Ferro Rod questions

Discussion in 'Fire' started by Drewboy64, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. Drewboy64

    Drewboy64 Scout

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    What are some things to look for when buying a ferro rod? And does anyone have a suggestion for one?

    $(KGrHqJHJFEFCcQOTgNvBQn(sOpHoQ~~60_35.JPG

    Also, are magnesium and flint strikers like the one above above different from ferro rods? I have the former, and I noticed it seems to be scraping material from whatever metal I use to strike it. Ferro rods on the other hand, in all the videos I've seen, seem to be what get's scraped to produce sparks.

    Thanks!
     
  2. OhCanada

    OhCanada Scout

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    I have had ones from Primus and Light My Fire as well as no-name ones and they all worked. What I look for is size, I prefer thicker and longer, for me the Scout LMF model is too thin for a regular use firesteel but I do have some very thin/non-handled ones for last ditch use that I will support with a stick in the field should I need to use them.

    The mag block above...I have not had much sucess getting mag shavings and they all seem way to hard to be using a knife on for shavings.
     
  3. Sides

    Sides Guide

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    Try firesteel.com
     
  4. Naturalist

    Naturalist Guide

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    I've used a ferro rod and the magnesium bar you show in the image. The ferro rods are very good when you have a good tinder base. One or two strikes and you're off to a good fire.

    The magnesium bar is also another good option, but a bit more laborious. Just shave the bar down into small filings, shavings and debris that are about the sight of a couple of stacked nickels and throw some sparks on it and you'll get a very bright burn - like bright pink/whitish-purple bright! :)
     
  5. GreatLakesWoodsman

    GreatLakesWoodsman Scout

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    i like a ferro rod alot better
     
  6. photobear

    photobear Banned Member Banned

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  7. gobblegobble

    gobblegobble Scout

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    As I understand it (someone will correct me if I'm wrong), the rod attached to the mag bar you show is indeed a ferro rod. I've got one, and while I don't care to mess with shaving the magnesium, the ferro rod did seem to do just fine.
    I've got a couple LMF firesteels, and I'll second what OhCanada said above--the larger ones are easier to work with. I've also heard good things about the Chinese-made Coughlin's firesteel, but I haven't had an opportunity to try mine out yet.
     
  8. doulos

    doulos Guide

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    ^ ^ ^ yup! ^ ^ ^
     
  9. MWalker

    MWalker Scout

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    I have had a couple mag bar fire steels, then recently ordered some larger ferro rods online. I found the mag bar ferro rods were a lot harder, I had to scrape them quite hard to spark effectively, while the ferro rods I ordered were fairly soft, a light flick with the awl on my SAK made plenty of spark.
     
  10. Drewboy64

    Drewboy64 Scout

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    Thanks - my impression was that the ferro rods might be softer.
     
  11. joshkelekovich

    joshkelekovich Tracker

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    With my experience, it's all about the striker, not the ferro rod. In fact, there are multiple videos on youtube supporting my mentality of ferro rods. I usually just use a coghlans firesteel and use the back of a knife to strike it with and I have no problems. Just an opinion though, you experiment for yourself and find what works best for yourself.
     
  12. postman

    postman Scout Bushclass I

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    I've used both with good results. I have had the ferro rod come out of the mag. bar, so make sure you check it over every so often especially before you head out.
     
  13. Big_Bush

    Big_Bush Banned Member Banned

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    As far as mag bars, make sure it's a DOAN mag bar. Anything else is garbage.
     
  14. amusin

    amusin Guide

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    I won't say the Doan bars ain't worth the extra but I've found any mag bar that the mag side is possible to get good scrapings off should work, as with any gear deals if you buy the cheep ones give em a try before you take them in the woods. the downside I find with most of the cheap Chinese ones is a hard fire steel that throws small sparks, but your pile of magnesium shavings will light with the tiniest of sparks

    *Missing one clue and a pile of self motivation, if you've seen either of these items please contact me*
     
  15. dwightp

    dwightp Guide Bushclass I

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    The mag bars are too much trouble for me.....I can always find tinder much quicker than trying to create a pile of magnesium shavings.
     
