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Pyrotechnic Projects: Black Match Fuse & Quickmatch

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"Black Match" is simply a cotton string covered with Black Powder. When a small piece of Black Match is inserted in a length of Japanese Time Fuse, it's then called "Crossmatch". If Black Match is covered in a thin paper tube, it burns hundreds of times faster than normal and is called "Quickmatch". All in all, Crossmatch, Black Match & Quickmatch are all essentially the same, and are made from lengths of cotton string covered with Black Powder.

Manufacture

To make Black Match, you're going to need 3 things: A plastic container with a snap-on lid, a 1/8" drill bit, some Meal Powder (which is just very finely powdered Black Powder), Cotton String, and a little Dextrin. Make sure you get Cotton string, not nylon or any other synthetic material. The string must be Cotton and must be able to absorb water quickly. The best you can get will be from a fabric store. They usually sell unbleached Cotton string, which is by far the best thing to use... although ordinary white Cotton string will work fine. Make sure the string is less than 1/8" diameter. The ideal string is about 1/16" Cotton String, although any size under 1/8" can be used.

The first thing to do is to drill a 1/8" hole in the lid to your plastic container. Don't just poke a hole through the lid, the hole must be a clean, smooth 1/8" hole free of burrs.

Pour 50 grams of Meal Powder and 10 grams of Dextrin into your plastic container.

While stirring, add a little water at a time until the mixture forms a runny paste ( about the consistency of ordinary Ketchup ).

Cut a 3 foot length of Cotton string and carefully coil it into the Meal Powder paste, pushing it down into the mixture until it is completely covered.

Thread the other end of the string through the 1/8" hole in the plastic lid. Leave about 2 " sticking out of the hole.

Snap the lid on the container, and set the whole thing on the ground.

Slowly, pull the string through the hole, and it will emerge perfectly coated.

Using some tape, or better yet a thumb tack, attach the coated string to an overhang to dry. It's very sticky & messy while wet, so be careful not to let it touch anything until it's dry.

After a couple of days, your Black Match will be dry and quite stiff. Cut off a small length and test it outside. It will catch fire easily when lit, and burn just like a fuse. If you take a longer length of Black Match and cover it in a thin, tight paper tube, you'll find that it burns much faster. This is known as Quickmatch. The faster burning is due to the pressure increase inside the tube. As the Black Match burns, hot gasses and flame build up in the tube and is forced down the length of the thin paper tube at high speed. Some commercial Quickmatch can burn at almost 500 feet per second.