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This is a question Darwin Awards

Bluffboy says: My mate cheated death and burned his eyebrows off looking down the barrel of a potato gun. Tell us about your brushes with the Grim Reaper through stupidity.

(, Thu 12 Feb 2009, 20:01)
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My brother and I, bright, inventive, slightly dysfunctional children - would make homemade gunpowder when we were kids.

We knew the recipe from books - charcoal, saltpeter, and sulfur - I believe in 75/15/10 percent ratios if you want to make some yourself (it's been quite a long time) - something like that anyway.

Our homemade from scratch stuff wasn't amazing, but it burned, and when we started mixing in the professional stuff from model rocket engines (if you dig out the clay end and smush the cardboard tube, you get quite a good amount) - and then it was considerably better.

We made bigger engines, we made things that just went Boom, my brother carried a container of the stuff around with him in his backpack. Mostly cause it was "cool" and it impressed his friends, I guess. I dunno - maybe he had explosive plans. I probably should have asked.

Can you imagine doing that in an american school today?

Anyway - at one point, I read in a book that musketry really improved in distance and power when they discovered that if you mix gunpowder up wet and then dry it in the sun, the mixture is better for some reason and the power goes up an huge amount.

And for the record - it seemed to work. At the very least through the subjective view of young teenagers fugging about, the booms seemed better.

All in all - it was good, the only tricky part was making all this in the back yard of our little suburban town home and getting it properly dried and stored before the parents got home.

My brother made a big batch one day and it wasn't drying fast enough, I said "Well, on a very low heat, it's an electric oven, no gas or flame anywhere... it should probably be ok... but really - lets not risk it, just wrap it up and we'll dry it tomorrow..."

Cause I was dumb enough to think out loud back then and progress through my ideas verbally, instead of just saying the last / smartest thing instead.

My brother nodded and, my mess cleaned up, I went upstairs to play videogames.

Not 5 minutes later...

I felt the explosion upstairs.

I encountered my brother on the stairs and all he could say over and over was "that wasn't smart, that wasn't smart..." - just babbling.

Smoke was billowing across the downstairs ceiling.

I left my brother on the stairs and went into the kitchen, opening windows and turning on the blower fans over the stove as I went.

I was confused, the oven (which I assumed my brother had exploded) looked just fine. In fact the smoke and soot stains on the walls didn't even come from it they came from ...


Where was the microwave?



I see.

It's in two parts, on either side of the kitchen - I didn't notice that coming in with the smoke and everything.

My brother couldn't really hear me very well when I talked to him. But he did try to explain...

He thought the microwave would be faster.

He thought putting Gunpowder in the microwave would be just fine.

He realized however, at this point, with with proper reflection, and after all evidence had come in - that it was not ok, and you shouldn't do it.

We wiped up the soot stains on the walls and ceiling, washed the whole house with lysol to hide the smoke smell as best we could, ran the fans, opened all the doors and windows, washed the microwave out, semi kinda halfway re-attached the microwave door back to the microwave so it kinda looked like it was whole again. Put it back where it normally went...

When, that night, my mom opened the microwave to cook something and the door came off in her hand... we were sure to be nowhere around.

Mom, cause I know you read B3ta sometimes ... I'm sorry about the microwave. You thought it was cheap and got old and fell apart, but really - we exploded it.

Sorry =/
(, Wed 18 Feb 2009, 23:04, 2 replies)
have a click
(, Thu 19 Feb 2009, 3:10, closed)
More gunpowder follies - WIN
As a fellow idiot, I salute you. Have a well-deserved click!
(, Thu 19 Feb 2009, 4:22, closed)

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