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In Like Flint?
Anyone who has been camping has heard about starting a fire using Flint and Steel. Some of you have actually tried it and succeeded in starting a fire or two using this method.
However, most are relying on Lighters, matches, and in survival sources, we make Fire Bows, or in some advanced classes, we use Fire Pistons and other exotic fire-starting materials like Fatwood.
But, the ancient man from time immemorial up to them when the Native Americans used Flint. Our Frontier Fathers continued the practice as well.
Today we are going to revive the art of Flint & Steel by first showing you a bit about how to go about finding Flint, identifying it, and then we will go over some of its uses.
After reading this article, you too may eschew the lighter, and even the Magnesium or Ferro Fire Rod in favor of going back to one of the oldest ways of making fire known to man.
How To Find Flint And What To Do With It Next
Where Can You Get Flint?
- Today, most people get their flint from Amazon, as it seems to be the source of everything you could want from camping tools to submarines.
- However, there are others who like a challenge and go far and wide to find their own Flint in the wild. You’ll sometimes see them walking along stream beds and checking out exposed cliff faces and even clambering over rubble-strewn places where Glaciers ground the mountains to pebbles and sand In the Midwest.
- One thing you’ll learn early on is that they wouldn’t talk about where they find or get their flint. Though, they will show you what they have found in their wanderings. Flint hunters seem to guard their secret stash sites of Flint better than Fort Knox guards America’s gold supply. It’s not that Flint is all that valuable.
- However, it does take a trained eye to recognize it when you see it. Also, not just any Flint will do. Flint that has been exposed to freezing and thawing is not as good and “Virgin” Flint that has not been exposed to the forces of nature. Flint is so valuable because it forms in slabs or layers and it breaks cleanly along lines that can be worked relatively simply by hand.
The Flint you are looking for is often hidden under other materials that cover its distinctive coloration. This hides the Chert (Flint) like rust covers iron. Therefore, the thing you need to learn to do to identify potential candidates that you can chip through to get at the Flint hidden inside.
Here are some additional ways to find hidden Flint.
Now, you need to know where to look. Flint is often found on farmer’s property, as it is uncovered during the tilling of the soil.
One of the rules of Knapping (The art of making things from Flint.) is always to get permission to search with the owner’s permission. This simple courtesy often has unexpected benefits, owners may already know where Flint may be found, and this saves you a lot of fruitless searching.
If you are on public land, you can search following these thoughts.
Once you have viewed the videos, you will have a good idea of what you are looking for when you are in the wild.
One of the things you’ll first be doing to find suitable flint to use in Fire Making
Using Flint and Steel to light a fire is not exactly as easy to do as with a Magnesium or Ferro Rod. Here are some secrets about Flint & Steel that your camping guru or wildness survival course neglected to teach you.
Now you have seen some of the things that lift the veil of using Flint and Steel correctly. One of the things that even this video leaves out is that you don’t necessarily need Flint to get your fire going.
However, we are going to focus on using Flint as it also has other uses as well.
The first is, of course, is making Arrowheads.
Making Arrowheads and Spear tips and Heads with Flint
Making an arrowhead is one of the first things you learn a Knapper. Many go to Walmart, buy a mega-compound bow and composite arrows, and with a plethora of arrow tips that range from target arrows to arrows that could kill a bear or boar.
In fact, the variety of bows ranges from practical survival gear to the ridiculous. In China, this reviewer saw a handmade pistol crossbow that fired 4 different projectiles ranging from an arrow, small quarrels, darts, and metal pellets as well. The maker said it was good for birds, rodents, and small game like rabbits and larger animals.
However, this reviewer prefers a single function in a tool and if you know the story of Ishi the last of the of his tribe in the Book by Saxon Pope titled, “Hunting with the Bow and Arrow,” In this definitive book on not only the bow but arrow making as well. Ishi was adept at Knapping Flint to make his hunting arrows and taught Mr. Pope the way of the bow for hunting as “Zen and the Art of Archery” did for Zen enlightenment.
However, making arrowheads from Flint is more practical if you are stuck in the woods with and an empty stomach.
Ishi was very adaptive as well and would make arrowheads using glass as well as with Flint.
Others have gone this route as well.
However, if you want a sharper arrowhead, you may want to try heat-treating your Flint arrowheads.
You will be surprised at just how deadly a Flint arrowhead is when compared to a steel one, as shown in this penetration test with a freshly killed deer.
The Next Question Is “What Are Some Of The Uses Of Flint” Besides Starting Your Campfire?
Once you get beyond Arrowheads, you can try your hand at spearheads and other Flint Tools
Spearheads are just larger variants of Arrowheads. So, after you have the arrowhead down, you can move up to spears and knives. You may find that you like your flint knife better than your Bear Grylls survival knife that you got from Gerber and Walmart.
There is a broad range of tools you can make from Flint.
Aside from knives, spear tips, and hand axes. You can make scrappers for treating animal skins, special-purpose tools and after a while, you could find yourself with a complete array of tools that can keep you alive should the SHTF in a Zombie Apocalypse. You will also find that these techniques work with Obsidian as well as bottle glass as well.
So, by learning from Knapping Flint to make your wilderness tools, you can branch out to other materials as well as obsidian and glass.
With these skills under your belt, you will find that you are more Self-Reliant and you can better handle yourself in the wild. This, of course, can be a useful skill-set for a Prepper, camper, and someone who wants to stay alive should they find themselves in a crisis with natural or man-made catastrophes.