This article is from the Pyrotechnics FAQ, by Hans Josef Wagemueller firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Rec.pyrotechnics is a worldwide newsgroup dedicated to the discussion of
fireworks and explosives, mostly concerned with their construction. The
readers of rec.pyrotechnics welcome anyone with an interest in the
subject, be they experienced or just trying to get started in the hobby.
If you are just getting started, try to get hold of as much information
on the subject as you can, and read it carefully. If it is explosives
you are interested in, make sure you read up on the theory behind
explosives. There is a lot of misinformation in movies etc. regarding
explosives, so it is important you get a good background from a reliable
In the Pyrotechnic Literature section below are several books that are
must-reads for anyone serious about pyrotechnics. Try all your local
libraries - even if they don't have the books mentioned below, they are
sure to have some information on the subject. Remember, you can never be
too well-informed - it is *your* safety that is at stake, and not being
aware of all the aspects involved is extremely dangerous.
Pyrotechnics and explosives are not safe - factories have been destroyed
in the past, and they have access to the best materials and equipment,
and take the most stringent safety precautions. Some people on the net
have also been injured by accidents, and many of them had years of
experience and took extremely comprehensive safety measures.
Some knowledge of chemistry and physics is essential - if you didn't do
high-school chemistry, get yourself a chemistry textbook and read it.
Make sure you understand the basic principles involved for any
composition you might be making. It is a good idea to check a recipe out
with someone who is experienced in chemistry, to make sure you haven't
missed any safety aspect.
If you take the time to find out all the information, and put safety of
yourself and others as your highest priority, you will find pyrotechnics
an extremely fun and rewarding hobby.