A selection of different fire steels & siliceous rocks.
Flint & Steel Fire Lighting-A Sustainable Method.
Flint, steel & tinderbox fire lighting is a sustainable method of making fire. Learning about flint & steel fire lighting (NOT the Ferocerium Rod!) will also teach you about the use of plant tinders, the types of plant tinders in your area, & how & where to find dry kindling in wet weather. This information is also useful in case you have to make fire with a fire-bow. Modern fire lighting methods rarely teach you any primitive skills, & they are not sustainable.
Plant tinders often need charring in order for them to catch a spark. Even those tinders that do not require charring usually perform better when charred. Plant tinders are charred directly in the fire, then they are placed in the tinderbox & the lid closed to extinguish the embers. Once this is done then the tinder is ready for use.
Sparks are struck from the steel using a sharp edged piece of siliceous rock; this rock can be flint, agate, chert, quartz or whatever type is available in your area. The easiest way to find suitable rock is to carry your steel with you on walks & simply try any rocks you find along the way. Some rocks perform better than others, but there are an amazing number of rocks that will work to some degree.
The author's tinderbox showing plant tinder contents & a musket flint.
The author's original 18th century fire steel which he secures to the buckle closure on his belt bag with a leather tie so it will not get lost.
This is a greased leather fire bag which contains the author's tinderbox. The top rolls down making it waterproof.
Spare charred plant tinder is carried in one of the author's gunpowder bags when it is empty.