Fint & Steel kit
Above is a photo of my trail flint and steel kit. The round tin holds everything...a striker, a batch of char cloth, jute for tinder, and flint stones. The small flint is from a flintlock musket. The AMERICAN MOUNTAIN MAN striker was a gift from a buckskinner friend and can be used as a ramrod puller, flint-knapper, and has a turnkey [screwdriver] blade. It's a cherished possession. But you don't need a fancy steel. A piece of broken metal file will work just fine, and rocks that will spark are found everywhere.
The key to making a flint and steel kit work is making char cloth. Basically, it is cotton cloth that has been charred and brought to the edge of consumption, but retains the ability to capture a spark and begin the burning process all over again. Making it is an easy process and can be done on top of a COLEMAN stove or campfire. It is an extremely smokey process and must be done out of doors. Here is the process:
In the photo below, the char tin has been placed on the Coleman stove and the burning process begins. Takes about twenty minutes to complete the process [NOTE: Never do in the house too much smoke...you'll have every smoke detector screaming!]:
In the photo below, we see the finished char cloth. It is almost, but not completely consumed and can easily be set alight again by using a spark:
This charred cloth will allow you to perform spark-based firemaking such as flint `n steel or using a ferrocerium rod, such as the ones shown below:
In the photo below, we have an image of a spark that has been caught in the char cloth and begun burning again:
As a final reminder, all firemaking kits and components should be wrapped or stored inside a waterproof container to prevent damage by moisture. Even a lighter will not function if it becomes wet, until it is dry once again, so protect your kit!
© 2014, MANNY SILVA, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED