The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » F/X » » Using black powder (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Olszanski
View Profile
New user
53 Posts

Profile of Olszanski
The effect I have in mind is patter to fit an elemental concept -- elemental as in earth, wind, water, fire. In the effect, I produce the first three while going over some patter. The last is fire, which is possible but I want it to be more visible/shcoking than you get with flash paper or similar. Sooo...

Has anyone ever experimented with a small amount of gun powder? My goal would be to lay this down in the shape of a circle, as the "earth", and after producing the other two, lighting the "earth" to produce fire. The question: if you take regular black powder and make a small mound on the ground, will it burn (reasonably well controlled!)? It would be expected to make a lot of smoke -- that is okay -- this is outside stuff. The same effect could be accomplished by using flash cord, but that burns quite quickly and the burnt part does not stay lit for any significant amount of time. Adding some small wood dust soaked in lighter fluid could do it but that becomes more difficult to handle, more dangerous, and smells bad. Is there a substance out there that is flammable and will burn for a few (10) seconds or so? Thanks!
silverking
View Profile
Inner circle
4586 Posts

Profile of silverking
Everything you've mentioned above is a disaster from a safety point of view, do yourself a favor and drop the idea of home-made pyro entirely.

Insted of making things that may actually hurt you or somebody else, why don't you get a hold of a Pyro-Pak catalog and do it right.

Also, you need to be granted permission by your local Authority Having Jurisdiction (usually your fire department) before using your proposed effect.
Be aware that they can be extremely strict, and may require you to be cerfified pyrotechnician even if you use the Pyro-Pak (or equivilent) equipment and expendables.

If you think this is all over the top, remember the Rhode Island night club fire, and remember also that the guy who caused it all made his own pyro out of black powder.......and he killed nearly 100 people.
Fitz
View Profile
Elite user
Phoenix, AZ
476 Posts

Profile of Fitz
Just a side note The Rhode Island fire used pre made pyro effects as well.

Fitz
I have a daily web show all about magic at http://FitzMagic.info
Chezaday
View Profile
Inner circle
Naperville, IL
1670 Posts

Profile of Chezaday
Black powder won't give you the desired effect. There are other ways to accomplish your effect .. but with pyro, it's dangerous. I would look into something else .. with lighting or a glowing effect.

Getting a pyrotechnic license is near impossible now. The FBI and ATF get involved, and basically have permission to inspect your property at any time they see fit. It gets very complicated and unless your looking at a long term commitment .. don't bother.

Besides .. if you play with fire ... you're going to get burned ...

Steve
Olszanski
View Profile
New user
53 Posts

Profile of Olszanski
Well, to be honest, I expected feedback like this. Not that it is wrong... rather it is right on point. I've looke into pyro-pak and they sell black powder. Nothing else on their web site looked like something I'd be interested in. I should make myself clear -- I am not interested in some big flame here, but rather, something that lights up briefly and burns for a small amount of time. Fire is dangerous, true. Here, I'm suggesting a total heat production and flame that is only a fraction of what one would have in a campfire. I've considered the lighting effect (I could wire up a few LEDS) and even considered a glow stick, but these do not line up with the whole elemental effect very well. I may just stick to lighting a bic lighter for my fire! Other ideas welcome!
Chezaday
View Profile
Inner circle
Naperville, IL
1670 Posts

Profile of Chezaday
Pyropak doesn't sell black powder. That you can get from a gun shop with the proper license. You wouldn't be able to purchase from Pyropak either .. unless you have an ATF Binary license .. and believe me, that's not easy to get.

Have you though about simply using some flashpaper and little lighter fluid to keep the fire burning?? If you do it right .. I think this would get you're desired effect. Not that I would advise this .. but I use to be a little pyro myself.

Steve
silverking
View Profile
Inner circle
4586 Posts

Profile of silverking
As Steve mentioned, Black Powder isn't for sale from Pyro-Pak, Le Matire, or any other legitimate supplier of display pyrotechnics.

It's for firearms and demolition, not for entertainment.

Based on your posts, I'd guess that Pyro-Pak probably would have something that would work for you, although that still doesn't deal with the fact that you personally would have to be licensed in order to use it.

I've been suggesting lately that folks who are interested in items of pyro for their shows look to other technologies for a similar effect.

Being responsible for two large theatres, I've purchased things like electric candles, butane hand held torches with dead-man switches, and compressed air cannons as replacements for effects which at one time would have required either open flame or pyro.

Although I still permit pyro on my stages, the level of intervention from the local fire department, liability on my personal license, and the mandatory licenseing of the personel traveling with the show makes it a large and detailed undertaking to say the least.

Like liquids in your carry-on luggage, small pyro effects onstage for unlicensed magicians just don't exist any longer.

Fitz, you're absolutely correct that pre-made pyro effects were used as well as black powder in the Rhode Island fire.
But as the user was unlicensed, did not have permission from the local "authority having jurisdiction" and had purchased the effects illegally, I'm not sure it really makes any difference.
Pre-Manufactured doesn't equate to legal if the acquisition, storage, and end use are all illegal.
You are correct however that he had mixed black powder effects with pre-made effects.

It is widely suggested that gerbs clearly labeled (as all gerbs are) as having a flame height in excess of the nightclubs ceiling height caused the ignition which eventually resulted in the deaths.

