Saltpeter – almost ready to start

April 13, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Posted in Blackpowder, saltpeter | Leave a comment

Step one?

Step one?

Why a picture of a gallon jug next to a toilet? This is part of the pre-process for making gunpowder. Before I can start the gunpowder, I need the ingredients, one of which is saltpeter. Before I can start making saltpeter I need … well, lot of fermented urine. And since it’s significantly difficult to find bottles of urine on the grocery store shelves, I’m going to have to collect it the old-fashioned way.

Luckily my husband is an extremely tolerant man willing to put up with my many whims and crazy plans. I did think this through: note that the “collection jug” has a very wide, sturdy base and a narrow spigot top. I am hoping that this will help to keep spillage to a minimum. It’s hard to see from the picture, but just today we’ve already collected about an inch of liquid. Since I’m under the impression we’ll need gallons, this is probably a good thing.

I’ll get the medieval book Pirotechnia, which has the exact instructions, at the library tomorrow (hooray for email notification!). I’m waiting to start construction until I have the book in my hands, but I’ve seen enough citations throughout the internet to be fairly confident that I’ve got all of the ingredients, namely lots of urine, some woodash (courtesy of my friend Nest), lime, and manure (courtesy of the three dozen chickens in the backyard.) I suspect that this is going to be the worst smelling project I’ve ever attempted, but, hey, the neighbors are already annoyed with us (see: three dozen chickens in the backyard). I’m anticipating tomorrow’s book-reading and saltpeter production unit building with great glee!

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