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Vincine 11-27-2011 02:42 AM

Making charcoal is straight forward. How / Where does one get sulfa and/or potassium nitrate?

Trez 11-27-2011 02:55 AM

Actually you can get it off ebay...

hiwall 11-27-2011 03:12 AM

it is just fertilizer. Sulfur is not necessary but is available at home depot or garden stores. There are many recipes on the net for black powder. Some are very well researched and tested with sources of supplies listed. Lowes, home depot, Walmart,or garden stores each have everything you need. Inexpensive and safe to make your own, or least so I have been told.

Scratchammo 11-27-2011 03:14 AM

Some stump remover is 100% kno3, I don't bother with sulfur as its only benefit is to lower the ignition temperature. Find a willow tree, it's argueably the best charcoal.

cornbelt 11-27-2011 09:10 PM

If you're at Lowes, look for "Spectracide Stump Remover". If at Menards, look for "Green Lightning Stump Remover". If at Rural King, don't look, 'cause it ain't KNO3.
If I knew how to use the Library of Congress, I'd look for bulletins circulated during the Civil War (by the Confederacy) about how to make a niter bed. Saw one referred to by a guy in Austrailia, but don't remember where. The South ran out of almost everything but gunpowder, never even produced to capacity, and had a surplus of hundreds of tons at war's end. They used cottonwood for charcoal, (which around here is easily found in driftwood piles).
Their whole industry was started from scratch and they didn't intend to waste a single chamberpot.
The moral to the story: They wanted it that bad.

As to a home process, a manure slurry mixed w/wood ash will give off ammonia fumes. That means its turning from ammonia nitrate to potassium nitrate. For a shortcut, fertilizer has three numbers which refer to N, P, & K. Forget the "P" (phosphorus). You only want the nitrogen and potassium, so the middle number should be "0". The last number should be three times the first or thereabouts. If not, anything left over is still useful as fertilizer.
When dissolved in enough hot water, it will recrystalize as it cools. The sharp stuff that looks like broken glass is the saltpeter crystals. They crystalize first, so if stirring with a strainer, they can be gathered while the other salts are still in solution. The other stuff crystalizes into fuzzy globs without the charachteristic broken glass look, which can be put back onto the niter bed.
A second job would make more sense if a guy is trying to stock up. If he's out of work, it would give him some entertainment.

Scratchammo 11-27-2011 09:39 PM

Owning a modern revolver would be an advantage if you didn't want to use black powder, guncotton.

Vincine 11-28-2011 09:55 PM

Perhaps I should have been more explicit to my point.

If there is a real TEOTWAWKI, you’re not likely to find anything you need, let alone sulfa or saltpeter, on a shelf at a store, thus my gun powder question.

Do all you guys know how to make arrows?

orangello 11-28-2011 09:58 PM


Originally Posted by Vincine (Post 638420)
Do you all you guys know how to make arrows?


Vincine 11-28-2011 10:20 PM


Originally Posted by orangello (Post 638423)


c3shooter 11-28-2011 11:17 PM

Saltpeter can be made from scratch, starting with manure- chicken manure and bat guano are very good. Sulfur can be found in the area of some mineral springs (Like White Sulfur Springs, WV)
Willow charcoal works best. When mixing ingredients, can be quite dangerous. Simple mechaical mixing makes what was known as "meal powder"- good for shooting rocks, lousy for shooting guns. Best powder was mixed with alcohol into slurry, let dry, grate it through window screen- and you had "corned powder". Good for firearms. Uniform mix, grain size.

There are other propellants, but I do not give directions for making explosives on the internet- moral qualm on my part. Arrows? I can make slings and spears- and learned how to knap flint. Ever hear of an atlatl?

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