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Black Powder Not Burning Properly

black powder fireworks expl

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#1 chappali


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Posted 30 July 2020 - 08:33 PM

If my black powder burns very slowly and needs more heat to ignite and only leaves behind glowing chunks, what could be the problem?

Charcoal-Derwent charcoal for art (ground with ball mill)

Sulphur-Sulphur prills for hydroponics (ground with ball mill, still has large chunks

KNO3- homemade,grinded finely with ball mill

Note-taking i simply mixed the ingredients togeher without using ball mill or CIA method, will it still work?

#2 SeaMonkey



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Posted 30 July 2020 - 11:53 PM

Unless all of the ingredients are reduced to very fine powder consistency

and mixed together very intimately, the powder will not work well.


Most Garden Grade Sulfur is approximately 90% pure.


Derwent Charcoal for Art has substantial Graphite content.  Graphite powder

is a very poor performer for any Black Powder mix.


How was your Potassium Nitrate home-made?  Is it free of contamination?


It is easy to make your own Charcoal from suitable wood which will work

exceedingly well in Black Powder.


Your Sulfur must be a very fine powder.


There are still a few videos on YouTube which show how to make a good

Black Powder.  The Wet Process for making Black Powder does work quite

well if the water content while incorporating at boiling water temperature

is as little as possible.  It does require careful attention to detail and unless

you've had some experience it can be a great challenge.  If trying the wet

process work in very small quantities until the technique is safely mastered.

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#3 MadMat



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Posted 31 July 2020 - 12:17 PM

Whenever there is a problem with bad burning BP 95% of the time it is the charcoal! Unless the potassium nitrate and sulfur are horribly impure, they are not usually the problem. I agree with SeaMonkey about art charcoal. Additionally, don't bother trying charcoal for aquarium filters or any other activated charcoal for that matter. Now as far as that actual technique of making BP. I know there are other methods that people have made claims about working good, but there are always drawbacks they never mention. So the answer? Ball mill, ball mill, ball mill.... It is the only practical way you are going to get decent, consistent BP IMO

#4 MinamotoKobayashi



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Posted 31 July 2020 - 12:30 PM

Hello Chappali.

I'm testing juniper charcoal and it is damn fast!

You can found it here:




Unluckly it is very expensive, but necessary if You want a BP like a flash!


Also, You can follow an old tutorial of mine to obtain a fast BP indoor and safely:




Please remind that for "safely" I mean "until the dust is wet".

Edited by MinamotoKobayashi, 31 July 2020 - 03:18 PM.

#5 Arthur



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Posted 01 August 2020 - 01:51 PM

It's NOT black power til it's properly incorporated (usually in a ball mill). Use a blade mill for the individual ingredients first, then mix and fully incorporate the ingredients for some hours in a mill. 

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