Waterproofing Matches

Dr. Terry M. Trier


I've been disappointed with the matches I've waterproofed using paraffin or lacquer nail polish. They seem to deteriorate over time. However, reading through Horace Kephart's classic, Camping and Woodcraft, I  noticed that he used shellac. So I shellaced a bunch of strike-anywhere matches and they have been working fine.


The usual method I use for this is, after dipping them in waterproofing, I stick them match-head-up in a block of wood with holes drilled to hold the base of the match. However the problem is that this is a bit messy as the waterproofing material always drips down. Here's a simple solution to that problem:


You need the following: 1) cardboard box 2) double-sided carpet tape 3) forceps 4) shellac.


Cut an opening in the box and line the top edge with double-sided carpet tape. Grab a match with the forceps, dip it in the shellac, shake it to get rid of excess shellac, and stick it to the tape. Be sure to put some papers underneath to catch the drips. Simple as that!  This way the shellac drips down towards the head and not the base of the match. Using this method, waterproofing goes quickly and there's not a lot of mess to deal with.





2004 Terry M. Trier

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