Making your own waterproof matches

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by tacmotusn, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    Making your own waterproof matches - Personal Liberty®
    Stick matches are easily compromised if old or even slightly wet. And while it’s better to carry several inexpensive disposable lighters and/or magnesium sticks, knowing how to make your own survival matches is a handy skill to possess.

    Wax-coated matches

    Here are the materials and tools you need to create your own waterproof matches:

    • A box of large, wooden “strike on anything” stick matches.
    • A tin can.
    • A chunk of paraffin canning wax or a couple wax candles.
    • A couple yards of yarn, cotton string or sewing thread (for making a small tinder-wrap).
    • A scrap piece of work board you don’t mind wax getting dripped on.
    • A few paper towels or newspaper.
    • A pair of needle nose pliers, a multi-tool, medical forceps or other gripping device.
    • A boiling pot and water.
    • A stove or campfire.
    The process

    Rolling your own waterproof survival matches is not difficult.

    • First, wrap the handle stick of a batch of matches with cotton string, thread or yarn from the match head down, about one-half the handle length or stick handle. You can use a drop of superglue to tack the ends rather than worrying about tying knots to hold the string to the tiny stick.
    • Put a pot of water on the stove with two or three inches of water and heat until boiling, then turn the heat down until the water is remaining just hot enough to keep the wax in a liquid form.
    • Place shaved or chunks of wax in the dry tin can and set it into the hot water, much like a double boiler for melting chocolate. Place enough wax chips in the can to keep it from tipping over in the water.
    • Maintain the water heat just high enough to make the wax in the tin can melt and remain as a liquid.
    • Be careful not to allow any water droplets to fall into the liquid wax, as it may cause a splashing, much like water dropped into hot cooking oil.
    • Using pliers or medical forceps, grip the handle end of a match and dip it into the wax deep enough to cover the tip and the tinder-wrapping.
    • Hold the matches over the can to let any drips fall and then allow them to cool enough to lay them out on a paper towel or newspaper without sticking.
    • Allow your batch of super matches to cool long enough to let the wax turn to solid once again.
    Safety tips
    Using fire, a pot of boiling water and a can with hot liquid wax requires paying close attention so as not to burn yourself.

    • Keep the liquid wax away from any direct flame source. It is highly flammable and has been known to result in flash-over fires.
    • Use extreme caution when moving the pot of water and hot wax off the fire, being very careful not to slosh any of it on yourself.
    • When using waxed or nail polish matches, make sure you stay alert as they sometimes flare up more than expected and require additional force to make them strike.
    — Frank Bates
    Motomom34, Aeason, Ganado and 2 others like this.
  2. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    DuxDawg, Aeason and chelloveck like this.
  3. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    @Tikka i don't think i would want to run around with those matches in my pocket lol
    Zimmy and Aeason like this.
  4. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Nope, but they are fun to shoot with a 22 or air rifle.:)

    Today, they sell exploding targets; us country kids were way ahead of the curve. ;)
    DuxDawg, Ganado, Aeason and 1 other person like this.
  5. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    years ago, decades actually, we would use bb paper tubes, and close one end. fill 1/3 full of bbs, card wafer, 1/3 black powder, card wafer, 1/3 bbs. these would be placed on ice where we had salted with corn. (shucked and whole ears). geese would land. one well placed shot would harvest a few. local poor families got goose for Christmas though.
  6. DuxDawg

    DuxDawg Monkey++

    Wax eventually soaks into the matchhead, making it too soft to strike. Keeping the wax just barely liquid while dipping results in matches that last months longer than those dipped in super hot wax. Some say that soy waxes take the longest to ruin the matchhead. Nail polish and other varnish-like substances are said to avoid the soaking in issue.

    I used paper and kitchen matches pretty much exclusively in the home, yard and forests for 20 years. Finding out mid trip during a 14 day backpacking or canoeing trip that one's waxed matches no longer work is... less than optimal, shall we say.

    Good thing is it forced me to become skilled with many other methods!
    Motomom34, Brokor and chelloveck like this.
  7. john316

    john316 Monkey+++

  8. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    john316 likes this.
  9. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Ganado likes this.
  10. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    I just coat mine with clear fingernail polish.
    Ganado and Motomom34 like this.
  1. Illini Warrior
  2. DKR
  3. Ura-Ki
  4. Ganado
  5. Merkun
  6. DKR
  7. DuxDawg
  8. Yard Dart
  9. Asia-Off-Grid
  10. Asia-Off-Grid
  11. Bishop
  12. Jsharp865
  13. DKR
  14. LESisMoreSocial
  15. Bishop
    Fire starting and cordage material: [MEDIA]
    Thread by: Bishop, May 31, 2016, 1 replies, in forum: Bushcraft
  16. Motomom34
  17. Motomom34
  18. phorisc
  19. DarkLight
survivalmonkey SSL seal warrant canary