Homemade Waterproof Matches: Fingernail Polish vs. Candle Wax

Homemade waterproof matches, which is best, fingernail polish or wax, and should we use strike on box or strike anywhere matches? In a recent article we talked about Homemade Waterproof Matches: Strike Anywhere vs. Strike on Box Matches, which seemed to create more questions than it answered. In that article several of the strike anywhere matches failed to light. Some of the strike anywhere matches had their heads break off while others just failed to ignite.

I decided to repeat the experiment but this time with a newly opened box of strike on box and strike anywhere matches. Both boxes have been stored in a closet here at the house for around a decade, but unopened. A week before the experiment both boxes were opened with 10 matches from each box used in the experiment. Five matches from each box were dipped in fingernail polish, and five matches from each box were dipped in candle wax. When we say “unopened”, each box was still in its factory sealed cellophane wrapper.

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Homemade Waterproof Matches: Strike Anywhere vs. Strike on Box Matches

Most people know if you dip a match head in either fingernail polish or candle wax the coating provides a certain degree of waterproofing for the match. This has been well known across the camping, hiking, backpacking, wilderness survival communities for decades. This article sets out to answer a basic question, should you use strike on box or strike anywhere matches? First observation says it should not really matter what type of match you use, but tests showed otherwise.

We started out with a handful of strike on box matches and a handful of strike anywhere matches. Both boxes had been opened for some time, and both boxes were several years old, maybe even a decade old. It would be safe to say both types of matches are “around” the same age. The strike anywhere and strike on box matches are both Diamond brand name.

The fingernail polish for this experiment was Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Hardener. The bottle was picked at random from a local retail outlet store. One of the reasons why this bottle was picked is because the fingernail polish is clear. I wanted to be able to see the type of match – strike on box or strike anywhere – so the polish I bought was clear.

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