Pocket steel for knives

6 min

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Pocket steel for knives

Pocket steel for knives

The pocket steel for knives is usually a cylinder consisting of a flint or rectangular shape used before the invention of lighters or matches to light a fire and can usually be activated with the back of the knife or with a plate often supplied with the flint.

For those who are passionate about hiking, survival, prepping, etc. knows what it is because it is one of the elements that can not miss in your equipment, because fire, like water, like a shelter are among the key elements.

The structure and use of the steel

It simply consists of a small hardened steel plate, with a rough surface, on which the flint was beaten to obtain sparks with which to light a bait for example:

  • cotton impregnated with saltpeter,
  • dry leaves,
  • straw
  • wood chips (Feather Sticks),
  • Paper
  • cotton or
  • other highly flammable material.

From the flame produced you can light a dry wooden stick and with it then light larger branches to make a campfire, light as in the past the fire in the fireplace or simply the tobacco in the pipe.

The shape is generally elongated, often in the shape of a spindle or cylindrical bar, with different decorations depending on the historical period of belonging.

Today more modern cylindrical shapes are used and with structures to protect the steel but above all properties such as magnesium or other elements are added that produce incandescent sparks useful for triggering the ignition of a fire.


How long does a steel wheel?

The advantage of the steel is precisely linked to its reliability in many weather conditions and its durability.
The steel has practically an “infinite” life.
Unlike the lighter that has a duration and can also be damaged, the durability of the steel is ensured by the fact that it is all based on the rubbing of extremely resistant materials that to be consumed should be rubbed indefinitely for days and days.

History of acciarino

Obviously its manufacture was possible only when metallurgy allowed it: it was necessary to have a suitable steel and the necessary skill to make it well tempered and this was possible when the knowledge in metalworking reached a fair level: perhaps a thousand years ago or perhaps earlier.

Perhaps already at the time of ancient Rome.

The first matches were invented in the first half of the nineteenth century, yet the steel was still in use for several years.

The complexity of the operations for lighting the fire with the steel and the fact that matches already existed can give us an idea of the low efficiency that the latter must have had.

Before the appearance of the steel, two woods of different hardness were still used, energetically rubbed together (usually by rotation) and with the heat produced by their friction primitive baits of various types were lit (usually dried vegetables or well-dried animal hair).


Modern use of the steel

Nowadays given the possibility of operating even in impervious conditions:

  • in the rain,
  • in the snow,
  • in humid environments,
  • under strong gusts of wind or
  • temperature extremes,

The Acciarino is an important element of many kits of survival and hiking enthusiasts.

The first steels were developed for the Swedish army, to be able to light fire even in the most difficult conditions.

Rain, wind, snow and hail will not be a problem.

The magnesium rod turned out to be quite suitable for this.

Such a rod is also very durable and a long service life that varies depending on the model.

The steel is able to light a fire in many conditions and guarantees it in many conditions, it is good to have lighters with you even like the famous Zippo, Bic, matches but if you are a hiker, a survival practitioner you can not have the steel and get used to using it.

Once you’ve mastered the technique, you’ll have a lot of fun with this small, but powerful, fire maker.

It is sold both as an object in itself and as a component of bracelets, watches and thematic knives, but I do not recommend it.

You can find it of different length and diameter but look for one of abundant size like the one I talk about below in the post .

The rediscovery of this tool has led to the implementation of the “magnesium steel”, a steel containing magnesium to be scratched in powder on the bait to greatly increase the chances of success of lighting the fire.


The best steel 2023 to light a fire in any condition

What is the best steel? I’ll give you a list of the best ones in 2023

  • The Friendly Swede XL – Sparks that last a bang.
  • Rummershof Magnesium SteelGuarantees 10,000 ignitions.
  • Navaris Diamond Knife Sharpener – It is completely stainless and does not cause dust.
  • GCOA Flint.
  • Flint Friendly Swede.
  • Buddy Basic Acciarino.

I tried the “The Friendly Swede, Survival lighter made of Iron-Cerium in the XL version.

“The Friendly Swede” was founded in 2011, based in Uppsala, Sweden and deals with Outdoor Accessories, of excellent quality and sells in 7 countries worldwide.

There are really hundreds of steels or “fire lighters” but there are not many quality and if you are looking for a reliable product for your excursions do not save on this type of product.

The choice as first in the ranking is for Survival Lighter by The Friendly Swede XL.

The pocket steel for knives

Features of the steel The Friendly Swede XL
  • Wand Material: Iron-Cerium Anti-rust and Ultra resistant
  • Steel Material: Metal
  • Dimensions: The ferrocerium bar is about 11.5 cm long and the “scrapable” part is about 9 cm The diameter of the bar is 8 mm
  • Can be used in all weather conditions: rain, snow, high altitudes, etc.
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Weight 170 grams
  • Guaranteed for life

Both the ferrocerium rod and the steel are already perforated to insert the chain, if you do not want to use it you can use instead of the paracord maybe orange or phosphorescent to increase visibility and avoid loss.

Attention, the ferrocerium bar is covered with a burnishing that will be removed and the sparks are there only after some rubbing as you must first scrape the surface protective layer.

As specified by the manufacturer to have an optimal performance you have to rub the steel on the ferrocerium bar keeping it inclined about 45 °.

A very important detail is that the steel has a verse, on one side there is in fact imprinted “UP”, this writing must be visible when you use the steel.

If you have never used the steel I advise you to practice, do not be afraid to consume it, the dimensions are generous.

Tips for lighting a fire with the steel

To learn how to use the steel correctly, look in the various videos on YouTube but I assure you that it is only a matter of exercise, but watching some videos can make you immediately understand how to use it effectively and the mistakes to avoid.

If you do not want to struggle too much to light a fire, the fundamental rule is to have or create a good bait like cotton wool.

A piece of cotton wool in the backpack, does not take up space and does not weigh anything, even a little is enough and with a single spark you can light the fire, try to use it before your hike or trip to the mountains ..

Obviously the flame produced by cotton wool lasts very little, if instead you soak it with vaseline or wax, the flame will last even 10 times longer.

Toalways have a safe fire, always protect the cotton wool from rain and moisture by placing it in the backpack in a sealed plastic bag.

The steel, on the other hand, does not fear water and humidity.

If you do not have cotton wool you can create a good bait that lights up quickly scraping with a knife the inside of a bark and creating a powder, just a few sparks to light it or alternativelyyou can create a kind of
scraping with a knife the inside of a branch or always making with a blade of thin “curls”, this technique is called Feather Sticks.



Man has been lighting a fire since the dawn of time.

It is one of the most famous and ancient techniques to survive is to have a fire nearby.

Whether you want to light a campfire, light a cozy fire in the fireplace or use your barbecue you need the right tools that are available such as matches, lighters but if you are a bushcrafter or survivalist one of these tools is precisely the steel.

From the practical flame of a lighter, to the hot sparks of a steel or even a fire starter that harnesses the energy of the sun regardless of the ignition of the fire, do not forget to use the suitable firelighter, it is one of this is the steel.

As you saw in the post for only 22 euros this kit in XL version that is among the best steels I tried not only because they are two pieces but you can use the back of your knife but above all for the generous size and quality offered by the brand.

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123 shares, 123 points
Andrea F

Maker and Enthusiast of Knifemaking. Other: Engineer / Professional Blogger / Bass Player / Instructor of Boxing / Muay Thai / Brazilian Jiu Jitsu / Grappling / CSW / MMA / Self Defence / FMA / Dirty Boxing / Silat / Jeet Kune Do & Kali / Fencing Knife / Stick Fighting / Weapons / Firearms. Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport! State Of Love And Trust!


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