How to acquire and keep an edge on your flint stones.

Discussion in 'Fire' started by NESurvival, Sep 16, 2018 at 12:08 PM.

  1. NESurvival

    NESurvival Tinder Gatherer

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2018
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    47
    Location:
    New England
    I have finally figured out the art of a flint and steel fire. After many hours of practice, I have been able to get an ember and consistently blow it into flame with tinder. I have found that after practicing enough, that the flint stone is incredibly dull, and the sparks are hard to come by. I have been trying to break off small pieces with a hammer or my steel, but this seems ineffective. Does anyone know of a better way to keep your flint stones sharp and ready to produce sparks? Thanks.

    NESurvival
     
  2. Boondocks70

    Boondocks70 Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2012
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    775
    Location:
    Eastern Ohio
    From an earlier post about flint-knapping, should be relevant here as well, depending on how big your flint is. Smaller flint requires a smaller than "goose-egg" stone. I prefer a heavier striker and can often resharpen a flint using the top of striker as a knapping tool.


    I'll try to help what I can. I'm sure there are others here more experienced.

    Get a goose-egg sized and shaped chunk of dense sandstone to use as a hammer stone. Metal hammers are too hard and will shatter flint. You will hit with the "end" of the egg.

    Now for technique: You want to find an edge that's near 90 degrees but just under if possible. (acute angle) Wearing heavy gloves, strike just inside the edge and on a downward and "into the stone angle" like you are almost trying to penetrate the flint. A large flake should detach from THE BOTTOM of the piece. Shake off tiny pieces that come of the edges (do not brush them.... they are razor blades!!) Find a new edge, repeat. If the edge is very sharp, you may need to grind it dull before striking to get a better flake. It does take practice (be prepared for some gravel). And ...... WEAR GLOVES AND LEATHER APRON IF WORKING OFF EDGE OF YOUR LEG!!! AND SAFETY GLASSES!!
     
  3. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2014
    Messages:
    22,260
    Likes Received:
    92,606
    Location:
    Bogart, GA
    I use my striker as a pressure flaker to keep the edges sharp.
    What @Boondocks70 has described above is excellent advice!
     
  4. woodsmanjohn

    woodsmanjohn Supporter Supporter Bushclass II

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    3,180
    Likes Received:
    13,089
    Location:
    Southeast

    I use both of these methods, I also carry an additional small copper pressure flaker and small hammerstone on occasion, as well. Great info above.
     
  5. PAcanis

    PAcanis Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2017
    Messages:
    4,081
    Likes Received:
    18,914
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Hey, how did my post from another thread get quoted here? lol
     
  6. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2014
    Messages:
    22,260
    Likes Received:
    92,606
    Location:
    Bogart, GA
    Twilight Zone
     
  7. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2013
    Messages:
    10,891
    Likes Received:
    37,121
    Location:
    Kansas
    On bigger rocks that have very few sharp edges I use a hammer stone as described by @Boondocks70 .
    I like using small flints and keep them touched up by pressure flaking with my striker because it’s handy. I’m no accomplished flint knapper but I can at least get a decent edge most of the time. I think 90% of the frustrations we hear about with flint and steel is due to dull flint not bad steel.
     
  8. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2014
    Messages:
    22,260
    Likes Received:
    92,606
    Location:
    Bogart, GA
    I agree on the dull flint.
     
  9. HannahT

    HannahT Firebug Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2018
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    1,446
    I've been wondering about this topic for awhile, so I'll be watching the responses. I need to get a few basic knapping tools.
     
  10. trailhermit

    trailhermit Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2015
    Messages:
    342
    Likes Received:
    1,142
    Location:
    Mississippi
    I'm new to using flint and steel. So this was great information.

    I acquired a few new rocks from a rock garden at church. I used a hammer to split them and then tested them. They through of some great sparks!
     
  11. svh

    svh Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,887
    Likes Received:
    10,037
    Location:
    Mid MO
    Most of the time, all I have to do is kick around some dirt, or gravel, and a new piece mysteriously appears ! :D At least in my AO.
     
  12. NESurvival

    NESurvival Tinder Gatherer

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2018
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    47
    Location:
    New England
    I tried @Boonedocks70's technique but with my striker instead of a stone. It worked very well and I was able to get sparks to fly easily again. Again, make sure that you use gloves if you try this because those pieces are very sharp! Thanks @Boonedocks70 for the great information.
     
  13. CSM1970

    CSM1970 Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,106
    Likes Received:
    3,440
    Location:
    Texas
    Pressure flake the edge or gently hammer into the edge. Or flick your bic.
     
  14. DomC

    DomC Retired Old Scrub Stomper Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    1
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2011
    Messages:
    9,192
    Likes Received:
    27,958
    Location:
    East Central Florida

    Dominick..........
     
  15. Kevinthewise

    Kevinthewise Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2011
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    massachusetts
    I use a copper bopper and a homemade pressure flaker.
     
  16. CowboyJesus

    CowboyJesus Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Messages:
    3,237
    Likes Received:
    8,594
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    depends on the piece.

    i've had some given to me that are very thick, and, i'm fairly certain, cut. these require something heftier to sharpen. not my preferred.

    my preferred pieces of flint are closer to being like a biface......so, with those, i can pressure sharpen with the steel, or do some light "bopping" with the steel.

    i wish i had answers to making them last. i've actually found that, if i'm lucky and over anxious, i sometimes knock away small chips while trying to get a good spark. that always seems to be nice, kinda sharpening WHILE in use!
     
    MrFixIt, Cedarfire and GreySwampFox like this.
  17. Kyle363

    Kyle363 Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2017
    Messages:
    495
    Likes Received:
    1,269
    Location:
    Bergen County, NJ
    I will occasionally accidently hit the flint with my striker. That seems to a good job at breaking a chunk out and keeping the edge sharp.
     
    Cedarfire and MrFixIt like this.
  18. Cedarfire

    Cedarfire Tracker Lifetime Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2017
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    425
    Location:
    Northern B.C. Canada
    We don't have flint here, but a double strike on rock seems to sustain the edge a little longer.
    I'll test rocks for their sparking ability & use a double strike with a C striker. Have to say there's been NO success obtaining an ember, this is more about playing and maybe finding a good flint rock in this area. And seeing how other strikers throw heavy sparks, it's had me wondering about my $15 ebay striker and have a Wolf Creek on it's way :dblthumb:
    Temporarily, the double strike does work well. When I crack open a rock and hit it with the steel. at first it can spark like crazy with a single strike, then sparks almost disappear. Then it's time to switch to the "rocking motion" of a double strike. The striker hits with the bottom first and seems to chip & create a sharper edge for when the top hits. This will work for a short time until the edge is rounded, then it won't spark at all. Will then try to knap the rock with another although more often than not the rock shatters. In Canada I believe the aboriginals used bow drill, maybe for a good reason?
     
    DomC, Coryphene and MrFixIt like this.

Share This Page