How To Make Waterproof Matches
Waterproof matches can be expensive to buy, but they can be very handy when trying to light a fire or camp stove when you or your gear has been drenched. Fortunately there are a few less expensive diy methods on how to waterproof matches.
The 4 most common methods involve strike anywhere wooden matches with turpentine, paraffin, candle wax or nail polish.
You should carry out the waterproofing soon after buying the matches to prevent moisture from getting into the wood of the matches. And when you have finished waterproofing them it is best to store them in a waterproof container like a 35 mm film canister or a similar style storage container. If you don’t strike anywhere matches be sure to store the striking surface with them, which you glue to the underside of the cap for safekeeping
Using Nail Polish
Any nail polish will do, but clear is best. Or if you have it shellac can be used. You dip the head of the match into the polish to about an eighth of an inch deep. Remove the match and allow it to dry. It takes a couple of the minutes. To help dry them place them on a piece of paper on a table with the head hanging over edge of the table. Have some paper on the floor to catch any drips. Once dry they are ready to use.
Use ordinary candles. (Tea lights wax works but doesn’t seem to work as well as other candle wax for some reason). Light the candle and wait until a good pool of liquid wax has formed. Put the candle out. Roll the head and about a quarter of an inch of the wood beneath it in the wax to get a good covering it all around. Again place on the table with the head over edge to allow the wax to harden. Some people say you should pinch the wax once it has cooled and hardened to fully seal it on the match.
Heat enough paraffin wax on your stove in a double boiler so it will cover the matches until it is full melted. Drop the matches into the melted paraffin wax and remove them using pliers picking them up at the non-striking end. Remove them singly and quickly and set them aside to cool making sure they don’t touch, again have the heads overhand the edge of surface you are using for them to cool.
Put a few tablespoons in a glass or pottery cup. (Don’t use plastic as the turpentine may melt it). Place the matches head down in the turpentine for a few minutes. Remove them and let them dry for out for about 20 minutes for the excess turpentine to evaporate.
Don’t drink from the cup or glass you put the turpentine even after cleaning it.
When you come to strike the wax coated matches, to get the best result peel some of the wax away from the head of the match to give a clean striking surface.
With all these method to waterproof matches some care is needed as there is some risk involved. You can always buy waterproof matches if you don’t to be bothered with this or maybe try lighting a fire without matches.