I managed to get my hands on a single piece of flint about the size of a matchbox, perfect for fire starting. It throws really good sparks on the blunt end of a file, I understand this is because it is very high carbon steel.
I was looking for a more manageable size Steel to use but nothing works as well as the file. Seems lots of the broken tool steel I tried seemed to have some kind of coating or was the wrong allow.
Any ideas other than buying and butchering an old file?
I'm also interested in more primitive options for a striker, such as iron pyrite or something similar. Do we have a good source of these in NZ?

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Hi Ryan,

I have included a photo of some of my flint and steel materials.

I made the C striker from 01 steel and tempered it to a straw colour I'm very happy with it's performance. it is easier to use than a piece of file.

Al thought i have flint, I mostly use quartz because it's readily available and it provides a good spark. You need to keep renewing its cutting edge to keep the flow of sparks coming. Granite works o.k but is difficult to create the sharp edges.

I have manufactured several products from the New Zealand bush(including processing bracket fungi) that take these weak sparks and no longer rely on char cloth.

In the photo i have included a image of a commercial fire piston. I have a number of these for sale if anyone is interested. They are a reliable technique.

Like most bushcraft techniques a bit of practise is needed to be proficient.

They do not work any better the the homemade one mentioned in the tutorials

Barnsey.... I'd be fascinated to learn more about the natural materials you are using to catch sparks instead of charcloth.   I've never had success with anything other than charcloth.  Thanks in advance....  Coote.

PS... that is a nice bit of flint.  Quite dark compared to what I've seen here.   Could it have been a bit of old sailing ship ballast found on a beach?  Where did you get this bit?  Thanks.

I would be interested in a fire piston , How much?

The fire piston is is made by


I bought them for 8 pound, they come with spare washers bag and instructions.

They have a very clever piston head which enables your to tune them

I charge $25  for one these.

Hi all, tool steel has too may things in it's alloy that are not carbon related like chromium ,  vanadium and so on , a piece of saw blade will make a very good spark source but will need to be heat treated after you have made it into the shape that you like what  .. To do is heat it up to red hot ,  the correct temperature is to hold a magnet hear in and when it is not attracted then is the right time to dunk it in water but red to most people is about the same   when it is cold you then need to warm it up , you can use the wifes oven set at about 350 C and you should be good to go .. just be carefull after the cold water pass as it will beak very easily even if dropped on the floor .. If you get no sparks at the first try just warm it up a little higher  the sparks should be bright white and lots of them .. I make flint locks and a piece of hand saw fixed on the face of the frizzen woks percfectly  carefully soldered  heat .the solder on the frizzen when it melts apply the hardened piece of saw  and bob's your auntie    ... Rob


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