  16. Nick85

    Nick85 Tracker

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    Here's my opinion,

    I have a Doan magnesium bar, which I did several tests, and here are the results:

    cons:

    is difficult to make curls with the wind for obvious reasons ...

    you better have a sharp hacksaw blade in place of the knife, I prefer to keep knife blade always sharp (it is specified that I used the sharp end and not the back of knife)
    * the best way is to do a blade instead of teeth of the saw (to make curls) and brighten the opposite edge to make sparks

    firesteel attached is not like the classic firesteeel but much softer, (is consumed very quickly if strike hard on it) is not very effective alone to get fire with wood shavings (not impossible, just very difficult) because the sparks are much smaller than classic ferrorods. works best with fatwood

    pro:

    always works, (you make sure to have enough curls) the flame is guaranteed

    also works with wet wood or if wood is not completely dry.

    ** For those who have advised firesteel.com, both myself and a friend have tried to contact him several times but without receiving any response, if someone was able to contact Ron Fontaine or make send some firesteel send me a PM or communicate it here on the forum :3:thanks

    Nick
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  17. CTwoodsman

    CTwoodsman Scout

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    I have a light my fire and its wonderful. I use one of those 49 cent keychain knives as a striker, and since the edge isles than 90 degrees the sparks shower like no tomorrow. It throws many more sparks than the back of your knife in my findings.


    Live and let there be Fire.
     
  18. PathTracker

    PathTracker Tracker

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    Ordered one of the Coghlans Ferro Rod the other day. Haven't used it yet, but it had all good reviews on Amazon.

    Anyone got any experience with it?
     
  19. Peter G

    Peter G Tracker

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    Nick85, I ordered some firesteels from Firesteel.com about a month ago and they came very quickly. I was quite pleased with the service and the products. T
     
  20. Operater6

    Operater6 Scout

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    I have several fire steels including Colghan's and some from firesteel.com. Both seem to work well although I like the firesteel.com larger versions better as a personal preference. With any firesteel you need to remove the coating with some light sanding to get better results regardless of the type of scraper or knife you use. Some of the cheap $2.00 mag bars won't even take flame with a bic lighter whereas the Doan bar (as mentioned in a previous post) or the military issue are the best, softer and easier to use. In my experience, it is very seldom that there is no wind so a decent shelter, poncho or cover of some kind is required to keep the mag shavings from being dispersed by the wind. I take a hacksaw to mine at hove and create a ton of shavings or filings then load them up into soda straws for my fire kit. Easy to carry, waterproof, saves time and can be resealed after partial use. You can make some small 1" sizes for single use or longer ones sized for an Altoids tin.
     
  21. gobblegobble

    gobblegobble Scout

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    How do you seal the end of the straw without igniting the mag shavings?
     
  22. Lamewolf

    Lamewolf Guide

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    With the mag bar like you show in the picture, you first scrape shavings from the silver looking block to a pile about the diameter of a quarter, then quickly scrape the little black bar on its edge to get sparks to ignite the magnesium shavings. I have one I carried in my hunting coat pocket for several years and it has never failed getting a fire going for me. But you need more than just the mag shavings to get a fire going. Along with that, you need some fine wood shavings or other tinder like dry bark and then progressively larger fuel from there. But now I use a regular ferro rod to ignite a cotton ball that has been soaked in melted petroleum jelly which burns for several minutes as compared to a few seconds with the mag shavings.
     
  23. HoboTree

    HoboTree Guide

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    I agree with photobear. Light my Fire army is a good one. I have one that was custom made for me and I'm not sure where the steel came from but with my super striker it throws molten steel in huge glorious showers and Ive had great success with it. On the other hand ive had good success with my cheap magnesium block from harbor freight as well. I use the teeth of a hacksaw blade and it takes shavings off great. A pile about the size of a quarter and you get some super hot intense flame.
     
