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#92628 - 04/26/07 11:22 PM Re: firesteel or magnesium? [Re: NightHiker]
Be_Prepared Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 530
Loc: Massachusetts
I have a small mag/fero on my keychain which is probably no bigger than a AA battery. It is predrilled with a hole for a ring, and has a fero rod glued into a channel on a round bar of magnesium:



I got this a long time ago, it throws some great sparks. Although there's less magnesium than a full bar, I am amazed at how little magnesium you need to get your tinder going if it's well prepared. I'll try to find the place I bought this and post it later.
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#92633 - 04/26/07 11:53 PM Re: firesteel or magnesium? [Re: kevingg]
Roarmeister Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/12/01
Posts: 936
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
I didn't say I didn't use it. I said there were a couple things I didn't use so they weren't ranked.

The small flint on the magnesium bar was OK but my knife blade won't spark it that well. The magnesium bar itself is a waste of time. You can build yourself a good birdsnest from natural sources in half the time it takes to scrape enough material from the bar (and keep it from blowing away.)

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#92638 - 04/27/07 12:23 AM Re: firesteel or magnesium? [Re: Roarmeister]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Carbon steel scrapers work MUCH better than stainless, and to a degree, duller seems to work better. I find the back of a hacksaw blade works better than anything else I've found.
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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.

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#92667 - 04/27/07 05:23 AM Re: firesteel or magnesium? [Re: ironraven]
aloha Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 1047
Loc: Hawaii, USA
I would rather have a ferro rod and a piece of fatwood than the magnesium bar. Don't get me wrong, I have and have used the magnesium bar, but my personal preference is the fatwood.

Since we are going camping tomorrow, I stopped and gathered some tinder yesterday. I believe it is eucalyptus tree bark. I have used it before and it works great. I gathered enough for a couple of tinder bundles and will use them this weekend for our campfires. I have started this type of tinder bundle going with just one spark from a ferro rod. Granted, the spark was huge! But I will still have some fatwood with me for in case of damp wood.
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#92752 - 04/27/07 09:14 PM Re: firesteel or magnesium? [Re: aloha]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Personal preference, as you said. I've never been able to find fatwood locally- how many fires would you be able to start with a piece half the size of a USGI mag block?

I carry my mag block to use when I've got the time, in much the same way I might carry a fire piston or a fire bow.
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-IronRaven

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.

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#92960 - 04/30/07 03:24 AM Re: firesteel or magnesium? [Re: ironraven]
aloha Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 1047
Loc: Hawaii, USA
Originally Posted By: ironraven
Personal preference, as you said. I've never been able to find fatwood locally- how many fires would you be able to start with a piece half the size of a USGI mag block?

I carry my mag block to use when I've got the time, in much the same way I might carry a fire piston or a fire bow.



I have no idea how many it will start, but I know it doesn't take much effort to use and it works very well.
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#92966 - 04/30/07 04:35 AM Re: firesteel or magnesium? [Re: aloha]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
I think compairing a mag block to a fatwood is like comparing snare wire and fishing gear to MREs. One works right now once, one works many times. Would we take out the thimble-sized fishing kit and 15 feet of snare wire for another slimjim or tiny roll of malted milk tabled? I hope not.

That is why I always scratch my head when people are critical of the mag block in kits- sure, the full sized one is oversized, but even a small one is good for hundreds of fires with no moving parts other than a one-piece metal scraper, which saves matches, lighters, tinderquik, PJ balls, and fat wood for when it really is an emergency rather than being inconveniently misplaced. I've never found them hard to use- you just need to understand that it is going to take more than 60 seconds to get a decent sized shavings pile.
_________________________
-IronRaven

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.

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#92982 - 04/30/07 07:04 AM Re: firesteel or magnesium? [Re: ironraven]
aloha Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 1047
Loc: Hawaii, USA
I think for me, I haven't needed to use the magnesium to start a fire when I use the ferro rod method. Like most things, preparation before starting leads to greater success. The fatwood is my cheat in case of very damp wood.

I gather tinder when I see something good and stick it in a ziploc to keep dry. Usually if things are wet, I make a bigger tinder bundle and use more knidling.

IR, my guess is you probably have no trouble starting your fires and like the magnesium for your "just in case."

Don't get me wrong IR. I am not saying anything bad about the magnesium bar. I actually have one in my backpack when I am out and about. I have just never used it other than to practice with it. I haven't even scraped a piece of fatwood for "maya dust" other than to practice too.
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#92994 - 04/30/07 12:56 PM Re: firesteel or magnesium? [Re: aloha]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
OH, I have trouble firestarted with just a spark. That's why I like to have something to catch with, like 0000 steel wool or magnesium. I freely admit to cheating. Heck, if I need fire RIGHT NOW, I like highway flares for tinder. smile
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-IronRaven

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.

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#93014 - 04/30/07 04:14 PM Re: firesteel or magnesium? [Re: ironraven]
raydarkhorse Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 510
Loc: on the road 10-11 months out o...
I'm beginning to feel a little backward my flint is my primary tool for starting a fire, I use it first and save the lighter and matches for when I'm in trouble.


Edited by raydarkhorse (04/30/07 04:14 PM)
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