Manual welding techniques like gas welding require the use of a welding torch to generate the heat required to join two metal workpieces together. To light the welding torch, you can rely on many different kinds of fire-starting tools like matches, lighters, fire pistons and the like. While these are modern fire-starting methods, there are other traditional or ancient techniques too, like the use of a fire plough or redirecting concentrated sunlight using a magnifying glass.
That said, modern fire-starting solutions have evolved greatly, and today, most welders prefer to use flint strikers to get a welding flame going within seconds. You can even buy striker flints online nowadays, from the comfort of your home.
However, before you buy flint strikers for your next welding job, do you want to know how they compare against other fire-starting methods? Let’s find out by taking a closer look at the pros and cons of striker flints , and comparing them with the pros and cons of other methods.
Pros and Cons of a Flint Striker
A flint striker makes use of a flint or ferrocerium, which produces sparks when struck against a hard surface like steel, iron or stainless steel. These sparks can be used to ignite a welding torch and begin the process of manual welding. If you are planning to buy flint strikers for your next welding job, check out the advantages and disadvantages of this fire-starting method below.
Pros of a Flint Striker
A flint striker gives you the following advantages.
Flint strikers are highly reliable because they produce a shower of sparks when struck against a hard and rough surface. This can easily ignite the welding fuel gas and get your flame going.
Flint strikers can be used in different types of weather conditions including wet and windy environments. This is because the sparks produced are hot and intense.
Modern flint strikers are designed to offer 1000s of strikes, because they are made from ferrocerium, which is resistant to corrosion and more than suitable for outdoor use as well.
- Single-handed operation:
It’s easy to operate flint strikers with one hand, leaving your other hand free to take care of other welding requirements that the job at hand may come with.
Cons of a Flint Striker
There are also some potential downsides that you should be aware of before you buy flint strikers online or from your local supplier.
- Skill and practice requirement:
It may take some practice to master the use of a flint striker. You need to find the right angle to strike the rod with the flint. However, it’s easy to learn and master over time.
- Bulky design:
Some flint strikers may come with bulky frames that make them less portable than others with more minimalist designs. You can include both bulky and lightweight striker flints in your welding kit for use in different environments.
Pros and Cons of Other Fire-Starting Methods
Let’s compare the advantages and disadvantages of other methods that you can use to start a welding flame.
|Matches||● Convenient and easy to use
● Lightweight and portable
● Inexpensive and easily available
|● May be unusable if wet
● Number of strikers limited by quantity
|Lighters||● Quick and easy ignition
● Portable and easily available
● Provide a flame to ignite the welding torch
|● Limited by fuel quantity
● Not as durable as striker flints
|Fire pistons||● Use compression and heat
● Require no external ignition sources
● Effective in wet and windy weather
|● Bulkier and less portable
● Technique may be difficult to master
This sums up how the striker flints compares with other methods for starting a welding flame. Given how popular the flint striker is among welders across the world, it is perhaps the most convenient and effective option for amateurs as well as experts in the welding industry. So, if you are planning to engage in a gas welding or manual welding project, you may want to set aside a portion of your budget to buy flint strikers for your welding kit.