What is a ferro rod?
Ferro rods are fire starters. They create a spark, or a shower of sparks, when friction occurs along their surface.
When selecting your new ferro rod make sure to consider its use and where it will be stored (bug out bag, Altoids tin survival kit, edc). If you have the space then you really need a couple of the large thick ferro rods (3/8-1/2 inch thick, and 5-6 inches long).
The large ferro rods will last you a long time, won’t break as easily and will be much harder to lose! They are also much easier to hold and give you a sure grip so you can create maximum friction.
When you get that new ferro rod, it mayb be covered with a special black coating, that is designed to prevent sparks during shipping. This coating is probably a good idea, because your UPS, FedEx or USPS delivery person may have an aversion to the packages in their possession suddenly bursting into flames.
This coating needs to be removed before it’s first use. This can be easily accomplished by simply scraping the black material off of the rod. You can see when you have reached the fire steel, because it will have a shiny metallic surface.
The key to using a ferro rod or firesteel is to make sure you keep your knife’s rear edge or scraper at a sharp angle to the point of contact with the rod. It seems to work best if you hold your knife (or scraper) stationary, near the tinder bundle, and pull the rod. Many people try to move the scraper over the fire steel, but it doesn’t work as effectively, because the sparks will go everywhere, except where you need them.