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Doan Magnesium Fire Block
NOT ALL MAGNESIUM FIRE BLOCKS ARE CREATED EQUAL!!!
NATO stock # 4240-01-160-5618
Fire Starting Tool
Marked on block:
MFD BY Doan Machine & Equipment Co. Inc.
P.O. Box 21334
So. Euclid, O. 44121
There are lots of magnesium fire blocks out there and countless numbers of reviews of them, so me writing another one will undoubtedly seem boring if you just breeze over this page.
However, as my first line above states, "not all magnesium fire blocks are created equal". THIS is the REAL DEAL version of the magnesium fire blocks out there.
Made by Doan Machine & Equipment Co Inc, if it does not say that on the block - don't bother! This is the NATO military issue fire starting tool and the only one that (in my opinion) to buy. I've used these for 20 years and this is the BEST of the lot when it comes to magnesium fire blocks.
These fire blocks are waterproof, shock proof, temperature proof and age proof when stored. Nothing else, except a ferro rod is anywhere close to that and they are more brittle than the fire block. One of these is inside EVERY rifle stock I take to the field with - even if I have to drill a hole in the stock of the rifle to put it there!
Now some of you have seen my articles and know that I rank these blocks 3rd or 4th on the list of fire starters to carry and here is the reason why. I primarily write articles for use by the "common person" (yeah, that's men and women) to use. Fire blocks are a little harder (physically) and take more practice to use them. Yes, you have to practice with them! Technique is EXTREMELY important when trying to use one of these fire blocks. HOW you use it will determine your success and that is the primary reason lots of folks love to hate these little gems.
How to use:
Back of the package lists step one through 3 on how to use this fire block and you can read these if you want - I'm not going to recite those instructions here. Honestly, yeah, that's the idea, but using my knife (or back of my knife) is just something I DO NOT DO! My knife is an important SHARP tool and I don't waste or chance it on chore I don't have to do. So alternative to the directions, I use other things to scrape and strike on this block.
Here's what I do:
Remember those $2.00 locking pliers from the $10x12 kit ? Yeah, clamp those babies tight as you can on this block. (I haven't seen one article on the Internet saying that one!) That's instruction #1: Get ahold of this block with something you can hang on to. First issue with these blocks is holding them FIRMLY so you can scrape or strike it.
Remember that $2.00 screw driver? Guess what, a flat head screw driver held at about a 45 degree angle to the block REALLY scrapes off the shavings you need to use it. (That's pic 2 on the left.) Yeah, and on your multi-tool, same thing. (Pic 3) A flat head's edge is WAY better than your knife for this and the downward (in line force) you can apply to it is far superior that what you can do with a knife at a right angle. It's simple physics.
These shavings are the payoff for carrying this fire block anyway, so being able to scrape the block is paramount it your success at starting a fire with one.
Another thing that is far SUPERIOR to your knife is a saw blade. Yes, you see these with the fire block for a striker, but the saw (if long enough) is a great scraper. Even the "wood saw" from your multi-tool works great! I like the little $2.00 Jr. Hacksaw (pic 4) because the small teeth give you a nice "powder" of magnesium which is easier to light than larger shavings.
Point of note: I've read from a couple of experienced survivalists that you can use glass or a rock to scrape these, but that is BS! It needs to be scraped with a piece of metal having sharp (not sharpened) edge.
Hot and Fast!
Magnesium burns at somewhere around 5,000 degrees F (that's 3000 C) which are really big numbers, but the point is once magnesium lights, it's HOT, but it's also FAST! You will get a "flash fire" that's actually hard to handle as you have both your hands tied up holding the striker and pliers/block when this thing fires up, so you have to scramble to get your tinder in place. Honestly, that's the hardest part in using one of these fire blocks.
So to counter this, you really need a pretty good "mound" of magnesium to give you time to drop your striker and grab the tinder. What I try to do is mix in some wood shavings with the magnesium to give myself some time (i micro seconds here) to grab the tinder.
Back to the Doan Magnesium Fire Block:
Ok now you know how to use it, so let's look at the Doan block!
This block is 1" wide x 3" long x 5/16" thick and comes with a beaded chain retainer and has a 3/16" ferro rod striker glued to the side of it.
One of the biggest issues with cheaper blocks is that the striker will come unglued from the block. I haven't had that happen with a Doan and even while testing this one it didn't separate from the block. I did a casual "crash test" and threw it 20'-ish in the air and let it land on the parking lot a couple of times and the rod stayed attached.
So Doan has done good work in design and manufacturing of these blocks.
I used the package's plastic "bubble" to scrape into. Shavings are kinda a pain as the wind will blow them and it you hit your pile or container they pretty much got everywhere. So keeping them in once place is important.
Once you have your mound of shavings, you strike close to it to ignite them. They burn like hot little "coals" really fast, so get your tinder in close. If they start to go out, "stir" them a little and you will ignite other shavings. This takes some practice, so when you buy a fire block, buy 2 of them - one for storage in your kit and one to practice with.
I also tore up some of the paper packing to mix in the shavings so I had some "fuel" to burn while I grabbed my tinder.
You have to practice, practice, practice with these to get good with them. What I do and what you do can be entirely different, but learn not BEFORE you need to use one of these blocks to start a fire.
The Doan Magnesium Fire Block is the best of it's kind. Well made. Good materials. Works!
Rating: 5 out of 5, for being the best of it's kind.
If it's not marked "made by Doan" don't bother!
Latest page update: made by LJ126
, May 21 2012, 7:09 PM EDT
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|Started By||Thread Subject||Replies||Last Post|
|Encon||Edit locks/ grammar||0||Feb 20 2012, 3:08 AM EST by Encon|
Thread started: Feb 20 2012, 3:08 AM EST Watch
So I came back to the wiki after months or years of inactivity to find this fine article by Ironhand, and seeing some minor error I decided to go ahead and fix them, but the page was locked! To this end, Ironhand, please change all instances of "scrap" to "scrape", and "scrapping" to "scraping", just to stop the more grammar-nazi-inclined of us from wanting to claw at our computer screens.
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|JunkCollector||Fire Block||3||Dec 15 2011, 1:20 PM EST by ironhand|
Thread started: Dec 12 2011, 2:57 PM EST Watch
Nice review IronHand, I have never tried to use a fire block before but I think I will grab one when I go to town to play with. It never hurts to have more ways to start a fire, and I have the perfect mini locking pliers for the suggestion to hold the block.
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