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#210401 - 10/27/10 02:42 PM Striking "Strike Anywhere" matches (again).
sotto Offline

Registered: 06/04/03
Posts: 450
I don't know why this is important, yet, but hopefully someone will figure it out and turn this thread into something useful.

I decided to give Diamond "Strike Anywhere" matches another try the other day (I had given up on them a couple years back because they seemed to no longer "Strike Anywhere", or even keep their fire starting material intact on the end of the stick when you tried to strike them).

At any rate, I found boxes at OSH Hardware and saw a little notice on the box front "NEW LOOK! Same Great Product" and a couple pictures of the match heads with the familiar white-capped red tip. It does look like there's a bit more of the white material on the red tip now.

Anyway, I decided to see if these "NEW LOOK" matches would strike on paper. Damned, if they don't strike very well indeed on one of those cheap thin paper plates (it wasn't a "coated" one). So I picked up a large Columbian DuraLOK Grip-Seal 9 X 12" envelope, and whammo, good striking surface. So then I tried a standard piece of Staples Multi-Purpose Printer Paper, and whoosh, instant flame.

I dunno. Who'da thunk it?

Edit: Cardboard box material. Perfect.

This could become my new life's work. ;-)

Edit: Normal business card. Primo.

Edited by sotto (10/28/10 01:48 PM)

#210403 - 10/27/10 03:33 PM Re: Striking "Strike Anywhere" matches (again). [Re: sotto]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2939
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Holy cow, somebody actually *improved* a product instead of finding a way to pad the profit margin? This is unheard of! shocked

What probably happened is that you got nice, fresh stock. The matches on store shelves can be there for ages, after sitting in a distribution warehouse.

Fresh strike-anywhere matches work well, but IME they don't store worth a darn. It's the phosphor tip that always fails first. If I have strike-anywheres in a kit, I always include the striker from book matches just in case.

Edited by dougwalkabout (10/27/10 03:35 PM)

#210405 - 10/27/10 03:42 PM Re: Striking "Strike Anywhere" matches (again). [Re: sotto]
JerryFountain Offline

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 418
Loc: St. Petersburg, Florida

"I dunno. Who'da thunk it?"

Only those who have been using matches for a long time. Denim works well also.

I am a bit confused by all those who decry matches. The flint and steel replaced the older methods instantly, and was itself replaced just as quickly by matches when they first came out. Those first matches were a no where as good as what we have today. Why some insist on going backwards, I do not know. My experience is totally different. In 50 years or so of lighting fires, I have NEVER needed anything but a match. From the high plains to the high rockies to the high arctic to a lot of low and wet places, every time I have needed a fire it was started by a match. Occasionaly one failed, but I don't recall needing more that 2. If the fire is set as well as you would for a spark lighter a match will light it quicker and more easily.

I have no quarrel with those who like to play with the other techniques, I enjoy starting a fire other ways as well. It is just that when I need a fire I always reach for a match. Some like lighters and if they work for you they are as good or better. Ferro rods and sparkers are great to back up the backup and I always have a few available. Being a gear junkie, I have lots of types and styles and am always looking for a better one. For survival they fall far behind the match and can be expected to never be used in those times.

In the field I carry a K&E match safe with strike anywhere matches in several locations (one with my stove, one on my person) for daily use. I carry another long one with REI stormproof matches as a backup. Behind that are a Spark Lite in my PSK, a ferro rod (or two) and anything I am playing with at the time. In dry climates I usually carry a penny box of strike on the box matches and use them before the ones in my match safe.

Rant Mode OFF.

The best,


#210407 - 10/27/10 03:56 PM Re: Striking "Strike Anywhere" matches (again). [Re: sotto]
sotto Offline

Registered: 06/04/03
Posts: 450

I've probably worn out at least a pair of denim jeans over the years trying to strike a "Strike Anywhere" match on them. I just can't get it to work. It looks pretty cool, though. Hmmm, maybe I wash mine too often?

#210416 - 10/27/10 05:24 PM Re: Striking "Strike Anywhere" matches (again). [Re: sotto]
ireckon Offline

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1629
Loc: Northern California
I just don't trust any matches for a survival situation. I've had bad experiences. It seems like a bad idea to have my survival hinge on how nice the manufacturer decided to play, or on what date the matches are going to go bad. I don't even want to pack matches as part of my big three. I'd rather have three ferro rods, or two lighters plus a ferro rod, or another combination. If I expand it out to five methods, then I'll throw some waterproof matches in there...maybe.

