> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Review - Jesse Sloan Firesteel



Review - Jesse Sloan Firesteel

A Jesse Sloan firesteel.
I'm sure you've got a couple firesteels kicking around--every survivalist has at least a few, even if they're embedded in the cheap magnesium firestarters. I'm a cheap-wad, so most of of my firesteels are blanks that I bought on the cheap. They work, but they're clumsy to hold and aren't much to look at. I've also played around with the LMF firesteels, but found that the little plastic handle offered little benefit over a simple blank with a rigged duct tape/paracord handle.

Craftsman Jesse Sloan elevates the simple firesteel to a piece of art. I received a sample of his work earlier this week and was immediately impressed with the quality and the value. The firesteel blank that Jesse uses is very high quality, giving off as good of a shower of sparks as any that I've seen. It is firmly attached to a shed antler handle, which is well sized and comfortable to hold. There is a brass lanyard hole in the handle for a lanyard or necklace, which happens to be adequately sized for paracord. Jesse also includes a very effective Firesteel.com "Super Scraper" with the firesteel.

The included scraper.
The end result is a very nice looking and easy to use firesteel. Going from using blanks or a little plastic handle to a firesteel with a good, comfortable handle is amazing. A good handle like this one makes the firesteel more pleasant to use--it's much easier to hold and get a good scrape. In a survival situation or even on a cold day, with your hands cramping and numb, a good-sized handle could make the difference. The included scraper throws sparks perfectly, without shaving big chunks out of the firesteel like a piece of hacksaw can.

Yes, the antler handle makes the firesteel too big for a PSK or a similar situation where size is important. The handle does not add weight though, so for pack, pouch or neck carry, this is a great choice, and the ease-of-use that it adds makes it well worth the weight if you're planning on using a firesteel as a primary source of fire starting.

I had some concerns about how well the firesteel was attached to the antler handle, so I did a little bit of informal testing. I've pulled on the steel, tapped it and whacked it with moderate strength, with no effect. Definitely not a torture test, but I'm confident that the firesteel can hold up to the wear and tear of normal use.

Another thing that impressed me was the affordability of Jesse's firesteels. The firesteel that I received would run between $12-$14; which puts it at the same price point at the LMF models. Jesse's firesteels are handcrafted with natural materials, very comfortable to use, look awesome and come with an awesome scraper--for under $15, it's an amazing deal. They're really a very nice, quality piece of craftsmanship, and an excellent example of what a firesteel can be.

Jesse offers a variety of firesteel designs--different sizes, shapes and handle materials--as well as leather work (you need a bad ass eyepatch for TEOTWAWKI, don't you?), and is also available for custom work if you have some specific in mind.

Check out Jesse's Etsy store to order one today >