Author Topic: Flint and Steel Question  (Read 2127 times)

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Offline Anubis1335

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Flint and Steel Question
« on: April 07, 2013, 09:43:32 AM »
Yesterday, i went to the medieval fair in Norman.  Pretty cool place.  They have some forges set up so i went and watched some guys do some metalwork.  I ended up buying a flint and steel...never used one but have seen many of yall use them with great success.  Anyway, all i can get is flakes from the flint.  Like when i strike the rock its like im knapping it.   What am i doing wrong?.
OINK!

Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Flint and Steel Question
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2013, 10:54:22 AM »
  Anubis,
   I am guessing here, without seeing the "technique" you are using, but I think you may be striking the rock too directly. You actually want a "glancing" type blow regardless of whether you are striking the rock to steel or the steel to rock. I might suggest that you try the rock to the steel method first, and in a slightly darkened room, to help ID when you do get sparks. Think like you are trying to use the sharp edge of the rock to glance or chip a small piece of steel from the steel you are striking. Make sure the edge that you are using to hit the steel is a sharp edge, not a dull one. The angle you are trying to get when you strike could be described as trying to make a fine feather of wood off a feather stick, but real fast, rather than cutting with a firm pressure like to make a notch... or perhaps, like when you are trying to sharpen a stake with a hatchet, the blows are quick & deliberate. I can't seem to think of a better way to describe it right now. The reason I suggest the rock to steel first is that you may be able to learn faster/better the angle you want. Then just reverse that action using the steel to hit the rock....


I don't know if that is a good enough description or not. I would like to add that concentrating on getting sparks first, before trying to actually light something like charcloth will help your striking form, since you will be concentrating on just getting sparks & not on trying to direct them to the 'target' at the same time. Much like practicing a golf/tennis swing or baseball bat, before actually trying to hit the ball...Then once you get good at making the sparks... then you can learn to direct them to the 'target", no matter which way of striking you decide you like the best.
 :)


   I hope that helps without trying to refer you to a video. I am surprised that the ones who sold you the set, did not try to show you a good technique before you left them. When I give folks a set to practice with & take with them, I work with them a bit to help get them to make sparks, before they leave. Anyway,I am sure that a few of the others here will offer more tips, & perhaps better ones. Saying & doing things "in person", for me, is much better than trying to describe. I don't think I am all that good at describing things sometimes...





   BTW...Don't get frustrated, keep at it, once ya get the hang of it, it gets easier. You just need to practice it until it is just second nature. like riding a bike... once ya do it, you'll likely remember how to do it for life.
I actually carry a set with me most of the time. If not the set, at least a striker. To show others, to use, or just to check out a likely candidate for a good rock to use... But , of course, I am a strange man.
 ;)


Good Luck & keep at it.
 :thumbsup:
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 Anubis1335

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Re: Flint and Steel Question
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2013, 12:38:11 PM »
cool man.  im sure my technique sucks.  ill keep at it w the methods you suggested.  i couldnt pass up a freshly forged flint striker for $5.  and i always like having multiple fire skills. 
OINK!

Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Flint and Steel Question
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2013, 12:47:21 PM »
Good! The more knowledge & skills the better.
 :thumbsup:


Good price for that striker too.
 :)


Just remember,glancing type blows/strikes. Another reason I suggested you strike the stone to the steel first is because you are less likely to break off chunks of your flint as you described, by doing it that way first. Rather than taking the steel to the flint & knocking off chunks of flint when ya don't want to. Lil chips will happen usually, no matter what.., but try not to knock off bigger ones.  But, lil chips are the best way to make a sharp edge anyway. Saves on the stones "useful life", & easier to hold a bigger stone than a lil one too.
 ;)
Then once you get the "angle" down, you can change over to the other method.
 ;)


Do it whichever way ya like , of course, as it was just a suggestion.
 :)


Good luck! It is my favorite way to make fire. It is a good skill to learn well. 
 ;)
« Last Edit: April 07, 2013, 12:54:23 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 Trekster

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Re: Flint and Steel Question
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2013, 12:49:42 PM »
It's almost a scraping movement that you want.

Try not to beat your flint to smithereens, haha.

Good luck! Keep trying!

PMZ
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Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Flint and Steel Question
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2013, 08:09:52 AM »
Any success yet, Anubis1335?
:)
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 hunter63

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Re: Flint and Steel Question
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2013, 08:55:52 AM »
I am kind of intrested on results as well, "flint and steel" is my favorite as well.

It is possible that the striker was the proper kind of steel or not tempered correctly.

Anyway I thought I was the only one that carried a "striker" around with me, ....LOL,,,even though it's just a broken piece of file that has been ground down.

Working on roof tops that have the big gravel to hold down the rubber bladder, lot's of found rocks that spark.
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Offline mac

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Re: Flint and Steel Question
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2013, 06:11:59 PM »
here is a pretty good video of F&S.


Andrew price does a great series.

see you on the trails...

Offline buzzacott

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Re: Flint and Steel Question
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2013, 08:55:11 PM »
@Anubis1335 it takes practice.

For the record, using quartzite you need a sharp edge and need to strike the steel at around a 35-40 degree angle. Strike from the wrist, not the elbow, and for more sparks, add a bit of follow-through. As others have said, don't just smash the edge of the steel onto the rock or you'll start to fracture or knap it.

With flint, it's a bit easier, but you have to get the angles right.

Try to get the striking down-pat before trying to add charcloth to the equation. Practice makes perfect :)
Don't kill unless for the pot. Don't fell a green tree for a pole if there are dry poles nearby. Study the bush, learn to read its secrets; watch the mason fly building and go to the ant for another lesson... then you'll realise the bush is your friend.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Flint and Steel Question
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2013, 09:15:59 PM »

With flint, it's a bit easier, but you have to get the angles right.

Try to get the striking down-pat before trying to add charcloth to the equation. Practice makes perfect :)

I can testify to this! I picked up a flint and steel for the first time in about 60 years last week. Getting the angle right was the key. After feeling like I was banging two rocks together a half dozen times, now I'm getting consistent sparks.
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Flint and Steel Question
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2013, 11:21:51 PM »
Glad to hear the new kit is working for you OP! :thumbsup:

It's pretty rewarding to get a fire with flint and steel so I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Flint and Steel Question
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2013, 11:27:07 PM »
Glad to hear the new kit is working for you OP! :thumbsup:

It's pretty rewarding to get a fire with flint and steel so I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Good weather now, so I can fire up the coals and get some char cloth made.
The more I understand, the less I know. Pretty soon I'll understand everything, and know nothing.