Magnesium fire starter

Submitted: Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 18:06
ThreadID: 20783 Views:5342 Replies:9 FollowUps:7
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Has any1 used one of those magnesium fire starter kits????????

You know the ones. You use a knife to scrape some magnesium of a block and it has a flint attached which you then strike to ignite the magnesium which in turn lights your grass or whatever for a fire.

I thought it would be handy to have in the glove box as I don't smoke and don't like having matches or lighter floating around where a little pair of hand can get hold of them and cause problems. I figure it is a bit more work to light your fire but at least I hope my little one may not work out how to use it . Also it would never go "bad" and fail to work(I hope). I am curious if they work as well as claimed.

I am thinking of purchasing one for an "emergency kit ".

Please let me know the good and bad points about them.

Sparkie(IE not Y) ;-)
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Reply By: Rosco - Bris. - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 18:11

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 18:11
Sparkie

I have one and they certainly work. BUT the little job I have I bought on ebay.
It's OK but fairly small with a short length of old hacksaw blade as a striker.
Then again it only cost me a few dollars so I guess ya get whatcha pay for eh?

Not a bad idea and worth the small investment.

Cheers
AnswerID: 100159

Follow Up By: Member - Sparkie (QLD) - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 18:17

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 18:17
Thanks for that,Rosco.

I thought it couldn't hurt to have one for "backup". I should have matches or a lighter handy but somehow you always take it out to heatshrink something or light a BBQ and somehow never remember to put it back.

Sparkie(IE not Y) ;-)
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Reply By: Lone Wolf - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 18:12

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 18:12
I have had one for around 2 years now.
The guy at the 4 x 4 show made it look REALLY easy.
I have actually lit a fire with it, but now....... I just try and forget that I purchased the bloody thing. Tracy sometimes reminds me that I still have it in the glove box, and takes GREAT DELIGHT in saying, when we have company at camp...."Ian, what about that fire starter thingy you have, use that darling..."

I then have to take another months therapy when I get back to Adelaide...........

Wolfie
AnswerID: 100162

Follow Up By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 18:24

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 18:24
Wolfie I'm with you, we have one too, bought at a 4x4 show...and i can't get the damn thing to work....Al can though....

it's an exercise in utter frustration for me... :)
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Follow Up By: Member - Sparkie (QLD) - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 18:31

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 18:31
Your therapist must love you.

I will try to keep matches or lighters handy but failing that maybe I can talk the SWMBO into lighting the fire. ;-( Still, as an emergency item it could get you out of trouble.

Sparkie(IE not Y) ;-)
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 18:53

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 18:53
you actually have to get the coatin goff the outside of them to make them work better,the guy at the 4b show uses one thats had ALL the coating used off it, ince you get the coating off it works a dream, just scrape around the whole thing, quite hard, then it'll be fine.

oh...and keep matches handy
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Reply By: greydemon - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 18:51

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 18:51
If you are going to keep it in your vehicle why not just light a bit of paper from your car cigarette lighter.
Or ... splash a bit of kero/diesel/petrol(? - perhaps not) on a bit of grass and touch your jumper leads together.
Or ... forget to clear the spinifex from the underside of your vehicle!
Or ... keep some matches/lighter in a child proof container.
Or ... cook on a gas stove with auto ignition.

These all sound easier options.

8-)

Greydemon
AnswerID: 100170

Follow Up By: Member - Brett H (QLD) - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 19:06

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 19:06
woof wood works well for me too.
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Reply By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 20:59

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 20:59
Sparkie,

Bic Fag lighters, $1.50 each and keep for years. Buy 5 and keep them everywhere in your truck and camping gear. Even after they run out of gas the flint will still spark and set fire to a bit of fuel if you are desperate.

If you lose one you've lost $1.50.

Of course you could invest $5 in a magnifying glass, which has other purposes, and will set fire to grass or paper with a bit of sunlight.

Personally I believe there are better options to the "Fire Stick" but it is up to you.

Cheers,

Jim.

AnswerID: 100183

Reply By: Member - Sand Man (SA) - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 21:09

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 21:09
Sparkie,

I have one too and they are good for an emergency. They don't have a separate flint though. As you scrape the magnesium rod, small particles detach and spontaneously ignite. You mearly "pool" enough of the red hot particles on a piece of combustble material such as paper, then gently blow on it to ignite the material.

Not the sort of thing one would use to light a gas stove, etc.

Oh, and I fully agree with Bonz. There is a coating on it and once you have removed a sufficient amount by initial scraping, the job becomes easy.

Better than rubbing two (wooden) sticks together:-))
Bill


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AnswerID: 100184

Reply By: hoyks - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 21:36

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 21:36
I not a fan of leaving lighters in the car. Years ago a mate of mine left one in the ashtray of his car and it exploded and trashed the dash.
AnswerID: 100189

Reply By: D-Jack - Saturday, Feb 26, 2005 at 01:07

Saturday, Feb 26, 2005 at 01:07
Keep some steel wool in your emergency kit. Connect jumper leads to battery, then steel wool in between jumper lead ends. Works a treat. Never hit and miss as sounds with the mag flint.
AnswerID: 100211

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Saturday, Feb 26, 2005 at 19:11

Saturday, Feb 26, 2005 at 19:11
Works well as a low temperature detonator too - that should invite a cursory glance by Echelon :)

http://www.echelonwatch.org/

Mike Harding
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Reply By: Member - Sparkie (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 26, 2005 at 12:43

Saturday, Feb 26, 2005 at 12:43
thanks for all the replies, Guys and Gals. to tell you the truth I had forgotten about the car battery trick. Maybe it is a bit of overkill as an emergency item but it seemed like a good idea at the time.I could pretend to be all scientific and stuff.

Ah well, looks like I will buy one as they look like a bit of fun.

Sparkie(IE not Y) ;-)
AnswerID: 100248

Follow Up By: Member - Oskar (Bris) - Saturday, Feb 26, 2005 at 18:22

Saturday, Feb 26, 2005 at 18:22
I got one for christmas (wow)
If you fold a piece of paper (dunny paper??) into 4 (if you Know what I mean) it creates a sort of a pocket in the corner. Scrape the Mg into the paper and it all gathers into one spot ... then hit the flint. That's the only way I could get the thing to light anything.
Lighters and matches work better though.
Cheers
Oskar
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Reply By: paj - Saturday, Feb 26, 2005 at 21:00

Saturday, Feb 26, 2005 at 21:00
There are two types and I have both (and yes, purchased from those blokes at the camping shows that make them look easy!)

One is a single stick with a plastic handle on one end that works well when all the coating is scraped off as described above. Pity they don't tell you that in the instructions, it would save a lot of cursing before it works :) Once you get the hang, it is quick and easy - we find newspaper the best tinder.

The other type is the magnesium block with a flint bar down one side. Scrape a pile of mag shavings then strike the flint to set them off. They will light almost anything ... eventually. I can't get the hang of it consistently.

Much prefer the first type, if only I could find it in the shed.

Cheers

Paj
AnswerID: 100289

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