How to Use a FireSteel

Using a FireSteel to light a fire is very easy once you learn and apply the basic principles. Just like learning how to use a match, once you learn how to use a FireSteel you will have the ability to make a fire with a FireSteel quickly and easily.

As with any skill worth knowing, there is a learning curve but fortunately for us learning how to use a firesteel comes fast to nearly everyone who tries.

Learning How to Use a FireSteel is Like Learning How to Use a Match

People who have never used a match to start a fire will often find it difficult to make their first fire - that's because firemaking is a real skill. I've seen men and women who hold advanced college degrees fail at striking a match and starting a fire even when they had perfectly dry wood and tinder.

But that's simply because they have never done it before.  After learning the principles, applying proper techniques and using matches to make dozens of fires, firemaking with a match becomes almost routine to anyone willing to practice their firemaking skills.

In the same way, successfully using a FireSteel as a fire starting tool can take a little practice in order to become proficient. That said, the advantages of a firesteel over matches are numerous and is the reason seasoned outdoorsmen and military personnel often rely upon FireSteels in the field. Once they learn how to use a firesteel they become firm believers in the advantages of FireSteels for making fires.

Basically a FireSteel of the type sells is a chunk of metal made up of special rare earth elements that quickly oxidize upon contact with oxygen in the air. It is this quick oxidation that creates the hot sparks you can use to make a fire. Add a bit of iron for hardness, magnesium to help hold the spark, and some other ingredients in our special mix, and you've got the makings of the Best FireSteel in the World.

How to Make Sparks with a FireSteel

The first step in learning how to use a FireSteel is making your first sparks. With's high-sparking ferrocerium formula this is very easy to do.

  1. Hold one end of your firesteel firmly between your thumb and forefingers.
  2. In your other hand hold the handle of a sharp knife, super scraper, or other hard angular object.
  3. Press the blade of the knife (or whatever you are using) hard against the firesteel up near your fingers.
  4. In one swift fluid motion scrape the firesteel down it's length.

As the blade shaves off slivers of ferrocerium from the FireSteel rod, they will oxidize and spontaneously ignite upon contact with the air, turning into a shower of red-hot sparks that are 5,500 degrees Fahrenheit!

In the video you can see me using a FireSteel to create showers of red hot sparks that go popping and bouncing down the hallway. Don't try doing this in your home!

Bear in mind that some items work better as FireSteel Scrapers (also known as FireSteel Strikers) than others, so it can pay to experiment. The Super Scraper is an excellent choice, with its eight specially hardened alloy blades it creates an incredible amount of sparks when used on our FireSteels. I've gotten sparks using a shard of ordinary glass, though glass is relatively soft so its edge will wear down quickly.

How to Use a FireSteel to Make a Fire

Once you know how to use a FireSteel to make sparks, you can use your FireSteel to make fires. One of the best ways to learn new skills is start out doing them the easy way and expand from there.

Here is a good method for making your first fire using a FireSteel. It's not only a fun and inexpensive way to make tinder for starting fires, it's what I carry with me whenever I am outdoors to help ensure I can start a fire no matter what the conditions:

  1. Get a cotton ball or roll up a piece of dryer lint.
  2. Into this smush (is that a word?) in a dab of petroleum jelly (Vaseline is a brand you may recognize, but any petroleum jelly product will work fine.
  3. Now simply scrape the sparks from your firesteel so that they land on the cotton ball /petroleum jelly tinder you made.

As soon as a FireSteel spark hits your homemade tinder, it will catch on fire and burn for several minutes.

Congratulations. You now know how to use a FireSteel to make fire. Now...

Learn How to Make a Campfire

In practice, if you wanted to use a FireSteel to make a campfire, you would first gather your firewood and prepare it in your fire pit. Then you would place your firesteel tinder ball (cotton ball mixed with petroleum jelly) in a nest of small, dry wood pieces so that when the tinder ball catches fire from the FireSteel sparks it will in turn catch the wood on fire.

And that's it. It's really very simple to use a FireSteel to make a fire. Once you've done it a couple times the process becomes second nature and you'll have the ability to make a fire almost at will whenever you want one.

Of course there's more, much more, to learn about using firesteels.  Many people enjoy experimenting with natural materials as tinder and special techniques for making and aiming sparks from the firesteel.  This is all part of the fun.

When you come right down to it, having the skill to make a fire using a firesteel is just plain fun. - An Education in FireSteels

Get educated on how to make fires with firesteels.  It's a fun, handy, and very useful skill to have!

Thank you for reading - be sure to get out there and enjoy the day,

Ron Fontaine

Mar 18th 2015 Ron Fontaine

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