Monday, October 4, 2010

Home Made Strike Anywhere Matches

I got this idea form a user on the Bushcraft USA forum and figured I would give it a try.

As all of us know, your regular safety match will only light if struck on the special surface that is provided on the match box. That is done for safety reason, explaining the name “safety match”, and occurs because the phosphorus is separate from the potassium chlorate and other ingredient, and is placed on the striking path. When the match head strikes the phosphorus impregnated striking surface, the elements combine, creating fire.

In a strike anywhere match (at least in some versions) all these chemicals are already combined on the match head, waiting to be ignited by any form of friction. Therefore, one can make strike anywhere matches by combining the elements on the striking surface with those on the match head.

So, I started with a regular box of safety matches.

I scraped off some of the material from the striking pad into a container. Make sure the powder is very fine.

Then I ground up and added a few match heads. This step can be skipped, as it is possible to get results without this mixing procedure. You can just add the striking surface powder to the match as described below. Try both ways, and see what works best for you.

Mix the two powders with a small amount of water, just enough to make a paste. The powder will not dissolve in the water, but the particles will rather remain suspended.

Take a match, and dip the head in the mixture, making sure that you get a good coating of powder on the head.

When finished, let the matches dry. You should be able to see the striking surface particles on the match head.

Out of the three matches that I coated, I was able to light only two of them by striking them on a rough surface. While this method seems to work, I can tell you that I am a big fan of carrying safety matches and a striking pad. It is no more difficult than carrying strike anywhere matches, and I find it to be more reliable. Keep in mind, that while they are called “strike anywhere” matches, most surfaces will just destroy the match. In reality you may end up carrying a striking surface with you anyway, with the added risk of the matches going off within the container.