  24. captbrian

    captbrian Bush League Urbanite

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    +1 on the magnesium bar being Doan's brand. Cheap ones work too, just not real great. I have 3 or 4 brands, they all work sorta, some just not very well. If I had to have just one, Doan's. I do like to have a mag bar in my pack... I have had difficult tinder only go up because there was just enough mag shavings throughout it to keep the fire freight train going forward and eventually light. Same with the ferro rods actually, had some tinder only eventually go up because after 50+ strikes of the ferro rod, there was enough un-ignited pieces of ferro in the bundle to do the same. Like a bug zapper. Eventually the bundle had no choice but to give me fire! I personally don't care for the quarter sized pile method. I like it as an accelerant to other tinder I guess, when needed. Another tool in the toolbox.

    For ferro rods, softness is apparently the key. I saw a couple threads in the past on that. I have several brands, including cheapo eBay China ones. They all work. Some better than others, to be honest the best ones I have was a pair from China for $4.30. I haven't tried any expensive ones. +1 on longer and thicker ones being easier to use. +1 on the striker being important as well, I never had great luck with knife backs, prefer a knife blade. Hacksaw blade works good.

    Amen to that
     
  25. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    Normally I don't recommend ebay stuff, and especially not ebay stuff from China. But I had really good results buying ferro rods from Axeprice on ebay, they are way cheaper than most other places but still functionally on par with firesteel dot com or light my fire stuff.

    For example they have this 1/2" x 5" ferro rod for only $13.49 with free shipping (or cheaper if you can get an auction at a low price)
    [​IMG]

    And yes I have one of those and it is amazing, as well as some other Axeprice ferro rods.

    While a similar steel from Firesteel dot com will run you $21.99

    As mentioned Axeprice ferro rods perform on par with other popular ferro rods but are quite a bit lower price. If your on a budget, or just like saving money they are worth it. I stocked myself up with more than enough ferro rods from them to last the rest of my life, and that 1/2" x 5" may end up pasted down to the next generation or two. The thing barely seems to wear but throws amazing showers and gobs of sparks, depending on the scraper used.

    And that is one very important thing to mention, the scrapper tends to be overlooked often by people looking for the best ferro rod. Often the performance of your rod has more to do with the quality of your scrapper. Getting a good spark shower or the big gobs of sparks often has more to do with the scrapper than the rod itself. Of course rod diameter also plays into it too. Better edge your scraper has with a decent amount of surface area on the rod the better your sparks will be.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  26. captbrian

    captbrian Bush League Urbanite

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    ditto on that vendor, that is who I bought from also
     
  27. Holmesmade

    Holmesmade Guide

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    My wife scored one that size a few weeks ago for about $11.00, shipped. I'm still trying to decide what to use for a handle on this monster.
     
  28. Magog

    Magog Scout

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  29. TheWildMan

    TheWildMan Tinder Gatherer

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    I bought a bunch of the cheap magbars on sale a few months back, but always had trouble with them until I stopped trying to use the included "strikers". I just got an order from Firesteel.com (ordered Friday, got here Wed) which included a mag rod, a glob spark firesteel, a small firesteel (the same size as the one on the magbar) and a striker. The magbar and the mag rod both shaved the same. The magbar and small firesteel both produced the same amount of sparks but the magbar was easier due to having something to hold on to. The larger firesteel produced more sparks and was easiest due to the length and handle. The biggest difference I saw was the striker from Firesteel.com. It shaved and struck better for me than anything else I have, so I am glad I got the glob spark holder that has a striker built in.

    Cotton Balls with Vasoline are still my favorite way to light fires since the Mag bars are a pain to scrape (and take a while), but the mag bar is nice to have just in case.
     
