A mix of sporadic sleet and snow induced me to head outside today to do a little product testing. I was eager to play with my new Grilliput portable grill, and I was curious to test the BioLite KettleCharge, too (more on those later). Since I had to wait for an HVAC serviceman to conduct our seasonal service, I had to use my fire pit instead of heading out to the wilderness.
After making some curls with my Mora Companion (the Scandi grind is brilliant for this task!), I battonned a few sticks, gathered some grass for tinder, and pulled my Light My Fire Swedish Fire Steel 2.0 off its resting place on my Companion’s sheath.
This installation was a simple mod I made awhile back. First, I filed the edge of my Companion to 90˚ so that I could use it to throw sparks from a steel. As for the sheath, a folded ranger band serves as padding for a piece of plastic from a ball point pen–the “sheath” or my fire steel–while a second ranger band secures both to the sheath. Rubber is a good emergency fire starter, so the ranger bands serve a dual purpose. Around these I also wrapped some Type 1 paracord to both secure the steel more securely and to give me some cordage in event that I might need it. This has worked beautifully, and I have enjoyed the convenience of adding a steel to my Mora.
Today, however, as I began to throw sparks into the grass, the steel broke off at the handle. I was frankly stunned. I have never had this happen before with a Light My Fire product, and I have quite a few (among them the Army 2.0 and the Mora/Light My Fire collaboration, the FireKnife–love both). Obviously, this could have serious consequences under more dire circumstances. As it was, I was at home, not trying to make fire in adverse conditions to combat potential hypothermia. And, too, the fracture point–being located just where the steel went into the handle–left me with enough material to grasp that I was able to awkwardly through sparks with the remainder. Had it broken elsewhere, though, the steel would have been rendered wholly useless.
Have any of you had a fire steel fail like this?
I suppose you can never log too much time testing and using your gear before taking it with you into the wilderness.