This is a picture series of a custom built Ferrocerium rod fire set, made from White- tailed deer antler. The animal was harvested by a gentleman who has a curious attraction for fire and fire lighting skills, and is now the proud owner of this very unique and hand crafted set. I hope it will serve him well and that the sparks created start many warming fires on chilly evenings, providing him and his hunting companions with precious memories of their time spend in the outdoors.
The making of:
After determining the center line of the antler spike and choosing a Ferrocerium rod with suitable dimensions, a series of holes are drilled, slightly increasing in diameter and to a depth that would allow a firm seating of that rod, once the moment came for it to be fitted in.
Finishing the first stages of the drilling, it is now time to clean off the antler around the base and remove dirt, little bits of velvet residue, and the small patches of fur attached to it.
With increasingly finer grits, the base of the antler is sanded down to a semi polished surface and perpendicular to the center-line of the antler. This way the Ferro rod will come out relatively straight when seated. A small file is used to ‘break’ the edges of the base after sanding and is then also smoothed.
Using electrical tape to prevent scratches, an existing fire rod grip is taken off with a couple of hammer blows to the handle itself.
Wrapping sandpaper around the 2nd last used drill bit, allows for a nearly even removal of material inside the drilled hole. Repeatedly sanding and fitting is a tedious process but necessary to achieve a near perfect cylindrical cavity for the Ferro rod to be inserted into.
Once the desired friction between rod and antler is achieved, the rod is tapped into place without tools as not to damage it. The end result of this process is a ‘pressure fitted’ Ferrocerium rod which is more easily replaced by drilling it out at the end of its lifespan, than if it were to be glued in.
Having completed the Ferro rod part of the fire starting set, the other antler is being cleaned, prepared and sanded like the first one.
Using a metal saw, a groove is cut down the middle of the antler and under a small angle in relation to its center line. This is to accommodate the slightly curved shape of this particular antler so it will fit more comfortably in the hand when scraping the Ferro rod.
An existing scraper is being modified by removing some of its material so it will fit nicely into the groove. The lettering ‘UP’ will be clearly visible so the correct side would be used to create the sparks when scraping the Ferro rod.
The contour of the scraper is being matched to that of the antler by using a Dremel to shape the metal piece in such a way that it will not protrude along the base and further up the sides of the antler.
Finish sanding both antler base and scraper to achieve smoother surfaces and ‘break’ any sharp edges. The antler is now ready to be fitted with the scraper.
Because of the forces applied upon the scraper while in the process of creating sparks, the metal part has being glued into place for extra strength.
Artificial sinew is now being used to wrap a section of the antler from just above the base towards the tip. This provides additional strength and covers up the cut.
Upon finishing the scraper part of the fire set, 2 holes are drilled into the tip of both antlers. A leather string is pulled through so the set can be worn around the neck if desired and when in use, enough length can be created to comfortably scrape the Ferro rod for sparks. Here is the finished set, ready to be gifted.