The first ferro rod I ever bought was the GobSpark Armageddon with an attached magnesium rod. At the time I was just starting to think about the need to have something that I could start fires with beyond the lighters I had always used. My goal was to have a fire starting system that could…..
1. Be stored in rough conditions without any care to taken to avoid breaking it or to maintain it.
2. Be used to start fires by even an amateur who had little experience starting fires.
3. Be used to reliably start a fire even in awful conditions.
The fact that it was a Ferro rod with a hard plastic case is what I pinned my hopes of meeting the criteria number #1 on and I can say I have carried it many places without it taking the least damage. So that part worked at least.
But for goals number #2 and #3 I was relying on the attached magnesium rod to magically make everything work. I knew even when I bought this thing (this was before I had ever used a Ferro rod myself) that a Ferro rod can take some skill to use effectively and I knew that they had trouble if you did not have good tinder or were trying to use them in rough conditions. But I also knew that if you made shavings of magnesium and then ignited them, they burned really hot. It was this that I was relying on to make it useable even for those with little skill in bad conditions.
In theory this sounds good. But I never tested it. So for this fire starting test I decided to see how it would work.