Sorry for the long post, but this is a bit of a "cause" for me.....it's always about safety, and you can never stop paying attention when using flame or pyro.....ever.
Olszanski
View Profile
New user
53 Posts

Profile of Olszanski
I stand corrected. Pyro-pak does not sell black powder. However, it is listed in their products page, but the link is to an outside retailer. The effect is supposed to look like I simply lay down some dirt, after producing it, and later, it lights up. I can't figure out how to use flash paper or string to make this work without have a pre-setup, which I'd rather avoid. And, as noted, I will not pursue a license. While I argue that this effect would be particularly safe given the size, being outdoors without other flammable material around, and the low heat and burn time, I agree that fire has its risks and should not be taken lightly. As a physician, I am foremost concerned about safety, but I don't percieve the same degree of risk in this effect as my counterparts. With that said, I don't believe I'll be pursuing this, as my confidence has been shaken! Thank you for your input.
Captain Jack
View Profile
New user
Sacramento
53 Posts

Profile of Captain Jack
Well, I play with black powder - a lot! It burns fast and it can burn very slow. You just need to know how to work with it. And with proper respect it is pretty darn safe. Never had an injury from the powder. Although I have had injuries from the cannons and flintlocks.

That said, we only use black powder in public performances in two situations. One is when our guild is hired specifically for pirate reenactment (for example, we were hired by Redwood City for their July 4th celebration last year). The second is when we are sailing in the bay. Love to fire the cannons as we pass pier 39!

When I have a magic show, I will sometimes stage a blackpowder skit. But the situation has to be right and totally under my control. The above posts are correct in regards to the legalities (sp?).
Every man be a fool for 10 minutes each day. The trick is not in exceedin' the time limit!

Properly warned ye be, says I!
Chezaday
View Profile
Inner circle
Naperville, IL
1670 Posts

Profile of Chezaday
Captain Jack makes it sound like so much fun .. I'm going to get my little tin of black powder out, grab some matches and go outside to play!

Steve
silverking
View Profile
Inner circle
4586 Posts

Profile of silverking
I'm not sure I'd try to make blackpowder sound like it's so much fun Captain Jack......some folks take what they read here on the Café to heart.

I'm making the assumption that you're a blackpowder firearms enthusiast and probably have some training or have been mentored in the safe use of blackpowder.

It's really not worth "talking it up" to those who might be inclined to get that old can of blackpowder out of their dads basement and try "lightin 'er up" on their next neighbourhood magic show.
Michael Taggert
View Profile
Special user
Fredericksburg Virginia
653 Posts

Profile of Michael Taggert
Let me take this from a different angle you are performing outdoors but that does not make it safe. open flame in the outdoors is unsafe, no matter how small the flame appears to be, black powder burns HOT. it can be unstable when it is stored. it sounds as if you would have it in a container such as a bag. if it gets on your hands and you fire it up you could inadvertantly set your hand on fire as well.
this is not a good idea!!!!!
sometimes no matter how good the effect, it may not be worth the damage to yourself or others.
I know too many people who have been burned with pyro.
Believe you then that I do strange things
Captain Jack
View Profile
New user
Sacramento
53 Posts

Profile of Captain Jack
Aye! Blackpowder shouldn't be just picked up and played with. One needs to be mentored or have fomral training through a reenactment guild or various blackpowder courses that are available out there.

As with any "dangerous" tool, with the proper training and respect, the danger becomes safely manageable. The problem with blackpowder (injuries) comes from when one either looses respect (e.g., doesn't pay attention to details) or tries something they have not been mentored or trained to do.

As far as having it in a container such as a bag, we do. Since we sail on a period vessel, it is either in a blackpowder bag (leather) or a powderhorn (horn from an animal). And you do have to be careful. If the powder gets on your hands, you could have a flash burn to your hand. If it gets on your clothes, the powder will flash, but your clothes will continue to smolder.

Just to show you the danger, I will post a picture from one of our cannons firing. Powder is loaded into the front of the cannon and a little bit of powder is put into the top in what is called a "touch hole." That is where you use the "slow match." A slow match is rope, soaked in kerosine and blackpowder, then left to air dry is lit. It burns very slowly. We have used the same slow match for about 5 years now. However, when you look at the picture, you will note the height of the flame from the touch hole. That flame is not visible to the naked eye because it flashes so fast. In the picture, our Captain is firing the cannon (this is from a non-costumed sail).


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v224/l......ar7a.jpg
Every man be a fool for 10 minutes each day. The trick is not in exceedin' the time limit!

Properly warned ye be, says I!
Captain Jack
View Profile
New user
Sacramento
53 Posts

Profile of Captain Jack
One additional thought...

We use Goex black powder. It can be purchased from any of their distributors:
http://www.goexpowder.com/distributors.html

Purchasing is easy. Sign a form, show your ID, Pay your money. Here is the big problem area and it should definately be done before you consider purchasing black powder. The following message is from the distributor website we purchase from:

"Consult all local, state and national authorities, police and/or heath and safety executive authorities in your area regarding local laws and regulations applicable for the possession, storage and use of Black Powder."
Every man be a fool for 10 minutes each day. The trick is not in exceedin' the time limit!

Properly warned ye be, says I!
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » F/X » » Using black powder (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.23 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL