A refresher for those believers in “He who dies with the most tools wins”.

Steve Tomlin Crafts

Mark Constable While I was at Elvaston Castle at the weekend I got to talking with Mark Constable of the Al Fresco forge. Mark was demonstrating lighting a fire using a flint and steel, making it look easier than lighting a match and at the same time explaining how it works. Pay attention now, here comes the science:

Turns out, iron is pyrophoric which means that it spontaneously ignites in the presence of air! Of course, it doesn’t normally do this while I’m working because the surface area of my axe is too small compared to it’s mass. To make it ignite you need to make tiny particles which then burn (actually they rust but it’s the same thing). Why weren’t we told this in school?

So the way to make tiny particle of iron is to knock them off a bigger lump using something hard like a piece of flint…

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