Waterproof matches

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by rsbhunter, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    Hope this is in the right section....I was wanting to know what the best method is for making truly, waterproof strike anywhere matches? Wax, varnish, or another recipe? Also, are any of you finding it harder to find the true "strike anywhere" kitchen matches? Thanks for any idea's, rsbhunter
  2. snowbyrd

    snowbyrd Latet anguis in herba

    Clear fingernail polish, easiest. Really hot wax, use a double boiler. Bic Lighters, not too impressed with them when wet or cold, or your fingers are cold or at altitude.
    There is a way of using corrigated cardboard and strike anywheres, (yes, harder to find), put the matches into the cardboard every other 'hole' and dip into the hot wax, not submerging them, just half way or so. Reverse the matches and repeat.

    I really don't think there is a way to make them totally H2O proof, use a match safe or bottle to be sure, a dry striker is really nice to have...

    Carry other options also, fire steel, magnesium deally, ect...
  3. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    I have an aluminum matchbox; the top is threaded and there is a O-Ring seal. I've submerged it in the sink for a 3.5-4 hours and it didn't leak. IMO, get one with an O-Ring seal.
    rsbhunter likes this.
  4. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    i have seen folks that dip their matches in turpentine, flip and soak the bottom.

    Dry completely.

    Store in suitable container. I use a travel sized aspirin container - holds quite a few matches.
    rsbhunter likes this.
  5. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    wtrprf matches

    I have tried the hot wax method, and i carry a blast match, magnesium fire starter, magnesium shavings, dryer lint...magnifying glass, fresnel lens...so yeah, i've tried to cover all the bases.....Thought 1 time i had seen a recipe for mixing turpintine and wax or someting like that...curious about any new "emergency" fire starting methods...Thanks for the tips...also have made the rolled up cardboard, tuna can and wax candle/cooker ...actually works decent....rsbhunter
  6. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    This something I learned from a Navy Seal friend of mine... Even in the densest Rain Forest, in the middle of a Thunder Shower, if have some fine Steel Wool, and a small Comm Battery, of some kind, you can light off any Homemade FireStarter, and dry out enough local vegetation, to get yourself warm. It doesn't take much Steel Wool, and there is always just enough left in a used battery, to light it off. ..... 2000 Seals can't be wrong.... and I have tried it out, myself, here, and I live in a Coastal Rain forest.
    rsbhunter and larryinalabama like this.
  7. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+


    Thanks for reminding me of that...i went with my kids thru hunter safety courses and they showed how to do that....also, now that you have me remembering, they also took gunpowder, and mixed in some fingernail polish remover (acetone) and it becomes a putty that burns slowly, for fire starting...they kept it in a 35MM film container to keep it from drying out.... Also, on a wierd note..potato chips will burn in an emergency...rsbhunter
  8. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama Monkey++

    Stock up on a few thousand lighters, they will be better than gold post SHITF
  9. Gunny Highway

    Gunny Highway Hard Work and Sacrifice blessed by God's Grace

    Yes Bruce, This works real well. I carry wind proof storm lighter, magnesium, steel wool, stormmatches in a waterproof container and flint and steel. sometimes the ability to start a fire is the difference between life and death ( purifying water, drying clothes, staying warm, boiling questionable meat before eating etc )
    rsbhunter likes this.
  10. snowbyrd

    snowbyrd Latet anguis in herba

    Read "To Start A Fire" by Jack London. jacklondons.net Oh well, just use your search engine thingy.....
    Brokor likes this.
  11. maleaco

    maleaco Monkey+

    I dip my matches in wax
  12. hedger

    hedger Monkey+

    Please, just be sure that you have more than one way to start fires!
    ColtCarbine likes this.
  13. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    1. Pour 2 to 3 large tablespoons of Turpentine into a small (Tumbler sized) glass.
    2. Place the matches, (Head down) into the Turpentine and allow the matches to soak for 5 minutes. During that time the turpentine will soak into the head as well as the stem. All the water will be driven off by the turpentine.
    3. Remove the matches and spread them out to dry out on a sheet of newspaper. Generally, 20 minutes for excess turpentine to be evaporated is recommended. Matches treated in this way remain waterproof for several months or longer.

