Talk to me about Ferro Rods

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legOFwhat?
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Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby legOFwhat? » Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:03 pm

I keep seeing knife or bushcraft ads with photos of folks using the knife edge to rake across their fire steels :confused: The Province add is one that sticks out to me the most. Am I wrong in thinking this would ruin the blade edge? Use the unsharpened swedge if the spine is too rounded?

I am new to this, I confess, and want to learn more about knife uses other than cutting things.

Mind sharing what type of fire starters, methods, are you using?
-Larry
Hebrews 13:6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby Mike Blue » Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:21 pm

überleben Hexå Fire Starter or UST Blastmatch are both excellent for the price point. They will work rain or shine IF your tinder is of the right stuff and you know how to build a fire from small stuff upward. You can make or find your own tinder. Neither of these tools require you to mod your knife. Practicing these fire starting skills are a must. Learning to use them when you really need them puts you behind the curve.

I'd recommend taking a view of the most basic mods done to a simple Mora knife and sheath. One of the first items is to rough up the spine of the blade. A polished surface will not make sparks. A Mora is inexpensive and will serve a lifetime and Mora mods will not scratch up your Spydie. If what you saw were people using the edge of the knife to make sparks, I really wonder who taught them. They probably think a knife is a prybar too.

The best characteristic of my grandsons are they are pyromaniacs like me. Much to my daughter's dismay. Everytime I visit they want me to show them how to spark light a fire again. Mostly it's walking the dog and looking in the Canadian woods for potential tinder. They are getting good at it.

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby Wartstein » Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:43 pm

I use ferro rods quite a bit.

Many come with a scraper attached to it anyway.

If I use a knife to rake the ferro rod it is almost always a fixed blade and of course I never, ever do it with the actual edge, but with the spine of the blade. If it has coating (like on Esees) I remove like an inch or so of the coating. If the spine is not sharp, I square it of more again in an area of an inch or so and use this to rake the rod.

You can also use devices like the back of a leatherman saw or similar stuff.
Last edited by Wartstein on Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Top three going by pocket-time: Endura 4 in VG 10/Micarta-scales; Stretch 1 in VG 10; Endura 4 in HAP 40

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby Accutron » Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:44 pm

Striking a ferro rod with the edge ruins the edge. In an emergency, if you don't have a knife with a 90 degree spine, the standard method is to reserve a small sacrificial section of the blade near the ricasso for ferro striking. I've also seen people strike a ferro rod with their spydie hole, although effectiveness will vary depending on the hole's edge sharpness.

I just keep a T15 tool bit with my ferro rod. It has multiple sharp 90 degree edges at 67HRC.

I prefer Bayite brand ferro rods. They have 5" and 6" versions, and are drilled through one end for a lanyard. They throw plenty of hot sparks and the price is good.

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby Wartstein » Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:46 pm

Accutron wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:44 pm
Striking a ferro rod with the edge ruins the edge. In an emergency, if you don't have a knife with a 90 degree spine, the standard method is to reserve a small sacrificial section of the blade near the ricasso for ferro striking. I've also seen people strike a ferro rod with their spydie hole, although effectiveness will vary depending on the hole's edge sharpness.

I just keep a T15 tool bit with my ferro rod. It has multiple sharp 90 degree edges at 67HRC.

I prefer Bayite brand ferro rods. They have 5" and 6" versions, and are drilled through one end for a lanyard. They throw plenty of hot sparks and the price is good.

Thatś actually quite cool :)
Never thought of using a spydie hole for that, but will certainly try!
Top three going by pocket-time: Endura 4 in VG 10/Micarta-scales; Stretch 1 in VG 10; Endura 4 in HAP 40

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby RustyIron » Thu Mar 05, 2020 3:25 pm

legOFwhat? wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:03 pm
Mind sharing what type of fire starters, methods, are you using?
I've been known to do a bit of strenuous backpacking on occasion. A reliable fire starter is pretty important. The most sensible fire starter? A Bic lighter and a spare. A couple bucks and you're set.

