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I made some fireworks on the 4th of July from the TurboPyro kit I received. The text, photos and in-line videos in the .pdf file made it easy to follow the recipe for big, fat, awesome tube sparklers. The process was simple and fun, and I had my son write up this handy checklist:

First, you weigh out, screen, and mix potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulfur to make gunpowder. Allow me to repeat that: To make gunpowder! Bill Gurstelle once told me that everyone should experience making their own gunpowder; now I see why. It is exhilarating!

Next, add ferro titanium powder (that’s what makes the sparks), tamp it into a little tube, put a fuse in it, and carefully impale it on a bamboo skewer. Add a flame to the proceedings and big smiles quickly emerge.

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A follow-up to the thought that my younger self would have been impressed by all of this: I was talking to my mom the other day, telling her about making sparklers. She laughed and reminded me about a secret shipment of fireworks I tried to smuggle into the house when I was in middle school. It was intercepted by my parents, and my dad drowned the whole lot of it in the bathroom sink. I can still hear the terrible screams of that gross of lady finger firecrackers; I was devastated. Well, this is my revenge mom and dad!