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Books on How to Make Fireworks


Buy Introductory Practical Pyrotechnics, Best of AFN, BATF-Explosives Laws and Regulations


Skylighter offers dozens of books on the art and craft of making fireworks and other pyrotechnics to help you learn to make fireworks. Here you can find fireworks making classics by Ron Lancaster, Takeo Shimizu, Ellern, Kentish, Tenny Davis, and Weingart. You can also find more modern pyrotechnic books by Perigrin, Dave Bleser, Bill Ofca, Sponenburgh, and the Kosankes. There are directories of fireworks sources, reprints of older books with fireworks making projects, even copies of fireworks journals. More fireworks making resources. For a beginning fireworks maker, the list below may be bewildering. If you're wondering where to start, click here.


We are always looking for new books on making fireworks. If you know of any you think we should consider, please let us know.

 
Item No. Description Unit Price Qty
BK0017

By Ian von Maltitz
Fireworks maker Ian von Maltitz' down-to-earth, practical new book shows you how to make good, fast-burning black powder for use in fireworks that can equal or exceed the effectiveness of commercial black powders. Von Maltitz is a fireworks maker. The book contains chapters on safety, chemicals and black powder ingredients, making slow powder, making fast powder, milling powder, the CIA method, different versions of black powder, inexpensive black powder, alternative methods for manufacturing black powder, and testing your powder. Also included are appendices covering the Goex plant in Moosic, Pennsylvania. Commercial specifications for black powders; recommended lift charges for shells; historical manufacture in England, France, and the US. 160 pages. Published in 1997. 8-1/2 x 11, perfect bound, illustrated. Shipping weight 2 lbs.
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ea. $45.46

BK0015


"The Ultimate book of Fireworks Hints & Tips" is a collection of some of the best fireworks making tidbits ever compiled. All of these tips orginally appeared in the newsletter, American Fireworks News, during the last 25 years. Good stuff for experienced and beginner fireworks makers. Shipping weight 1 lb.
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ea. $24.97

BK0034

By Bill Ofca
This is a collection of pyrotechnic safety essays written by Ofca for American Fireworks News over a period of ten years. Useful for experimenters and professionals alike, Bill's book's discussions on safety touch on all the important issues of making, handling, and shooting display fireworks. Includes bonus essay on how to make a beautiful golden spider web shell. 8-1/2 x 11 inches, 90 pages. Shipping weight 2 lbs.
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ea. $52.52

BK0042

By Garry W. Hanson
If you have children who are interested in fireworks, or if you want to involve your kids in your fireworks activities, this is a great new book for you and them. This book shows 2nd to 5th grade level children how fireworks are made and used in a commercial display. It has many excellent color photos with text explaining: black powder and how it's made; making stars and inserts; assembling shells; fuses and fusing; creating displays and loading mortars; and electrical matching and firing. 32 pages, 40 color photos. Shipping weight 1.5 lbs.
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ea. $39.54

BK0045

By Tom Dimock
Girandolas are flying horizontal wheels. They are some of the most spectacular fireworks being made today. Much of the interest in girandolas in the United States today is owed to Bill Kimbrough's adventures in Mexico and learning the craft from the Mexican masters. Tom and Bill have both entered girandolas in competition at PGI conventions in recent years. This book is the result of the work that Tom has done in learning the craft of making these spectacular devices. Tom covers making the frame, the drivers, special effects to add to the wheel, construction techniques, ignition, fusing, timing, launching, and sources of supply. This is an unusually well done book for a self-published pyrotechnic manual. Many excellent and clear photographs and diagrams. There is a lot here. Invaluable and unique, this is an excellent companion book to Tom's video on Girandola Construction. 8-1/2 inches x ll inches. 50 pages, softcover. Shipping weight 1 lb.
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ea. $41.52

BK0065

By John D. Lippy, Jr. and Edward L. Palder.
Originally published years ago in, this is primarily a book of magic tricks using chemicals. There are chapters on Chemical Magic with Liquids; Luminous Paints; Dry Ice; Invisible Inks; Luminous Inks; Flash Paper; Fire Magic; Fire Eating; Magic with Slates; Chemical Cocktails; Chemical Stunts; Professional Magic; Chemical Jokes and Novelties. The pyrotechnic chapter (Fire Magic) includes colored fires and flames; starting a fire with water and ice; an exploding hammer; serpents' eggs; snakes; burning ice; self-lighting candles; candles won't stay lit; lighting a cigarette with ice and more. A fascinating book full of fun stuff for everybody. 164 pages. No longer in print, this is a photocopied version. Shipping weight 1 lb.
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ea. $31.62

BK0078

By Donald J. Haarmann
The Pyrotechnic Formulary contains 2,600+ pyrotechnic formulations, this is without a doubt the most complete and exhaustive collection ever published.

