Can your knife light a fire? I’m not talking about a detachable spark rod that you pull from the handle, or the Zippo that you duct taped to the sheath. I’m talking about a built-in feature that actually produces a fire. The newest member of my knife collection is also a fire starter (at least when the sun is shining). It’s the Solar Knife from Solo Scientific.
The folks at Solo Scientific seem to share one of my obsessions: fire building. Having had very favorable results with two of their other products, the Aurora fire starter and the Hot Box fire starter, I was eager to see their latest design: a knife that starts fires by concentrating sunlight.
It was a sunny afternoon when the package arrived, so I wasted no time and ran outside to try it (read: didn’t read the instructions). The medium-size fixed blade knife was snug inside its tan leather sheath. I opened the container of char cloth (burned cotton) that was enclosed in the set. Being familiar with optical fire making, I knew that all I had to do was line up the flat side of the shiny, shallow parabolic mirror so that it was perpendicular to the setting sun. I set a tuft of char on a nearby stone wall and rotated the knife handle until I saw a brilliant spot of light on one of the stones. I carefully moved the bright spot over the char, which in turn began to smoke immediately and effusively. I was thrilled! I felt like I was back in my unsupervised childhood torching ants with a magnifying glass. The reflective surface on one of the knife’s handle scales is able to focus the sun’s energy to a blinding pinpoint of light, which is more than enough to ignite combustible materials, especially dark-colored ones like char cloth. As a bonus, the blade is of good quality steel with a full tang and a keen edge right out of the box. After reading the instructions, the small hole in the handle made more sense. It’s designed to hold a stick onto which you affix your tinder, making fire starting even easier.
Here are the Solar Knife’s specs:
Blade Length: 4 in.
Overall Length: 8.5 in.
Weight: 7 oz.
Metal: 420HC stainless steel with coated aircraft aluminum handle scales
Leather belt sheath, char cloth, leaf tinder, and instructions included
Made in the USA with a full lifetime warranty