Mel Deweese probably knows more different ways to make fire than any other living human. Mel is largely responsible for introducing the fire piston to North America and his work on the Wood Smoke III video has provided valuable instruction on primitive fire making techniques to thousands of survival enthusiasts. Mountain Mel had the following comments about Wilderness Solutions fire pistons:
"First I must say "THANKS" to my Negrito friends in the Philippines for making me aware of the unique fire piston. Called the "sol-poc" by the Troopers, I first saw it in 1965 but it wasn't until 10 years later that I acquired my first working model, made of water buffalo horn. Later, in 1978 I introduced it to the instructors at the 1st Rabbit Stick gathering by Larry Dean Olsen in Utah. In 1988, Richard Jamison made the fire piston known worldwide through his book and video- "Woodsmoke-Fire III". Since, I have had numerous inquiries as to my experience with the Negrito people, the piston's construction, uses, tinder, etc.
Many people have made attempts at producing a correct/exact fire piston but few have been as successful as Jeff Wagner. Jeff sent me a specially designed model of his piston. I must say it is a beautiful, working tool ! He has definitely done his research and perfected the device as a piece of art. Upon my return to the Philippines, I will proudly show Jeff's model to the Negrito troopers. I am sure they will be honored as I am.
The following has been written by noted survival authority, fire making expert and author, Allan "BOW" Beauchamp ( BOW's articles can be seen in Wilderness Way Magazine). BOW likes to camp out in the bush...when its 45 degrees below zero!! This is a man who really appreciates the value of having dependable fire making options.
I especially like the fact that you have stayed on the “natural” trail in crafting the fire piston, as it is a natural way to light fires and should remain as such. The innovation of crafting the “keeper” attachment is another great idea to ensure the piston stays with the wearer for years. The only thing I can think of that could go wrong with your fire piston is loosing it. However, you seem to have a “handle” on that also!
Being someone who enjoys good natural craftsmanship, learned from the development of my “Two Stone Fire Starting Method”, I must say, quality of craftsmanship is very well demonstrated with your “all natural” fire piston.
When I am in the bush, there are not many items I take with me for fire starting. I have spent most of my life learning as many of the “natural fire starting” methods as I can. I try to go a simple as possible. So, when I see a good “natural” fire-starting tool, I am always impressed!
Your all natural fire piston, is a great fire starting tool and I would recommend your fire piston for reliability as a fire-starting tool. I will continue using your fire piston for all four seasons and give a report for each season.
There are not many fire starters that work well in all seasons, especially, here in northern Canada. When the temperature drops to –45 below zero and one is in need of a fire, you need “options’’. I believe your fire piston is a great “option”. "
Allan “BOW” Beauchamp.
"Hi Jeff, I just received your fire piston in the mail. Thank you. I have tried fire pistons in the past, having made one myself years ago. I was impressed with your craftsmanship when I first viewed it.
You obviously have done a great job in crafting it and understanding the working parts of the fire piston, and the replacement gasket that came with the fire piston package will also ensure many years of good service.
I tried the fire piston with a little lube and on the second try it fired up my very small fragment of tinder!
It was very sturdy in the chamber and it fit well, with no visible movement. Another sign of your good craftsmanship.
"I had always been curious about fire pistons. I was really excited to see just how well the piston worked to get my fires going rain or shine. It is a device that young or old, weak or strong can use in any situation and that's really important to me".
"Jeff Wagner's fire piston has become an indispensable part of my own personal survival kit!'
Wilderness Solutions fire starters are featured in April 2010 Popular Science, the March 2010 Survival issue of Outdoor Life and were selected by Field and Stream Magazine as one of the "50 Great American Skills".
We have also been featured in numerous outdoor publications including Backwoodsman, Wilderness Way, Primitive Archer, MuzzleBlasts, National Geographic Adventure, Outdoor Canada and British Columbia Magazines.
See the review of the Wilderness Solutions FireFly by WoodsMonkey