecclesiastes 10:10