  30. Mikewood

    Mikewood Guide

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    If you want to use the mag block that's cool. I replaced my striker with a saws all 4" "wood" blade. It now shaves magnesium like a monster and mounted on a stick I can use it to saw a tree limb. It really helps

    Those 1/2" fero rods throw major sparks.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk - now Free
     
  31. Retzius

    Retzius Tracker

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    I use the Light My Fire Army 2.0. It throws great sparks the the "improved" striker works well. I usually use a cotton ball with Vaseline as my tinder. I almost alway scrape some magnesium bar shaving onto the cotton ball as the Vaseline helps the magnesium bits stick and they do not blow away in the wind. One swipe at my fire-steel and I almost always have a fire. In retrospect, I probably could have gotten the smaller Scout model. Setup and use of the proper tinder is everything in fire-craft, a "larger" fire-steel really doesn't do much for me and is just more to carry around.
     
  32. DomC

    DomC Retired Old Scrub Stomper Supporter

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    I use a LMF SCOUT (the best IMHO). With a UST WETFIRE cube or PJCB one strike is all that you will need. I also use a Coughlans ferrocerium rod combined with a Garden Plus brand TOOL SHARPENER from Lowe's as the scraper. . This is a great combo that throws mega sparks that will light most TINDERS.[​IMG]
    The mag/ferro rod combo is a COLEMAN brand found at WAL-MART. I have no problems with this brand.
    http://m.youtube.com/?client=mv-google&rdm=mke2rb7hg#/watch?v=vp8VqxZaM_M&feature=m-ch-fea
    DomC :) ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013
  33. Roughneck75

    Roughneck75 Supporter Supporter

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    Differences in Ferro Rods?

    I Posed this question in another thread , but thought I may be able to get a better understanding here. I continue to hear that certain ferro rods are better and or harder than others, some coming from Europe others from China. Looking at the Wikipedia site they do not differentiate between different origins of manufacture or of different hardnesses. Could you explain the differences in the manufacturing process of the different components which are added that make one ferro rod harder than another or more useful than another. I'd like to understand the differences. Thanks
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
  34. Usingmyrights

    Usingmyrights Supporter Supporter

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    It basically comes down to the mixture of metals in the rod. Just like with steel, a little bit more or less of this or that can make a big difference in the final product.
     
  35. HEMLOCK79

    HEMLOCK79 Guide

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    I posted this in the other thread. But basically here's my two cents:


    Hard ferros come from a manufacturer in Europe. They're very expensive, and because of that are few and far between. To even play ball you're talking about a minimum order of a few thousand dollars, per size. Because of that there's very few sources here in the states.

    I've tested a LOT of firesteels, and it's obvious what camp I fall into. It would be considerably cheaper using a china rod, but I personally don't believe the quality is there, and I try not to buy anything from china. Put them side by side, and there's a definitive difference.

    Now admittedly most any ferro will throw a spark and start a fire. Successful fire building has a lot more to do with prep than the ignition source. Having said that, I believe (obviously) the euro ferros are far superior.

    I'm currently working on a comparison vid of a bunch of different ferros. I've heard claims that the firesteel.com ferros are the "hard type." Umm...no. I think they once were, but not my samples! You'll also notice that claim isn't on their site anymore. They are better than many china rods though.

    Not sure if you have a genuine hard euro ferro? Try striking slow. The harder euro ferros will spark slow and controlled. Which also leads to a different technique. Usually with a china "michmetal" rod you hold above the tinder and strike in a kind of "spray and pray" method. With ours, you put the steel vertically down on your tinder, and strike down in a controlled and concentrated method directly where you want the sparks. Because of that "sparks easily" on a hard ferro, using the old trick of shaving off some ferro to strike doesn't really work with a Euro ferro.
     
