Author Topic: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?  (Read 13202 times)

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Offline PetrifiedWood

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I know this has been discussed before in several different related topics, but I thought it might be nice to see in one place what most of you prefer when it comes time to light a fire.

The most convenient modern methods can be very effective at lighting a fire under less than ideal conditions with minimal effort and time expenditure.

But emergency "survival", traditional, and/or primitive methods can be a more satisfying way to light a fire because they often require a practiced skill set, or they employ unique and unusual tools.

We even have some folks making fire with chemicals!

It could be argued that a fire itself requires a bit of skill and could be replaced with another heat source like a liquid or gas fuel stove.

So which do you most often choose? A quick, convenient, more reliable fire, or an opportunity to test your knowledge and your tools?

For my part, most of my fires have been made using ferro rods, with flint and steel a close second, followed by a convenient bic. I have used several other methods, but those are the most common. My favorite is flint and steel, but I end up using the ferro rod more often because it will ignite the same tinder bundle that I would need to blow into flame with a flint and steel. So it is a melding of convenience and satisfaction for me. Still, the flint and steel is more satisfying when I take the time to use it.

Offline Trekster

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2015, 01:08:51 AM »
Usually if I feel the need to light a fire, it's already cold, damp, or both.
I only ever use traditional methods on nice, balmy, windfree days or to show off. haha
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Offline madmax

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2015, 03:51:46 AM »
In order of use.
1.  Bic
2.  Flint and a Steel
3.  Firesteel
4.  Match
5.  Friction

If time is not of the essence, I think the flint and steel is the most fun.  But then Crashdive pulled out some matches last weekend and I remembered how satisfying a one match fire was in doing.
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Offline NewEnglandBushcraft

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2015, 05:52:40 AM »
I guess one can say that a ferrocerium rod is more convenient than primitive methods, and that's the option I use most often. I haven't tinkered with flint and steel or hand drill (I know, I know, the shame of it all...), but that will change later this year. ;)



I have two Bics with me at all times...a large one in my possibles (the one you see in the pic was a litter find beside a trail, still had juice left and a waxed jute wrap...lucky me :D), the other in my fire kit Altoids tin (mini Bic). Firesteel is tucked away in the fire kit pouch, I'm not one for the whole firesteel attached to knife sheath idea, but each to their own. I do occasionally use strike anywhere matches, but I usually leave that to lighting my pipe.
The enjoyment for me is that I don't use "synthetic" tinders, with the rare exception of jute twine, if that counts. I prefer to use natural, gathered tinders.
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Offline Yeoman

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2015, 06:20:39 AM »
I use a spark stick mostly. Bic comes second. Matches a distant third. I gave my flint and steel and tinderbox to a kid on the Base Shooting Team last year as a departure gift when he was selected for SOF. Funny, once I mastered flint and steel, I got bored with it.
I use the spark stick almost exclusively to ensure that I do my tinder prep correctly. As mentioned above, a one match fire is very rewarding, and maybe I should start using matches more often.
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Offline treez

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2015, 07:33:29 AM »
I typically try ferro rod with a good tinder bundle and birds nest if I am not in too big of a hurry.

If I am in more of a hurry I will usually squirt some hand sanitizer on the tinder in hit it with a ferro rod. I hardly ever use a match or lighter.

Offline OutdoorEnvy

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2015, 09:25:27 AM »
My favorite is to make up shavings and feathersticks with my knife and use the ferrorod on it.  It's a blend of getting to use my knife but not take too long on the fire by using the ferrorod.  Kind of what PW said, it's the best blend of time and skill/tool use.  I like others as well but most of the time that's what I'll do.  I carry bics as well but rarely use them. 
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Offline hunter63

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2015, 10:14:02 AM »
I generally walk into the woods with just my clothes.....

Gather fire starting materials at midnight, in the rain, at 33 degrees, ...then fail miserably....then die.
This happens everytime.....so I hit reset and try again.
That what happens when its a game......

To know and practice different ways and methods with found materials....can be a obsession......BUT.

If I don't have to depend on them......they it is a fun hobby that readies you for the real thing.

