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flint for kitchen stove lighting

jen kalb Oct 20, 2012 07:53 AM

For reasons too boring to explain we have been lighting our gas Chambers cooktop with matches for years.

Just returned from a visit to italy where the rather antiquated kitchen of our host included a flint lighter, that was very effective in lighting her non-self lighting stove (no butane fuel, no electricity). I was impressed but havent been able to find such a tool here except for camping items. Any suggestions?

  1. kaleokahu Oct 20, 2012 08:04 AM

    Hi, jen:

    Ah, we walk the same path... I have a propane 2-burner for quick jobs and a full-on wood cookstove for most else, both of which need lighting off.

    For gas, a welder's torch striker is just the ticket, like those here: https://www.google.com/search?q=weldi... $3-5.

    But I actually like the button-actuated propane plumber's torch the best. The flint starters sometimes take a second try, which can mean a kinda scary whoosh when the gas flame starts. I use the plumber's torch for starting my woodstoves and culinary use, too. I think I got mine at Ace Hardware for $50. Hint: If you go this route, buy the Coleman chubby gas cylinder intended for lanterns, rather than the tall, skinny, TIPPY bottle--it's the same fitting.


    1. dcrb Oct 20, 2012 08:29 AM

      Maybe something like this will work: http://www.buyweld.com/lightningbug.html

      1. h
        hilltowner Oct 20, 2012 08:50 AM

        Just get an aim n flame. The flint still works, long after the butane runs out.

        1. r
          rasputina Oct 21, 2012 08:58 AM

          We used to have one of those devices that you squeeze and it creates a spark, to light the stove. Have no idea where it got off to though. Sadly I'm not cooking on gas or wood right now.

          1. paulj Oct 21, 2012 12:14 PM

            I'd suggest one of those wand type butane lighters, sold for fire place and bbq use. Even after they run out of fuel, the spark works for lighting gas stoves. I keep several in my camping gear to light my alcohol stove. As in many fire starters, including butane hotplates, these generate a spark by squeezing a crystal (Piezoelectric).

            The traditional flint and steel used a piece of flint, hard stone, to scrape bits of carbon off carbon steel knives. The modern equivalent uses a ferrocerium rod. Almost any piece of steel can be used as the stricker, since it is the rod that produces the shower of sparks. Camping stores sell lots of these. I have used one with my camp stove (Swedish Light my Fire brand), but I think the wand lighter is easier to use.

            1. paulj Oct 21, 2012 06:57 PM


              is a flint striker that is commonly sold for lighting gas welding torches. The spark is contained in the little cup, which makes it convenient for light a torch. It should also work with a gas stove, but probably isn't as convenient.

              13 Replies
              1. re: paulj
                jen kalb Oct 21, 2012 07:12 PM

                this is the type of item I am looking for (what I was using in Italy) -
                or this
                they are very easy and smooth in operation
                thanks bb for the words to use in a search - these two dont ship to US, however.

                1. re: jen kalb
                  paulj Oct 21, 2012 07:22 PM

                  That looks like a fancier version of the wand lighters I mentioned. Note the 'piezoelettrico'. These are good lighters, but 'flint' really does not apply.


                  1. re: paulj
                    jen kalb Oct 22, 2012 06:43 AM

                    I guess I was intially misled by the item I actually used, bfrom BPT, being labelled FLINT in big letters. Looking itnto it I see they use Piezo crystals which I had not heard of before. I am definitely only interested in a sparking device, though, not butane.

                    1. re: jen kalb
                      paulj Oct 22, 2012 08:28 AM

                      In my experience the butane soon runs out, and I am left with a sparking device.

                      1. re: paulj
                        kaleokahu Oct 22, 2012 01:01 PM

                        Hey, paul:

                        So an empty $3 butane lighter wand with a functional piezio would work for the OP's application, right?


                        1. re: kaleokahu
                          paulj Oct 22, 2012 01:08 PM

                          Yes. The built in lighters are nothing more than the piezio sparkers. The lighter spark ignites the jet of butane coming from the lighter, so it should also be able to ignite the jet of natural gas coming from the stove burner.

