Why paint the magnesium firestarter?

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Wal-Mart sells the magnesium firestarter for $5.99 or so. the magnesium firestarter is a block of magnesium 1/4 x 1 x 3 inches with a striker inset along one side.

If you live in a humid climate the magnesium bar, and particularly the striker inset, will corrode readily.

I painted my magnesium firestarter with three coats of clear nail polish. It is protected from corrosion, and I can visually check through the clear nail polish.

Instructions with the magnesium firestarter are to scrape the magnesium bar with a knife, make a pile of shavings, then scrape the striker inset with the knife to send sparks into the shavings to ignite them. Magnesium burns at about 5000F.

I prefer not to dull my knife. I used a stout nylon cord to attach to the magnesium firestarter a three inch section of hacksaw blade (an end with a hole in it) and a GI "P-38" can opener. Thus I have a scraper, a section of hacksaw blade if needed and a can opener handy when needed.

-- Vlad (Strelok60@yahoo.com), December 03, 1999


Vlad--Thanks for the tip! If memory serves our high school science lab kept the magnesium in a container of kerosene!...to serve the same purpose. A few coats of nail polish sound a lot safer!

-- Al (triadguys@aol.com), December 03, 1999.

I have several welding strikers that are easier to use and no worry about moisture. Tip: When I was a smoker, and my bic lighter would produce nothing but sparks, I lit a cig by igniting some TP with the sparks! So don't throw away those spent lighters.

-- Carol (glear@usa.net), December 03, 1999.

Old Volswagen aircooled beetle engine blocks were made of magnesium alloy, and burn something fierce if ignited. One of the engine blocks would make a lot of firestarters if you sawed it up into chunchs. The later bus (van) engines, after 1971, had aluminum engine blocks- has to be the older beetle style engine.

-- Jim (jiminwis@yahoo.com), December 03, 1999.

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