American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Firesteel Challenge

Laura and I set up a bit of a challenge today so she could take some time to familiarize herself with the various firestarters/firesteels to pick which one worked the best for her and which she liked best.

The contenders:

  • Light My Fire Army Firesteel

  • Ultimate Survival, Inc. BlastMatch

  • Ultimate Survival, Inc. StrikeForce

The strikers:

  • Integral Ultimate Survival, Inc. BlastMatch striker

  • Integral Ultimate Survival, Inc. StrikeForce striker

  • Victorinox SwissTool saw back

The tinder:

  • Fatwood scrapings

  • Fatwood shavings

  • Dried leaves

There are certain problems created by six-year-old hands which are not faced by older, stronger hands. Laura had a hard time pressing the tab on the BlastMatch hard enough to generate sparks and found the shape of the StrikeForce caused her to drive her knuckles into the pavement. This, of course, forced her to raise up the firesteel and the striker preventing proper placement of the sparks into the tinder.

The back of the SwissTool saw throws more and better sparks than any other striker I've ever tried and Laura found that once the angle was discovered it would reliably throw big sparks with any of the firesteels. I've already mentioned the problems encountered with the other strikers.

Scraped fatwood (scraped using the back of the SwissTool saw) provided us with the fluffiest curls of tinder which easily caught with the sparks generated using any of the firesteels above. I found the saw a bit whippy while trying to push it against the fatwood but pulling with the saw back nearer the pivot solved that problem. Laura liked the little wisps of fatwood that clung to my hands, legs, and the firesteel and kept commenting that I'd need to move quickly once the fire was going or else I'd burn some parts that I didn't really want burned. Kids...

The winning combination:

  • Ultimate Survival, Inc. BlastMatch

  • Victorinox SwissTool saw back

  • Fatwood scrapings

Other combinations worked fine and with some modification the BlastMatch would have been Laura's singular choice for firestarting but it would have required a ziptie to hold down the tab a little better. We're going to try this modification and see if it's as effective as I suspect. If it is, I can assure you there'll be another firebug in our house.

Thanks for reading,



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