Review Details

Numyth Vulcan Fire Piston v2

Product Review (submitted on June 17, 2013):
I bought the Vulcan fire piston because I was supremely intrigued by the idea that a handheld device was capable of creating enough pressure and heat to ignite tinder. My curiosity led me to watch Going Gear owner Marshall's excellent review of the device and then videos of other fire pistons in general. The Vulcan appears to be very well conceived, engineered and executed. It feels hefty in the hand and the machining is well done so that the various parts work together as a seamless unit. Aesthetically, the Vulcan gives the appearance of a space-age device, kind of like an elongated Apollo-era space capsule, which adds to its appeal, given the irony that the device is, in reality, of primitive origins.
Functionally, the fire piston presents a challenge to the novice. It takes some practice and if the casual gadget-buyer tries this expecting effortless success he or she is likely to be frustrated. But, like the first human who saw sparks flying from thrown rocks, he who is curious enough to persist and to experiment a bit will be rewarded with success. When I first received the Vulcan, I set right out learning to make char cloth from a cotton tee shirt and tried it out in the fire piston. I must have struck that Vulcan down 50 or 60 times with nary a glow in my tinder. I think I got two brief tinder ignitions out of all those attempts. Then I realized that tee shirts made for humans are probably treated with a fire retardant that could have been making my attempts futile. I learned about the advantages of char cord and I searched for pure cotton cordage at two large national home centers and discovered that they did not carry any cotton rope, only synthetic. My quest for pure cotton cordage was ultimately satisfied by a rastafarianoid mop head that sported hundreds of braids of the purest, most pristine cotton. Using those braids of cotton I cooked up one fine batch of char cord on my kitchen stove at two am using a tin can and a foil cover with a pin hole vent. Now, charring cotton will smell like the house is on fire so either have a really efficient hood over the stove or do it outdoors. Next morning, my wife thought the coffee maker was going bad. I just nodded, perplexed. Next night, I smacked the Vulcan down loaded with my freshly made char rope. To my delight, a little ember glowed like a red star on the end of the piston. And again, and again. One two or three smacks produced a glowing ember. My Vulcan was proving itself a pretty amazing little ember-maker. Now don’t get me wrong, a fire piston is not the easiest way to make fire, but it is definitely one of the most fascinating and interesting and epitomizes the ingenuity of human invention.