Includes formulas for every imaginable type of firework and pyrotechnic device; including dozens of formulas for every color, including fireworks recipes for purple, blue, red, gold, green, silver, gold, and dozens of variations in between.

You'll find formulas for flash stars, crackle, glitter, strobes, and waterfall fireworks. On the minus side, there is no narrative or how-to information with any of the formulations.

A no-brainer reference for any serious pyrotechnician to own, but definitely not a book for beginners. 155 pages. Shipping weight 3 lbs.
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ea. $65.94

BK0105


Strobe light pyrotechnic compositions, book reviews, a biography of James Cutbush, making a rocket wheel, aluminum flash powders, "Reactions." 44 pages. Originals no longer available; photocopy reprint. Shipping weight 1 lb.

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BK0106


Full text of Dr. Shimizu's "Studies on Blue and Purple Flame Compositions Made with Potassium Perchlorate," R. Winokur's "Purple Fire," "Reactions," "Pyrographs." 32 pages. Originals no longer available; photocopy reprint. Shipping weight 1 lb.

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BK0108


Shimizu's "Studies on Strobe Light Pyrotechnic Compositions," how to read triangle diagrams, book reviews, "Reactions." 44 pages. Originals no longer available; photocopy reprint. Shipping weight 1.5 lbs.

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BK0110


Reverend R. Lancaster's "Some Observations on Firework Manufacturing and Safety Concerns," Wommack's "Those Were the Days -- A Fireworks Photo Album," T. Shimizu's "Studies on Microstars," Dr. A. Shidlovskiy's "A Brief Historical Sketch of the Development of Pyrotechnics in Russia," J. Taylor's "Determination of Height of an Explosion in the Air," F. Lienhard's "Rocket Stability," book reviews and "Reactions." 64 pages. 4 plates. Originals no longer available; photocopy reprint. Shipping weight 1.5 lbs.

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BK0112


Peter Budarick's "The State of the Firework Art from the Viewpoint of a Firework Artist," T. Shimizu's "Studies on Firefly Compositions (Aluminum-Charcoal Type)," S. Oztap's "The Pyrotechnic Whistle and Its Applications," E. Camilleri's "A Maltese Fireworks Photographic Exhibition," K. and B. Kosanke's "Electrical Firing of Musically Choreographed Fireworks Aerial Displays," editorial, book reviews, and "Reactions." 84 pages. Shipping weight 2 lbs.

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BK0113


T. Shimizu's "Tribute to Dr. Alex Hardt" and "Studies on Mixtures of Lead Oxides with Metals (Magnalium, aluminum, or magnesium)," S. Oztap's "The Pyrotechnic Whistle and Its Applications, Part II," J. Barkley's "Chinese Multitube Fireworks Design and Construction: The Parachute Battalion," Dr. C. Jennings-White's "Some Esoteric Firework Materials," Barry Sturman's "The Knox Pyroballets, 1988," J. Clayre's "Japanese Hand Made Cracker Units," book reviews, "Reactions." 68 pages. 4 color plates. Shipping weight 2 lbs.

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ea. $79.14
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BK0114


Reverend R. Lancaster's "Some Reflections on Roman Candles," Dr. T. Shimizu's "Investigation of the Pyrotechnic Glitter Phenomenon (Parts I and II)," C. Jennings-White's "Lead-Free Crackling Microstars" and "Blue Strobe Light Pyrotechnic Compositions," K. and B. Kosanke's "Computer Modeling of Aerial Shell Ballistics," Jorge Ferrando's "Firework Manufacture in Argentina." 80 pages. 4 color plates. Shipping weight 2 lbs.

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BK0115


Peter Budarick's "Thoughts on the Evolution of Firework Art," B. and K. Kosanke's "Lancework -- Pictures in Fire," C. Jennings-White's "Nitrate Colors," Hideo Hitano's "Sensitivity Tests on Crackling Noise Compositions of Magnalium-Metal Oxide," E. McCaskie's "A New Method for the Production of Blue Strobe Stars," Dr. Christina Leeflang's "A Photometric Method of Analysis for Pyrotechnic Color Compositions," book reviews, "Reactions." 68 pages. Shipping weight 2 lbs.

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BK0116


Lars Barfod's "Danish Fireworks," C. Jennings-White's "Hygroscopicity and Double Decomposition of Pyrotechnic Oxidizers," R. Wharton and H. J. Slater's "Further Studies of the Noise Levels Produced by Fireworks," S. Partin's "Vibrational Whistle Rockets: A Study of Catalyst Selection on Performance," T. Shimizu's "The Omagari Firework Festival," J. Toker's "Experimental Evaluation of Pyrotechnic Whistle Compositions," Per Alenfelt's "Corrosion Protection of Magnesium without the Use of Chromates," S. Myatt's and R. Wharton's "A Survey of Factors Relating to the Use of Mortars at Firework Displays in the United Kingdom." 72 pages. 4 color plates. Shipping weight 2 lbs.

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BK0117


Myke Stanbridge on pyrotechnics in cyberspace, projectiles, tracers, mortar specifications and clearances, shell lifting charges, rocket sizing, shotshell rocket motors, plant gums (including calo resin, yacca, accroides, and red gums); "A Systematic Study of the Performance of Charcoals in Pyrotechnic Compositions" by Roger O'Neill (charcoals are tested in black powder and comets); "Lithium, Boron, and Calcium" by Clive Jennings-White and Steve Wilson (the use of these elements in colored stars, glitter stars, and "liquid colors"); "A Selection of Spot Tests for Qualitative Analysis of Pyrotechnic Compositions" by Steve Majdali (spot tests to detect common pyrotechnic chemicals and compositions); "We Did it Our Way"--The Kimbolton Approach to Large Displays" by Tom Smith (descriptions of very large London and Montreal displays and techniques); "The Flower Pot Fountain: Application of Modern Formulation Techniques to a Classic Effect" by Bruce Blom (how to make the lampblack-based "flower pot effect" fountain, similar in effect to "senko hanabi"); Mike Swisher on "Myth and Misinformation in the Early History of Pyrotechnics"; "A Survey of Pyrotechnic Resources on the Internet" by Kevin Gendron and Jennie Bradford; book reviews. 72 pages. Shipping weight 2 lbs.

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BK0161

By Bill Ofca
This latest and just written book by Bill Ofca is a comprehensive look into the safety and artistic display value of various grand finale techniques. Bill examines safety for mortar and rack construction, as well as safe ways to set up finale racks for displays. There are discussions about how to budget the display contract dollars for a finale, and what gives a fireworks display an entertaining high artistic value for spectators. Tried and true "finale theme" and set up methods are revealed with plenty of graphics drawings to guide the reader to meaningful understanding. This book is a "must" read for those fireworks display artists who want their shows to give a lasting impression. 39 pages. Shipping weight 1 lb.


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ea. $29.94

BK0152

By Bill Ofca
Bill shows you how to make chrysanthemum and peony shells that look as good as Japanese style shells. The techniques of small ball shell building are different from building larger ones. Bill covers pros and cons of plastic ball shells; shell design and star color combinations; shell lift charges; formulas for and safe mixing of burst powder; flash bag construction; fusing; shell assembly; glues and gluing; making the lift charge cup; quickmatch shell leader; and mass production techniques. 25 pages. Shipping weight 1 lb.
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BK0153

By Bill Ofca
Bill shows you how to make a hard breaking, glittering, brilliant silver diadem that can look as big as an 8 inch shell and as good as any high quality Japanese made shell. Bill discusses plastic ball shell pros and cons; design considerations and color combinations; lift charge weights; safely making burst powder including formula; special bursting techniques for this shell; the star formula and primer formula; burst bag; fusing; special flame transfer match; special 6 inch shell burst bag assembly; hemisphere assembly; star loading; gluing and sealing the shell; lift cups and lift cup board construction for mass production; finishing the shell using Bill's quick lift techniques and leadering. 30 pages. Shipping weight 1 lb.
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BK0154

By Bill Ofca
Bill describes 88 chemicals including complete chemical data and descriptions; compatibility notes; cautions; and fireworks uses. 39 pages. Shipping weight 1 lb.
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BK0157

By Bill Ofca
Bill shows how to make a professional-grade, giant comet with a bushy, dense, 2 foot wide column of sparks several hundred feet tall that hangs in the air at least 10 seconds before fading. You can mount this comet on top of a 4 inch (or larger) shell or fire it as a standalone comet. This report shows you how to solve the problems of large comet design, eliminating their break-up as they leave the mortar. It also shows you how to solve the problem of regulating burn rate so that the comet is completely burned up before it starts to come down. From making the tools to assembling the lift, Bill reveals the secrets of the late fireworks master, Joe Chiarella. Thoroughly illustrated. 31 pages, 20 illustrations. Shipping weight 1 lb.
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ea. $29.94

BK0159

By Bill Ofca
This book will teach you how to add different effects to your shells to make them really special. Even a relatively dull shell can be made interesting with the addition of shell garnishments. Part 1 of the book shows you how make and use comets, including instructions on making tools, and how to marry them to your shells, and formulas for silver and gold comets. Part 2 shows you how to build a whistling "tracer" (with either no tail or a silver tail) or a whistling spoulette. These are sophisticated shell garnishments that will really put professional sizzle in your shells. 46 pages, 22 illustrations. Shipping weight 1 lb.
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ea. $29.94


  
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