Matches are so popular because everybody knows how to use them. Why is it that people who like matches always seem to have a ferro rod as their ultimate back up? Perhaps they view a ferro rod as a reliable anchor that will work if all else fails. I surely won't use matches as my backup.

There are so many other methods that are more reliable and less moody. Ferro rods seem to be the least gimmicky fire starters and are easily my favorite. I have started fires in cold, wet conditions with a ferro rod. I'm not confident matches would have worked in those same situations. Also, with a ferro rod, you can actually test the same tool that will be starting your fires. You can test a lighter too. Unfortunately, there's no way to test the next match.

If you're reading this, it's too late.

#210422 - 10/27/10 08:17 PM Re: Striking "Strike Anywhere" matches (again). [Re: sotto]
sotto Offline

Registered: 06/04/03
Posts: 450
Well, when my back is against the wall, I go with piezo-electric lighters (a la Cricket or Scripto). But I was more than a little surprised those Diamonds would light on a piece of printer paper. I've definitely had worse luck with them on various pieces of sand paper or dry rocks, for example, having the tipping material crack off before I could get the match to light. If I do carry SA matches in the future, I will also have a dry piece of folded Staples printer paper in my wallet.

#210429 - 10/27/10 09:04 PM Re: Striking "Strike Anywhere" matches (again). [Re: ireckon]
Richlacal Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/11/10
Posts: 778
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I dip strike-anywhere matches in Good wax,& Carry them with 2 or 3 other Means of Fire.They are Xlnt,& Fail-Safe for use as,If They Fail to light,they will Still make an Xlnt Tinder w/an added Accelerant,Dual-Purpose is Alway's Good To Go!

#210459 - 10/28/10 02:55 AM Re: Striking "Strike Anywhere" matches (again). [Re: JerryFountain]
Paul810 Offline

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 1428
Loc: NJ, USA
Originally Posted By: JerryFountain
The flint and steel replaced the older methods instantly, and was itself replaced just as quickly by matches when they first came out. Those first matches were a no where as good as what we have today. Why some insist on going backwards, I do not know.

Keep in mind that, while a ferrocerium rod and striker are known as a flint and steel, they are not the same flint and steel used prior to matches.

A real flint and steel is a somewhat difficult fire starting method, as it typically requires char-cloth or tinder-fungas to catch the ember (as the sparks aren't hot enough to readily catch most material on fire).

A ferrocerium rod produces sparks that are much hotter and can readily catch a lot of substances on fire. This actually was invented in 1903, which is newer than even strike-anywhere (1898) and safety matches (1844).

For me, the advent of ferrocerium has pretty much caused the match to fall out of favor. This is because I find the ferro-rod and striker to be just as effective and more durable/weatherproff than matches, and I find matches to be less practical than lighters (which contain ferrocerium).

The other thing to keep in mind is that a typical ferro-rod and bic lighter can both start about 3,000 seperate fires. That would be a lot of matches to carry if each match can only start one fire at best.

#210463 - 10/28/10 03:21 AM Re: Striking "Strike Anywhere" matches (again). [Re: Paul810]
Phaedrus Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2841
Loc: Big Sky Country
Originally Posted By: Paul810

The other thing to keep in mind is that a typical ferro-rod and bic lighter can both start about 3,000 seperate fires. That would be a lot of matches to carry if each match can only start one fire at best.

I guess that's the main issue for me, too. I don't see anything wrong with using matches but generally you'll just get one fire per match at best, often less. And you can only carry so many matches on you. Even a small ferro rod will light hundreds of fires and the larger ones will light thousands. I generally do carry a ferro rod, lighter and matches just to be safe but so far I've never needed more than the rod. Still, naked flame can be an asset when the chips are down so I don't anticipate ditching the lighter or matches anytime soon.
“I'd rather have questions that cannot be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” —Richard Feynman

#210466 - 10/28/10 03:44 AM Re: Striking "Strike Anywhere" matches (again). [Re: Phaedrus]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7415
Loc: southern Cal
That is quite true, but how many fires will you have to light per trip, or per incident? Typically if you light a fire for dinner, cook on it, and keep it going for a bit for warmth, etc., by the next morning all you have to do is coax it to life again without using a match. I always tried to use one match for one fire.

Once camped in the Arizona desert, we were able to use desert ironwood for our fuel. Not only did we have a good cookfire in the evening, for breakfast all I had to do was put the teapot on the still glowing coals - they were still perfect for cooking. We probably should have tried to make iron or something.
Geezer in Chief

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