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Hello, I know the materials used for flint strikers or strike-a-lights vary and their heat treatment and annealing determine if you get a good shower of sparks or just skinned knuckles. What works for you? How many flint strikers have you made? What are your favorite or best selling designs? Any helpful input? Thanks BRForge

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BRF, the best strikers that I have made have been from 3/8" coil spring that I straightened. I draw it down to about 5/16" square, taper the ends and scroll or roll the tip. Then shape to a "C". The one problem that I had, I'm sure was my fault. I don't know what I did wrong, when I started making them, but I tried to anneal them in ashes, then the next day I heated them to just red and quenched in motor oil. It turned out so hard that I could barely get sparks. So when I got done with the forging, I started just letting them air cool and ended up getting a lot of sparks. I am by no means an expert. But I have made and sold several dozen at rendezvous. No complaints, yet, and have had several return customers. :)

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We can delete it but someone will have to pick up the slack. The avert bot is helping pay the bills.

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We can delete it but someone will have to pick up the slack. The avert bot is helping pay the bills.



In that case, welcome to the site Mr Advert Bot, may your efforts and presence be fruitful

Just consider it an underlining of the initial post, or a moment to reflect before responding.

Oh and I use old files for making strikers, works for me.

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Old files, water quench, no temper.

Only quench the striking edge.

Made dozens, no failures to date, except the one I tried to straighten a bit after it was hardened.

One hint... clean the striking edge scale-free before you harden.

Clean it up again (sand paper) before you use it.

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Old files!
I've made a couple dozen or so. My tempering method could get me put away in a rubber room, though. I take a red heat, dip only the striking surface in water then pull it out and let the heat from the curled ends creep back in and then quench the whole striker. Here's where it get's weird. My way of timing how long I wait between the first and second quenches is to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" up to the end of "like a diamond in the sky". You may think I'm kidding but I'm not. NUTS maybe, but dead serious! wink.gif It works every time.
I have a striker that I have used for nearly 30 years without having to re-heat-treat (is that a word?) A couple of Saturdays ago my 17 year-old niece used it to start a fire for a wienee roast. It still throws good fire.

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Definitely the old files.
I forge to shape-classic 'C' being my favorite- bring to critical heat three times and air cool to black each time just by holding in the tongs, on the thrid time quench in motor oil. Dip in edge first then lower the whole striker into the oil and leave it to cool until you can handle it, polish the striking edge and have fun.I used to bring to critical heat just once and quench but the three time thing just seems to give me bigger and better sparks.
I've made dozens of these things and the only failures I've had is from my own poor choice of what constitutes good striker material.
I now only use old Black Diamond or Nicholsen files for my strikers or knives.
My wife and I belong to an 1814 Living History group and since matches wernt invented untill around 1836 and if I wouldnt use one of my own strikers to start our fires with I wouldnt trade or sell it to anyone else.

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Also, don't overlook the advantage of having a good rock.

Yes, some flints and cherts are harder than others. Hard is good.

I get some stuff they call calcidium, or Tennessee agate. It it rough on knapping tools, but it makes great gun flints and firesteel stones.

Regardless, always use a sharp edge. It pains me to see a beginner beat a striker to death trying to get a spark from a rounded edge.

Hard steel + hard stone + sharp edge = good sparks

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I've made a couple dozen from broken garage door spring, and for larger ones I use heavier (aprox 3/8" D) coil spring I found at the "resource center" (scrapyard).

I forge to the desired shape, mostly "C" style, but also really like the feel of the old English Monkeytail style.

After shaping I reheat to orange and allow to cool to black at the edge of the fire, then re-heat to orange again, (a good bit hotter than "critical") and quench in motor oil, face first moving it up and down to blur the quench line, then when the color leaves the "handle" portions quench the rest. I've also had good luck quenching just the face in water.

I also had a friend pick up some English flint spalls for me on one of his trips to Friendship. Talk about SPARKS!!!!

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Sukellos; that's a quite traditional method of timing something! In the middle ages in Europe it was often a prayer used. At LH events I tend to use the monk's chant from Monty Python's "Holy Grail". Another method I use for timing at more modern events is turns of the crank on the blower.

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Sukellos; that's a quite traditional method of timing something! In the middle ages in Europe it was often a prayer used. At LH events I tend to use the monk's chant from Monty Python's "Holy Grail". Another method I use for timing at more modern events is turns of the crank on the blower.



Pie Iesu domine, donat eis requiem. Do I have to hit myself on the head with a board?sad.gif

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Pie Iesu domine, donat eis requiem. Do I have to hit myself on the head with a board?sad.gif

yep... or you could ask for help !!! :lol:

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I bet my wife would be glade to oblige!biggrin.gif


Yeah, but then you'd have to start singing the "bring out the dead" part :lol:

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