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Sulphur match tutorial

 
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tombear
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Joined: 21 Jan 2011
Posts: 18
Location: Rossendale Valley Lancashire
Real Name: Tom Ready

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:14 am    Post subject: Sulphur match tutorial Reply with quote

As a newbie who will be picking your collective brains I thought I would show willing by posting a tutorial on making sulphur matches.

I have been fortunate enough to have a chance to examine various originals held in museums here in the UK and corresponded with staff at the Science Museum which holds the Bryant and May collection of fire lighting artefacts.

Although sulphur matches have been around since at least Roman times and exist in many forms such as made from sulphur dipped oat straws in the South East of the UK , from strips of brown paper and even on cotton threads on the continent the most common sort I have come across has been flat wooden spills, pointed at both ends approximately 5 inches long, 3/8ths of a inch wide and between 1/16th and 3/32nds of a inch thick. It is this sort I will show you how to replicate.

First off I sawed a piece of wood, in this case a off cut of pine floor boarding, 3/8ths of a inch apart (approximately, surviving bundles of matches show they were hand cut pretty unevenly) across the grain. You may be able to split it, It didnít work for me.



I then split it with the grain as shown above. Depending on how far apart the growth rings are this maybe one or two rings apart.
I then trimmed the ends to points.



Flat ended and truncated point examples do exist but pointed ones are easiest to press on the ember you are lighting from.
Once I had sufficient I went outside to do the dipping. Please google the health and safety bit. Suffice to say I worked outside with the wind blowing any fumes away from me, taking due care as sulphur is both toxic and highly flammable.

I used a cleaned out tin can and a pair of pot grippers from a old camping pan set and melted the sulphur powder, available from garden supplies stores or off the net until it was runny



By adding sulphur and tilting the can I was able to ensure that as the tip hit the bottom the correct amount was deposited on the tip of the spill. What you are aiming for is a thin layer of sulphur, too thick and it chips off more easily and more importantly once lit it will drip molten, burning sulphur where you donít want, molten, burning sulphur. You donít need to double dip and need to keep the molten sulphur thin and runny, if it starts to cool it will go on thick.

The sulphur will harden very rapidly, almost before you have time to put the finished match down . towards the end of the last session making them i was throwing the dipped matches into a pile and very few stuck together and in any case came apart easily.

A short session made this lot



The ones on the right are made from commercial pipe spills cut in two and the ones lower left from oat straws and do not work as well so I must be doing something wrong.

The matches light very easily from a linen charcloth ember, in this case a piece of slow match



Incidentally Iíve found a online bondage shop that sell 100% flax linen rope at a very reasonable rate and have replaced all my anachronistic cotton rope/match with it.

Sulphur matches are well worth adding to a period fire starting kit, even if just kept in reserve for when you really need to get that fire going first time



3Ē travelling tinder box by Carl and Marcia Giordano, steels by the late Mike Ameling, flints by Will Lord based on a sketch of a extant tinder flint at Banbury Museum.



Pocket tinder tube by myself, excuse chain, need a period correct one, Steel again by Mike Ameling,

ASB

Tom
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tombear
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Joined: 21 Jan 2011
Posts: 18
Location: Rossendale Valley Lancashire
Real Name: Tom Ready

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If this sort of stuff is of interest to folk do give some feed back as I have something similar on making rushlight/dips with something about making tallow and the wooden holders.

ATb

Tom
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Hawkeye
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Joined: 18 May 2007
Posts: 473
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Real Name: Darylee Foertsch

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lucifers?

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tombear
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Joined: 21 Jan 2011
Posts: 18
Location: Rossendale Valley Lancashire
Real Name: Tom Ready

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lucifers where made with antimony sulfide, potassium chlorate, gum, and starch and came into use in the late 1820s and fall outside of the period I am interested so i haven't given them much thought.

To be honest i'm not sure where I could get the antimony sulfide from here in the UK. A quick search seams to indicate that you can't get it for domestic use over here as those wanting to get it for home made fireworks can't get the stuff.

ATB

Tom
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kopfjaeger
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Joined: 28 Apr 2012
Posts: 136
Location: Pennsylvania
Real Name: Frank Ciletti

PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting

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nwtradegun
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Joined: 09 Jul 2007
Posts: 102

Real Name: bob morrison

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 7:53 pm    Post subject: flints Reply with quote

where did you get those long narrow sharp flints.
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