                          1. re: paulj
                            jen kalb Oct 22, 2012 01:22 PM

                            thanks a million for sorting me out and exposing me to the piezo electricity concept - I had no idea

                  2. re: jen kalb
                    barberinibee Oct 22, 2012 07:09 AM


                    Okay! It's on my shopping list. As you may have noticed previously from your shopping in small shops in Italy, variety of choice is not the norm, but sometime in the coming weeks I will surely be in a shop that carries only that style as opposed to only the others. I have a number of household items I need for myself, and I already expected to be going to several different places, so it's not out of my way.

                    I'll post here when I've located it.

                    1. re: barberinibee
                      jen kalb Oct 22, 2012 07:35 AM

                      that would be great! Im so ashamed I did not force the issue but marital dynamics are complicated. Ill be interested whether you find it - if not, this discussion has given me a lot of ideas.

                      1. re: jen kalb
                        barberinibee Oct 22, 2012 09:07 AM

                        Just as well you didn't force it. Sometimes it is a simple as pie to find those wonderful very particular things sold in Italy that you wish could find at home -- other times you end up on a wild goose chase to 4 different stores and nobody has an acceptable ground coffee canister (my experience of this past weekend). My husband and I last week spent 45 minutes trying to find a bathroom scale in Genoa -- and I had promised him I knew exactly where to go and it would be a 5 minute stop. Fortunately, he was also desperate for a better shower caddy, so we had a shared sense of victory and time well spent. When we visit Manhattan, we spend many hours in Duane Reades in states of bliss.

                        1. re: barberinibee
                          jen kalb Oct 22, 2012 12:12 PM

                          Im sure there is mall-type shopping I know nothing of in Italy - for example I see that there are several Apple Stores in Rome, all in suburban areas I am unlikely to visit. Congratulations on your victory/ I pushed my reluctant husband to enter a tiny store advertising itself as selling electrical appliances to look for moka rings, when I saw the pots themselves in the window, and of course they had them. On the other hand, he would not go into a bigger store a ferramenta/casalinga - right under San Pietro in Banchi , which I suppose might have had the lighter as well as the rings(because it was very crowded. So yes, a more spacious store where you can browse the merchandise can have an advantage.

                          Ive had my own experiences looking for regional or more uncommon cooking tools in italy, mostly unsuccesful.

                          1. re: jen kalb
                            barberinibee Feb 24, 2013 03:21 AM


                            I have to apologize for flaking out on buying you the desired item. I actually DID pick one up one day in a hardware store -- only to discover when I returned home that I had bought a candle-lighter!

                            I think I better officially withdraw the promise to get one in the mail to you. You'll probably be back in Italy sooner than I can get organized to get it done. Mi dispiace!

                            1. re: barberinibee
                              jen kalb Feb 24, 2013 04:16 AM

                              thanks, no apology necessary - I will tell you what I find when and if i find it!

                2. BiscuitBoy Oct 24, 2012 07:21 AM

                  I've owned 3 longer styled lighters. One fairly expensive colibri ($30) that closely resembles the model in the ebay link, and 2 cheaper ($10) bic units. They ALL fail. The common failure is the electronic ignition, it's just not built well. I've gone back to using long fireplace matches...they work everytime, they're sustainable, and cheap

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: BiscuitBoy
                    kaleokahu Oct 24, 2012 07:41 AM

                    Hi, BB:

                    I'm all for matches, but they give me the willys. I once visited my great uncle Jess, a 97-yr-old lifelong bachelor who lit his wood cookstove every morning with stick matches. He'd strike a match, light his fire, shake out the match, AND THROW IT IN THE CORNER next to the stove. The pile was about A FOOT DEEP. How he never burned the house down has always seemed miraculous to me. Ever since, whenever I have to use a match, there's always a cup of water kept nearby to make sure it's out.

                    But you're right about the lighters all ultimately failing. That's why I buy them at the Dollar Store or in multi-packs.


                    1. re: kaleokahu
                      BiscuitBoy Oct 24, 2012 08:06 AM

                      some old folks just have the JuJu....never used hand sanitizer, ate fat and red meat regularly, smoke, drink, hand cranking those old cars...alot to learn from Uncle Jess! -Aloha

                  2. a
                    Artimus Aug 13, 2013 10:50 PM

                    We have problem with our stove. What was the best tool you found? I remember many years ago those flint sparkers worked really well for lighting acetylene torches. wouldn't that be a safe, eco-friendly way to go?

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