The DIY World Store

Make your own solar panels for $1 per watt
Get the book
The Complete DIY Solar Panel Book

Help us keep posting valuable experiments.

PostHeaderIcon How to start a fire with an emergency magnesium and flint fire starter

In a survival situation fire is necessary for heat, light and cooking. If you get stuck in the wilds with now way to build a fire, your chances of survival are greatly reduced. There are many ways to make a fire in a survival situation ranging from rubbing sticks together to survival fire starting kits. I prefer the easy methods.

A magnesium emergency fire starter consists of a block of magnesium with a piece of flint embedded into it and a piece of metal for cutting the magnesium and striking the flint.

Magnesium and flint emergency fire starter
Magnesium emergency fire starting kit

To start a fire with the magnesium block is very easy in theory. But, depending on the quality of the magnesium you get, it can be a whole different story in reality. You may have seen nicely formed magnesium shavings in videos and commercials. But the cheap magnesium blocks do not shave off so neatly. Rather, they sort of chip off in tiny little pieces. They still work, but it makes starting a fire a bit harder. Read on and see why.

To make a fire, first get a good sized flat leaf or a piece of hollowed out wood. Then gather up some fine, dry tinder. Break up the tinder onto your leaf or hollow piece of wood. Then use a knife or the piece of metal that came with your kit, to shave off some magnesium shavings onto the tinder. If you have a higher quality magnesium block, this process will be easier. But if you get a cheap Chinese made block of magnesium, then the stuff sort of flakes off in tiny little particles and flies all over the place. This makes it harder to get the shavings onto the tinder properly.

Anyway, you do not need too much magnesium to start a fire. Just a little pile about the size of a penny or a dime in diameter. Push the magnesium into a pile right up against the tinder. Place a little bit of the tinder on the edge of the magnesium pile.

Turn the magnesium block around to the flint side and hold it close to your tinder pile. Using the blade that came with your survival fire starter or the back of a knife blade, strike the flint sharply in a downward motion. Sparks should start to fly off and towards your tinder pile.

Striking Flint To Start A Fire
Striking the flint to make sparks

When a spark hits the magnesium, it will ignite, which will ignite your tinder. The magnesium catches fire very fast and burns bright and hot.

Starting a fire with magnesium shavings
Igniting the magnesium to start a fire

Quickly place some sticks and twigs on top of the tinder to keep the fire going.

Thats it. See the video demo here:

Some notes about the magnesium fire starter. The flint wears down pretty quickly. It is advisable to get two or three of these magnesium fire starters. Use one for practice and normal camping trips or just for fun. Put away two more of them in your bug out bag or emergency backpack for future use. They are great to use in an emergency, but will wear out eventually.

It is even better to have multiple methods of fire starting in your survival bug out bag. See Emergency Fire Starters for more fire starting ideas. This article shows you how to start a fire with a magnifying glass on a sunny day. It also advises you to keep butane cigarette lighters in your survival back pack as well. If you keep a combination of all three, then you will be sure to have fire for years to come.

The magnesium emergency fire starter works well.

And it sure beats rubbing sticks together!

by Troy Reid

Find us on Google+

Visit The Do It Yourself World Homepage for more DIY projects and experiments.

2 Responses to “How to start a fire with an emergency magnesium and flint fire starter”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.