April 19, 2012

Starting a Summer Fire

Every reader of Backwoods Plaid will start at least one campfire this summer - I hope. Fire has helped unify people and warm bodies and souls since the beginning of time. Some of my favorite moments involve sitting with friends around an emblazoned ring of burning hardwood. Stories told and laughs shared are cast in my mind's eye like the dancing shadows of flames about a campsite. Two things will make starting a fire better this summer. First is being able to escape for a couple nights to a remote stretch of woods. The only interruption of silence here is the crackling of burning pine. Second is to leave your bic lighter at home. It's nice to do things the primitive way when in the heart of mother nature.

The most basic origin of fire is by friction (bowdrill or fire plough) or spark (flint and steel). Today we'll focus on the latter. A 3,000+ degree sparks can be had by striking hard steel against flint. I recently tested out my new Light My Fire Swedish FireKnife. Fire comes easy by sliding the knife's blunt edge against the removable flint rod (built into the handle). Of course this isn't flint in it's natural form. It's man-made, but much more impressive than using a match. It, also, works flawlessly when wet.

The Swiss-made knife is one of the sharpest I've tested for the money ($40) and will work great to fillet a fish and also assist in sparking the fire needed to fry it up. The handle's grip is phenomenal to prevent slipping from wet hands. She'll make a great addition to your gear bag and a cool way to spend a few minutes at camp. Let me know your thoughts if you decide to pick one up. Below are some test shots from last week.
A sharp blade and a bright color make this knife hard to lose.

The ferro rod removed from the handle.

Great handle grip.

Sparks shoot into my tinder bundle and soon catch flame.

A successful fire without the assitance of matches. It should go without saying to use precautions and be observant when starting a fire anywhere outdoors.

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Anonymous said...

I like how you stress using the blunt edge of the knife to strike it. I learned from experience after seeing you shudder as I tried to spark it with the blade.

Rhon Bell said...

We all make mistakes; a dull knife is something we can avoid. Stay safe out there.

Anonymous said...

One minor correction: that's not a Swiss-made knife. It's made by Mora of Sweden. The quality and temper of their steel/grind is superb, and their classic Mora knife is easily the best knife you could own for the money. Check out this site for more info: http://www.ragweedforge.com/SwedishKnifeCatalog.html

Rhon Bell said...

Thank you for the clarification. Appreciate you swinging in. Truly a great knife.