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#171393 - 04/15/09 05:06 PM Demonstraion Fire Piston
paramedicpete Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
I purchased this “demonstration” fire piston (below) for future Girl Scout workshops on fire making. I received it and tried it out with a small piece of cotton that comes with the unit and had “moderate” success. I was hoping the clear plastic barrel would allow for a “spectacular” flash as seen in the video, what I observed was a barely noticeable wisp of smoke. The piston comes with a generous greasing of the insides, which ended up coating the small piece of cotton. I am going remove much of the grease; hopefully it will not negatively affect the functionality and try with different types of tinder. I am also going to give it a shot in the dark to see if a “flash” can be observed. As of right now, I am not overly impressed, but will reserve final judgment until I give it a few more trial runs.

Ebay Fire Piston

Pete

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#171406 - 04/15/09 09:18 PM Re: Demonstraion Fire Piston [Re: paramedicpete]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
I am still on the fence with these. They look gimmicky to me, even though I understand they work as advertised. I am not sure I'd pack one in my kit, as They seem to take up alot of space for something I can do with a lighter. Or, even with a ferro rod. I'd be interested to hear some actual field evaluations from you, or anyone who has used these in real world conditions.

Bill
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my adventures

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#171410 - 04/15/09 10:15 PM Re: Demonstraion Fire Piston [Re: paramedicpete]
Schwert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 905
Loc: Seattle, Washington
The ebay link is not around anymore....is the inside diameter of that piston quite large (say half inch)?

If so, I have one like it and it is very very difficult to get ingition with it. My wood versions are all about 3/8" and work vastly better.


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#171426 - 04/16/09 08:41 AM Re: Demonstraion Fire Piston [Re: Schwert]
scafool Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
Um, yeah, you need to scroll down the page a bit to the images and video of it.

They did some weird editing in the video of it I watched, so it is a bit hard to see just what the flash was.
If you can get it to ignite a bit of tinder for them (fairly) regularly, then you will have done well and given them a good demonstration about heat by compression.

Then presto, suddenly they know how a diesel motor works.
_________________________
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

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#171436 - 04/16/09 12:50 PM Re: Demonstraion Fire Piston [Re: oldsoldier]
paramedicpete Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
I cleaned off more of the grease and tried again with new cotton. I was able to generate 2 successful “flashes” each taking half-a-dozen plus hits on the piston. Most of the time I was able to generate increasing wisps of smoke. I think I will try tinder fungus and char-cloth, although my experiences with the near fire on the bedroom blanket has me a little nervous using the tinder fungus in a plastic tube, but we’ll see.

I will try and measure the opening in the barrel tonight (if I remember) and report back.

As to uses in the field, it may have potential in a larger kit, but I look at it more as novelty and education tool, just as I do my traditional flint and steel. When we go 18th cen camping, I make it a point to start all of our fires using traditional fire/steel, char-cloth and tow. Keep in mind the purpose of these methods is to generate a small glowing ember to which you start your primary tinder.

My all wood and horn pistons, work well, although for the Girl Scout workshop, I had 2 where the cap and piston separated and the thread gaskets required some maintenance. A little glue should fix the caps and bee’s wax for the gaskets. I also had one piston, which has a wooden barrel and brass piston totally lock up. In trying to remove the piston, the cap separated from the brass piston and I had to use pliers to remove the piston. I am going to take some fine steel wool and polish up the brass piston and then reglue it to the cap.

Pete

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#171444 - 04/16/09 04:06 PM Re: Demonstraion Fire Piston [Re: paramedicpete]
Schwert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 905
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Charcloth should work and tinder fungus will likely be the best (that is my experience anyway).

I use chapstick as lube...it works well and is easy to carry and not messy.

Good luck, the compression demo is a good way to learn.

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#171449 - 04/16/09 04:36 PM Re: Demonstraion Fire Piston [Re: Schwert]
paramedicpete Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
I suspect they will work, perhaps only too well wink. One big difference between the regular fire pistons and the demonstration fire piston is where the “tinder” is placed. As you know from your own fire pistons, the tinder sits in a small depression at the end of the piston and can be easily dislodged into your fire bundle. With the demonstration fire piston, the tinder simply sits on the bottom of the barrel, I am fearful that the tinder fungus and/or char-cloth will catch and be near impossible to extinguish causing the bottom and lower sides to melt shocked. Oh well, we’ll see soon enough grin.

Pete

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#171451 - 04/16/09 04:40 PM Re: Demonstraion Fire Piston [Re: paramedicpete]
Schwert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 905
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Oh that is interesting placement of the tinder. Maybe make a long "pick" out of wire to pull it out. I bet you could smother any intense glow with a reinsert of the plunger.

It should be fun no matter what though....just don't take your bedspread in as a table cover grin

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#171583 - 04/18/09 12:27 AM Re: Demonstraion Fire Piston [Re: Schwert]
RobertRogers Offline
Survivor
Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 198
I think like anything they take practice. If you were to use it for a year it would become second nature.
_________________________
FireSteel.com

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