Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mora Bushcraft Black Knife Update: Using the spine to ignite Charcloth with Quartz

Ever since I posted our review of the Mora Black Carbon Bushcraft Knife last year, readers have asked if the spine of the knife could be struck with a piece of Quartz, Flint or Chert to create sparks that could ignite charcloth, to start a fire.

Thanks to Ben over at Ben's Backwoods, I was able to get a second Black Carbon test knife to demonstrate that yes, the Black Carbon will throw a spark with Quartz/Flint/Chert, and in fact, does so rather easily. The biggest issue of course is that it will ruin the edge of your spine, which is sharpened from the factory to work with a Swedish firesteel. However, from a survival standpoint, it's good to know that the Black Carbon can be used as a firesteel striker and as a primitive "flint and steel" if needed.

For the test, I grabbed a piece of Milky Quartz that was lying on the ground in our area of Colorado (see main photo). Quartz litters the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains, so it's easy to find in an emergency and it works as well as Flint or Chert when striking high carbon steel.

Next, I made a tinder bundle from the dead, inner bark of an Aspen tree and set it in a piece of dead Aspen bark to keep it protected from ground moisture. Charcloth was placed in the middle to catch the sparks caused by striking the spine of the Black Carbon knife with the Milky Quartz.

Since the temperature was around 0 degrees F with snow falling, I needed to make this process happen quickly to be successful.

In the first photo below, I'm getting ready to strike the back of the spine with the Quartz to ignite the charcloth in the tinder bundle.

(Click any photo to enlarge)


Success-- two sparks landed on the charcloth, so I immediately began to blow on them to keep them burning:

 Here you can see the two embers glowing as I blow on them:

 More blowing!

The charcloth is now burning intensely:

Carefully wrapping the tinder bundle around the glowing charcloth ember so that I can blow it into a flame:

The dead, inner bark of Aspen makes excellent tinder, because once it begins to burn, it will continue to smolder and not go out easily:


Putting the burning tinder bundle on the ground so that fine kindling can be placed on it to start a camp fire:

Blowing on it some more to ensure that the fine kindling ignites before the falling snow makes it too wet:


Nothing like a campfire to warm up a bushcrafter's cold hands on a frigid day......

   Cheers -Jason

(Special thanks to Monica Tymcio for taking these photos)

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ (without spaces)

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