Survivalist knife folks, a question.

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Houlahound, Nov 9, 2020.

  1. CWL


    Sep 15, 2002
    Don't use the blade edge to spark a ferro rod. Ferro rod ignition temp is 5,400°F -not what you want touching your blade edge.

    Also, only scrape-off enough of the black paint to cause sparks, ferros love to rust and exposing more surface area will only increase chances.
    comis likes this.
  2. Smaug

    Smaug Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 30, 2003
    Since we're talking about having multiple Bic lighters, I recommend the main one to be one with the long nozzle, for lighting candles or charcoal piles. They're MUCH easier to get to the bottom of a kindling cone; no need to light something, then try to stick it in there without knocking it down, having it blow out, or burning oneself.

    One thing worth noting is to protect the butane lighters from impact; they'll explode if hit the wrong way with something hard. As a bratty high school kid, I used to love to spike them on the parking lot to hear them explode. Let's not even talk about what happens if a good hot spark hits one...

    Speaking of which, that is one advantage of a ferro rod: On their own, they're super rugged and non-volatile. One of these, along with a small plaque of magnesium is a good 3rd means of fire starting. Something to practice with when conditions are good.

    As for kindling, yes dryer lint is good, if it's kept dry. Start with a bit of magnesium flakes in a dish made in the dryer lint, and then all you need is dry wood. Ferro rod (or an old empty butane lighter with the striker wheel and flint intact) will start that easily, if you know how to throw the sparks properly. It's just a matter of having a dry supply of the bigger kindling and wood ready.

    The Weber lighter cubes are awesome. I've completely retired newspaper and lighter fluid for starting charcoal grill fires now. The Weber cubes are about an inch square and they burn good and hot for a few minutes. They're about as convenient as a heating element-style starter, but with the advantage of not needing electricity.
    Houlahound and Henry Beige like this.
  3. Ben Dover

    Ben Dover Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    Military surplus ration heater tablets (trioxane or hexamine) are wonderful fire starters.

    Steel wool will catch your sparks from your metal match and burn hotter than hades.

    Sawdust soaked in paint thinner, stored in an airtight container,will work with a single spark. (Called a Jackson Hole Hotshot)

    "Fire Ribbon" sold in tubes in sporting goods stores is nothing but jellied alcohol and lights with a single spark.

    In my younger days, I also carried a 4 ounce metal container filled with #1 diesel.

    If push comes to shove, and you have sunshine, you can light a fire with prescription eyeglasses. Or a magnifying glass. (Don't use a rifle scope. you could damage the reticle)

    Another little trick is to get the priest/preacher/rabbi to save several o the little 2-3 inch stubs from the altar candles. They burn well and what the heck? They are already blessed for you.

    (And, of course, if you have access to military equipment, a thermite grenade will light Anything!:p)
  4. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    Since most of my camping over the years has been off the back of a motorcycle, I have relied on the Desert Candle: cut the top off a beer can with your big survival knife, or with the scissors on your Micra. Fill the can about 1/3 to 1/2 full of gasoline, being sure to leave enough in your gas tank to ride to civilization in the morning.

    Build your fire around the Desert Candle. Light the gasoline and wait. It will burn for a good long time, enough to dry wet wood and light it.
    Ben Dover likes this.
  5. Houlahound

    Houlahound Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 2, 2017
    I have heard of guys shooting bullets into whiskey to try start a fire and a guy I know used his vehicle battery shorted out with fencing wire cause sparks - it worked but the battery went flat and he waited a day or two until someone driving along the same track happened to stumble across him.
  6. Velitrius

    Velitrius Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 3, 2000
    I got Bic lighters, and a couple boxes of those windproof waterproof wax match jobbies.

    For tinder I use Fire Plugs from Procamptek USA. 8 bux gets you enough to light several dozen fires.

    They'll light easily with sparks from a ferro rod, so I have one of those in my kit as well.

    But I won't be swatting at the ferro until one of the Bics or matches doesn't get it done anymore.

    And I don't strike it with a knife. With the rod on a keychain is a little sharp edged rectangle of steel that I use for striking.
  7. Weiss


    Jan 3, 2007
    Air Force survival instructional films taught me to bring a disposable lighter. And Snickers.
  8. Houlahound

    Houlahound Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 2, 2017

    I Know of other millitary training suggesting Snickers etc. The more I learn of millitary survival tactics the more outdated the millitary sound.
  9. Weiss


    Jan 3, 2007
    Well, I was in high school AFJROTC at the time, so I assume things have changed since then, long ago....
    Houlahound likes this.
  10. MolokaiRider

    MolokaiRider Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 13, 2017
    I’ve had good luck using cotton balls too.

