Tools of the Fireworks Trade


claw hammer

Claw Hammer
Used mainly for cleating mortar racks, but always a useful tool to have around anyway. The "Claw" type is needed for pulling the "duplex" (double headed) nails from the cleats after a show. See below for a better description of duplex nails.
flashlight Flashlight
An essential item for working any fireworks show since your usually shooting at night. There are many different styles and types of flashlights out there. A good flashlight will be waterproof, bright, and reliable. Some flashlights come with a "red" option, where you have one button for white light, and one button for red light. I prefer these since the red light can be used during the display when you don't want to ruin your night vision, and remain somewhat stealthy so it the bright flashlight doesn't get the attention of the audience.
end cutters nippers End Cutters (a.k.a. End Cutting Nippers)
Probably the most useful tool a pyro can have. If you forget all your other tools, you can probably still set up the show with a pair of these. They are used to cut and twist bailing wire, cut and strip electrical wire, cut quick match/fusing, and pretty much everything under the sun at a professional fireworks display.
bailing wire Bailing Wire
Used to secure set pieces as well as other low level devices such as roman candles, cakes, gerbes, etc. Also used to secure certain types of firing rails to mortar racks and boxes.
american pride hardhat Hard Hat
Hard hats are required by both the law and common sense. It is mandatory to wear one during the show.
masking tape

Masking Tape
This is the most common type of tape used at a fireworks display. It's main uses are taping down foil on finale racks, splicing quick match fusing, fixing lift charges, and labeling. It is not uncommon to go through multiple roles of masking tape in one show. Don't forget it!

duct tape

Duct Tape
Just something handy to have around. You never know when you might need some duct tape! Since it is a little more costly than masking tape, it is used more sparingly.

road flare fusee Fusee (Road Flare)
This is what you would physically light each fuse with during a hand fired display. Always good to have extra, even as a backup during an electrically fired display. I typically have a member of my crew standby with a road flare when we have any type of electrically fired set piece, since these often have special significance to the customer, such as a sponsor's logo, so it is always good to have a backup incase the set piece doesn't fire as expected when you hit the switch!
duplex nails Duplex Nails
Used to hold the cleats onto the mortar racks. Duplex nails have two heads, so that you only pound the nail as far as the first head, so that they are easy to take out after the show when it is time to uncleat the racks.
shovel Shovel
Not only is it required by law in the State of California to aid in possible fire suppression and dud retrieval, but it is essential for filling sand boxes, or digging trenches at the beach.
rake Rake
Not required, but it's always good in the light of professionalism to clean up after your show is over since the fireworks typically leave quite a mess.
5 gallon bucket Plastic Five Gallon Bucket
Also required by law to soak duds in, but also a useful item for transporting sand or equipment from one place to another.
sledge hammer Sledge Hammer
Needed to pound in stakes for set pieces and certain other low level devices.
zip wire Zip Wire
Extra wire used for running a connection from an electric match lead to your field module. Used when some of your devices are not close enough to your field modules to be plugged in directly. Also used in redundant grounding, and creating strings of electric matches for igniting devices such as a waterfall effect.
safety glasses Safety Glasses
Safety glasses are required both by law and common sense. Must be worn during the firing of the display.
aluminum foil Aluminum Foil
Used to cover finale racks and fireworks cakes. You cover the finale racks and cakes so that sparks from adjacent devices do not prematurely set them off (In case you didn't know, this would ruin your show).
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