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A New Kind of Flint and Steel

The strikeAWL is both a hardened fire steel and craft awl that fits perfectly into a small survival tin. From making fire to punching holes, this bushcraft "multi-tool" is unique as it is useful.

Here is a video showcasing how the "strikeAWL" is made.

Forged fire steels

In the beginning, my strikers were made from O1 tool steel.

Not because O1 was any better or worse than other high-carbon steel options, it was just popular in the bushcraft and survival knife industry. So I ran with it. O1 made good sparks and customers appreciated the simple fact that it was made from the same steel as their favorite bush knife. When supplies became scarce I switched to W1, a very tough and reliable steel. I believe W1 is the best bet moving forward since the stock size I use is popular in the machine tool trade. It will be available for a long time to come.

Agate arrowheads are included to complete the "flint and steel" kit.

The process of making steel fire-strikers was very similar to how I made scribes and cutting tools, so Why not combine the two?

Craft awls

In the early days out of necessity, awls were made from things like bone, shells, and even wrought iron in the Middle Ages. Then more stable and refined steels soon after. Tools just needed to be made sharp and sturdy enough to work on projects craftspeople were working on at that moment in time. Modern/improvised awls can be made by shaping mild steel like fencing wire and common nails to suit a specific function or purpose. Mostly for punching holes in things like leather, heavy canvas, and cloth. When duty calls for working on wood projects and possibly scribing in bone or other hard mediums, a stronger option is needed. Mild steel scribes and awls will work, but they dull quickly. Hardenable steel works best, steel with carbon in it. The more the better. I was already making tools from W1, so it only made sense to make a useful bushcraft awl-fire striker combined.

The idea was clever, right out of the gate.

These are easy to make and gave me a chance to refine my blacksmithing. The strikeAWL was also one of the products sold in my first online store. Thinking back, it was a huge part of my now self-reliant journey. Having a few skills to help pay the bills was pretty amazing and still is to this day. To me, it's paramount to stay as true to your root skills and lifestyle as possible.

Sales of the strikeAWL by itself were ok but to me, I could not just wrap in paper and throw it in the post. How could I make a good product even better?

The total package

I wanted to sell mine in a tin, something similar to other flint and steel kits available today but that looks unique. So, while brandishing the most epic beard of my life I decided to have a few glamour shots taken and made into an illustration representing my online store brand JB's Mercantile. The rest is fun facial hair history that I'm reminded of every time I slap a sticker on my products.

The look was cool. The product was cooler, but it could not be a true flint and steel fire-making kit without the flint right? So, I found a reliable source for flint/agate arrowheads to be used with the kit. Let it be known that I do not trust outside sources with geological claims. Especially from the "internet". Rest assured that I personally test EVERY piece before I package and ship these things. Speaking of packing, I use old-fashioned heavy-weight butcher paper. Ink stamped by hand wrapped neatly and sealed tight with a sticker. When it comes to you it may have some forge grit from my working hands as it probably came straight from the shop.

In conclusion

Every piece has a bit of me in it and I'm very proud of that. It's also a cool and useful product. Soon to be copied, but I know where they originated from and that's all that matters to me.

Hand-made and offered in a tin that is ultra-giftable. If that's even a word- If not, who cares? It's the truth. Worthy of use in the field, home, or office. I have one at my desk at arm's length. I use it for opening boxes and parcels.

The uses for this little piece of forged steel are endless, so I'll stop pitching and end by saying that overall, I'm quite ecstatic with my strikeAWL, and sure that you will be too!

You can find strikeAWLS offered in limited-run supply at my ETSY store, Thanks for checking them out.-jb


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Kenneth Berry
Kenneth Berry
Apr 05, 2023

You mentioned this once before on FB and I intended to follow up and order. Now I definitely will. Probably that cool pendant also.

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