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There are no stupid questions!

Discussion in 'Fire' started by Quinlan, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Quinlan

    Quinlan BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    Greetings,

    The title is misleading, as i am going to ask something potentially stupid and wanted some self-provided reassurance.

    Has anybody ever used those crushed stones laid on the railway tracks for flint in flint and steel fire making?

    Regards,

    Christos
     
  2. OldMan

    OldMan Supporter Supporter

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    Yes. Usually but not always the railroad ballast rock laid down is chirt and that can work with a steel striker for a flint & steel fire.

    Railroads lay down new ballast every year or so, sometimes twice a year so if you catch them new you can find some good sized pieces.
     
  3. isme

    isme Guide

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    Yes sir, I have.
    Some of them work pretty decent, Its just trial and error.
    If you can perfect your technique with flint, you will have a better chance with these rocks.
     
  4. Quinlan

    Quinlan BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    Greetings,

    Thanks, I'll try.:)

    I half expected to be banned for asking something stupid, but looking at all that crushed stone out of the window on a train the idea just popped in my mind and wouldn't leave me. Had to ask.

    Regards,

    Christos
     
  5. Riverpirate

    Riverpirate Supporter Supporter

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    The railroads here use Granite.
     
  6. TerBear

    TerBear Scout

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    A while back I spent some time walking the tracks at a relatives, hoping to find something good. I always carry a striker with me and I didn't get a single spark. You know what they say. Location. Location. Location.
     
  7. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Same here, I believe.
     
  8. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Supporter Supporter

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    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are."
    hello,
    @Quinlan the track ballast stones used in the UK are normally grey or a mix of grey/red granite. I'm sure I posted details on the BCUSA forum regarding the other type used as track ballast, which eludes me whilst typing. They do shew sparks (tried & tested). Awesome tinder BTW is the old (tinder dry) railway sleepers which have seen service, engrained/seasoned in engine oil. I sawed up a railway sleeper sometime ago. I split the blocks with my axe & used the short lengths very much alike to phatwood (shavings & feather sticks). Geeze these kindle very nicely give off a rare heat. :D
    Regards
    David
     
  9. blind & lost

    blind & lost Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    "Watch Out for the Cars"
     
  10. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Granite here as well. The Granite Capitol of the World (Elberton, GA) is about an hour away north of my location.
    I have tried granite and it does throw a spark, but it needs a sharp edge and tends to flake away after a few strikes.

    "I'm gonna dodge it!"

    https://www.google.com/search?q=sta...h=775#imgrc=6TV29bz4ZVZHbM:&spf=1507832269463
     
  11. PAcanis

    PAcanis Supporter Supporter

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    I'm going to have to give this a try. I live darn close to the RR tracks. Which accounts for all the dove hunting in the area.
     
  12. OldMan

    OldMan Supporter Supporter

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    Yepper, should have qualified my statement. Where you're at and which railroad operates in your area, as well as where they get their ballast determines much of what gets laid down. In most of the areas I've been it's usually chirt, but it can be hit & miss, sometimes finding 5 rocks in a row that spark good and other times finding zero after spending an hour.

    For the OP, if you need some flint let me know. I've got a few pieces of Texas flint I can send you and will throw in an altoid tin for making char cloth. Send me a PM.
     
  13. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    @OldMan , great gesture.
    Exactly why I love this forum.
     
  14. Quinlan

    Quinlan BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    Greetings,
    Where did you get your railway sleeper from? Lucky abandoned somewhere by the rails? I googled them and they are being sold as used, reclaimed, etc.

    Something funny, one company had this warning on their site:
    :18::46::21:

    Regards,

    Christos
     
  15. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Supporter Supporter

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    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are."
    hello,
    Oh yeah very unwise to even TRY playing on the tracks..:eek: the Central belt of Scotland is littered with old disused & abandoned railway lines that criss cross scarring the countryside, from the bygone Coal mining community era. These are recycled used for allsorts, there are old sleepers, some in a near punkwood state of decay lying around if YOU know where to look. ;)
    Regards
    David
     
  16. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker Scout

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    They often have used sleepers ar gardening type stores .They look nice for borders.
    Many of them are so oil soaked you can smell them from a few feet away (I actually like that strange smell).
     
  17. Quinlan

    Quinlan BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    Greetings,
    :33::45:
    This is part of the route I take when running or hiking. The red line is parallel to railway tracks, just fields on my side and forested area. If I am right in my hunch it will turn out that you were right about knowing where to look. I will check it out.;)
    RS.png

    Regards,

    Christos
     
  18. bacpacjac

    bacpacjac Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Yes! Railroad rocks, here at least, do shew sparks. They were the first rocks I discovered that do, actually. Ours are black and shiny, but not so glassy as Obsidian. The kids think they look like lava or moon rocks. When I was a kid, we called them coal rocks. My front garden is currently full of them, thanks to make a treasure hunt along the tracks.

    @DavidJAFO has taught me a great many things about flint and steel fire, but first and foremost to go kicking stones with a striker in my pocket as often as I can. Try them ALL!! LOL!
     
  19. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Supporter Supporter

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    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are."
    hello,
    @Quinlan Bro along similar lines (pun intended) keep an eye out for old sleepers shoring up the embankments either side of the area of the disused tracks too. I think don't quote me but in Scotland quartz dolerite is composition of basalt which is also quarried & used on roads & rail as ballast. It has a grey bluish colour Mohs hardness of 7. It does shew sparks, again you have to create a sharp edge on such before striking. :)
    Regards
    David
     
  20. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Supporter Supporter

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    hello,
    ^ AHEM ^ don't start blaming Moi for YOUR pyrotechniques addiction cousin Jac. :D tee hee..
    Regards
    David
     
  21. Quinlan

    Quinlan BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    Greetings,
    ...(after trying them ALL):
    giphy.gif

    Regards,

    Christos
     
  22. bacpacjac

    bacpacjac Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    LOL @DavidJAFO and @Quinlan!

    A picture is worth more than my words, so I took a pic of a few from our collection of rocks from the tracks.

    20171013_125105[1].jpg
     
  23. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Supporter Supporter

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    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are."
    hello,
    @bacpacjac hmm.. resembles Obsidian. When I lived out in 'the sticks' the cross tracks for the coal mines used the volcanic stones & obsidian as track ballast in-between the sleepers. With the coal industry long gone, the tracks were either left to decay or removed but the ballast remained. As kids we stone kicked along these old routes looking for the green, blue & if we were lucky black obsidian.
    Regards
    David
     
  24. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker Scout

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    I was at our country bumpkin train station yesterday. They had just received a delivery of thousands of..... CEMENT sleepers.
    Haven't had a chance to see how they burn yet.;)
     
  25. CivilizationDropout

    CivilizationDropout -MOA #17-MYOG #71- Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Like its been said, try 'em all and you'll start to realize what the good ones look like.

    Just remember all youse, the RR will use the CHEAPEST ballast. So if you happen to live in the land of chert, sandstone, granite or quartz the chances are your areas ballast will be chert, sandstone, granite or quartz, respectively.

    As well as vica verca I am sure.. :D

    OH -HO! Now who's going around spouting off about moh's hardness and fire striking! :p

    ye'r speck-en laid bai en ma eerrs cannah hendle et.
     
    Coryphene, MrFixIt, DavidJAFO and 2 others like this.

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