A Ferrocerium fire starter, also known as ferro rods are a common fire starting tool. These rods are commenly called "Firesteels" or Magnesium-rods.
However, even though we interchange these words to describe ferrocerium they are incorrect.
"Firesteel" is a brand name of a company from Sweden that makes ferro rods.
Magnesium is another tool used as a fire starter.
However, it's different than the ferro rod.
Ferrocerium is a man made pyrophoric alloy product consisting of various metals.
This product creates hotter and more prevalent sparks than the traditional flint and steel tools.
There are many different brands of the ferro rod. Each company has their own style and you can choose to buy one with or without a handle.
A typical ferro rod without a handle is approximately 4 inches long by 3/8 or 5/8 inches in diameter.
So do you need one with a handle? That's only a question you can answer. It's simply a matter of preference.
Strikers are usually a flat piece of metal used to strike down the ferro rod creating friction thus creating sparks.
The striker is usually a little smaller than the rod itself. They are usually attached together by a lanyard or other similar type of string.
Ok......are you ready to build a fire? As with everything there is some preparation that you need to do before you're ready to make a fire. In order to successfully build a fire you need to start with small dry tinder.
Tinder can be anything from dry grass to cotton balls smeared with petroleum jelly.
The choice is yours just make sure the material is dry and combustable. Form the tinder into a pile similar to the shape of a birds nest.
Have additional small kindling near you to feed the fire once the spark from the ferro rod ignites the tinder.
To begin, hold your ferro rod at approximately a 45 degree angle just above your tinder. Strike the ferro rod with the striker in a downward motion throwing sparks into the tinder.
Hopefully after one or two strikes the dry tinder will ignite. Gently blow into the tinder until the small ember turns into a flame. Now, feed the fire with small kindling to fuel the fire.
Don't be discouraged if you don't get flames and make a fire on your first try. Using a ferrocerium fire starter take some practice and skill to master it.
You can purchase a ferro rod just about anywhere you can buy outdoor and camping gear. They usually come in a set with the rod and scraper and there not very expensive.
Look for a good quality ferro rod. A lesser quality will still work but it may not throw as many hot sparks which will make the fire starting process a little harder.