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Genuine Issue Magnesium Survival Firestarter
|Price:||$10.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details|
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- Magnesium shaving edge.
- Sparking insert.
- Government issue.
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|Item Dimensions||0.5 x 1 x 3 inches|
|Item Weight||0.1 pounds|
|Shipping Weight||0.1 pounds|
This is the genuine G.I. Aviation Fire Starter with a magnesium edge and sparking insert. You can make a spark in just about any weather conditions. Government issue.
Top Customer Reviews
I believe other reviewers that gave this less than five stars were using this tool incorrectly. These are points of use I believe important:
1. You do not need (or want to use) a sharp knife. I use a basic metal jigsaw blade attached to a cord I put on this starter instead of the little chain. A short or broken Sawzall blade may be even better because it has a hole you can thread a cord through.
2. SCRAPE the magnesium into a pile, don't CARVE it. I bet the people who try to carve the magnesium (to make the pile of shavings) were butchering their knives.
3. You do NOT need to scrape it for ten minutes to make a pile (unless you are using a wet sponge for tinder :(). With good tinder and a piece of paper I made a pile smaller than a dime and got a fire going in under a minute. In fact, I bet with really good tinder you could just use the flint and start a fire. Experiment at home to see how little a pile you can make of magnesium and still start a fire. The key is to keep the pile together so you must obviously have some shelter from the wind. I do not recommend making a fire in very high wind unless you have the means to put out a forest fire (dig a pit or camp dark or FIND SHELTER!!!). It really helps to have something to collect the shavings on like a piece of plastic or paper, then you can funnel them into a little pile on a piece of bark or rock. If you keep scattering the shavings try not to rest the end of the magnesium bar on the paper/plastic/coat/whatever or get a bigger piece and let them scatter then funnel them into a pile. EXPERIMENT!
4. SCRAPE the flint rod, don't WHACK it like they do in the movies with older means (like in Jeremiah Johnson). It's a little rod and if you give it to kids without instruction they will probably whack it and break the rod.
5. As per the instructions given with the tool hold it steady and scrape shavings of magnesium or sparks from flint. You could probably hold the scraper still and move the magnesium, but this seems silly (although I will try it). Slow steady pressure scraping the flint seems to work well. Note that when you are trying to ignite the magnesium shavings you shouldn't place the end of magnesium bar on the surface holding the shavings as the vibrations will scatter them. You must hold it firm and steady and near the shavings. Practice a little, it shouldn't be too tough.
I wrote this long thing because I was confused by all the negative reviews before I bought and tried this. It seems for every product there is at least one bad review. Remember there are also bad reviewers. This is a very good basic tool that is easy to use if you take the short time to learn how to use it correctly. It is meant as a backup survival option to matches/lighter (which are your normal means for firestarting). Also carry good tinder (I like cotton mushed with vaseline - cheap and effective).
If you have a knife, some kind of water container, and this fire starter, you're set to make it through all but an absolute catastrophe--and even then you're better off than you would be without it. Fire is the first and foremost feature of civilization, which is where you ultimately want to be.
Magnesium lights up at roughly 1000 F, so this will start a fire on the first attempt if you've got the shavings in a nice little pile amongst some kindling. If you mess it up, no problem; you've still got a few hundred chances worth more of magnesium to fumble with. This is also a product that's been on the market likely longer than you've been alive, so don't think you got the last one they'll ever make.
With this, you just take your knife (the back works as well as the blade really) scrap off some magnesium in a little pile, put your little wads of bark or other hairy kindling (or pine cones, bits of cloth, or whatever you can scrap up as you can anywhere) along with your regular kindling, strike the flint side of the fire starter with the back of your blade or anything made of steel, and make sure to look away when it starts because the light is bright white like a halogen lamp on full.
If I had to compare it to anything, it's like setting off a flare.
The sparks from the magenesium catching fire don't go flying, so no worries about one shooting up into your face, but also don't be under the impression that you or your friend can hold the magesium and kindling while shooting sparks at it so that you can immediately blow on it. When it lights, it lights instantly, and it's so hot that it will burn right through to the bone if you light it on skin. If you've ever seen sugar on fire, this is far more serious, but it's safe so long as you don't do anything stupid.
Bottom Line: It's so small it can go on your keychain or be thrown in your backpack as one of those things you always have just in case, but forget about until you really need it. Its of negligible weight for you weight weenies out there. And it's so just plain cool that you'll find yourself using it not just for that moment when you're in trouble and panicking about the fact that everything they taught you in Boy Scouts was entirely wrong, but when you're 'out there' and there's absolutely nothing wrong.
If nothing else, it's a neat bit of science (kids go crazy for this stuff) that just might end up saving your caboose some day. It's small, cheap, light, and effective--which is something we can rarely say about anything truly useful these days.