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#53553 - 11/16/05 05:10 PM Re: Just because you're talking about magnesium...
groo Offline

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 722
Loc: Florida
Here's a non-traditional use of magnesium... Mg at Burning Man

One of the stunts... a trench full of old engine cases (magnesium, or course) set on fire. <img src="/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />

A fact that hasn't come up yet... not only is burning magnesium bright, but, IIRC, there's quite a bit of UV in the emitted light. Do not stare at burning magnesium.

#53554 - 11/16/05 06:17 PM Re: MagFire...
SgtMike88Ret Offline

Registered: 08/23/05
Posts: 73
Craig - Well put. Not only is the SparkLight poor at igniting natural tinders, it is also susceptible to failure from exposure to water - as is the butane lighter.

The MagFire, Doan, FireSteels, BSA HotSparks etc will at least remain effective regardless of temperature, humidity, or exposure to water.

Why do I prefer the MagFire? Simple.

1. It has a great, easy to manipulate handle.
2. It's thick enough to provide lots of sparking material without too much risk of breaking during use.
3. It's thin enough to be easy to carry and lightweight in the kit or pack.
4. It seems harder than the rest of the genre, giving equal or far greater amounts of sparks per strike.

While the Doan tool is okay in my book, I do not like giving up half of the sparking (ferrocerium) rod in order to connect it to what I consider to be a minimally useful tinder source. In as far as the magnesium bar goes, I'd rather have that space taken up by an equal volume of vaseline impregnated cotton balls, fatwood, or TinderQuik...

By failing to prepare, you're preparing to fail." B. Franklin

#53555 - 11/16/05 08:35 PM Re: Just because you're talking about magnesium...
Craig_phx Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 715
Loc: Phoenix, AZ

What would happen if someone added some water to your magnesium fire? I've heard it is explosive. <img src="/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />
Thermo-regulate, hydrate and communicate.

#53556 - 11/16/05 08:51 PM Re: Just because you're talking about magnesium...
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Not really.

Manesium + Water != explosive

several thousand degrees + water = water turning into steam almost instantly.

As steam has a lower density than liquid water, the volume it occupies is greater for the same mass. I suppose it could be considered an explosive reaction, but it isn't inherently explosive the way gun powder or explosives are.

Caution- tossing water into magnesium may scatter debris, including burning magnesium flakes. You can make a nifty fireball by tossing a few ounces of water into a pot of molton wax that has ignited. <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#53557 - 11/16/05 11:02 PM Re: Just because you're talking about magnesium...
groo Offline

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 722
Loc: Florida
Some of the firemen on here can correct me, but IIRC, Mg fires can get hot enough to actually split water back into hydrogen and oxygen. I'd imagine once that happens, all sorts of badness occurs (more free oxygen to feed the Mg fire, hydrogen and oxygen burning to recombine, etc).

Didn't someone post pics here relatively recently about a fire at a factory that used magnesium?

#53558 - 11/17/05 01:43 AM Re: Just because you're talking about magnesium...

Yes the flames are hot enough to split the oxygen and hydrogen in water making an explosive mix.

This animation is from Mag Flint Firestarters, its not very clear, but it shows somebody scraping the megnesium, lighting with the fire steel and scrape the pile together then drop a drop of water from the end of their finger onto the flames.

Its not very clear, but I remenbered it because I have a couple of these firestarters.

#53559 - 11/17/05 02:01 AM Re: MagFire...
Farmer Offline

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 125
Loc: Mid-Atlantic
I really wish someone would produce a proper survival lighter.

Take a look at pipe lighters. The flame comes out in a little jet and will work fine upside down. Until it's out of fuel. Then you can start rubbing sticks together again.
Knowing where you're going is NOT the same as knowing how to get there.

#53560 - 11/17/05 02:42 AM Re: MagFire...
groo Offline

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 722
Loc: Florida
Can you recommend a good one? I remember looking into this a year or so ago, and almost every one I found had bad reviews from a survival standpoint. (Fragile, not water proof, altitude sensitive, etc.)

I'm not saying they don't exist, and Doug even has a few recommendation, I just never heard a very _positive_ review of any.

#53561 - 11/17/05 03:09 PM Re: MagFire...
Pete_Kenney Offline

Registered: 07/12/04
Posts: 56
Loc: Sylvania, OH
I really wish someone would produce a proper survival lighter.

Although not a “survival lighter” per se, I would like to see someone make a friction-fit, glow-in-the-dark cap that would slide over the end of a BIC lighter—both regular and the mini BICs. Such would not add much to the overall size of the lighter and would keep water, dirt, and pocket lint out the business end of the lighter. It would also protect the gas-release thumb lever from being accidentally depressed. A lanyard hole could be molded into this cap. The friction fit should be loose enough to conveniently remove the cap but tight enough that the lighter does not fall out of the cap when carrying the lighter by a lanyard or on a key chain. When using the lighter, the cap could be pressed onto the other end of the lighter so it does not get lost.

Edited by Pete_Kenney (11/17/05 03:12 PM)

#53562 - 11/17/05 03:27 PM Re: MagFire...
AyersTG Offline

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
While we're waiting for that great idea to come to market: My gear has waterproof BIC lighters in it. Go to a bike shop and ask for used inner tubes - offer to cut them so they know you're not mooching some freebies. Select a tube that is a close (but not tight) fit over the BIC - usually a road bike tube. Cut a section that is 3 x the length of the BIC, then cut 2 ranger bands from the same tube. Put BIC in the center of the piece of inner tube, fold the ends over, and secure with the ranger bands. It survives dry in the notorious swimming pool pocket test...

The tube serves as expedient fire starter, being easily ignited by the BIC - one can slice off some tube several times without hurting the seal. I also stuff 3-4 petro jelly cotton wool balls into the tube at the butt end of the lighter; sparklight tinder would be peachy if one prefers that.

It's deep black and doesn't glow in the dark, but this has worked exceptionally well for me.

No pics right now, but I can post some tonight if anyone wants.


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