There's one topic that remains all too often neglected when it comes to fire lighting with a firesteel, particularly in the case of recreational campers and other newcomers to the field of bushcraft. This topic is the use of wood, and not just firewood for use with the flint and steel method of fire lighting.
While everyone appreciates the need for wood in general as a fuel when lighting a campfire for whatever purpose, it isn't immediately apparent that different species of tree produce different "categories" wood with a number of varied properties. For example, you may well be familiar with the idea of hardwood as opposed to softwood, but you might not be aware that certain woods are better than others for fire making, handicrafts and more.
Owing to the general lack of knowledge and awareness about the myriad uses of wood from the most widespread arboreal species, we thought it would be a great idea to highlight a few examples where, with a bit of know-how, you can really make the forest work for you instead of against you.
Perhaps the first wood that comes to mind is that of the birch tree. Up in the fringes of Northern Europe where you'll find the Flint and Steel workshop, birch is ubiquitous to say the least. You can walk for miles and miles with only silver birch for company.
Birch can be found throughout the northern hemisphere and is used for a huge range of purposes, some related to fire making with a flint striker and others not so much. In particular, birch bark has proven to be extremely useful for building, handicrafts and, of course, fire lighting.
The outer layers of birch bark peel off almost spontaneously and you'll quickly see how the paper-thin outer layers can be torn off and collected for use as kindling. If you actively peel away some of the bark, you can even use it as an adjunct to the smallest bits of firewood you've gathered to make a fire.
Birch bark is incredibly versatile and most ancient cultures living in the vicinity of birch species used their bark for a number of important functions.