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Thread: Is Steel Wool or Magnesium better for starting a fire......?

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    Default Is Steel Wool or Magnesium better for starting a fire......?

    Do you start a fire with your flashlight and steel wool, or does Magnesium work better....?

    Yes, I know you don't care, but you might some day.

  2. #2

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    Magnesium burns at about 7000 degrees and comes as a block to scratch flakes from. Steel wool tends to deteriorate with time and the batteries in your handy dandy flashlight will probably be dead when needed.

    Go with the Mag block and some firestarter paste. Bicycle inner tubes cut into small donuts work pretty well too, even if wet.
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    Default magnesium

    I love my magnesium starters. This last year I used the one in my pocket instead of walking the hundred feet back to my tent for a new bic lighter. Not only was it more fun, it was faster than the walk would have been. Great stuff.

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    I have started wearing a "FireSteel" Bar & Magnesium Bar around my neck.

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    Member doug1980's Avatar
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    I have the magnesium bar and it works well. I have just started carrying a 12v battery and steel wool in my kit. It works just as well starting a fire with a bit less work. I think both ways are comparable only difference is the bar is easier to carry.

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    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    Add a few vasoline soaked cotton balls (stored in a 35 mm film canister) to your pockets. Fluff up the soaked cotton and use your striker on the steel, it will start easily and keep burning for long enough to get the wood going.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Neither.

    Cotton balls soaked in vaseline. Simple, cheap, works every single time. (granted, you need a spark)
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Steel wool tends to disintegrate with just a little bit of water suprisingly fast. I had some in a kit in my truck and it must have gotten wet and was an unusable iron oxide goo within a month. (that's the last time I checked on the kit). I now have a Mg firestarter on my person at all times in my Leatherman holster. It fits right in there on my newer belt pouch. I'm also a big fan of the vasaline and cottonball trick. I use that all the time with just a flint striker.

    Mountaintrekker

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    I go with a couple of BIC lighters and I will always carry a Trioxane bar on me. I keep a bar in every coat, pack, argo, boat that I have. They are by far the fastest, safest way to get a fire going in my opinion. These things burn so hot you can get rain soaked alder to burn. All it takes is a spark. If your lighter fails to make a spark and your desperate you can pull the bullet out of one of your cartridges and without dumping the powder out the end of your barrel you can shoot the flaming powder into whatever bird/fire nest you've created and it will be plenty of spark to get the Trioxane going. Probably not a bad idea to try this method before hand so you know what to expect.

    If you do carry a magnesium bar maker sure that the knife that you'll be carrying does indeed make a spark with it. Some knives will not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ex1811 View Post
    Magnesium burns at about 7000 degrees and comes as a block to scratch flakes from. Steel wool tends to deteriorate with time and the batteries in your handy dandy flashlight will probably be dead when needed.

    Go with the Mag block and some firestarter paste. Bicycle inner tubes cut into small donuts work pretty well too, even if wet.
    This gets my vote.....have used the vaseline & cotton balls stuffed into old plastic film canisters and it works but hard to argue with the heat generated by magnesium and the paste, from my experience its heat that you need to get a fire going when dealing with marginal conditions. Getting a fire going can be the single most important life saver...........Walked most of the night in the AK Range in the rain, as the camp had moved from where I thought it was......LOL.......
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerberman View Post
    Add a few vasoline soaked cotton balls (stored in a 35 mm film canister) to your pockets. Fluff up the soaked cotton and use your striker on the steel, it will start easily and keep burning for long enough to get the wood going.
    True that, but the 35mm film canisters are getting a bit hard to come by anymore.

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    Member KelvinG's Avatar
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    Yep, my favorite.

    Quote Originally Posted by gerberman View Post
    Add a few vasoline soaked cotton balls (stored in a 35 mm film canister) to your pockets. Fluff up the soaked cotton and use your striker on the steel, it will start easily and keep burning for long enough to get the wood going.

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    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    Because 35 mm film canisters are not being used much anymore, I purchase the bright orange combo whistle, match holder and put the vasoline soaked cotten balls in it and it stays nice and dry and does not make a mess in the pack or pocket. I have the magnesium and my striker, most of the time the cotton ball get the fire going just great, if I need the mag it is there.

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    In place of the film canisters I use old plastic prescription bottles for match and tinder cases, so far so good, just remove the label etc. Trioxane is a good one, I haven't used that in quite some time, I should look around for some.

    Mountaintrekker

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    Member ret25yo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaintrekker View Post
    In place of the film canisters I use old plastic prescription bottles for match and tinder cases, so far so good, just remove the label etc. Trioxane is a good one, I haven't used that in quite some time, I should look around for some.

    Mountaintrekker
    +1, I have mountains of those..

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