Ferro Rod Striking Methods

“Ferro” (ferrocerium) rods are awesome tools for creating fire. They produce long persisting sparks that can reach 5,430°F and unlike matches are essentially uneffected when wet. The sparks are generated when scraped by a sharp-edged striker such as the blade or spine of a knife but also by a sharp-edged rock (see “Alternate Strikers For Ferro Rods“).

Perhaps you have seen various survival reality shows and watched as participants have struggled to get sparks from their ferro rod. There are many ways to accomplish this as illustrated below. Click on the photo to play the animated GIF.

Blade strikes forward from above the rod
This approach shoots sparks onto your tinder bundle but potentially you could hit the tinder with the striker and dismantle it, thus preventing or extinguishing ignition.
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GIF Strike Forward Over Rod
Rod pulled backward from below the rod
The benefit of this approach is that the striker is static and held in place and does not threaten to break the tinder pile while holding the generated sparks right on the tinder for ignition.
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GIF Pull Rod Under Striker
Rod pulled backward from above the rod
Similar to pulling the rod from below, it keeps the spark on target to the tinder bundle. Care should be taken to hold firmly onto the rod so as not to injure your hand while it presses down on the top of the rod during the strike.
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GIF Pull Rod Over Striker
If you have a short ferro rod, such as a broken piece or perhaps one of those used as a toggle on a paracord wrist band you can create a good spark by propping it on a small rock or piece of wood with tinder surrounding it. This provides extra height for casting sparks as well as a stable base upon which to strike the rod. This support technique is also helpful when using conventional flint and steel (see “Flint Support for Striking“)
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GIF Short Rod On Stone Strike

I recommend that you try each of the methods mentioned to see which one works best for you.

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