Fire-pistons: start fires by compressing air


#1

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#2

These are great, if it’s dry-ish. Not so amazing in the damp. Compressing all that water vapor along with the oxygen seemed to muck mine up. Wonder where that even got to?


#3

Another really nifty tool that works well, even on dampish stuff is the magnesium block with the embedded flint.

You shave off a little pile of magnesium, put your tinder over that (allowing a gap to your magnesium pile) and strike the flint into the whole wad. The hot-burning magnesium won’t last long, but will light most things, and if you shave a big enough pile of it, you can cook out a little bit of the moisture in the tinder.


#4

Fire pistons are pretty neat. I understand how they work, but I still find it surprising that they do.


#5

and if you want to go with the turbo version, I’d suggest a mischmetal stick. It’s like a magnesium block on crack. If you do it right, you quite literally throw a little sparking blob of white hot burning metal.

This is where I get mine (and no, I’m not affiliated with them in any way):
http://goinggear.com/survival/fire/firesteel-ferro-rod-blanks


#6

These days when I’m out camping, I usually just carry around one of these, plus a pill bottle of storm matches.

Makes lighting shit on fire super quick and easy.


#7

Yup. Can’t beat the torch lighter. I keep my mischmetal stick in an “emergency bag” in the pickup when we go camping/drive to hiking spots etc… Chances are we’ll never need it, but it’s good to have (plus, it makes lighting campfires from a few feet away super dramatic!).


#8

50 bucks buys a lot of matches.


#9

I just wrap a bit of dry grass/birch-bark around my finger and then touch my ass… Sssss boom instant fire!


#10

Why go with wood for a fire piston? it just seems like its an excuse for something to break. If you want something that’ll work no matter what get a metal one.


#11

Do you smoke after sex?


#12

How to make one yourself.
Although I’d recommend modifying his procedure in such a way that you’re not risking grievous bodily harm due to tool misuse.


#13

Also, video of somebody demonstrating the same sort of fire piston described in the article.


#14

Fire pistons are neat.
But they’re a pain to use. Tinder has to be super dry. Super small. And the seals need to be in perfect shape (and they don’t last long, so plan on buying/carrying extras). And even under the best circumstances, you get a really small ember of questionable quality.
Maybe you can tell they’re not my first pick for making fire.


#15

Yes, there are easier, less-expensive ways to start a fire, but when you think of it as a really cool science toy makes it a must-have in the classroom.


#16

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