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Q:
I'm new to starting fires with flint. I am having a heck of a time trying to get a fire started. Anyone have any info on how to get one started with flint. Any answers accepted.

Question by Christian Emter. Uploaded on March 03, 2009

Answers (15)

Top Rated
All Answers
from 60256 wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

You shoulda been in boy scouts. Just kidding. Make sure that you are using the sharpest part of flint for starters.

Nate

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PointPhilip wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

Use Lint from the Dryer or sock lint if you are in the bush and you need a tinder that will catch any spark

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from KingFisher907 wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

The first time you attempt to make a fire, I suggest the following method. Place a nice nest of small kindling on the ground. Select a nice piece of char cloth for tinder, and place it on top of the "nest". Hold your flint over the cloth, and strike away! When a spark has been caught, pick up the nest of kindling, and fold it around the cloth. Hold it above the level of your face (to avoid getting smoke in your eyes) and blow gently. Within a few seconds, your bundle should burst into flames. David Thompson wrote about the 'Canadians' (voyageurs) waving their tinder in the air to get a flame. It works, but blowing is easier to control when you are a beginner.

Once you have had a little practice, you can try another method which I now use all the time, and which is great if the ground is snowy or wet. Take your piece of tinder and fold it down to a compact square. Place this on top of a flat flint so that the edge of the tinder is right next to the edge that you are going to strike. Hold the flint and tinder tightly with your thumb, and strike. More often than not the tinder catches a spark on my first strike. I then put away my fire steel and flint, and take a handful of dry small kindling out of my tinderbox, place the tinder on it, fold it over, and away I go. If I smoked, I could probably light my cheroot straight from the compact, glowing tinder. Folding a piece of tinder this way is also a great way to increase its heat, which really helps when your small kindling is shavings or thin sticks that you have split from your large kindling with a knife. With a little practice, I have been able to generate a flaming pile of small kindling in as little as 20 seconds. With more practice, I have no doubt that I can improve on that time!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from KingFisher907 wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

how to make char cloth:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Char-Cloth/

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

Nice to see that you are sorting things out before you actually need the skill. Tinder is the key. Reminds me, I need to sort out my stuff and play (practice) some more since a new season is about to start.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tourneyking734 wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

steel wool and lint or any light tinder usually do the trick. just remember to start REALLY small and work your way up in the size of wood and tinder

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Pernice th... wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

Try using cotton balls soaked in petrolium jelly to use as a starter.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

O'BROTHER Talk about doing it the hard way!

Looking for something that really works and I mean really works even after being stored wet for a long long time! Well by’golly get’ya a small jar of good old fashion Vaseline from and a magnesium fire starter stick from your local Wal-Mart. So simple of an operation I bet a Caveman can do it. Take a 2x2 inch piece of cloth and saturate it with Vaseline and scrape a little magnesium on it and hit it with the flint side and now you have instant fire 6 to 10 minutes of flame, now compare that with any other lighter and remember you haven’t really used your fire starting resources at all. I still got the same Vaseline jar in my back pack some 10 years ago and still work as good as the day I put it in.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from CPT BRAD wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

use magnesium sold at wally world and cotton balls with vasaline or lighter fluid in a pill bottle or 35mm film container, works A LOT better

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from t_holinka wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

I've heard that the inside of bark off a tree works well in an emergency setting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sportsman Matt wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

Birch bark stripped into fine strips works well for starting, shave off pieces of flint onto the birch bark shavings, then spark, should light on the first or second try, then add some fine dry dead twigs from a hemlock as tinder. Build from there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charley wrote 5 years 5 weeks ago

One of the best this I've learned is to put the char cloth on the top side of the flint. It catches the spark much faster.
I also use a blow tube like a straw to concentrate airflow.
Dry inner bark from a cottonwood is tje best tinder. Rub it into thin fibers and make a nest.
Don't ever buy a striker unless you try it first and can get good sparks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from onehikes wrote 4 years 52 weeks ago

If I am staying historic and using a flint and steel, I find Char cloth catches the spark best and I can start a flame in my tinder bundle. Without char cloth it is hard to capture a spark. I use the inside of bark like cedar and fluff it up into a good tinder bundle. I place the char cloth on top of the flint too and find the spark lands there easily.

