One of the most commons things we get asked about is how to hold a Fire Steel.
There are loads of footage on 'You tube' and we ourselves have some tutorial videos on how to use a Traditional Fire Steel. Some Fire Steels are easier to use then others and we always say choose a Fire Steel that feels good in your hand. I like a larger Italian 'C' shaped Fire Steel, whereas Mark likes the smaller Viking shaped ones, Jack prefers an Oval…its all down to what shape appeals to you and what feels right.
Then after that its all in the technique. If your Fire Steel doesn't work it might be the angle of the flint or how you hold the Fire Steel. The sharper the edge and the darker the flint the better! If you don't get enough sparks, try adjusting the angle of the Flint. Word of warning though….flint blunts easily and it’s the flint that wears out not the Fire Steel…also watch out for fine flying flint shards if the edge of your flint is too thin!!!
'Rule of thumb'…we always place our tinder on the flat size of the Flint (a millimetre or so away from the edge)….we trap the Tinder (Char cloth or Amadou) with our thumbs and we will aim our strike at the point where our thumb has lined the Tinder up on our Flint piece….this makes it easier for the Tinder to catch a spark from the strike.
Another question we get asked a lot is how long do Fire Steels last….for as long as you look after them! Never drop your Fire Steel! They are made from High Carbon Steel and hardened, this process makes them a little bit brittle, if they were not made this way they won't produce a spark. They can rust if left out or not used, it’s the nature of High Carbon Steel however if used regularly the natural oils in your hands should keep the Fire Steel free from rust. If it does start to rust, we recommend just a little bit of Vaseline rubbed in and then wiped off.