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Customer Review

1,329 of 1,398 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works Perfect - Just follow the directions, March 28, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SE FS374 All-Weather Emergency 2-IN-1 Fire Starter & Magnesium Fuel Bar (Everything you need to start a fire!) (Tools & Hardware)
UPDATED(3-28-2011) - SEE UPDATE SECTION AT END:

I tried this magnesium fire starting tool - SE(Emergency Fire Starter - SE - Emergency Fire Starter) out as well as the alternative from (from Doan Machinery & Equipment - "Genuine Issue Magnesium Survival Fire Starter" Genuine Issue Magnesium Survival Fire Starter).

Both tools work perfectly fine as described and were able to light up fine fibers(cotton, moss, dried grass) and paper without a problem. The Doan tool has more precise instructions and clearly states on the packaging to scrape the magnesium portion of the bar with a knife blade PERPENDICULAR to the edge of the tool. I found this to method made for the most shavings and larger shavings at that. The packaging clearly states that you want a QUARTER(U.S. Coin) sized amount (just shy of 1 inch or 2.4cm diameter) Then holding the bar at 45 degree angle to the pile of shavings drag the knife along the flint to create sparks. The directions remind you to hold the blade perpendicular to the bar while "striking" the flint. I would advise not to strike the flint as they are brittle. However, a nice quick full length drag of the blade down the flint creates a shower of sparks for easy ignition of the magnesium shavings.

Both brands work fine. They are nearly identical in shape(the SE is a few mm longer). Each brand has a different finish/coating on the bar itself is about the only difference I can tell. The performance seemed to be identical or at least close enough to not notice anything to complain about. The big difference is the price. The SE(made in China) is about half the price of the Doan(Made in USA - Patented). It appears to me that they are both the same design with slightly different execution of it, and one is just made overseas so that is why it's cheaper(unless there is less active "ingredients"(magnesium).

One other note: The SE(Chinese one) also comes with a saw blade striker that does work but you need to wear through a protective layer of lacquer for it to work and it's just small enough to annoy my large hands. I just stick with a cheap staineless steel pocket knife for this. I always carry about 3-4 blades when I'm out hiking(cheap folder that I don't care if it gets ruined, sometimes a higher quality folder, always a fixed blade that is larger with full tang, and usually a multi tool(leatherman).

You can't go wrong with either tool. I'd prefer to buy American(Doan - the "other" one) in the long run though, especially for something I might end up having my life depend on.

EDIT: One last note on product life- depending on how much magnesium you need to get your fire going each time, I think the flint will run out long before you ever use up all the magnesium.

UPDATED: 03-28-2011

There have been a ton of reviews mentioning that the DOAN tool being purchased is no longer made in USA or shipped as a knock off. Be careful which seller you buy from. I will be posting pictures later today that show the SE Tool side by side with the Doan tool. I no longer have the packaging to show what they look like however.

The seller I purchased the DOAN GENUINE ISSUE from was known as "CLASSICAL FITNESS & HEALTH" / "Waterglider LLC". They no longer have it stocked apparently.

A GENUINE DOAN FIRE STARTER SHOULD HAVE THIS INFORMATION STAMPED ON ONE SIDE WITH AN ADDRESS ON THE OTHER. THE FIRST LINE IS THE NSN(Nato Stock Number):
"
4240-01-160-5618
FSCM 62561
MFR/PN 8702
FIRE STARTING TOOL
MAGNESIUM
U.S. PATENT NO. 4,188,192
"

Reverse Side:
"
SPARKING INSERT
MFD. BY DOAN MACH. & EQUIP. CO. INC.
P.O. BOX 21334
SO. EUCHLID, O. 44121
SHAVING EDGE
"
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Showing 1-10 of 31 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 30, 2010 7:44:58 AM PST
This was very helpful thanks and will buy American also :)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2010 9:11:54 AM PST
S. Karl says:
You're welcome!

