How to Properly Light a Wooden Match

How to Properly Light a Wooden Match

There are a couple types of wooden matches, safety matches that need the assistance of a phosphorous striker to ignite, and strike anywhere matches that will ignite when friction from a variety of surfaces is applied. However, the technique for lighting both types of matches is the same. We will go through the steps how to efficiently and safely light wood matches.


Match strike

Hold the match firmly at its midpoint. Use your your pointer (index) finger and your thumb to hold the match about halfway down the wooden stick. You can gently wrap your other fingers around the base of the stick for support if needed.
  • If this is the first time you've ever tried to light a match, stick with wooden "strike on box" safety matches for now — these are generally the easiest to light for beginners as less pressure is needed to be applied to the match stick. Once you get confident with these, you can move onto "strike anywhere" matches.


Press the match head into the striker. Look for a rough red or brownish strip on the side of the box. This is called the "striker." Hold the box in the hand you're not using to hold the match and press the match head (the round, colored part at the end) into the striker without moving it to either side yet.


Quickly drag the match head along the striker. Without letting up the pressure, quickly slide the match head from one end of the striker to the other. This motion should be quite quick and hard. It's almost as if you're trying to rub the match head material off in a single rough motion. If you do this right, the match head will immediately catch fire, so don't be alarmed when this happens!
  • The exact amount of pressure you'll need to light the match here will vary from match to match and striker to striker. There's a "happy medium" between pressing so hard that the match breaks and pressing so gently that the match doesn't light. Within a few tries, you should get the hang of it.


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