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Making fire for the first time. Part 2
Phil Rose   

If you have gathered all the above materials and prepared the site, then it's time to get it started. If you are using under bark as shown in the pictures, make sure your hands are dry before you continue. Next, you will need to place the tinder between your hands and rub them back and forth. Do this just like you were trying to warm your hands. This will break up, loosen and soften the fibers so that there will be air between them. At this time the tinder should be light and fluffy. Now, place the tinder on a piece of bark. Now take out your PSK and BSM. Push the tip of the BSM through the tinder, so that it contacts the bark. The misch metal rod on the BSM should be surrounded by the tinder. Now with the PSK in the other hand, with the cutting edge facing up. Place edge of the striker on the BSM and scrape downwards toward the tinder. You will need to apply some light pressure, but not a lot while scraping the rod. Also, applying excessive pressure, hacking or chopping the BSM rod, WILL RUIN IT! Mischmetal rods are a mixture of a powdered metal that can be fragile. They are not intended to have any lateral strength. This is true of any flint or mischmetal fire starter, regardless of its brand. Always scrape, NEVER chop. Now that that's covered, and you are scraping the rod, it should be creating sparks.

You may need to adjust the angle you are holding the rod to direct the sparks into the tinder. Once you have a spark in the tinder, you should see some smoke. Now, carefully pick up the tinder and blow on it. You do not want to blow it out. You just want to give it as much oxygen as possible. At this time, if your tinder is dry, you should be getting a lot of smoke. Keep blowing on it until you get a flame. If the ember just seems to grow and not ignite. Quickly grab some more tinder and place it around the current piece then continue blowing on it. Once you are able to get a flame, the rest should be easy.

Starting a fire is an inherently dangerous activity and should only be attempted outdoors! While you are doing this, please be careful. You will get burned if you do not pay attention to what you are doing! Whether you are using one of my knives or another you could also cut yourself if it is used improperly. Also remember to wear eye protection when breaking sticks and/or logs. More often than not, small pieces of wood will fly off somewhere. I have been hit in the face too many times to count. I strongly recommend that you have a well equipped first aid kit, fire extinguisher and lots of water close by. They are not visible in the pictures, but there were 2 cans of Cold Fire with us and we were right next to a river. It only takes a couple of seconds for a fire to get out of control. Only practice under safe conditions and NOT in excessively dry or windy circumstances. Wild fires destroy land, put people's lives in danger and cost a lot of money. If you start a wild fire, even accidently, YOU could be criminally charged. Or if you are lucky, you may only have to pay for putting it out and for property damage. Please check with local the fire department regarding the legality of campfires and/or digging in the area you plan to practice in. Never leave your fire unattended! Before leaving your fire, make sure that it properly extinguished according to the "Smokey the Bear" guidelines. These guidelines and other fire safety information regarding campfires can be found here.

I hope that this has helped you learn how to properly use a misch metal fire starter to start a campfire. Just remember, this is an acquired skill that you have to practice. Do not wait until you are in a bad situation, needing fire, and then expect yourself suddenly know how to make one. If you are still having trouble making fire, after some practice, then click the "Contact Us" button above and send me an e-mail. Now get off the computer and go make some sparks!