Hi everyone. My name is Bill but everyone calls me Puff. (Long story). Anyway, I'm new to this just this year. I just started a couple months ago with a Skylighter's rocket and shell kit. I was only able to get 1 rocket with heading and 1 shell done for the 4th this year but I was surprised how well I did. I watch alot of Ned's video's. He's been a big help. The only issue I've had so far is getting my lift powder strong enough to send my 2.5 inch shells high enough. Luckily I had some commercial BP that I had bought. Anyway I'm working on projects for next years 4th or even another holiday and I have so many questions. Thank you all for any help you give me.
The BP kits (all of them) suck. Unless you're happy with mediocre rocket fuel, nice fountains, and absolutely shitty BP for lift, burst, and salutes. That is because the cheap commercial hardwood airfloat charcoal they all contain is shit for BP. It's an industrial waste product. Hardwood airfloat is fine for making some star comps, slow blackmatch, and primes, but is absolute shit for anything requiring a respectable burn rate. It's simple to make your own super-hot charcoal for cheap and there are many threads here on it and tutorials (some good, many crap) online. It's really easy to retort a gallon paint can of wood to hot charcoal in an hour or so. Willow, eastern red cedar, alder are some of the woods that make hot BP. Of you can buy it. Fireworkcharcoal.com has excellent paulownia charcoal (reputed to be among the fastest for the hottest BP) for sale and ERC, too. Tested and true. But a relatively expensive option vs making your own. Commercial BP is over $20/lb, when you can find it. And you need to buy multiple grains. It gets expensive fast when BP is $3/pound with homemade charcoal. Maybe $4/pound if you pay for decent charcoal (it's only 15% so a pound of charcoal makes a lot of BP for a new hobbyist).
You know the basics of making BP. Very cool. That's essential. Now dump the kit charcoal to the side (for slow stuff) and get/make some "real" charcoal and learn what decent homemade super-hot BP is all about. And what an absolute pleasure it is to work with. You will impress yourself and be pissed off at the company that sold a new fireworker a kit that makes crap BP. Gram-for-gram, your hot homemade granulated (or corned if that's your thing) BP can easily eclipse commercial Goex etc in energy release vs time and pyro utility. At a fraction of the cost.
If the fireworking companies wanted to do the community a service they would include a halfway decent charcoal in their BP kits and charge accordingly--I'm sure the frustrations associated with making serviceable BP from shitty kit hardwood airfloat turn off a lot of newbies to fireworking--the only people who are purchasing those kits. If so, the kit seller are doing not only the purchaser a disservice, but they're also potentially losing future sales if they cause new folks to say " doesn't work, can't do it...".
Edited by SharkWhisperer, 09 July 2021 - 02:52 PM.