Posted on Dec 9, 2010 10:37:34 AM PST
Thanks for the review - I bought Doan as well.

Posted on Dec 30, 2010 3:01:26 PM PST
Why did you say you would buy the Doan if your life depended on it, especially after saying there is basically no difference in the two based upon your test?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 31, 2010 10:41:52 AM PST
S. Karl says:
I didn't perform any tests(like temperature of the sparks or how many total strikes you would get out of each block)...just compared them. What I mean is that if I were to ever have a problem with it, I would hate to be stuck in survival situation where I would need the tool and have it fail because I skimped on a few dollars. So if this is for everyday use, no problem - it works. But if was the ONLY fire starting tool I had- especially if my life depended on it- I would buy American for peace of mind in that the quality control is better and the chance of having the tool fail would be less (at least in my mind).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 9, 2011 9:52:37 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 9, 2011 9:53:12 PM PST
PWTSM says:
Hello Margaret and Karl, I'd like to interject here if you don't mind. Hundreds if not thousands of items that are made in China are made with faulty or inferior materials, as well as items you'd never consider to be harmful that are in fact made with materials that can kill you - all made in China. Chinese manufacturers have a reputation of finding any way they can to reduce costs, even if it means making toxic and inferior products, even if it means people (including children) and pets will die. Three of the most recent items I've read about, off the top of my head; cancer causing dry wall, poison pet food, and toxic baby formula. All made with inferior materials, all from China, all killed. I don't trust ANYTHING made in China and I would never trust my life to something made in China no matter how good the review, no matter how good the item appeared to be on the surface.

Here's a website that lists over 40 items made in China in 2007 alone that were dangerous and/or faulty:
http://www.who-sucks.com/business/made-in-china-2007-danger-timeline

For more info on problems with things made in China, Google this:
"made in china" inferior materials deaths

No offense to the good citizens of China. My beef is with the manufacturers and the government (both ours and the Chinese) for allowing these items to be made at all, let alone sold in America.

Posted on Mar 28, 2011 9:33:01 AM PDT
Natalie says:
Thank you for the great review. Unfortunately, the one advertised on Amazon as Doan is now made in China (or so say the reviews), and the one called "Genuine Issue" doesn't say Doan on it. I can't find any "Made in U.S.A." Hard to know what you're getting.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2011 5:26:06 PM PDT
S. Karl says:
Natalie, thanks for the update/comment. I'm going to post pictures of mine so people know the difference. I do, in fact, have a genuine doan fire starter and will post pictures with the stamped address, 13-digit nato stock number(NSN), and US Patent numbers. The seller I purchased from was known as "CLASSICAL FITNESS & HEALTH" / "Waterglider LLC". They no longer have it stocked apparently.

A GENUINE DOAN FIRE STARTER SHOULD HAVE THIS INFORMATION STAMPED ON ONE SIDE WITH AN ADDRESS ON THE OTHER:
"
4240-01-160-5618
FSCM 62561
MFR/PN 8702
FIRE STARTING TOOL
MAGNESIUM
U.S. PATENT NO. 4,188,192
"

Reverse Side:
"
SPARKING INSERT
MFD. BY DOAN MACH. & EQUIP. CO. INC.
P.O. BOX 21334
SO. EUCHLID, O. 44121
SHAVING EDGE
"

Posted on Apr 2, 2011 9:48:36 PM PDT
M. marsden says:
Just to ask, I have the address printed on one side and nothing on the other side or anywhere else. The packaging said 'Doan, made in the USA'. But buying from e bay your always taking a risk. And Amazon dont ship to Australia. Is mine probably a fake?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2011 6:28:48 AM PDT
S. Karl says:
What type of packaging? It should have "MFD. BY DOAN MACH. & EQUIP. CO. INC." stamped on it. As far I know, they only come in two different packages. A retail package that is a cardboard blister pack and a bulk supply packaging that is just a soft plastic sleeve. I have no idea about yours.
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