    I smear two cotton balls in petroleum jelly, then use a small stick to push them into a two inch piece of plastic straw (cut to size). I then heat the straw and crimp it shut on both sides. I make a bunch of these, and scatter them all over the place. Backpack, sheaths, glove box, ruck, med kits, etc.

    Make a tinder pile, cut open a straw and put the two greasy cotton balls in a nest of tinder. A couple sparks off the ferro will get them burning, and they will burn for a pretty decent amount of time.

    Works for me anyway.
    Smaug, barleywino, Quiet and 5 others like this.
  11. Mikel_24


    Sep 19, 2007
    The more this thread progresses... the more interesting it gets. Road flares and later on Thermite had already been mentioned... Home-made nuclear devices are just a couple pages ahead...

    I don't remember the last time I made an open fire (unless we count BBQing for a meal), because I 99% of the time I wander well above the tree line. And the remaining 1% is in Natural Parks where open fires are not allowed. The truth is that I only need to ignite the stove of choice, so any form of spark is usually all I need.

    Great ideas everyone!

    Next thing we will surely be discussing is... where to carry all the different devices/gadgets... because if everything is in your pack and you lose it... is going to get interesting!

  12. Houlahound

    Houlahound Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 2, 2017
    The biggest load I carry is water, the rest is optional for me.
  13. midnight flyer

    midnight flyer Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    I don't distance hike anymore, but loved it when I did. I live in Texas it's so much of state is dry that you are not allowed open fires. Back in the 60s, 70s and 80s, yes. But years of back-to-back drought and knotheads tearing up live trees to burn wood like they saw on TV damaged so many trees that the Park Service stopped it. You can still build fires in the parks in designated areas only and you bring your own wood. Hiked a few parks in California... what a treat! The Yosemite high trail still my favorite.

    But even back in the 80s CA didn't allow open fires unless supervised by a CA park employee. With that in mind I became one with my MSR stove. Gas powered, just about anything would light it. But as a backup, I made two different sealed bags in a FoodSaver that had really flammable tinder and a new Bic.

    Betcha I carried those sealed bags for ten years and never used them! With my gear in stow bags and a waterproofed pack, my stuff just never got wet. With the park approved folding gas stove, I never needed tinder.

    But I was ready!

    Smaug and Houlahound like this.
  14. barleywino

    barleywino Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 11, 2020
    20201110_031400.jpg Jute twine pulled apart so that the fibers make a nest. Calcium carbide chunks (miners carbide for carbide lamps, available from Karst Sports or Amazon), pea sized, stored in a watertight container, just add water to a few chunks to generate acetylene, burns with a steady flame, especially in the rain. Used to use for caving back in the day, but nowadays most cavers (including myself) prefer electric headlamps. (Carbide cap lamp pictured above is Baldwin lamp, 1906)
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020
    MolokaiRider and Quiet like this.
  15. Houlahound

    Houlahound Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 2, 2017
    Okey dokey - just found out some guys carry tampons for tinder. Now I know too much.
    Smaug likes this.
  16. eveled

    eveled Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2016
    I like this idea a lot. Petroleum jelly is good for first aid too.

    The sharpening choil on this knife is just right for striking a ferry rod. The wood handle can be scraped and used to start a fire.
  17. d762nato

    d762nato Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 16, 2009
    Yes the cotton balls in pg in straws works great, I believe I've seen them called fire straws. You could get one of those big straws and pack it full and really have something that would burn for a long time. That fero rod is nice too.
    eveled likes this.
  18. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I tend to be ready too.... and ready is all it amounts to in most cases. I sometimes chuckle at being "ready". But that one back country injury event probably makes it all worth it. A lot depends on the areas you hike or frequent in terms of fires. Here in TN open fires are generally allowed in the State Parks, but not the National Parks. Years ago part of the fun was to build a small fire out in the woods and enjoy it. Doesn't happen much anymore (or almost never). A Bic lighter always goes with me along with generally two forms of matches in a sealed ziplock bag. I generally have at least one empty gallon sized zip lock and a garbage bag with me as they come in handy.
    Smaug likes this.
  19. Lee D

    Lee D Basic Member Basic Member

    May 27, 2013
    For everyone carrying Bic lighters in bags/organizers, one trick I came up with to keep them from running empty is an o-ring under the button to keep it from being depressed and emptying out your lighter.

  20. barleywino

    barleywino Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 11, 2020
    Who makes that wood handled ferro rod w/ thermometer?

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