How To Start a Fire with a Ferro Rod: Beginner’s Manual

Building a fire is one of the most basic survival skills you can learn. And, even if you’re not planning to spend time outdoors in extreme conditions, a dependable fire source is always beneficial. This article will teach you how to fire with a Ferro rod.

How Do Iron Rods Work?

Starting a fire with a Ferro rod. 

Starting a fire with a Ferro rod. 

Before civilization, the most common method of making fire was striking a piece of iron on a flint. Ferro rods, which you can also term Ferrocerium or Iron rods, use the same idea to produce sparks. However, Ferro rods contain various metals, including lanthanum, trace lanthanides, neodymium, iron, and cerium.

The metal alloy upholds the rods’ ability to throw sparks and start a fire. For instance, cerium has a relatively low ignition temperature of between 300 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, throwing lots of hot sparks that can go up to 6000 degrees Fahrenheit makes it easier to burst into flames.  

Ferrocerium-Containing Firestarter

Starting a fire with a fire starter. 

Starting a fire with a fire starter. 

Many firestarters contain ferrocerium because it is highly flammable and can produce a shower of hot sparks when struck against a rough surface. Let’s have a look at some of them.

Exotac Nanostriker

It is a compact and lightweight tool that utilizes a ferrocerium rod to produce sparks, which you can use to start a fire. The Nanostriker has a rugged and water-resistant exterior; you can easily carry it in your pocket or attach it to a keychain. 

It is popular among outdoor enthusiasts, survivalists, and preppers for its dependability and ease of use. To access the Ferro rod and striker, unscrew the cap. Next, place the Ferro rod back into the cap to form a small handle, which you can use with the striker to create sparks.

Blastmatch Fire Starter

The tool uses a Ferro rod to create sparks to start a fire. You can press the Ferro rod down onto the fuel using the spring-loaded mechanism that houses it. 

Also, you can operate the tool with one hand by pressing a tab on the housing side. It will cause a striker to rub against the Ferro rod and create sparks. Despite its ease of use, the tool does not produce fire independently.

Magnesium Fire Starter

This fire starter is a rectangular piece of magnesium that is half an inch thick and roughly three inches long. It connects to a bead chain by a striker and contains a tiny ferrocerium rod. 

You must first remove the thin layers of magnesium shavings to use them. Then, using the striker to create sparks from the Ferro-rod, you may light the shavings and make them burn incredibly hot.

Perfect Ferro Rod Dimensions

A man with a firestarter in the forest. 

A man with a firestarter in the forest. 

A Ferro rod’s ideal size and shape depend on the intended use and personal preference.  The perfect dimension to watch out for is a 6 inches length and half-inch thickness.

Try out several sizes and shapes to see which works best for you.

Starting a Fire with a Ferro Rod

Hikers start a fire in the wild. 

Hikers start a fire in the wild. 

Here’s a more elaborate step-by-step guide on how to start a fire using a Ferro rod:

Create a Campfire

An outside fire during autumn. 

An outside fire during autumn. 

It is your choice what type of campfire to build. A teepee fire is a good option because it is simple to create and suitable for those new to building campfires.

Get your blade and Ferro rod ready.

Use a knife/any tool with a sharp edge to hit the Ferro rod and create sparks. Sparks will fall onto dry tinder and start the fire. Move the blade down the rod and exert pressure to ignite the spark.

Strike the Ferro rod

Use the knife with a sharp edge and Ferro rod at a 45-degree angle on the blade’s spine. Draw the rod towards you while in contact with the knife to create sparks.

Practice exhaustively starting a fire with a Ferro rod 

Rehearse starting a fire with a fire rod before camping. To practice, employ a cotton ball. Break it apart somewhat to make it about three sizes larger. This way, it will capture sparks more easily.

Useful Hints for Using Ferrocerium Rods

Kindling fire with a flint. 

Kindling fire with a flint. 

How To Start a Fire with a Ferro Rod: Learn the Angle and Pressure that Suits You Best

The angle and pressure you apply on your Ferro rod determine the sparks you produce. Therefore, you should discover the best angle and pressure during practice.

How To Start a Fire with a Ferro Rod: Create the Groove

The first few attempts when using a brand-new Ferro rod will likely be fruitless. Hence, you can create the groove by striking a single spot of the Ferro rod. It would help if you utilized the same spot each time.

How To Start a Fire with a Ferro Rod: Save Your Blade

Using a knife or an axe to strike a Ferro rod can quickly damage the edge. Therefore, you can pick a different type of striker instead of a blade. For instance, a survival knife that has a 90-degree spine can serve the purpose.

How To Start a Fire with a Ferro Rod: Pack Tinder

It would be best if you would pack some cotton balls any time you carry your Ferro rod. It is because starting a fire with wet or inappropriate fuel can be very challenging.


People have been using Ferro rods to start fires for centuries. Primarily it’s because they are one of the simplest and most effective tools. We hope this blog was helpful, and you can always contact us for more.