If you want to go high-zoot, get a wind-proof butane lighter. They kick out a HOT flame. I've read about electric arc lighters, but have no experience with them. If you're on a planned trip, you'll have fuel for your stove. Liquid hydrocarbons make ALL methods of fire starting easier.

As for the ferro rods, I've found them to be easy and reliable. The key is to make a little pile of kindling, and scrape like crazy onto one spot without stopping. The continuous shower of 2,000 degree sparks will ignite nearly anything in short order. For scraping, use the spine of your knife, not the edge. Your scraper doesn't need to be sharp. I don't recall seeing any damage at all on my scraping knife.

I've experimented with a few different rods, but the best bang for your buck comes from Harbor Frieght. I think it's two bucks. It's a ferro rods embedded into a chunk of magnesium. Use your fancy Spyderco (the edge side) to whittle off a small pile of magnesium shavings. A tiny spark will get them burning VERY hot.

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby TomAiello » Thu Mar 05, 2020 4:30 pm

I use the (already mentioned) UST blast match as back up to a simple disposable butane lighter. I buy lighters by the 100 pack (we use them for work) off Amazon. They cost about a dime a piece when purchased in bulk.

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby Bloke » Thu Mar 05, 2020 4:35 pm

I’m a pyromaniac, no doubt and in the mid ‘80’s it likely saved a mate’s and my life when we got lost on a winter hunting trip

I never go bush here without a ferrocerium rod and I don’t use a knife, edge or spine to strike them as a general rule. You also don’t need to pay good money for ferro rods as I’ve found no difference whatsoever between the you beauty flash rods with antler handles etc. and flimsy strikers that cost $30 plus and the plain Chinesey’s you buy from eBay for $1.

I have all sorts but my personal favourite is a 3/8” diameter x 4” long ferro rod and my favourite striker is a 1/2” High Speed Steel, lathe parting off tool, again bought off eBay for a few bucks. The last one I bought was 8” long so I cut it in half with a 1mm cutting disc in a 5” angle grinder.

As far as tinder goes we have plenty of Paper Bark here which flashes easily with a single spark and even if it’s raining you can find a dry layer in thicker bits. A ball of Jute string for $3 gives you more tinder than you can poke a stick at. A 6” length fluffed up makes excellent tinder too that also flashes with a single spark. Sometimes I’ll plait it about 1-1/2” long and dip an 1” in molten beeswax and fluff the rest which make great little candles that burn very well and for quite a while. :)

Edited to add: With utmost respect, in my personal experience a Bic lighter is the very last thing I’d rely on to light a fire outdoors. Particularly in a survival situation. I reckon they’re as handy as a hip pocket on a T shirt and would much rather a box of matches.
A day without laughter is a day wasted. ~ Charlie Chaplin

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby legOFwhat? » Fri Mar 06, 2020 7:43 am

Mike Blue wrote: überleben Hexå Fire Starter or UST Blastmatch are both excellent for the price point. They will work rain or shine IF your tinder is of the right stuff and you know how to build a fire from small stuff upward. You can make or find your own tinder. Neither of these tools require you to mod your knife. Practicing these fire starting skills are a must. Learning to use them when you really need them puts you behind the curve.

I'd recommend taking a view of the most basic mods done to a simple Mora knife and sheath. One of the first items is to rough up the spine of the blade. A polished surface will not make sparks. A Mora is inexpensive and will serve a lifetime and Mora mods will not scratch up your Spydie. If what you saw were people using the edge of the knife to make sparks, I really wonder who taught them. They probably think a knife is a prybar too.

