My friend, Joe Sixpack, offered this from his eBay site:
PyroZilla's Fire Building instructions:
One of the most important skills you must have in the wild or in a survival situation is the ability to build and maintain fire. If you are purchasing fire starting equipment, Pyro's first admonition is to PRACTICE under fair weather conditions. Go into your backyard on a nice day and learn how to make your fire quickly. You don't want to be at zero on your learning curve when you are freezing your butt off and soaking wet.
Read Jack London's story To Build a Fire for a gut wrenching description of the above. See http://www.jacklondons.net/buildafire.html
So lets' talk about fire building:
Ferrocerium Rods, Flints:
First of all, the fire starters we commonly call 'flints' are not really flints at all but are a commercial alloy invented early in the 20th century and sometimes called mischmetal or Ferro rods.
The rods are mass produced at a zillion per minute, making them subject to occasional blemishes which in no way affect their ability to deliver 3000 + degree sparks. Most of them are covered at the factory with a dark colored veneer to retard oxidation. This veneer is easy to scrape off in 2 or 3 scrapes to expose a shiny metal surface, which when vigorously scraped with a sharp knife or other object, will provide a shower of sparks.
For the best results, remember that you are literally scraping flakes of metal off of the flint. Position your steel at a more or less right angle and, bearing down hard, scrape as much of the full length of the rod as your grip will permit. If you can brace the end of the flint against a solid object like a rock, you can get a more vigorous spark.
Did I say you should have your fire building materials all assembled and be sure to direct your spark by being as close as possible to your tinder? Well, you should do that.
Every so often, a buyer emails us remarking that they are unable ot produce sparks. While we will readily refund money, we have yet to see a case where the cause was product defect. So far it has always shown to be incorrect technique. So, If you continue to have trouble, be sure to email us for added advice.
Flints are great for lighting dry tinder. And, if you are a seasoned woodsman, you probably will be able to find tinder in almost any situation. But, in a pinch, magnesium filings will light even when wet. In fact, they burn better when wet. We have several choices of magnesium for your use. Even a small amount will last for many fires. You must scrape a pile of magnesium about the size of a US nickel, being careful to protect it from wind and keep it concentrated in space. Direct the spark from the flint into the magnesium and be sure to have your fire building materials ready to go. You won't want to have to repeat this step when you are freezing your socks off in a survival situation.
That brings us to another subject. Practice your fire building skills in nice weather, maybe in your back yard. Like any skill, there is a learning curve involved. Then, when your teeth are chattering, you will be confident in your ability to warm up.
For lack of a better word, we use this to describe the many things you may keep in your pack to get a speedy light. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. I'll list a few here; you may think of a bunch more.
Hexamine based products
Parafin impregnated products, paper, wood chips, etc.
Purell or other waterless hand cleaner
PyroPac or similar Gel Products
Wetfire or similar wax fire cubes
Vaseline soaked cotton or dryer lint
You may have noticed that all these require a heat source in order to produce fire. So, when your matches are wet, and your Bic won't flick, you will be happy if you thought to bring along a ferro rod.