Using a new firesteel ferrocerium rod (ferro rod) is pretty simple, but there is one important item to note when you are using a brand new out-of-the-box ferro rod. When using one the first time you must be aware that it is shipped with a black coating on it to protect it from sparking while in transit. To use it properly you will have to remove the coating before you will start seeing a lot of good sparks. This is done quite simply by scraping around the entire circumference and length of the rod with your scraper. You will know you are getting the coating off when you start seeing a shiny metallic surface coming through.
After the coating is removed, to use a ferro rod properly, you need to have quite an angle between the ferro rod and the scraper (reference our youtube video to see this being done).
Also, to make sure your sparks are hitting the designated target it is sometimes easier to hold the scraper still, lets say above a tinder bundle, and then pulling the ferro rod back to you. Most people want to scrape the scraper down the rod away from them, which tends to make the sparks go in many different directions.
What I consider the most super-cool bonus to the ferro rods we sell is that on the scraper handle there is an integrated whistle to help bring attention to yourself in lost-in-the-woods survival situation.
So again, it is pretty simple to use really. For all you scientific-minded people, please reference a wikipedia article found here on the topic of what ferrocerium is.
Until next time, I hope to see you on, or off the trail.
Craig Caudill, Director
Nature Reliance School