How to use a Flint Striker
First off I am going to
show you a quick way to make char cloth since that is what we will use as
tinder. You could use also fungus, cattail fluff, cedar bark, or a variety
of other things. Test what is in your area for a good tinder.
This is a picture of a
square tin. The one that I use is about 8″ X 4″ X 2 ” deep.
We will put our material inside the tin to make char out of it. Again, a
variety of materials can be used including cattail down, lint, and cotton
cloth (Old jeans work well)
The above two shots are the
piece of denim that we will be charring. I use a piece about 1″ X
2″ personally, but you can really make the cloth any size you like.
Next the top goes on the
can and into the coals of the fire. Usually I do many pieces of char cloth
at once, but for this demonstration I only made one. Because of that it
only took about 2 minutes for the cloth to char. By that time the
tin was red hot from the intense coals. Since I shot this series at night
for effect, you can see that the fire is very hot. The second picture
below I turned off the flash on the camera so you could get a good look at
the coals. I love that picture!
Take a good look at the 3rd
picture below. One of the things that you need to do with your tin is to
put a small hole in one end. This allows the smoke/steam to escape while
the cloth is charring. If you don’t have this hole in your tin you will
most likely have a small explosion. Beware! Put the hole in. If you look
closely at the 3rd picture you can actually see the smoke escaping from
Once the smoke has stopped
coming out of the hole I take the tin from the fire and let it cool for a
minute or two. After that we can open the lid and the char cloth is
finished as you can see below.
Once we have our tinder we
can put together our materials to get the fire going. In this instance I
am going to use what is locally referred to as “Giant Ragweed”.
It has many small twigs and makes great kindling to really get a hot fire
going. You can see in the top picture the whole plant. In the 2nd picture
I have folded it in half to make a pocket to accept the charcloth tinder.
Below are all of the
materials laid out for you to see. I have the char cloth, a “metal
match”, and the Ragweed kindling. I like to keep things organized at
this point so I can get the char cloth quickly into the bundle once it is
The next two pictures are
the striking of the “metal match” into the char cloth and the
resulting coal. Because it was dark and we tried to get a close up the
pictures are a wee bit out of focus, but I think you will get the idea.
Once the char cloth is lit
I quickly put it into the pocket in the Ragweed and begin to gently
Below is the desired
result… In about 2 breaths the entire thing burst into flames. I would
then put this pile into my fire pit and add more kindling until it was
really going and then build my fire to the desired size.
While this is certainly not
the only way to make a fire with spark it is one of the quickest and
easiest, assuming that you have some char cloth with you. Obviously since
the char has to be made in fire you would want to make it before you
needed it and keep it in a safe place in your E-kit.
Go … Practice…
Learn how to make a “Striker” (“Metal Match or Flint/Steel)
fire. Then you will be more comfortable to leave home without matches or a
lighter. Next time we will look at a Fire Bow & Drill, an expedient
way to make fire from only materials you find in the bush.