Monday, September 29, 2008

Firesteel and Paracord

So I got in some supplies!
I ordered some Sweedish Firesteel and 550 Paracord from a great information resource I found,

Sweedish Firesteel
Sweedish firesteel is like other metals that are used to create sparks and in turn fire. The website I found it on reccomended it above the rest though. I'm not sure if that was only because the sell it there, or because it really is a cut above, but either way I'm happy with it.

It's really easy to use. It works just by scraping particles off of it with another hard object like a piece of metal or even a shard of glass! It creates a considerable shower of sparks when scraped the right way which will quickly ignite anything highly flamable (more on that stuff in another post).

Another great thing about it is that it's waterproof. It'll spark just fine even after it's been completely submerged in water (though obviously your kindling and timber needs to be dry to catch fire in the first place.
I didn't need to but I ordered the 5 pack. It was cheaper that way and you get a good size for any situation. For reference the thickest one is about the thickness of a good gel pen and the smallest is way tiny, Convenient to fit in a purse or a good size wallet. These do have limited uses but that big one would last quite a long long time if used efficiently.
550 Paracord
This is cord originally developed by the military (WWII I think?) for parachutes but it's become very popular since then because it's been found to work very well for all sorts of things. The number 550 comes from the fact that this grade of it (Grade/Type C or 3) is built to have a minimum breaking point of 550 lbs.

It's got a good nylon outer sheath and 14 inner threads braided first in pairs and then all together from there. The fact that it has these easy to get-at inner threads makes it very useful for even small things like sewing (repair clothing/gear) and even as fishing line. And the nylong sheath can be burned down to seal the ends after cutting to keep it from fraying.
I'm curious if it could be used to stich a wound shut but I don't know anything about what kind of materials are used for medical stiches. I'd be interested to find out though.

One thing to note is that it is a bit stretchy which could be either good or bad depending on what you need it for, but I like that aspect because I would imagine it would make good bowstring. I'll have to experiment with that.
It's suprisingly thin and light for something that can hold up to 550 lbs. So small in fact that I experimented with lacing one of my shoes and it fits very well in shoelace holes. I've got 50 feet of it in just a small bundle smaller than most TV remotes and it weighs just as little. It was relatively cheap too, only 7 dollars for that 50 foot section. I thinkI'll probably buy some more sometime soon so I can mess around and see what I can use it for.


Michael Harper said...

I love the idea of lacing your shoes with paracord. It'd be a very handy way of keeping it around all the time, without filling up your bag or pockets.

J.R. Morelli said...

Yeah... unfortunately laced shoes would be more useful than couple feet of paracord though. I've heard of other people making belts, bracelets, and even an extra dog collar out of it though. Personally my favorite is the dog-collar. As long as it's not tight or too thick your dog probably won't even notice it and if it's braided right you could potentially have quite a good length braided into a relatively small amount of space. :)