the slow match concept

Wave Man

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OK I have been researching this a bit, and it has an interesting history, dating back to the matchlock firearm and connonire days.

The slowmatch uses a 100% cotton rope treated in saltpeter (AKA potassium nitrate, which as you can imagine is difficult to acquire as it is a primary ingredient of gunpowder ) and burns slowly hence the name, basically you light the end of the slowmatch and it slowly smolders (and because of the treatment of potassium nitrate burns evenly and won't easily go out despite rain or adverse conditions) and can be easily blown into an ember as required which is used to 'touch off' whatever needs to be 'fired' (such as a cannon or matchlock firearm) or in the case of a bushcrafter a tinder bundle/birdsnest.

here it is working in the field

 

Wave Man

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I have found a slow match supply, one who makes a proper slow match treated with potassium nitrate. I contacted BlackThorne-USA about postage and it seems reasonable.

A order of a slow match and 5 refills (cost of (US$22 and postage US$17.25) does come to about AUD$60 but that is because the Aussie dollar sucks at the moment.

I will eventually get this exact order as I don't want the hassle of having to try to find out where to get potassium nitrate.

http://blackthorn-usa.com/product/slow-match-with-snuffer/

http://blackthorn-usa.com/product/slow-match-refill/
 

Wave Man

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slow match (the proper ones, treated with potassium nitrate), finally arrived from BlackThorne-USA, have yet to test them out, will do this afternoon, a bit smaller than I imagine, but I have the slow match and 5 refills so plenty of it to fool around with.

I also got some more lamp wick (the good stuff from Germany) and made up my version of a slow match using some 3/4" copper tube an end cap and 3 lengths of lamp wick. I have a heap more lamp wick and more copper pipe so I can make up more of these slow matches as well but I have several now so I don't see the need.



showing how my new slow match works
 

Wave Man

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just an update on the slow match.

I have full embraced the slow match concept, it is IMO superior to char cloth for most applications. I still use char cloth around the house but have now gone to the slow match for my flint and steel kits.

I now buy cheap flat lamp wick (100% cotton), treat it (see OP for what I am talking about as far as treating slow matches goes), add a snuffer (made from a cut off .308 case) and these are now my slow matches I add to most of my kits.

You have to prepare the lamp wick by pre-charring the edge of the lamp wick with a lighter (or or other flame)

a roll of flat lamp wick cost me $1.50 (there is 1m of lamp wick per roll) from Ebay, and it does come from China.

I find the flat lamp wicks the best for this application as they lay flat on the stone.


these are the bought slow matches from BlackThorn-USA and BeaverBushcraft, now that I make my own slow matches I won't be getting any more of these



and untreated quality lamp wick, I no longer buy my round lamp wicks from Germany as due to covid they won't post to Australia, but I found a Queensland supplier (which is better anyway), though I prefer the flat lamp wick (as I said before, and for the reasons state previously) this stuff works but I still think it is better to treat any wicks so they smolder properly.

 

Wave Man

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just adding in more information, I really advocate taking the time to making up snuffers as they serve two purposes,

First, their obvious namesakes purpose is it makes it extremely easy to 'snuff' out the slow matches ember by simply withdrawing the wick back into the snuffer and placing your finger over the end, thus cutting off enough oxygen to put the ember out.

Second, the snuffer acts as protection for the charred end of the slow match, you store you slow match with the charred end withdraw into the snuffer and that way it doesn't get damaged in your kit and is ready for use every time, you simply draw it out, lay the charred end on the edge of the stone and cast sparks into it.

Here are two Beaverbushcraft slow matches with my .308 snuffers (one with charred end exposed one withdrawn) and one of my flat lamp wick slow matches with snuffers
 

Wave Man

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more experimenting with the slow match concept, but this time I have used my 10mm jute rope, treated with potassium nitrate and then soaked in 100% beeswax, I have yet to find a snuffer that fits as my usual .308 cases don't fit well.

Going to Bunnings and see what copper pipe they have.

I think this is going to be close to water proof and will burn fiercely as both the potassium nitrate and wax aids in the burning process.
 

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OK bought some 12mm copper pipe and it's perfect, plus some end caps. Fluffed up the end and did a test burn, had a bit of trouble at first with a ferro rod but eventually got it to take a spark.

Utterly failed to get it to work with flint and steel, even when the end was charred.

This burns like a candle and that's what I see this as being, a waterproof jute wick/candle.
 

Wave Man

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more experimenting with the slow match concept, again using 10mm jute just went with KNO3 and didn't worry about the wax as I wanted to see if I could get it to take a spark from flint and steel, which it did after a while.

I might increase the KNO3 and make it a bit hotter.
 

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preparing my lamp wick slow matches
this is how I prepare my lamp wick slow matches, coming from when the lamp wick is coming off the line is dry.
 
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