Make mine easy.....
I use a BIC, match,......on a candle end or wax/egg crate/fatwood sawdust starter.
Ferro rod/PJ, cotton balls
Flint/steel char cloth
 
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Offline madmax

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2015, 10:25:10 AM »
I generally walk into the woods with just my clothes.....

Gather fire starting materials at midnight, in the rain, at 33 degrees, ...then fail miserably....then die.
This happens everytime.....so I hit reset and try again.
That what happens when its a game......
 

That's funny.  I don't care who ya are.
"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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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2015, 10:26:28 AM »
If I am cold and wet and its late I use a lighter and PJ cotton balls. 

If its warm and dry and I am just relaxing then I use the ferro rod and striker or the flint and steel.
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Offline hunter63

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2015, 10:35:48 AM »
I generally walk into the woods with just my clothes.....

Gather fire starting materials at midnight, in the rain, at 33 degrees, ...then fail miserably....then die.
This happens everytime.....so I hit reset and try again.
That what happens when its a game......
 

That's funny.  I don't care who ya are.

Yeah thanks....funny, but not so funny when you think about all the people that think like that.

Be as ready as you can, use your knowledge, and live to laugh about it.
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2015, 11:43:59 AM »
I generally walk into the woods with just my clothes.....

Gather fire starting materials at midnight, in the rain, at 33 degrees, ...then fail miserably....then die.
This happens everytime.....so I hit reset and try again.
That what happens when its a game......
 

That's funny.  I don't care who ya are.

Yeah thanks....funny, but not so funny when you think about all the people that think like that.

Be as ready as you can, use your knowledge, and live to laugh about it.

That is a quotable quote!

Offline hunter63

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2015, 12:23:11 PM »
See....Not just a pretty face.....LOL
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Offline Gryphon

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2015, 12:38:29 PM »
Satisfying!  Flint and steel first, then ferro rod.  If it is cold, wet or I just don't wanna mess around, out comes the accelerants and bbq lighter.  I do carry a metal match and a Zippo in my fire kit.
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Offline madmax

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2015, 12:42:56 PM »
Our leading friction fire expert carries a road flare in his bag.  Another loves matches, with a road flare backup.  Just sayn'.
"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 hunter63

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2015, 01:01:36 PM »
As we say around the rondy....If Jim Bridger had it (insert whatever here), he would have used it.....
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Offline madmax

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2015, 01:24:50 PM »
As we say around the rondy....If Jim Bridger had it (insert whatever here), he would have used it.....

East vs West.  'Vous or Rondy?  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!" 
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Offline hunter63

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2015, 01:32:15 PM »
Mid west.....little of both.....LOL......
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Offline woodsrunner

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2015, 01:22:42 PM »
I opt for convenience, ... materials that can be collected and used on the spot!....i find that very convenient indeed :)...woods
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Offline LetsRock

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2015, 07:51:25 PM »
I generally walk into the woods with just my clothes.....

Gather fire starting materials at midnight, in the rain, at 33 degrees, ...then fail miserably....then die.
This happens everytime.....so I hit reset and try again.
That what happens when its a game......
 

That's funny.  I don't care who ya are.

Yeah thanks....funny, but not so funny when you think about all the people that think like that.

Be as ready as you can, use your knowledge, and live to laugh about it.

Oddly enough, I think that's where Madmax was coming from. He endured similar circumstances and lived to laugh about it.

In my case, it's typically how much time, effort, what's reasonably at hand, and what the weather is like that will determine my options. I cover the whole spectrum from using a blow torch & used motor oil to freshly found primitive everything. So, a mix of both, convenience and capability. When I'm on planned leisure trips with others, quick & easy is the usual way (ie. convenience) as there's usually other priorities in the mix. I've even taught some of these others to use a firesteel and naturally found tinder as a first attempt (in reasonable weather). I guess you could say it's easier when you leave it up to someone else in the group to start the fire, ha ha. In wet weather, even the best of fire starting options can be a challenge. If there's time and I'm not too tired, I do try to regularly practice a little bit of everything (various fire-starting options) to keep the skills up (ie. recurring training) so I can work with whatever makes the most sense depending on the circumstances (ie. capability). What's more, is considering the possibility of no fire at all (ie. mentaltude) and if it ever came to it, I suppose living to tell (or laugh) about it, ha ha.

