Flint is a type of stone that was widely used for sparking a fire in ancient times. It was also used as tool by some Native American Tribes.
This mineral quartz stone is common in areas that were inhabited by Native Americans.
With the modern technology and advanced ways to light a fire in seconds without any hassles many people may fail to recognize or know how to use a flint.
There are other people who don’t have an idea of any traditional way of lighting fire. But such ways are crucial in outdoor adventure.
When it comes to camping in the wildness, being able to light a fire is vital. However, anything can happen and you can lose your matchbox, or your lighter may fail to work.
Having a backup plan on how to start a fire with flint can be so intriguing.
Besides, the idea of using flint to start a fire will surely add something into your sweet outdoor memories, even when you have lighters.
Features of Flint
You cannot look for what you don’t know or have an idea of how it appears like. Before you start looking for flint, prior knowledge on how it looks will make things easy.
Below are some of the physical attributes of flint:
Chert minerals are very versatile and come in several colors depending on their geographical location.
Usually, flint is black or dark grey. In some geographical areas, it can even be yellow, white, or maroon.
- Texture and Luster
Flint found in water bodies has a glossy luster and a smooth texture. If found in other minerals like limestone, chalk, and gravel it will most likely have a waxy luster and glossy texture.
- Size and Shape
Flint occurs in two primary forms, including the naturally occurring flint nodules and flint that has been fractured and transformed into different shapes.
The naturally occurring flint is usually bigger, smooth-edged, and rounded in shape. It’s found embedded in other minerals like limestone and chalk.
Fractured flint looks like pieces from broken glass with sharp edges. It’s smaller than naturally occurring flint.
On the Mohs scale, flint rates from 6.5 to 7. In simple words, flint is hard to scratch glass and other minerals.
- Transparency and Streak
Most flint stones have uniform transparency. They come with either opaque or translucent appearance that when scratched becomes shiny.
Depending on the location and chemical composition of the minerals where you find the flint, it can have either a yellow, brown, or black streak.
Flint found in areas with a high concentration of hydroxide and metal oxides, is white or brown. It can be dark brown or black if it’s found in areas with organic compounds.
Where to Look for Flint
Flint is plenty in some areas while in other areas, there is little to none. Understanding where to look for flint will save you time and energy.
The history and geographical location of the area you are camping is very crucial.
Below are some areas where you are more likely to find flint with ease.
- In or Near Natural Water Sources
If your area has no history of using flint, then you may consider looking for it near water sources.
Flint is more likely to be found in these areas because it can be carried by water down the stream.
When limestone is eroded with water, they are exposed and left behind or deposited in the river bed.
- Areas with a Rich Variety of Rocks
This is another area that flint is likely to be found. Such places include constructions sites, gravel roads and quarries.
Construction stones are transported from a different place, and river beds are one of them. You may be surprised to find flint among the construction stones.
- In Bigger Limestone and Chalk
Flint is mainly found inside other minerals like limestone and chalk.
You can break these minerals and be looking inside for any differently colored stones. When located in limestone or chalk, flint stone will most likely be dark grey or black.
- In Areas That Were Historically Occupied by Native Americans
Study the history of the place where you camping as you can never find flint in some areas. You will find flint effortlessly if you search in areas that were historically occupied by Native Americans.
How to Test for Flint
Once you find a rock that has most of the characteristics above, you can test it to confirm that it is flint.
One of the best ways to test for flint is using the spark test. Strike the stone you found against another flint or steel. If it produces sparks, then it’s flint.
However, for this test to work, the rock should be dry and have sharp edges.
Another way to test flint is by using the scratch test. Since flint is harder than most rocks, you can scratch other stones or glass. If it scratches them without being affected, you probably have found a flint.
If you suspect the rock you found is a flint noddle, you have to break it first using a hammer or any other hard metal.
How are the shards looking? Are they very sharp? If they are then you got it right.
Flint is an essential stone for lighting fire in the wild when you have no option of modern lighters.
However, it can be tricky to find it, especially if you are not an experienced survivalist. You need to know how it looks like, how to test it and where to search for it.
One precaution you should take is where you search. If you must search in construction sites or private properties, it is advisable to seek permission first.
Finally, you should be careful while walking in quarries and rivers to steer clear of injuries and other risks.