The best characteristic of my grandsons are they are pyromaniacs like me. Much to my daughter's dismay. Everytime I visit they want me to show them how to spark light a fire again. Mostly it's walking the dog and looking in the Canadian woods for potential tinder. They are getting good at it.
Just recently (December) received the hexa and it's quite nice, the multi-tool that comes with it is well thought out and very useful. It's funny you mention the Mora and the überleben as I got them both to put in my backpack, and the 1st thing I did with the Mora was strike the spine across the Hexa and realized the radius wouldn't cut enough to send sparks. Few seconds with a die grinder to a 3 inch area near the handle and it works fantastic.

Image

These above, I've fiddled around with a little just to get a feel. The Cochlan, I drilled a hole through the magnesium and put the shavings into a small container to have have handy. I took a small group caving and used the shavings and some cotton-balls dipped in Vaseline to roast marshmallows, a few years ago, and that worked well.
-Larry
Hebrews 13:6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby legOFwhat? » Fri Mar 06, 2020 7:53 am

Bloke wrote: I’m a pyromaniac, no doubt and in the mid ‘80’s it likely saved a mate’s and my life when we got lost on a winter hunting trip

I never go bush here without a ferrocerium rod and I don’t use a knife, edge or spine to strike them as a general rule. You also don’t need to pay good money for ferro rods as I’ve found no difference whatsoever between the you beauty flash rods with antler handles etc. and flimsy strikers that cost $30 plus and the plain Chinesey’s you buy from eBay for $1.

I have all sorts but my personal favourite is a 3/8” diameter x 4” long ferro rod and my favourite striker is a 1/2” High Speed Steel, lathe parting off tool, again bought off eBay for a few bucks. The last one I bought was 8” long so I cut it in half with a 1mm cutting disc in a 5” angle grinder.

As far as tinder goes we have plenty of Paper Bark here which flashes easily with a single spark and even if it’s raining you can find a dry layer in thicker bits. A ball of Jute string for $3 gives you more tinder than you can poke a stick at. A 6” length fluffed up makes excellent tinder too that also flashes with a single spark. Sometimes I’ll plait it about 1-1/2” long and dip an 1” in molten beeswax and fluff the rest which make great little candles that burn very well and for quite a while. :)

Edited to add: With utmost respect, in my personal experience a Bic lighter is the very last thing I’d rely on to light a fire outdoors. Particularly in a survival situation. I reckon they’re as handy as a hip pocket on a T shirt and would much rather a box of matches.
The Jute string sounds like a great idea and I'll have to give it a try, plus you'd have twining to use as well. Since I hated getting pine sap on my hands the beeswax sounds much better for a candle...maybe I just need to butch up :D

You fine folks are being a big help.
-Larry
Hebrews 13:6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby bearfacedkiller » Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:59 am

For me plan A is always a Bic lighter and plan B is always a second Bic lighter. I have tried all sorts of other lighters and prefer a Bic. As long as it doesn’t get wet it will always work.

I have also played with Ferro rods a lot. Basically they are all about the same except for how hard they are. Soft ones throw more sparks and hard ones last longer. I like something in the middle.

I would use the edge of my knife in an emergency but I always carry a small carbide striker that came with a ferro rod years ago. It weighs almost nothing and I keep it attached to the ferro rod so I am unsure how I would lose it but if I did and both my Bic lighters were dead then I would just use my knife edge.

I think using a knife edge or spine to strike a ferro rod is just somebody looking for a reason to use a knife. The little striker works better and weighs nothing. However, I do find a sharp spine useful for scraping tinder. You could scrape tinder with the edge but it will dull your knife. Having a sharp spine to scrape with let’s you save your edge for actual cutting.
-Darby
sal wrote:Knife afi's are pretty far out, steel junky's more so, but "edge junky's" are just nuts. :p
SpyderEdgeForever wrote: Also, do you think a kangaroo would eat a bowl of spagetti with sauce if someone offered it to them?

