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Making Electric Matches

The following steps illustrate how I make my electric matches.

#1    Fixture for holding the match head - basically a wooden clothes pin - note the upper clothes pin has been slightly modified.  This allows you more soldering area on the match head.


#2    Twenty 'clothes pins' glued to a small piece of hardboard - 10 on each side.   You can see four match heads placed between the jaws of the top four clothes pins.  This setup allows me to speed the loading step.


#3    Cut twin lead wire to desired length - often you can save and reuse wire from a show - I generally cut my twin lead 3' to 6' long, but any length is fine.  I prefer to use 24 gage wire but 22 gage from finished shows are OK.

#4    On one end of the twin lead wire, strip/bare 1/4" of the wire - the wire strippers shown here allow me to strip 3 to 4 twin leads at one time, then I will trim all 6-8 wires to 1/4" with scissors


#5    Place a match head chip between the jaws of all 10 'clothes pins'. Note that the pointed end is in the clothes pin jaw.


#6    Sandwich one match head chip with the bared wire of one of the lead wires - try to keep the wire centered on the chip for a neater job. Then solder the 1/4" bared wire to the top side of the match head chip - I use 60/40 Tin/Lead rosin/flux cored solder and a 25 watt pencil iron.  Place the iron tip onto the wire to heat ( a second or two) then apply the solder - once it flows onto the wire and chip remove the iron tip.  Repeat until all 10 match head chips have been soldered (top side only).

Then carefully turn the fixture over and solder the bottom side wire to the chip.

#7     Dip the match head into the pyrogen and allow to dry.  Upon request we will supply the formula we have been using with good success.

#8    Strip/bare the opposite end of the electric match approximately 1" and test continuity of each - then twist the bare wires together to shunt.

#9    Test fire a few with a battery to assure all is well.