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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:21 pm 
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So, while on the COZS winter camping trip, we discovered we had all three of the LMF firesteels handy, and decided to pit them off head to head.

First, a picture of the relative sizes. Top to bottom we have the mini, the scout model and the full sized army model.

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Madwolf was first messing with the mini he had with him, and could not for the life of him get the tiniest puff of flame, after trying for a ridiculous amount of time. This is the size apparently lots of folks get because it's small enough for a keychain, yet hey, it's a firesteel, right? Well.. apparently so, but first problem was a lacksadasial spark, and then th ferro rod popped out. It also did this on Squirrley's, so we were 2 for 2 on the ferro rod popping out thing. It does go back in, but yu'd think they'd use a bit of glue on it when they put it together. All in all, we graded the mini firesteel a fail. You get spark, but even someone with quite strong fire-fu could not get a flame in the mountains in winter with it. But I'd deem it perfectly safe to carry in your pocket. If we couldn't light a fire while trying to, I doubt your pants are in much danger unless you carry powdered magnesium lint around.

Mini \/

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Scout(medium/standard) /\
apparently I forgot to turn macro focus on for the close ups. I claim brain freeze.

For slightly more weight you get the scout model.We then managed by pretty much pure luck to get a nice sparky picture.

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As you can see, not bad sparks, and it lit the tinder pretty readily. All in all, we rated the scout model as definately useful, and maybe portable enough for keychain use. note: ferro rod has not popped out of mine (the one used for testing) thus far. Probably safe for pocket carry, but you might want to consider just putting it in a coat pocket instead of your pants. Just in case.

Scout(medium/standard) \/

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Army(fullsize) /\

Last we have the Army model. This is the one that was actually tested directly after the min. I think madwolf was on his third or fourth strike when he almost lit his pants on fire when the tender he was testing suddenly flared up. Here's the luck imbued sparky picture for comparison with the scout:

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As you can see, much larger sparks but a slightly larger ferro rod. Ok, so this one's freaking massive, but if you're camping and want a fire, this is the one you want to have handy. We rated it as a "Crap, I ought to pick one of those up!" Probably don't want to walk around with this in your pocket, you'll either stab yourself in the junk constantly or it'll touch your keys for a millisecond before you're caught on film and misidentified as spontaneous human combustion.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:25 pm 
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Nicely done! I'm going to have to score one of those larger models for my gear.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:31 pm 
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Nice writeup! Now how about the stoves?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:34 pm 
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Great write up! Glad I could set myself on fire for y'alls entertainment/edification!

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:24 am 
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thanks so much for the write-up. :) The pics were handy to see the differences in sizes. My guy just got one as an early xmas present. I was surprised how well it worked, after some practice.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 12:40 pm 
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Impus wrote:
Nice writeup! Now how about the stoves?


Who was responsible for the note taking on time and temperature readings? I thought somebody else wrote them down... If no one else pipes up, I'll throw together what I remember...


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:13 pm 
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Great thread, I've been looking into getting one of those things myself so I'll make sure to get the larger one. Nice pictures of the sparks!

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:25 pm 
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2 things that just occurred to me:

1) "lacksadasial spark" is a most awesome phrase.
That should be a band name.

2) dudewaslightingthefireonhispants!!!!111!!!!!!one!!!!!!!
Geebus! That was a Darwin Award waiting to happen. Or at best, an opportunity for someone to yell "liar! liar..." Your mom called and said please don't ever do that again. ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:29 pm 
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As cold as it was, I think he was looking forward to it.. :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:19 pm 
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Okay, an addendum to this topic is in order. After further research and trial I have determined that it is in fact not too difficult to start a fire with good dry tinder with the "mini" firesteel.

The trick, and there is always one, isn't there, is that you must put more pressure on the bar and move more slowly with the striker plate. This will give you larger and more persistent sparks, although, still not nearly as large or as persistent as with the "Army" size firesteel.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:38 pm 
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Something else to keep in mind is this, the edges of your striker will wear down as you use them. What this means is they will not scrape the "flint" as effectively because they become more rounded. Get a small metal file or even a fine grain grinding/sharpening stone and keep the edges of the striker crisp. It's like trying to cut steak with a butter knife, sure it CAN be done but is not nearly as easy.

Another thing you could do to keep those sparks lively is use a piece of HSS (high speed steel) as your striker instead. Below is a perfectly suited tool for this, originally designed as a sharpener for hedge cutting blades but works even better as a striker. The reason it works so well is two fold, firstly the steel is MUCH harder so it will retain it's edge far longer. Secondly the HSS has a better blend of elements in it and a higher carbon content which lends it's self to throwing hotter, larger sparks. These little tools can be picked up at nearly any Lowes or Home Depot and even Wal Mart sometimes. They only cost about 10 dollars and if the handle is too long for your kit, key chain or whatever they are easily cut and drilled to your preference as the handle material is very soft. Just slice off the rubber cover, cut to the size you want with any metal cutting hacksaw/dremmel cutoff wheel, round off the edges with a file and drill your hole (I'd recommend 3/16").

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:23 am 
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I have the middle version (Kershaw/Light My Fire) from CTD, and it lit a neosporin-soaked cotton ball with ease on my living room table. I haven't field-tested it yet.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:56 am 
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Another thing to note, the ambient temperature was arond 20 degrees at the time of testing, which will affect the tinder used.

The following morning at about 15 degrees I used my firesteel (medium) to relight our fire with a crapload of pine needles for tinder. So yes, the medium works. But if I were cold and wanted a fire really really fast, I'd rather have the larger one. The only problems I truly had witht he medium was lighting my brass swiss stove.. which was far more likely due to the cold than lack of spark. It's sad when you see a spark hitting methanol.. and go out. :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 12:20 pm 
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Messing around with some of my gear last night and struck hella' sparks on my military Swedish fire steel with the back of my Sportsman's Guide Mora knife (the one for 10 bucks). Not as many sparks as the striker, but still sparked up good.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 12:24 pm 
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A small piece of Hacksaw blade makes a really good striker.

Cheers!

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 3:02 pm 
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That's what I was doing down in my garage; Going through old hacksaw blades and culling the ones that'd be good for striker use.

I also use a ground down metal file (teeth and stuff are gone, it's just a hunk of smooth metal) as a striker with actual flint. Worked pretty good for me. Wonder if that'll work for ferro rods?

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:05 am 
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And for those who have never used them (and can't tell by the pictures), the best results are had by pulling the steel away from the fire while keeping the striker next to the tinder.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:13 am 
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DryGrain wrote:
it lit a neosporin-soaked cotton ball with ease on my living room table. I haven't field-tested it yet.


Yes, I can do that with the Mini as well but the soaked cotton balls are very easy to light, using tinder I found on site was a whole different matter though. For the test I used only tinder that was lying around out campsite.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:23 am 
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I have the middle sized one as well and have got one fire going with it. I am going to have to invest in the larger one.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:45 am 
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This is a great thread made even better by the testing being done in the field. Good job!

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:53 pm 
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Thanks, we're trying to be as informative a part of the community as we can.

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