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

Monday, July 27, 2009

Firesteel Striker Testing

Over the weekend I spent some time testing various firesteel strikers to find the best of the best for use with either the Light My Fire (LMF) firesteels or the Going Gear (GG) firesteels and I found the results to be fairly interesting and yet exactly what I would've expected.

The strikers I tested were:

1. Corona Carbide Sharpener
2. Bi-Metal Hacksaw Blade
3. Bi-Metal Sawzall Blade
4. LMF Striker
5. Victorinox Pioneer awl
6. Victorinox Farmer Saw back

What I found was that the harder strikers would tear up the GG rods pretty fast and remove curls of material more often than they'd spark. When they did spark, however, the sparks would hit the pile of curls and I'd have a nice burst of heat and flame to ignite my tinder.

The softer strikers would still skate over hard spots on the LMF firesteels but the flex in the hacksaw and sawzall blades would flick the sparks onto the tinder pile.

The saw back on the Victorinox Farmer has been my favorite striker but the increased pressure I put on the harder rods can snap the blade shut on my hand and the saw teeth are sharp enough to penetrate the skin (and can leave a nasty bite mark) so I've moved on to the awl.

The awl on the Alox Swiss Army Knife (SAK) is the best overall striker for both the LMF rods and the GG rods. I've put a new edge on my awl and it's nice and sharp and will throw massive sparks from both hard and soft rods and, best of all, it's already in my pocket and always with me so there's no need for an extra piece of gear.

I'm sure someone will come up with a purpose-engineered solution which will surpass the awl at some point and I'd be more than happy to take a look at that solution when it presents itself but, for now, I'll use the awl and whichever firesteel I happen to have with me.

Thanks for reading,



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