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby Accutron » Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:35 am

Here's another vote for Bic lighters. Ferro rods are fun to play with, but a Bic is extremely reliable under pretty much any condition. If it's too cold and it doesn't want to work, just warm it up in your hand or armpit. If it gets wet, just blow it out really good and strike it until it starts sparking again. The only real concern is the button getting accidentally pressed in your pack, so it's good to make provisions to prevent that. You can wrap a small zip tie around the lighter, wedged under the lip of the button, or store it in a hard container. An Altoids tin will hold three full size Bics.

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby TomAiello » Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:55 am

Lighers are also light and cheap, which means you can carry multiple back ups.

I've had lighters fail on me a couple times at high altitudes (not sure why--something to do with the technology?) So if I'm planning to be over 10k, I usually have some matches as a backup (hard to light a stove with a ferro rod). I still like the utter water proofness of the blast match though.

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby Mike Blue » Fri Mar 06, 2020 1:08 pm

Accutron wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:35 am
Here's another vote for Bic lighters. .... You can wrap a small zip tie around the lighter, wedged under the lip of the button, or store it in a hard container. An Altoids tin will hold three full size Bics.
Everyone of my Bics (multiple) has a proper size O-ring around the body and fitted under the lip of the igniter lever. No room for the lever to get depressed and expel fuel. The zip tie seems a one time use object. A hard box is a great recommendation. Other little necessary bits like jute cord w/paraffin, fit in there too.

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby bearfacedkiller » Fri Mar 06, 2020 1:58 pm

I am a HUGE fan of Vaseline soaked cotton balls. I keep an old film canister full. It is pretty lightweight and it will always light. I have used it with a ferro rod in the pouring rain.
-Darby
sal wrote:Knife afi's are pretty far out, steel junky's more so, but "edge junky's" are just nuts. :p
SpyderEdgeForever wrote: Also, do you think a kangaroo would eat a bowl of spagetti with sauce if someone offered it to them?

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby JD Spydo » Fri Mar 06, 2020 4:50 pm

I subscribe and read the BACKWOODSMAN magazine and over the past 6 to 8 years they've had many interesting articles about "Ferro Rods" and other fire starting rods as well. I've been told that you can retrieve many of those old Ferro Rod articles from the BACKWOODSMaN's website. That publication is a "gold mine" for vital information like that.

I recently read a review about a fixed blade Frost Mora knife model that has the Ferro Rod inside it's handle. I've seriously considered getting one of those. But I keep holding out hope that Spyderco will come out with something far superior. I've also heard that some of those Amish magazines and catalogs are a great source for Ferro Rods and other fire starting tools.

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby Bloke » Sat Mar 07, 2020 2:48 am

bearfacedkiller wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:59 am
I have also played with
Image
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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby ChrisinHove » Sat Mar 07, 2020 4:13 am

I have a LightMyFire rod and striker as a foolproof - and burnt finger free - way of lighting my ancient MSR Rapidfire stove.

I also use it to light gel cubes in my titchy MKettle volcano kettle.

There’s not much wild camping here, and smokey wood fires/stoves aren’t really an option where you can camp.

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby bearfacedkiller » Sat Mar 07, 2020 7:00 am

Bloke wrote:
Sat Mar 07, 2020 2:48 am
bearfacedkiller wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:59 am
I have also played with
Image
That is pretty accurate!!! I have been a bit of a pyromaniac all my life. Luckily I burn about 5 cords of wood each year and that scratches the itch.
-Darby
sal wrote:Knife afi's are pretty far out, steel junky's more so, but "edge junky's" are just nuts. :p
SpyderEdgeForever wrote: Also, do you think a kangaroo would eat a bowl of spagetti with sauce if someone offered it to them?

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Re: Talk to me about Ferro Rods

Postby Mike Blue » Sat Mar 07, 2020 1:22 pm

Bloke wrote:
Sat Mar 07, 2020 2:48 am
bearfacedkiller wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:59 am
I have also played with
Image
I'm gonna have to get some bigger O-rings!

I'm curious if this is the source of the fires in Oz this year?


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