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#194718 - 01/31/10 05:26 PM Doan Magnesium Firestarter
Pharaoh Offline

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 49
Loc: The Hague, the Netherlands.
Hi people,
I'd like to share a thing or two about the Doan mag bar many of us have stashed somewhere in a drawer in the attic. Admit it. We nearly all have one and it's been collecting dust for a long time...
First off, I, like many others didn't use or carry it because the shaving part was tedious. Also there were wind issues blowing your tinder all over the place. And then after all the hard shaving work when it does light it goes FAST. Often too fast to get the kindling going.
Well, apparently we've not been doing things right and have not thought things thru.
After someone showed me an alternative method, i'm a believer again.
Instead of trying to shave by cutting into the magbar without getting much tinder and often mutulating blade and magbar in the process, try this...
Shaving should be done with a sharp knife held down stationary, cutting edge up! Slowly, whith light to moderate pressure drag the magbar at a near 90 degree angle over your knife edge. Without much effort you'll get pretty curls of mag fast! Did I mention it works FAST this way, with almost no effort ?! laugh The difference doing it this way is HUGE, both effortwise and yieldwise.
When you think you have enough mag keep your knife where it is (i.e. do NOT move it) and turn the magbar over and drag the sparking insert over the knife edge, igniting the mag-shavings (AND your flame extender, read on..).
This way the tinder is more protected against windy conditions.
Now, to keep the whole affair a truly waterproof system a waterproof tinder or two should be added as a flame extender! Do that in this fashion: your magbar can and should be kept in a piece of bicycle inner tube about as long as the bar itself is, maybe a little longer. Make holes in the innertube so the ball chain fits thru and is secured in this way. This rubber is excellent tinder in extremely wet conditions and takes flame from magnesium very well! Cut small strips off, it doesn't take much and burns long and hot.
Also, drill a hole in a piece of fatwood, also about as long as your magbar or a little longer and hang that on the ball chain as well. Shave some fatwood the same way you did the magbar, again, it doesn't take a whole lot. (You could add a small keychain folding knife to the whole affair so you won't have to use your main blade and also to have a compact complete system)). Now you have a failproof lightweight firelighting system specially suited for very wet conditions.
Give it a go, you will thank me later!

-Smile and the world smiles with you. Fart and you stand alone-

#194719 - 01/31/10 06:29 PM Re: Doan Magnesium Firestarter [Re: Pharaoh]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2811
Loc: La-USA
Thanks for the tips. Some of those I have been using, but the shaving technique will make that part much easier.

I haven't thought about using other tender (other than natural tender) in that manner either. I'll try it out the next time that I go camping.

I usually find a somewhat large dead leaf to hold my shavings and that has been working very well for me.

BTW, I've always carried a mag bar but held onto it as a "last resort"!!
The best luck is what you make yourself!

#194783 - 02/01/10 05:42 AM Re: Doan Magnesium Firestarter [Re: wildman800]
Tarzan Offline

Registered: 02/02/08
Posts: 146
Loc: Washington
I will be the first to admit that I really chewed one of those bars up trying to "shave" it until I did exactly as you described. Now I just keep the bar as a reminder of what stupid feels like. In all honesty, I prefer a swedish firesteel and PJ soaked cottonballs.

#194795 - 02/01/10 12:25 PM Re: Doan Magnesium Firestarter [Re: Tarzan]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
I like that idea-I, like I am sure most people here, have one, at LEAST, stashed away somewhere. But, in all honesty, I never used it.
I am going to make this neat little kit & keep it in my kayak vest. I am also going to give your suggestion a go-I honestly never tried using mine, other than the flint side of it.
my adventures

#194796 - 02/01/10 12:54 PM Re: Doan Magnesium Firestarter [Re: oldsoldier]
sybert777 Offline

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 299
Loc: 62040
I like them but i always eat the flint up with my Vic. Tinker small blade, the flint is HALF buried into the mag bar. i have had to pry out 6!!! flints!! well, if anyone has a good striker, i need one, i have used the hack saw blades and do not like the spark output and the amount of damage it does to the bar. I do not want to pay $5 S&H for a $1 striker. Thanks ETS!
International Military Sales PLUS

#194832 - 02/01/10 07:00 PM Re: Doan Magnesium Firestarter [Re: sybert777]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 855
Loc: Colorado
I'll have to re-try the scraping method. What I was doing was an abject failure.


#194848 - 02/01/10 08:57 PM Re: Doan Magnesium Firestarter [Re: Pharaoh]
billvann Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/10/01
Posts: 780
Loc: NE Illinois, USA (42:19:08N 08...
I have had good luck using the file on my leatherman. It quickly makes a pile of mag dust without duling my main blade. I also like to do this over vasaline impregnated cotton balls which help keep the mag dust from blowing away. A bit redundant, yes, but they do help the cotton ball ignite, which then burns for some time because of the vasaline.
Willie Vannerson
McHenry, IL

#194869 - 02/01/10 11:20 PM Re: Doan Magnesium Firestarter [Re: billvann]
Hookpunch Offline

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 128
Originally Posted By: billvann
I have had good luck using the file on my leatherman. It quickly makes a pile of mag dust without duling my main blade. I also like to do this over vasaline impregnated cotton balls which help keep the mag dust from blowing away. A bit redundant, yes, but they do help the cotton ball ignite, which then burns for some time because of the vasaline.

+1, I do the same except I use dryer lint which I add some mineral oil to, the lint catches the file shavings, the shavings catch even wet and your fire is off to the races.

#210672 - 10/31/10 06:45 PM Re: Doan Magnesium Firestarter [Re: Pharaoh]
ireckon Offline

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1628
Loc: Northern California
I have used the method in the original post, and have had success.

I also plan to order a few of these:
Those magnesium rods are reportedly softer and easier to scrape than the tradition bars mentioned in the original post.

Carrying a magnesium rod will make me fee more secure, and it's just a tiny bit more weight. I feel like I can start a fire almost anywhere with a ferro rod, magnesium and a scraper. I also use petroleum jelly and cotton balls. Likewise, magnesium is also waterproof and can also be used to help light natural tinder found in the wild. Plus, a magnesium rod will last for 100+ fires according to my estimation. In the same amount of space, I estimate 10 fires max from PJ and cotton balls.
If you're reading this, it's too late.

#210680 - 11/01/10 12:46 AM Re: Doan Magnesium Firestarter [Re: ireckon]
kevingg Offline

Registered: 10/21/05
Posts: 442
Loc: NH
as I mentioned in a similar post, I use the firesteel.com mag rods (without holes) in my neck kits. they are softer and easy to scrap from. I've got a video on youtube showing how easily they work after dunking in a bucket of water.

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