Offline offtrail

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2015, 10:46:36 PM »
Where do I start :) without a doubt I love primitive fire skills and use them more often then not. Flint & steel is a great standby when other ways fail...bowdrill. I also like and use my credit card sized fresnal lens on some tree fungus and drop that into a tinder bundle..very fun! Or Ill use the empty Bic lighter as a spark source, punk wood, tinder bundle...flame! My most favorite way to start fires is with the toy caps, it's like a magic trick. I love to hear the cap go snap then fire out of no where...magic!...plus you get to enjoy the smell of gun powder. I do carry working Bics but never use them...Talking about fire makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside...all is right with the world  :)

Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2015, 07:01:12 AM »
    To answer the OP question(s)...Satisfaction certainly for me,, but occasionally plain convenience. I prefer to use F&S with natural tinders primarily, charred materials/cloth as a backup to the natural items. F-rod on occasion, usually for testing new tinders. I do have a lighter on me almost all the time( for smokes mostly), but rarely use one to start a fire. I have used more primitive methods like the hand & bow drills, fire plow & even a mag glass/chemicals.etc. among other methods, but unless I am just in the mood to practice other methods, I primarily use F&S.


  I find some sort of personal satisfaction in testing out natural stuff gathered from around the area, & also trying to use the least amount of tinder material to get a fire going. I feel the same about tinder bundles/bird nests, and coal extenders. I really get a kick out of trying different materials & trying to make the nest as small as I can get it & still make a fire go. It is kind of a personal challenge. Even the prep of a fire & its' stages from fine/small to larger stuff is fun for me.


  I guess I think that it is fun to test & challenge myself with each fire, knowing that I can make a fire with less than optimum materials in many conditions, using less modern tools & techniques. Knowing that I could fall back on easier methods of ignition if needed. Practicing the more difficult methods until you are well versed in what to do & not to do , is a confidence builder, for sure. The mindset that you have practiced a more difficult method until it is like "Second Nature", is kind of like having a "back up" tool, if one tool fails. The more tools that you have in your head as knowledge, the more likely you will accomplish your mission/task. I think, if the task were to be to make a fire in a difficult situation & you didn't have the more "convenient methods" to use; then knowing that you have practiced the more difficult methods until you have made them "Second Nature", would sure help your motivation & confidence for you to get a fire going in that difficult time with whatever more difficult method you had practiced...


  Anyway, that is pretty much my thinking.
:)
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Offline imnukensc

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2015, 01:11:43 PM »
I'm a convenience guy.  Gimme a Bic or a match.  I use a ferro rod or a magnifying glass when I'm showing the grandson or other folks it can be done.
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Offline Punty

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2015, 02:39:03 PM »
  Never a lighter if I can help it, any more. I generally use a ferro rod.

  Haven't yet moved into the world of friction fire, but that is my goal this year....at least to get into the club.  If I have my flint and steel with me, I use that...but I don't generally have that with me.

  For the record, even using a ferro rod gives a certain satisfaction that is not there with a lighter, and it isn't really that tough.  In wet conditions, I usually use a ferro rod and gel stove, since I always have that with me, to get twigs burning.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2015, 03:54:50 PM »

  For me is about 50/50 for the ferro rod or Bic lighter,  I enjoy flint and steel for fun,  but I did it exclusively for so long it's no longer a fascination,  so if I have time and the inclination I'll do some shavings and feather curls or find some dry grass or bark and use the ferro rod,  if I'm in a hurry I use the lighter.
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Offline Mannlicher

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2015, 02:46:51 PM »
Matches are your friend.  Good ones, like the old Strike Anywhere matches, a bic lighter, some dryer lint, a few fat wood sticks, a good fire steel and striker, and you can make a fire just about any time you want to/need to.   I never trust to just one method, and carry a kit like this in all my packs and bags.

« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 05:11:50 PM by Mannlicher »

Offline brush_loper

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2015, 06:20:56 PM »
I carry a couple of bics wrapped in duck tape and a ferro rod on me.  My latest fire building has been with a flint and steel kit.





Offline Unknown

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2015, 07:30:41 PM »
I've already talked about my F&S  journey with you guys and appreciate the tips and advice I got every time I catch a spark. That is my preferred method for now. When I first started BCn it was the F rod. I went through a brief match only stage to. I have a couple K&M safes/ a long brass one for storm matches and a short one Al.  for strike anywhere. I still like matches when I feel a need to be more old fashioned than a Bic.

If not already the Bic lighter should be in a museum somewhere recognizing its design excellence. With bushcraft/survival in mind there could be a few improvements made for sure. But as a reliable EDC tool they are pretty darn hard to beat.
 
I try to have a candle piece, or pjcb, and a little fat lighter on hand, juniper bark is easy to find around here too.

What I'm trying to say is I usually go to my most primitive method first for pleasure. And also keep a minimum of extras for emergency.
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Offline Unknown

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #28 on: June 13, 2015, 07:34:21 PM »
Matches are your friend.  Good ones, like the old Strike Anywhere matches,

Hey Mannlicher, are those strike anywhere that you pictured?

Do you like storm matches?
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Offline BigHat

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2015, 10:39:09 AM »
Bic
Firesteel
Matches
Flint and steel

In that order.

I really like convenience, but like to practice alternate methods, once the fire is started.
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2015, 12:45:22 PM »
Really for a bic, a little waterproof vinyl cap to slip over the end would do the trick.

Offline Orbean

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #31 on: June 19, 2015, 11:00:04 PM »
50/50 ferro rod and bic. I carry "stormproof matches" that work well when it is windy.
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Offline duxdawg

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #32 on: November 11, 2015, 04:10:02 PM »
Satisfying for sure.

Flint (the quartzite rock) & Steel with only the striker and char brought with is my usual. Everything except the striker gathered in situ when I have the time. Not having plentiful marcasite around here is really crimping my style.  :( 

Of course always have striker, char, chert, ferro, fresnel, Bic, CBs (cottonballs in matchsafe) and PJ (petroleum jelly in an old Carmex/Chapstick click stick) EDC'd anyhow. And a couple drum liners (large heavy duty garbage bags). Almost died of hypothermia too many times to not take it seriously.

Offline duxdawg

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #33 on: November 11, 2015, 04:20:40 PM »
  My favorite is to make up shavings and feathersticks with my knife and use the ferrorod on it.
  Have you tried wood scrapings with a ferro? Are what you call shavings the same as what I call scrapings?

Scrapings are finer than the finest feathers/shavings/curls (aka curls from now on) yet coarser than dust. Optimally they are almost transparent ribbons similar to what a really sharp block plane will make by hand. Less optimal scrapings still work better than the best curls. Scrapings are made by (what else?!!) scraping any wood with the spine or cutting edge of a knife, axe, saw, rock, etc. While fatwood scrapings are hands down the best, scrapings from pretty much any wood will work.

Usually wood scrapings catch the sparks (producing flame) from a ferro in 1-20 scrapes for me. Curls usually take 20-200, depending upon the wood and thinness.

Offline caoutdoorsman

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #34 on: November 26, 2015, 12:22:01 AM »
Flint and steel is my favorite, it is the most satisfying. I use the back of my machete and a piece of quartz, with a piece of char-cloth over a shavings pile. I have a wood stove in my house so I get to practice every morning  8)

If I actually need a fire in the woods I use an Eagle torch lighter on PJ cottonballs. The torch ignites wet or green tinder, its a beast. Bic for backup, Ferro/mag bar after that.

Offline SIXFOOTER

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #35 on: November 26, 2015, 08:54:30 AM »
Depends on what I am doing I recon. If I need it fast I'll use a bic or the like.
Last trip out I used a magnifying glass, Tony and I got down to ground level and did it the old fashioned way.
Also been known to use a fire piston, flint and steel, ferro rod, last choice would be friction
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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #36 on: November 26, 2015, 09:11:28 AM »
At my age convenient is satisfying. 