  36. Roughneck75

    Roughneck75 Supporter Supporter

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    Your Ferro rods throw Huge sparks, I would like to see your comparison video when it's completed. I usually try purchasing the best products I can find, based on my own findings and from others reviews. When doing so, I always like to look at the negative reviews to see if they hold any weight. Thanks for the explanation, I see now that all Ferro rods are not created equal. Thanks
     
  37. Easy_rider75

    Easy_rider75 Bushwhacker

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    The best ferro rod I have so far is my light my fire army sized ferro. I also have a bunch of others from various friends and tey throw sparks just fine. I'm sure they are from china but hey they get my stove lit or a wood fire going I'm a happy camper. Some do throw better sparks and sometimes comes down to the striker ya got. If ya don't have one best striker I have an opinel and dual use tool
     
  38. Threeblues

    Threeblues Tracker

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    I recently ordered a batch of firesteels from Firesteels.com and all the ones I received under 3" inches in length were of the harder variety. The rods that were 3/8" x 4" were all way way softer & threw longer lasting sparks that bounced all over the place! Personally I prefer the softer higher magnesium content rods. Check out Youtube, there is a TON of videos comparing the two. IMO there's 2 camps, those who prefer softer and those who prefer harder firesteels. I've also heard/read both sides of arguments about which is better. You have to do your own research to determine what type is best for you.
    So who knows, maybe I got a random batch, or maybe this is how they stock them?
     
  39. Heirphoto

    Heirphoto Scout

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    My cheap ones throw large, wildly uncontrollable sparks. My Light My Fire Army will throw nice sparks with even a very slow, controlled scratch. For easily ignited, but loose, easily displaced tinder I like the control of a slow strike with the Light My Fire. For stuff that needs a lot more spark I like my softer, cheap rods and go for quantity, not quality of spark.
     
  40. Gumbi

    Gumbi Scout Bushclass I

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    I haven't done a great deal of testing like Hemlock79 has, but I prefer the soft firesteels to the hard ones like LMF. It is just my preference.

    I will say that the type of scraper I use makes a much bigger difference in my ability to get a fire started than the type of firesteel!
     
  41. jbutzi

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    I agree with both statements.
     
  42. Mr.Black

    Mr.Black WILDEROXEN Tracker Pack #1 Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Left intentionally blank
     
  43. dwightp

    dwightp Guide Bushclass I

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    Make sure you keep fresh batteries in your ferro rods and you won't have any trouble.:dblthumb:
     
  44. Coryphene

    Coryphene Guide

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    I agree that there is a noticeable difference between the two. I also agree that there is a place for both types. I carry one of each. The soft ones tend to light harder to light stuff better as the sparks are larger and last much longer. The hard rods tend to last a bit longer but are great when you have very dainty and easy to light tinder. Think a pile of wood curls vs a cotton ball. The striker make a HUGE difference on both types. Most companies (LMF, Coglans, etc) ship with crap strikers. The firesteel.com striker is great but few things will beat a squared off knife spine. I don't square off the spine of my main carving knife as it will blister a thumb in a hurry. I happen to like both rod types.
     
  45. doulos

    doulos Guide

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    But you can't use rechargeables! :rolleyes:
     
  46. LokoLobo

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    Best Ferro rod?

    I've been browsing the web for a while now and the selection is almost overwhelming.
    I probably don't need a large ferro rod, but I sort of want one unless someone has a good reason not to have a large one.

    What ferro rod would you suggest?
     
  47. WoodstockRyan

    WoodstockRyan Tracker

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    I just got a very nice one from Hemlock, who has a vendor page here: http://bushcraftusa.com/forum/forumdisplay.php/261-Hemlock-s-Hideaway Best to just PM him for what you are after.
    If you want to go the minimalist/keychain route the BSA Hotspark is a good bet. I've the same one on my keychain for 10-15 years and I've made at least 25 fires with it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
  48. Strada

    Strada Banned Member Banned

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    I'm a Light My Fire guy, bro! Never fails to throw off an abundance of sparks!
     
  49. LokoLobo

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    Do you have a link for that?
     
  50. Strada

    Strada Banned Member Banned

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