Thats the nice thing about steel wool, works as well wet or dry, with match, BIC or battery. Packs easily in a zip-lock and can clean your teeth in a pinchI found that a birds nest (if you can find it) lights up pretty easy. I am unfamilar with this fire piston business.
I've been going to UP michigan the last few years and have grabbed a chunk of the birch fungus every year.It's supposed to be the prime piston tinder but I still can't get the thing to even get it warm.Those pistons do look interesting. They say its a primitive tool, but I really dont see how so. I've been successful with hand and bow drills, but both are a real pain. That birch fungus is awesome and you can take it to another destination since it stays lit so long. In the pines, I've found ground-up cedar bark and pine needles make the best tinder option. These things are really fun to fool around with while camping.
Proably not enough compression. Slowly press the piston in, if it doesn't pop right back out, you probably have an air leak. Could try doing that underwater and look for bubbles.It's supposed to be the prime piston tinder but I still can't get the thing to even get it warm.Al