  14. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    May have to try the turpentine method. I've done the wax before, and after an extended period of 6+ months, the wax seemed to degrade the head of the match to the point it became "mushy".
    Don't know what caused it, but it kept me from coating my matches with anything, I prefer to keep them in a metal, water proof match holder.
  15. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    Here's another method for creating waterproof matches:

    Practical Primitive | Skill of the Month: The Uber Match

    Step-by-step Instructions on How to Make an Uber Match:

      1. Take out 4 matches, preferably of the strike-anywhere variety. (These are the ones that have a white tip on the red match-head.)
      1. Completely unroll a regular cotton ball, and then split it in half, length-wise. (One cotton ball makes two Uber Matches.)
    unrolling. cottoninhalf.
      1. Melt paraffin wax (our preferred wax for this and available at your grocery or hardware store) or any other type of wax (old candles, crayons, beeswax, etc) in a small container over low heat. An old tuna can works great for this and will sit easily on the stove burner.
    waxes. meltwax.
      1. While you wax is melting, take one of your matches and, starting just below the tip (make sure you can see a short bit of the match stick) wrap around the stick one complete turn with the cotton. Take your second match place it up against the first, then wrap the cotton once completely around the two together.
    1match. Add2ndmatch. 2matches.
      1. Add your third and then fourth matches in the same manner, wrapping the cotton around all three, then all four matches, creating a square, not a line. This way of wrapping creates necessary air space between the matches to allow for easy ignition. (Remember fire requires fuel, heat and oxygen to establish combustion.)
    add3rdmatch. 3matches. add4thmatch. 4matches.
      1. After all 4 matches have been wrapped together continue to wrap the remaining cotton around all 4 sticks until you have completely covered the match sticks all the way down to the bottom. Strive to make the wrap nice and even all the way down, as if you were wrapping a mummy for Halloween.
    continuewrapping. wraptobottom. wrappedmatches.
      1. Roll the now completely wrapped matches tightly between your fingers to really squeeze down the cotton wrapping.
    presstoshape. readytodip.
      1. Give the BASE of your Uber Match a quick dip in the melted wax and allow to cool and harden slightly. (For the sake of domestic relations, lay down a piece of aluminum foil for a cooling station — wax can be very difficult to remove from counters, stove tops and plates!)
    dipbase. dipbase2. coolingbases.
      1. Once the base is cool enough to handle, give the top of your matches a quick dip in the wax far enough that the entire Uber Match is now completely coated in wax. Set it aside and allow to cool. When the wax is cool enough to handle but still warm enough to mold, use your fingers to press the wax-covered cotton into the matches and shape each Uber Match to a nice smooth cylinder.
    diptip. cooling. shape.
      1. After the wax has hardened on all your Uber Matches, place several into an old pill bottle (along with the box striker if you have been forced to use strike-on-box types) and put this in with your camping gear/emergency kit/GO Bag. Allow the remaining wax to cool in the tuna can and it will be ready to melt again for your next set of matches!
    inbottle. readytostore. waxhardened.
      1. These Uber Matches will strike even when wet. And be careful, they have a much bigger flame than a regular match!
    inwater. striking. bigflame.
    Sapper John and BTPost like this.
  16. Pyrrhus

    Pyrrhus Monkey+++

    Keep a little char cloth on hand too.

    To make it, I use an empty (and very clean) sterno can with a small hole drilled in the lid. I cut an old t-shirt into about 1-inch squares and put them in the can. Then put the lid back on tightly. Put the can on a burner on the stove (if the wife isn't home) on about med/med-high. Let it go until smoke just quits coming out of the hole and remove from heat. Let it cool.

    You would use these with something like a magnesium fire starter. When this stuff catches a spark and you blow on it, it burns hotter. It's a bit brittle, so protect it somewhat. I just leave it in the can in which I make it.
  17. KAS

    KAS Monkey+++

    im not sure how well it will work with matches but for underwater welding i have spray painted welding rods to stop the flux from getting screwed up maybee the same will work for matches...
    kellory likes this.
  18. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I have used the NATO survival matches and they worked really well. They come sealed, and will last for...a very long time. Not that I use them any more. Since I started using my Numyth fire piston, I rarely use anything else.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2015
  19. PapaGrune

    PapaGrune Inside the firestorm

    A good source for a ton of info is The Boy Scout Manuel. You can buy it new but garage sales work great.
  20. natshare

    natshare Monkey+++

    Strike anywhere matches are going to be harder and harder to find, since Diamond (the biggest match company in this country) has gone to a new "green" product, that has basically turned them into a "strike on box" match ONLY.

    In other words, if you can still find "strike anywhere" matches, I'd advise you to buy enough to last you a lifetime, because you're not going to see them around much longer.

    So far as storage and waterproofing, you can spend the money and buy an o-ring sealed match container (pretty much anywhere that has a sporting goods section), but I figure that if you put some matches in a small zip-lock bag, then put that in a non-safety lidded pill bottle, they're going to remain pretty waterproof, as the water now has to get past 2 seals to wet the matches.

    As always, a secondary (or tertiary) method to light fire is a must. [coo]
    Brokor likes this.
survivalmonkey SSL seal        survivalmonkey.com warrant canary