How to Make Quickmatch Fuse

If you don't have ready access to ready made shell fireworks fuse leaders or quickmatch fuse, then making your own with blackmatch and the paper "pipes" for them may be necessary. Here is Frank Feher's approach to making the quickmatch fuse leader pipes. Thanks for sharing this, Frank.

How to Make Quickmatch Fireworks Fuse Match Pipe

by Dr. Frank J. Feher, April 22, 1999

There are several ways to make quickmatch fuse pipe, but I personally favor the following method for making spiral-wound match pipe of fixed lengths. It is very easy to master, and the average individual pyro enthusiast can easily make an entire year's worth of quickmatch fuse pipe in a single morning.

Step 1. Cut the roll of masking paper into thirds (2" wide rolls) using a band saw with a sharp blade. This is easiest to do if you first draw a circle around the roll using a paper band as your guide. Also make sure that the paper cannot unravel during cutting.

Step 2. Because I cannot easily provide a figure, I will describe the ideal arrangement of equipment by making reference to a right triangle. Place your metal rod on your work surface so that it is positioned lengthwise from your left to your right. This is one side of your triangle and it defines two points. Your paper holder defines the third point, and it should be placed so that the angle on the left side of your triangle is approximately 20 degrees and the angle on the right is 90 degrees. (In practice, you will want to move your paper holder slightly further back and to the right, but you should get the picture.)

Step 3. Pull a piece of paper from the holder and rest it along the end of your triangle. Cut or tear the paper from the roll and make sure the shiny side of the paper is facing up.

Step 4. Apply a VERY SMALL amount of glue along the far edge of your paper using the foam brush. Do not apply glue to the first 3" on the left side and don't use too much. You don't want the paper to get wet. You only want a thin (1/4" wide) band of dampness due to the glue.

Step 5. Place your rod on the lower left-hand edge of the paper. Then move the right hand edge approximately half way from its original position toward the paper holder. This positions the bar at a 10-degree angle relative to its starting position. Now roll the bar away from you. Use your hands to guide the paper to be sure the fuse pipe rolls up smoothly. If all goes well and your rolling technique is similar to mine, the bar will rotate slightly clockwise and end up parallel to your working surface.

Step 6. If you have done everything properly, you should be able to slide the match pipe off your metal rod. Allow your match pipes to dry for about 15-30 minutes and then trim the ends with a pair of scissors.

Helpful hints and other comments

I have made quickmatch pipes up to 6 feet with this procedure, but 3 or 4-foot quickmatch pipes are easiest to make. I have also made match pipe on a 1/8" aluminum rod with 1" wide paper. Use a longer piece of paper so that the match pipe extends beyond the rod. Then twist the end closed. This prevents the damp pipe from unraveling, and the excess is a convenient place to grab while pulling the fuse pipe off the rod. Work quickly after you apply the glue. You don't want your fuse pipe to get soggy or have your glue dry. If your match pipe sticks, you probably used too much glue. Give up on a soggy quickmatch pipe. Unravel the fuse pipe or scrape it off quickly. (The longer you wait, the harder the fuse pipe is to remove.) Wipe the rod clean with a damp sponge, dry it with a towel, and then apply a very thin layer of oil by wiping with an oil-dampened towel. Some people don't like spiral quickmatch pipes because they cannot be easily torn to expose the blackmatch inside the quickmatch. To be quite honest, I actually like the fact that my quickmatch pipe is hard to tear. If you use spiral quickmatch pipe made by this method, two things will make your life easier. First, a little planning to make sure you have the proper amount of quickmatch exposed when you assemble your device in the first place. Second, carry a penknife. It can be difficult to slide blackmatch into spiral quickmatch pipes if it has irregular edges which can get caught on the inside or if you have kinks in your quickmatch pipe(i.e., you bent it at some point). Store your quickmatch pipes in a long tube and avoid kinking.


Homemade Quickmatch Fuse With Black Powder

Here's another method for making quickmatch that uses fine grained black powder instead of blackmatch.

You can do this in any length, but in this example, you would make a 5-foot long length of quickmatch fuse. First cut a 3-foot wide by 5-foot long sheet of Kraft paper. Fold the narrow dimension of the paper so that you have a 1-foot wide flap lying over the other 2 feet.

Tape a strip of 3-inch wide masking tape along the edge of the flap, making sure you tape exactly flush along the edge of the paper-don’t let any tape stick out over the edge. Then, run a second strip of 3-inch wide masking tape over top of the first strip, so that exactly 1/2-inch is sticking over the edge. This is the part of the tape, which will be used to pick up the black powder. Keep this sticky side off of the paper.

Next run a trail of black powder (BP) on 2-foot part. Just about any fine-grained black powder will do, 2FG, 4FG, etc. Now push the sticky side of the masking tape into the powder, so that it picks up a 1/2-inch wide strip of BP. Make sure you get as much BP to stick to the tape as possible. Then peel the tape off the paper. Then fold the tape over lengthwise several times so that the BP strip is inside. Then fold the tape however many times it takes to end up with about a 1/2-inch wide length of homemade quickmatch. Thanks to Steven LeFaivre for this field expedient quickmatch.

Materials Needed
  • Black powder
  • Brick, heavy
  • Brush, foam, 3/4" to 1" wide
  • Dowel, 1" wide, 4" long
  • Glue or paste
  • Kraft paper
  • Metals rods, 1-1/4" wide
  • Masking paper, 6" wide
  • Masking tape, 3" wide
  • Paper towel
  • Plywood, 3/4"
  • Sponge, damp
  • Spray oil
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