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Description of fire pistons:
A fire piston works on the same principles as a diesel engine in that compressed air creates intense heat. A bit of char cloth is placed in a small pocket on the end of the piston, and when the piston is compressed, this heats the char cloth to such an intense temperature that it glows red, allowing you to start a fire. I've been making these fire pistons for a few years, and have used them on many hiking trips. Char cloth can be made at home and carried with the fire piston, or some natural tinders can be used (certain mosses, fungi, and barks).
>Machined 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum (Will never rot, and much stronger than wood). Very robust design make this one tough fire starter.
>3/4" diameter wire brushed grip cylinder with precision reamed 1/2" bore piston. O-ring is standard 1/2" OD x 5/16" ID that can be inexpensively obtained at any hardware store should a replacement ever be needed.
>Piston has a tinder retainer machined into its face.
>I machine these fire pistons myself in my machine shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan USA. They are machined by hand on a lathe, which is time consuming, but also guarantees the highest quality. Tolerances are held very tight for excellent compression and reliability. Each piston is individually mated to it's cylinder for a precision fit.
>These fire pistons are of my own design, and are the result of many prototype models. I found that the method I use is more reliable than a two hand fire piston, and causes much less fatigue on the hands during practice and actual use. It takes a little practice to get the "feel", but after you get the hang of it, it only takes a few tries to get an ember.
Videos of my fire pistons:
Quick Press method
Slam Fire method