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Thread: Steel for fire making

  1. #21
    Wanderer DuxDawg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Upper MidWest, USA

    For the striker in F&S any 10 series steel such as: 1060-1095 will work. Also many tool steels such as: W2, O1 or L6. The key factor is that they are heat treated to 59-62 HRC (Rockwell Hardness C Scale). While I have been successful with steel in the 57-58 HRC, it requires such effort as to be very discouraging. People often state "high carbon" steel when refering to strikers. It is important to note that it is not the carbon that burns, rather that high carbon steel is easily heat treated to the desired hardness range. The interesting take away from the above is that there are many sources of strikers. Some axes, knives, files, hacksaw and SawzAll blades work. Naturally occuring pyrites work, however those I have found here in the Upper MidWest work better as the flint than as the striker. Quite noticably fewer and weaker sparks when using pyrite on pyrite or flint on pyrite. There are likely many other objects that will function successfully as the striker - the above are the ones that have worked for me.

    In addition to the above mentioned steels and tools, I have heard of people using W1 and O2 tool steels, fish hooks, replaceable carpet (OLFA ??) blades, trailer hitches, etc. Leaf springs from vehicles and springs from garage doors are popular sources of steel for forging one's own strikers.

    The spines of hacksaw blades are my #1 choice when improvising a striker and make great keyring EDC tools. A bit of Duct tape protects us from the teeth until they are needed. The teeth can be used not only for cutting but also for processing tinder. Scraping any wood or plant stem yields a "fluff" that works better than curls or dust from the same material for catching a ferro spark, taking a flame or when used in a tinder bundle.

    With every striker I have used for F&S, the initial surface did not work as well as the metal just underneath the surface. File, hacksaw blade, knife, purpose made striker - all of them worked much better after the outer layer was worn off. Not sure what an actual measurement would be. At a guess 1/64", maybe less.
    Last edited by DuxDawg; 25-11-2014 at 07:15 AM.

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