First made by the Chinese for use in fireworks, black powder was first

used in weapons and explosives in the 12th century. It is very simple to

make, but it is not very powerful or safe. Only about 50% of black powder is

converted to hot gasses when it is burned; the other half is mostly very fine

burned particles. Black powder has one major problem: it can be ignited by

static electricity. This is very bad, and it means that the material must be

made with wooden or clay tools. Anyway, a misguided individual could

manufacture black powder at home with the following procedure:



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potassium clay grinding bowl

nitrate (75 g) and clay grinder


or or


sodium wooden salad bowl

nitrate (75 g) and wooden spoon


sulfur (10 g) plastic bags (3)


charcoal (15 g) 300-500 ml beaker (1)


distilled water coffee pot or heat source




1) Place a small amount of the potassium or sodium nitrate in the grinding

bowl and grind it to a very fine powder. Do this to all of the potassium or

sodium nitrate, and store the ground powder in one of the plastic bags.


2) Do the same thing to the sulfur and charcoal, storing each chemical in a

separate plastic bag.


3) Place all of the finely ground potassium or sodium nitrate in the beaker,

and add just enough boiling water to the chemical to get it all wet.


4) Add the contents of the other plastic bags to the wet potassium or sodium

nitrate, and mix them well for several minutes. Do this until there is no

more visible sulfur or charcoal, or until the mixture is universally black.


5) On a warm sunny day, put the beaker outside in the direct sunlight.

Sunlight is really the best way to dry black powder, since it is never too

hot, but it is hot enough to evaporate the water.


6) Scrape the black powder out of the beaker, and store it in a safe

container. Plastic is really the safest container, followed by paper. Never

store black powder in a plastic bag, since plastic bags are prone to generate

static electricity.



Another addition to the CookBook...... -= Exodus =- '94