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mistwalker

Firesteels and sweat

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Ok..., I don't have any pics at the moment, I'll try to remember to take them later, but I had a scout model firesteel in my pocket all day at work Friday. After getting off work I noticed that it was coated in a type of crust..., a fairly heavy coating that looked like thick grey rust. Does anyone know if just getting wet will do this too them as well or is it just the salt and other chemicals in sweat that does it. I suppose I can buy another new one and wrap it in a wet cloth to find out, I know they come from the factory "painted" but I don't know if normal moisture will have the same effect as sweat. I know I won't be carrying it in my pocket while sweating anymore.

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I am pretty sure that moisture does have an effect on them.  Can't remember where I heard it though.  I was told some people after using them will repaint or coat them. 

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Any moisture will eat your firesteel up in a hurry.  What I am doing is coating mine with clear nail polish.  I read it someplace and took advantage of the advice.

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Your body's sweat will kill it fast! I have several zippo lighters and I've left them in my pocket which then led to them going through a wash cycle. When I pulled it out, the flint was just like you described, all "rusted" looking and flaky. But I scraped the flakes off and it seems to be holding up well.

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These aren't the best pics in the world, but the best I can do under current conditions with this lighting, I'll try to get a better one tomorrow in natural light. I suppose I should either paint it or something, but the thing is it was a brand new one....,  I think there is more than a moisture issue here.

 

The upper fire steel is these photos is Lisa's, it has lain on a bookshelf beside our bed under an open window during several rains, it has been out with us on days of high humidity and light rains, and it has been sparked several times and has had bare metal showing for sometime and still looks fine, the lower firesteel was brand new out of the package untill I carried it to work with me and this was just after ten hours in my pocket under extemely hot and sweaty conditions (we've been known to drink more than a gallon and a half or two gallons of water without having to go to the restroom during the shift) and this is after I scraped most of the thick crust off making sure it would still spark lol.

PICT0107.jpg

 

PICT0104-1.jpg

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Oh yes..... firesteel is an alloy mixture that oxidizes very easily. It will literaly corode to a pile of rusty flakes if the conditions are right. When I get home from a trip I dip mine in gun blueing solution. Gun blueing, itself is a form of rust but once neutralized it is stable and forms a barrier against further oxidation... But I don't think it holds up well to salt water.

 

Bow carried a firesteel in a pouch around his neck. When he pulled it out during a training excercise, it was so oxidized that he had a very difficult time getting it to work at all. I'm willing to bet that either his sweat penetrated the pouch or he used leather that had been preserved with salt.

 

I keep a small cloth in my kit that is saturated in mineral oil.... I use it to wipe down anything prone to rusting. Mineral oil is not the best rust preventative but is good in the fact that it is non-toxic, odourless and won't rot like vegetable oil. (I used to use olive oil, but it will get funky after awhile.)

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I didn't know they cured some leathers with salt, this explains why I am forever having to clean the mag stick I used to keep in the stone pouch on the factory sheath for my knife but the one I keep in the canvas pouch on the other sheath still looks new. I've even put the sharpening stone back in it and quit carrying the mag stick there all the time....., hoping I remember when I go hiking if I take that sheath (much lighter), and don't take my bag or my pack (unlikely).

 

Well...., lol, that was a completely unintentional environmental test of a product, I'll know in the future here, or if I get out west to keep it seperated from my sweat. I suppose precautions will be in order when I make the trip to Florida also. How long does the mineral oil protect before needing to apply it again? 

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I have a lanyard on my tiny steel so I just let it hang without a sheath for it.

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