Magnesium Fire Starters

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Magnesium Fire Starters

A magnesium block fire starter is a bar of soft magnesium metal, that will have a hard flint running down the length of one of its sides. They aren’t very big, and can easily be carried in any pocket. They are light-weight, cheap, and easy to store and pack because of its rectangle shape.

Magnesium block fire starters are similar to firesteel, but instead of generating sparks when struck with a fire striker, they use magnesium as a flame source instead which burns somewhere between 3000 and 5000 degrees F. This magnesium burns very hot, so hot in fact that its sparks will be able to light even damp kindling if you are skilled in its use. This type of magnesium block and fire striker can be used to start well over a dozen fires.

Matches can run out quickly and lighters can sometimes break, but magnesium fire starters have no unreliable or breakable parts, and with respect to its inherent nature, they are there own tinder. A magnesium fire starter will last you a very long time, and will work in any conditions, making it highly dependable.

Magnesium Fire Starters

How to use

Magnesium fire starters consist of a block of soft magnesium and sometimes a fire striker, although it is not always included. Personally I prefer to use a small piece of a hacksaw blade for the fire striker and to scrape off shavings from the magnesium block. You can use your knife for this purpose of shaving and striking, but it may dull the blade. The hacksaw blade can also come in handy for other purposes, such as sawing small branches. There is normally a small hole in the magnesium block where you can secure a hacksaw blade with a piece of cord so that the two are kept together.

The magnesium cannot be ignited in block form, To ignite your kindling you will fist need to shave off a small amount of magnesium into a pile that can then be ignited. To do this, use your knife or hacksaw blade to scrape along the magnesium side of the magnesium fire starter until you have a pile about the size of a two pence piece (or quarter if you live in the US). Be careful, the shavings can easily blow away if its windy, which is one of the drawbacks of using this type of fire striker. Bear in mind It can also take a minute to scrape off the amount of magnesium needed to start a fire.

Try to keep all your shavings in one place. You can use a piece of bark, a mess tin, cup, or piece of cardboard as a platform for this purpose. Once you have your pile of shavings it is best to put your tinder on top, or resting slightly on the pile. Use trioxane fuel bars, hexamine fuel tablets, or fire paste for tinder. You could also use home made tinder such as petroleum jelly or Vaseline saturated cotton balls, paper, or tumble dryer lint for tinder to get your fire to ignite and burn quickly. Remember to have enough kindling and larger fire wood close by.

Magnesium fire starters have a flint running down one edge of the block, this is what you will use to strike your knife or hacksaw blade along to generate the sparks needed to ignite the pile of magnesium, it may take a few strikes before a spark hits the magnesium, but it should take a spark easily. The heat from the sparks will ignite the magnesium, which will burn hot enough for a few seconds to ignite your tinder, which in turn will ignite your kindling. Remember to have enough tinder and kindling collected beforehand to fuel the fire at the early stages.


It is advised to use your magnesium block fire starters or a flint and steel for your main method of starting a fire. Having matches or a lighter in your survival kit is a must, but you should save your easiest methods for starting a fire for when adverse conditions require you to use them. You will want to conserve your matches and lighter for when you really need them, plus once you have started a few fires in this way you will be able to light them quicker next time.