Cotton balls and vaseline work great if I am not staying historic, but I usually direct the spark to it instead of placing it on top of the flint.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from debins33 wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

It just takes a couple tries and eventually the magnesium will get softer and easier to scrape but after 3 or 4 tries youll have a fire in five minutes.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from J4huntfish wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

get an altoids can and light my fre firesteel take 5 cotton balls smeared in petrolium jelly take som tinfoil wrap th coltton balls in it flatten the tin foil put flint and cotton balls in altoids can and wallah

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from John Doe wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

anything that is fine and fluffy works good.if you pick a cattail you can use the thing at the top to make a lot of fine and fluffy material.once you get the tinder going use things as small or smaller than match sticks then work up to twice the size,then twice the size of that and so on.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post an Answer

from KingFisher907 wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

The first time you attempt to make a fire, I suggest the following method. Place a nice nest of small kindling on the ground. Select a nice piece of char cloth for tinder, and place it on top of the "nest". Hold your flint over the cloth, and strike away! When a spark has been caught, pick up the nest of kindling, and fold it around the cloth. Hold it above the level of your face (to avoid getting smoke in your eyes) and blow gently. Within a few seconds, your bundle should burst into flames. David Thompson wrote about the 'Canadians' (voyageurs) waving their tinder in the air to get a flame. It works, but blowing is easier to control when you are a beginner.

Once you have had a little practice, you can try another method which I now use all the time, and which is great if the ground is snowy or wet. Take your piece of tinder and fold it down to a compact square. Place this on top of a flat flint so that the edge of the tinder is right next to the edge that you are going to strike. Hold the flint and tinder tightly with your thumb, and strike. More often than not the tinder catches a spark on my first strike. I then put away my fire steel and flint, and take a handful of dry small kindling out of my tinderbox, place the tinder on it, fold it over, and away I go. If I smoked, I could probably light my cheroot straight from the compact, glowing tinder. Folding a piece of tinder this way is also a great way to increase its heat, which really helps when your small kindling is shavings or thin sticks that you have split from your large kindling with a knife. With a little practice, I have been able to generate a flaming pile of small kindling in as little as 20 seconds. With more practice, I have no doubt that I can improve on that time!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from KingFisher907 wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

how to make char cloth:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Char-Cloth/

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from PointPhilip wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

Use Lint from the Dryer or sock lint if you are in the bush and you need a tinder that will catch any spark

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 60256 wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

You shoulda been in boy scouts. Just kidding. Make sure that you are using the sharpest part of flint for starters.

Nate

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

O'BROTHER Talk about doing it the hard way!

Looking for something that really works and I mean really works even after being stored wet for a long long time! Well by’golly get’ya a small jar of good old fashion Vaseline from and a magnesium fire starter stick from your local Wal-Mart. So simple of an operation I bet a Caveman can do it. Take a 2x2 inch piece of cloth and saturate it with Vaseline and scrape a little magnesium on it and hit it with the flint side and now you have instant fire 6 to 10 minutes of flame, now compare that with any other lighter and remember you haven’t really used your fire starting resources at all. I still got the same Vaseline jar in my back pack some 10 years ago and still work as good as the day I put it in.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from onehikes wrote 4 years 52 weeks ago

If I am staying historic and using a flint and steel, I find Char cloth catches the spark best and I can start a flame in my tinder bundle. Without char cloth it is hard to capture a spark. I use the inside of bark like cedar and fluff it up into a good tinder bundle. I place the char cloth on top of the flint too and find the spark lands there easily.

Cotton balls and vaseline work great if I am not staying historic, but I usually direct the spark to it instead of placing it on top of the flint.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from debins33 wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

It just takes a couple tries and eventually the magnesium will get softer and easier to scrape but after 3 or 4 tries youll have a fire in five minutes.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

Nice to see that you are sorting things out before you actually need the skill. Tinder is the key. Reminds me, I need to sort out my stuff and play (practice) some more since a new season is about to start.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tourneyking734 wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

steel wool and lint or any light tinder usually do the trick. just remember to start REALLY small and work your way up in the size of wood and tinder

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Pernice th... wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

Try using cotton balls soaked in petrolium jelly to use as a starter.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from CPT BRAD wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

use magnesium sold at wally world and cotton balls with vasaline or lighter fluid in a pill bottle or 35mm film container, works A LOT better

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from t_holinka wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

I've heard that the inside of bark off a tree works well in an emergency setting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sportsman Matt wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

Birch bark stripped into fine strips works well for starting, shave off pieces of flint onto the birch bark shavings, then spark, should light on the first or second try, then add some fine dry dead twigs from a hemlock as tinder. Build from there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charley wrote 5 years 5 weeks ago

One of the best this I've learned is to put the char cloth on the top side of the flint. It catches the spark much faster.
I also use a blow tube like a straw to concentrate airflow.
Dry inner bark from a cottonwood is tje best tinder. Rub it into thin fibers and make a nest.
Don't ever buy a striker unless you try it first and can get good sparks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from J4huntfish wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

get an altoids can and light my fre firesteel take 5 cotton balls smeared in petrolium jelly take som tinfoil wrap th coltton balls in it flatten the tin foil put flint and cotton balls in altoids can and wallah

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from John Doe wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

anything that is fine and fluffy works good.if you pick a cattail you can use the thing at the top to make a lot of fine and fluffy material.once you get the tinder going use things as small or smaller than match sticks then work up to twice the size,then twice the size of that and so on.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post an Answer