Ferro Rods / Ferrocerium Rods / Fire-Steels - Common Questions 1.

by Elvis Jai Closs on July 12, 2021

Are ferro rods dangerous? 

No, if used responsibly ferro rods are not at all dangerous. Without practice, it can be surprisingly challenging to ignite a fire with a ferro rod. There is an extremely small chance a child would ignite something they were not meant to! Unlike matches or lighters, ferro rods do not produce a naked flame, only sparks which makes the chance of accidental burns very unlikely. Though I do not recommend ever trying this, you can actually strike the ferro rod pretty close to naked skin without feeling the heat of the sparks at all!

Are ferro rods waterproof?

Yes! Ferro rods will work fine even if submerged underwater for hours. Ferro rods will also produce sparks when wet which makes them one of the most versatile and dependable fire lighting tools. If left unused for months, certain rods that have especially high iron contents might show signs of rust. However, if this happens to one of your rods, simply scrape off the rust and you are good to go! All of the products in our fire-lighting range have been developed in the field, and are built to withstand the elements! You can check out our Fire Starters range here. 

Are ferro rods allowed on planes?

There is some confusion around this. Many security administrations including the USA's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have not explicitly banned carrying ferro rods on planes. However, that being said there have been many documented cases of people's ferro rods being confiscated at security. You need to decide if it is worth the risk of potentially getting confiscated and delaying you getting through security. Personally, I usually just carry my Sidekick Fire Starter Necklace when travelling. Because of its small size it is a great option, also from a quick glance it just looks like a bottle opener. Also, on the off chance it is confiscated you are not at any major financial loss! 

 

Are ferro rods toxic? 
No, none of the materials used in ferro rods are toxic in their natural oxidised state. They are completely safe to touch, and release no harmful chemicals. Despite this, we would definitely not recommend eating them!

Are ferro rods flammable?

No, if exposed to a naked flame ferro rods are not flammable. After around ten minutes the ferro rod will start to smoulder if exposed to a naked flame. Despite popular belief, the ferro rod will not combust if exposed to a naked flame which makes them very safe to use. So if you accidentally do the unthinkable and drop your rod into the fire just remove it as fast as possible and everything should be fine. Although, by design ferro rods produce sparks reaching temperatures of 3000°C, so in this respect they could be considered somewhat flammable. There is a great video from Shawn's Workshop showing what happens when a ferro rod is exposed to a naked flame. You can view the video here

What are ferro rods made from? 

Ferro rods are a blend of ferrocerium, a synthetic alloy that produces hot sparks of 3000°C due to a rapid rapid oxidation process that occurs when you strike the rod. By striking the rod you remove small fragments of this alloy which when exposed to oxygen will oxidise and produce the sparks. 

Ferro rods are sometimes incorrectly labelled as 'flint and steel'. However, this refers to a different fire lighting skill that uses a piece of high carbon steel and flint to produce sparks. The Ultimate Survivalist on YouTube has a great video of this process. You can view it here. 

 

How long do ferro rods last? 

Ferro rods are extremely long-lasting. The lifespan of your ferro rod is mainly dependant on three factors - the width of the rod, striking technique and the rods hardness.

The typical ferro rod on the market is 80mm (0.31") thick. A rod of this thickness usually has an average of 8,000 strikes. Imagine how many matches or lighters you would need to light 8,000 fires! Although, please watch out as a lot of companies sell Chinese rods which are a lot thinner than this. These rods will not last long and are at risk of breaking under pressure. All of the rods we sell are 80mm or thicker. You can view our Fire Starters range here. The next standard industry sizes are 10mm (0.39”), (15,000 strikes) and 12.7mm (0.5”) thick (20,000 strikes). If you are looking for longevity, we sell a few rods which are 12.7mm thick. Check em out here.  

Hardness will also affect the rods lifespan. A harder rod will last longer as less material is removed when striking. However, a harder rod will also produce less sparks, as less material is being removed. We have worked hard to develop our blend of Forest Fundamentals Ferrocerium™ Our ferrocerium rods produce large showers of molten sparks. We believe we have developed the perfect balance between softness and durability.

The last factor is striking technique. An incorrect striking technique can drastically shorten the life of your rod. Please see our how-to striking guide here. David Canterbury on YouTube also has a great how-to vid. You can view it here. 

 

Thanks for reading! If you have any further questions, ferro rod related or not, please don't hesitate to contact us here!

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