Saturday, September 06, 2008

Notes From The Bottom Drawer, "Better Uses For Your Empty Whiskey Bottle" edition

Have you got an old whiskey bottle laying about?

The Fourth of July is coming and you might want to dig it out and try making some of your own fireworks.

I know from past experience that a whiskey bottle makes for great fireworks because as a kid we would frequently make our own, and the best we ever made came from a Jack Daniels bottle.

We had already mastered simple aluminium foil and acid bombs with plastic soda bottles, but only after the vinegar and baking soda ones had been found lacking in any real oomf. Molotov Cocktails were briefly experimented with, but the true key to them is not in the construction, but in the hand that delivers them. This was quickly abandoned as the materials were too costly and the mess afterwords was too much.

Then came gunpowder.

Have you ever heard of a thing called Pyrodex? It is the modern version of gunpowder, and it is advertised as being smokeless. It isn't gunpowder and it isn't smokeless. It is explosive like gunpowder but it is certainly not smokeless. It is smokeless in the same sense as a semi-boneless ham has very few bones, but it has at least one big one. Pyrodex is what most people use in their replica black powder firearms. It is measured in pound weights but is ground to varying grades of "F" or "G". The more letters, the finer it is ground.

(description of how to make whiskey bottle bomb followed by how well it went off.) It was marvelous and we almost blew the bridge up.



  1. We got the bright idea as kids to take a whole bunch of Black Cats and dump out the powder into a Lego structure about 4 inches square.

    Lit the fuse and ran about 30 feet from it, turned around to watch it go off.

    Boom! And a piece of molten Lego was embedded in the wall of the old wooden building we were standing beside, after flying right between both of our heads.

    I have many stories like this Doc, I really should be dead.

  2. Most we ever did was light barbie's hair on fire.

    Blow stuff up was left to the bad boys.

    I was a good catholic school girl. yes.i.was.


  3. what happened to the description of how to make the boom-boom thingie?? I have failed as a male. While I DO know what Pyrodex is (and that you can also get it in lil' pellet forms that fit neatly down the barrel of your muzzleloader), I never did anything more interesting than burn up a few ants with a magnifying glass. Then I stopped even that when my mom pointed out it was cruel.

  4. Skylers Dad- We blew up G.I. Joes and it is amazing that we all have our fingers and toes. Congrats on living through explosions you caused. Not everyone can make that claim. That is the reason why Mr. Nobel made a prize every year.

    #2- I am so sure that you were a good girl that you can call on me for references or bail, either one. I'm ashamed to admit that I can picture you in your uniform.

    Cap'n Ergo- "I have failed as a male." Don't give me that. You're a guy right? You've reproduced right? You drive and know how to handle a gun right? You aren't a card carrying idiot right? Have you failed? No. You are as manly as the guy who sold Brute cologne in the tv ads.


  5. I didn't include how to make the bomb as it seemed like a bad idea to put out on the internet, as I wouldn't want to be the one who gave someone the wrong idea, but just let me say that a $.99 sparkler makes for a good long fuse.


  6. Reminds me of that 4th of July when I started puttng firecrackers in soda bottles & then holding the bottle in my hands while the firecracker exploded. I did 5 or 6 like that without shattering the bottle & thought it was good fun. Then I decided to show my dad... Called his name, dropped one in, and the whole thing shattered in my hands right in front of him -- glass shards & all. I got a good lecture after that, but was back blowing shit up within a half-hour or so.


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