I like to start with a ferro rod and striker when its nice out but when its ten below and windy I'll  take stove fuel and a match every time.   :P
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Offline MrFixIt

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #37 on: December 03, 2015, 10:21:40 AM »
It depends on the situation for me.
If I know it is about to rain, I'll use a Bic or matches to get a fire going quickly enough to get a bed of coals going. (convenient)
Otherwise, I use a ferro rod and fatwood shavings. (satisfying)
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Offline Quenchcrack

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #38 on: December 03, 2015, 05:50:29 PM »
Haven't had much of a chance to light a fire in the last few years.  The drought in Texas kept burn bans in place.  We had plenty of rain this year but I had no time.  However, I plan to light my coal forge with flint and steel this weekend.  I might bring some scout juice or magic pine cones along just in case.  My blacksmith club has a smithy in beautiful, downtown Magnolia, TX and we open it up once a month to demo for whoever shows up.  I might put a propane torch in the truck, too.
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Offline Yeoman

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2015, 09:03:29 AM »
I'll be doing fire craft at a Cub Scout Camp this weekend. For most eight to ten year old children, convenient and satisfying are the same thing. I'm going to have PJCBs for tinder and matches, Bics and spark sticks so the kids can practice with all sorts of methods. I'm going to have a BBQ lighter just in case some kids have coordination problems.


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Offline Quenchcrack

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2015, 05:19:33 PM »
So today at our blacksmith meeting, I whipped out my fire bag, took out my flint, steel and char cloth, flicked a spark on the char within a few strikes.  I put the char ito a nest of flax tow and blew.  And blew. I blew until I was blue. Lots of smoke, but no fire.  I was using flax tow for tinder and this is the first time it did not burst into flames.  Was it damp?  Cursed? Any ideas?
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #41 on: December 05, 2015, 06:04:23 PM »
Probably damp, but in my experience, tow does not ignite quite as easily as some of the other readily available natural fibers......even though it may be more 'traditional.'    I have taken to carrying a coil of the BIG macrame twine in my tinder box.  You can carry about 6-8' of it in the box in a coil and still have room for a traditional 'C' striker, a flint shard and some char.   I believe it is less prone to dampness when left in the coil, so when I want a bird's nest I take about 5-6" of it and 'comb' it out with the edge of my knife, held against my thigh and pulling the twine repeatedly between the edge and my overall leg.  The resulting combed-out jute fibers look just like flax tow, but it is way cheaper and ignites more readily.....for me.  I dun'no......your call. :shrug:
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Offline Quenchcrack

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #42 on: December 06, 2015, 05:44:43 AM »
Thanks, wolfy. When I first received the tow, it would  burst into flame quickly but it has sat in my garage over a wet summer.  Im guessing damp, too.  I have jute and hemp twine and I will try them.  I just get too lazy to take the time to prep the twine.  :-[
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Offline Draco

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #43 on: December 06, 2015, 09:19:44 AM »
I guess I'm just the opposite of most folks here.  Nothing new there.   :rofl:  If it is cold and or wet I put up my tent crawl into my warm sleeping bag and am sleeping by sunset.  Normally I will only have a fire if it is a nice enough night and I am not too wore out from the days travels.  I do somewhere in between super satisfying and easy.  Most times I use natural tinder (even though I carry other for emergencies) and will use flint and steel or a firesteel.  At times I have brought my fire piston along to show someone how it works.  I have yet to be able to start a friction fire with found wood.  I guess I just suck as a survivalist.  Then again maybe it just has never been critical enough to make me want to try that hard. 

Offline Quenchcrack

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #44 on: December 06, 2015, 11:55:35 AM »
Whoa, Wolfy!  I tried combing the jute twine with my knife blade and it separated into fibers quickly and I had a tinder ball in short order.  Thanks for that tip! 
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #45 on: December 06, 2015, 04:58:29 PM »
I guess I'm just the opposite of most folks here.  Nothing new there.   :rofl:  If it is cold and or wet I put up my tent crawl into my warm sleeping bag and am sleeping by sunset.  Normally I will only have a fire if it is a nice enough night and I am not too wore out from the days travels.  I do somewhere in between super satisfying and easy.  Most times I use natural tinder (even though I carry other for emergencies) and will use flint and steel or a firesteel.  At times I have brought my fire piston along to show someone how it works.  I have yet to be able to start a friction fire with found wood.  I guess I just suck as a survivalist.  Then again maybe it just has never been critical enough to make me want to try that hard.

Most of the people that consistently get successful results with friction are using proven materials, or are lucky enough to live in an area that has them readily available. There are a few very experienced guys that can pull it off using found materials in less than favorable conditions, but that is the exception rather than the norm. I have only gotten successful friction fire using local materials twice. Every other time it has been a lot of smoke and dust but no ember. The pinyon pine and juniper that are right outside tend to be a little on the resinous side so while they can work, they are a PITA to get going. You have to choose very old well seasoned wood (like a decade or more old standing dead wood). And you have to use every trick in the book like a little abrasive dust in the fire board, wax or other good lubricant in the bearing block, scraping the glaze off the spindle after your first "burning in" run, etc.

I could go to the hardware store and pick up a couple of pieces of poplar and have a fire pretty quick if I wanted to. But that sort of goes against the spirit of the exercise.

So today at our blacksmith meeting, I whipped out my fire bag, took out my flint, steel and char cloth, flicked a spark on the char within a few strikes.  I put the char into a nest of flax tow and blew.  And blew. I blew until I was blue. Lots of smoke, but no fire.  I was using flax tow for tinder and this is the first time it did not burst into flames.  Was it damp?  Cursed? Any ideas?

I like jute twine. It's readily available and works well as a tinder. You just have to take a taut piece and scrape it with a knife to get a nice fuzz nest.

Offline Draco

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #46 on: December 07, 2015, 09:40:09 AM »

I could go to the hardware store and pick up a couple of pieces of poplar and have a fire pretty quick if I wanted to. But that sort of goes against the spirit of the exercise.



Exactly.  And I probably give up too quickly.  On the pilot episode for Survivorman Les spent something like 10 hours trying to get an ember before it happened. 

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #47 on: December 07, 2015, 12:37:47 PM »

I could go to the hardware store and pick up a couple of pieces of poplar and have a fire pretty quick if I wanted to. But that sort of goes against the spirit of the exercise.



Exactly.  And I probably give up too quickly.  On the pilot episode for Survivorman Les spent something like 10 hours trying to get an ember before it happened.

Yep. Realistically it isn't something you can rely on, particularly if you aren't practicing regularly. It has been months since I tried to spin up an ember so I'm way out of practice. I am pretty sure I could not get a fire going using local found materials today. With nice dry poplar, careful preparation, and an ideal bearing block, I'd give it 50/50 odds. And that's assuming the juniper bark cooperates once I have an ember. There have been times the bark won't even light with a ferro rod, and times when it goes right up. Probably ambient humidity.

Offline Wood Trekker

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #48 on: December 08, 2015, 03:47:39 PM »
On most trips I use a BIC lighter to light a stove. Even when I am making a fire I use a lighter. I usually have some other goal in mind and don't have time to mess around. I've used matches once or twice too.

For fun I prefer flint and steel. I only use it when I'm just messing around and have the time. It's the most fun method for me. 

Offline Yeoman

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Re: Fire lighting... do you go for more convenient or more satisfying?
« Reply #49 on: December 08, 2015, 04:36:52 PM »


I could go to the hardware store and pick up a couple of pieces of poplar and have a fire pretty quick if I wanted to. But that sort of goes against the spirit of the exercise.



Exactly.  And I probably give up too quickly.  On the pilot episode for Survivorman Les spent something like 10 hours trying to get an ember before it happened.

I remember that one. And he was actually pretty skilled at the technique too. From what I understand, little things can be show stoppers. At one point a bead of sweat dropped off his brow and put out an ember. Mors Kochanski mentions placing materials on seemingly dry ground can add enough moisture to ruin a hearth board and drill. Lots and lots of variables.


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