Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ferro/Magnesium Fire Starters

Some inexperienced wilderness back-packing people like the idea of the magnesium block and a Ferro-rod bonded to it as their primary fire starter. They think this is the best fire starter to own, HOWEVER, be very aware of cheap China and other knockoffs as some do not work at all!

If you feel you must buy one or already own one and even if it's a DOAN manufacture who's a Military Supplier, you need to test it at home to be sure it works if not, you're better off junking it for two reasons:
1. The magnesium block may not be a quality magnesium metal and will not ignite.
2. The Ferro Rod is bonded in place poorly or with inferior epoxy and the rod can fall off and be lost, leaving you without a way to start a fire.

Watch this video demonstration produced by DOAN.
Uploaded on Aug 19, 2010
Perhaps it's not legally a fraud, but it is deceptive to gain sales. Many Mag sticks will not light a fire or even light themselves. Hard to believe someone in the manufacture would not know that. Magnesium bars are wonderful for starting fires, just make sure you buy one that works, check out the video.

Below is (was) my Coghlan's 7870 Magnesium Fire Starter. I have had this one in my range bag for maybe 15 years and never used it until yesterday. Glad I didn't really need it to start a fire.

After just 4 strikes the Ferro rod fell off!

 I don't recall where I purchased it but it is stamped Made in USA.

Bottom Line:
I do not recommend any Ferro-magnesium block fire starters because the rod can fall off. It could leave you without a way to start a fire. Yes, a bow drill is always an option but extremely few are skilled at that method.

Buy and use a Ferro Rod such as this one, I just ordered one and it's on the way.
#FSAR-BLACK; Swedish FireSteel by Light My Fire; Army Model; The Army model has a rod about 3/8" in diameter and 2 1/2" long. It comes packed on a lanyard with a striker. The assembly weights a bit over 1 1/2 ounces. Some folks prefer to keep a square corner in the back of their knife blade to serve as the scraper. It is said to last for about 12,000 uses. . Made in Sweden, $16


  1. I've been using ferro rods like the one you ordered for years. When on my small sailboat I used it to start my camp stove. It's great around the water as it will spark even when wet. Also have used it to start campfires. I've a small one I keep on my key chain along with a bigger one.

  2. Until recently I have never used a Ferro rod, I always depended on stick matches or a Bic lighter. Now after using one I have to give myself a head slap for not investigating these little life saving gems much earlier in my hunting days!

  3. Replies
    1. People hear so much hype about magnesium they fail to look into them further. The internet makes that research easy, there are many issues with them.

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    4. my dad says these things are like 10 bucks are they???


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