Flint and steel is one of the oldest methods of starting a fire.
Here is how to find a rock that will help you create that initial spark.
by Leon Pantenburg
Successful flint and steel fire making requires three components: a hard, high carbon steel striker, a rock and charred organic material. Each of these components needs (and will get) its own post. Right now, the conversation is about the rock.
Flint is the traditional rock used in this style of fire making. Flint is a loose category. The flint family includes quartz, chert, obsidian, agate or jasper. The rock has to have a large silica content to be harder than the steel. While flint is the preferred rock for creating sparks, the good news is that other rocks in the flint family work equally well. In Central Oregon, we have deposits of quality jasper in public lands. Your area will probably have suitable rocks for firemaking.
The best way to find these sparky rocks is to always be looking around on the ground. Take your striker along, and when you find a likely candidate, give the rock a few whacks. If the rock sparks, it will work. If it doesn’t, toss it back on the ground and leave ‘er right there. (The rock then is called Leaverite.) Once your friends find out you are looking for sparkys they will also start picking them up for you. I have been given rocks from England, South Africa and Mexico to name a few.
I have been using flint and steel for fire making since 2001. A complete kit in my survival gear, and I use the method for starting all my campfires. Sometimes simple is best, and flint and steel firemaking is one of the best.
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