Were fires started with flints?

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Offline colarris

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Were fires started with flints?
« on: 30/10/2011 10:09:09 »
 From my school days I'm pretty sure we were told that cavemen/women used flints to start fires and yet I tried the other day and all it did was splinter and crack(??) Is there more than one type of flint?
« Last Edit: 31/10/2011 15:23:48 by chris »

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Offline CliffordK

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Re: Were fires started with flints?
« Reply #1 on: 31/10/2011 09:55:31 »
I've never actually started a fire with natural flint & steel.  However, old flintlock guns used to use flint stones and iron to fire the gun.

Everything seems to indicate that with flint & iron, it is actually the iron that is creating the spark.  See this article.

http://www.survivaltopics.com/survival/flint-and-steel-what-causes-the-sparks

So, your choice of iron might be more important than your choice of flint or quartz.

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Offline imatfaal

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Re: Were fires started with flints?
« Reply #2 on: 31/10/2011 10:46:16 »
I think ancient man used friction (and tonnes of patience) to light fires - and they will have become very adept and made sure they kept fires well stoked in circumstances where lighting would be difficult.

I have, after watching hours of ray mears, managed to get a fire alight with just a few sticks and a piece of string; but as it took me best part of a few hours and left me clobbered, I think I would need a few lessons on technique before it would serve me well in the wilderness.  I used the a vertical piece of wood, pressed into a notched hole below and held steady from above with a stone, and then with a wooden bow with the string wrapped around the vertical rod I turned the rod back and forward.  When you get the rod working properly you get a pile of red-hot embers in the notch and these will ignite a bundle of tinder
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Offline Mazurka

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Re: Were fires started with flints?
« Reply #3 on: 31/10/2011 14:14:48 »
It would have made flint knapping to create tools/ arrowheads a much more hazardous occupation!

Flints from different areas will have slightly different properties, but I don't think there is more than one distinct type (unless you include chert, of which flint is a subtype associated with chalk and  calcic marls)

I suppose if you had a lump of haematitie it might work (although the haematiaite might be a bit soft or overly oxidised...