a little fire problem

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Dec 2, 2007
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ok so i am getting frustrated. i jsut spent 20 min making nice thin pig tail like curls of wood. very thin. tot he point where is would almost roll up on top of itslef and be like a cylinder. now i took my sak and enzo and took them to my ferro rod. and this was a decent size pile of shavings. but i couldnt for the life of me get it to catch. i try to use jsut wood like i would if i was out camping. so any suggestions on how i can get my fire going better? it is jsut bugging me. i was thinking dead pine needles underneath but i thought such thin shavings should be good enough. guess i was wrong :mad: and am i the only one who cant get a spark from 1095? my shiv and mora and old timer wont send a spark off the spine if their lives depended on it.
 
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Nov 16, 2007
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you might try using the saw on the SAK to make some fine sawdust that will help catch the spark until the wood catches. This is if you dont want to use dryer lint or Petrolium jelly soaked cotton balls...
 

Brian Jones

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Also, when you throw the spark, hold the knife steady and pull the rod back against it, instead of flicking the knife forward towards the tinder to get the spark. It has a tendency of blowing out any spark before it gets a chance to go to work on the tinder if you flick the knife forward.
 

lmalterna

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What type of wood was it? Also, was the wood dry or green? A finer tinder will certainly help.


2Door
 
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hey guys so i am holding the knife steady. and the wood is dried out. hard to cut with a folder. here is jsut a quick example i did with my mora.



so i can do thin curls of thick curls. i jsut dont get it. adn there was no wind blowing at all either. and im not sure what wood it is. jsut random stuff i found driend in my yard. has been there for a few days. and the hot florida sun dries it out fast.
 
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Sometimes I have gotten curles to light and sometimes I haven't. Fuzz sticks are more meant to be used after you lit your tinder. Use dry grass, dry crushed leaves first or PJCB's, then add your fuzz sticks after you got that lit.
 
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hmmm really? i thought fuzz sticks were meant to startt he fire, using the curls as tinder...i never knew it was meant to keep the fire going. ill have to check it out and try what you said. thanks for the tips tonym and everyone.
 

Brian Jones

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The photo shows pieces that are too large (actually wide) to catch properly. You need to have thin, wispy tinder, with lots of airspace flowing through. Then you gradually move to bigger pieces, such as what you showed us here. Good fuzz sticks are best made with smaller thinner sticks so that the fuzz is more of a hair instead of, say, a potato chip (trying to come up with a description of yours as best I can).

For example, if using a cotton ball or 0000 steel wool needs to be pulled apart into wispy strands loosely held together so that the air flows right through and the strands are small enough to catch via spark.
 
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When I do it, I shower the sparks. I throw like 50 scrapes. I burnt a whole rod in a weekend once to getting it down. Practice practice practice!

YOU CAN DEFINITELY START A FIRE WITH A FUZZ STICK!
 
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Take the curls that you made, lay one of them on a rock and beat it with another rock or the back of an axe until they split apart into fibers. Take the fibers and rub them back and forth in your hands for a few seconds (10-15) until the individual fibers "fuzz up". Or, go find yourself from fatwood and start over - much easier. Most people that have difficulty with firesteels start with inappropriate tinder. It is more difficult (though not impossible) to start curls as big as the ones posted in the pic.
 

Brian Jones

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When I do it, I shower the sparks. I throw like 50 scrapes. I burnt a whole rod in a weekend once to getting it down. Practice practice practice!

YOU CAN DEFINITELY START A FIRE WITH A FUZZ STICK!

To start it with a fuzz stick, first try to get the sparks to get caught in the creases between strands, closer to the body of the wood, but far enough away for the air to move through. Then they burn up towards the ends. As you get better, you'll be able to hit many areas of the fuzz sticks, like up where it curls in on itself - but not every type of wood will give you that good a fuzzstick, so best to start the other way. It's a "feel" thing for lack of a better term.
 
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hmmm really? i thought fuzz sticks were meant to startt he fire, using the curls as tinder...i never knew it was meant to keep the fire going. ill have to check it out and try what you said. thanks for the tips tonym and everyone.

Again there are some guys out there that can make hair like fuzz sticks that will lite up w/ ease with a ferro rod. I will use a finer tinder and use the fuzzies as kindling
 
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Mar 26, 2007
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First of all, you are going at it all wrong. You will never be able to light those.

Instead of trying to shave/slice thin curls, turn your edge perpendicular(90 degrees) to the wood and SCRAPE it, so that you get really fine curls. Make a big pile of these, about the size of half a golf ball, and leave them fluffy. Then put some sparks on those, it may take a couple of consecutive sparks though.

As far as not being able to get sparks. Take a file to the spine of your knives, so that the edges of the spines are a perfectly square, sharp 90 degrees. To create sparks from a ferro rod, you are actually shaving little pieces off the ferro rod, so your spine has to be sharp.

I hope this helps.
 
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Mar 26, 2007
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Ok, so I made a quick video, hopefully this helps show you better than I can explain it.
[youtube]2jY-Qu448E0&hl[/youtube]
 
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If I'm not using PJ cotton balls I use fine shavings and scrappings from a piece of pitchwood/fatwood to catch a spark from my metal match/ferro rod. It does not catch as easily as the cotton balls but once it is lit it burns intensly. Typically I use the pitchwood and cotton balls in conjunction with each other.

Are you using the base and brace method for your fire? I have found this method to be very effective and easy to use.

Something else to keep in mind is time. In the survival courses I have taken the goal is to have a knee high fire in 5 minutes or less. If you have been imeresed in cold water that my be all you have before hypothermia sets in.
 
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thanks for the help everyone. i see what you mean by the ppeices i amde are too thick. and stingray...EXCELLENT VIDEO!!! that made perfect sense. ill be trying that tomorrow and see how that works. i jsut want a good way to get down that iwll be consistant and easy without cotton or steel wool. and brian, i understood the potato chip thing. man everyone here is right on in helpfullness.
 
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I'm glad you liked the video. I hope it helped.
I just taped it real quick, because I didn't think I was articulating what I was trying to say very well, and figured a picture is worth a 1000 words.
 
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