Modern household safety matches are typically made of wooden matchsticks with a small bead of active ingredient which ignites if struck against the coarse surface on either side of the matchbox. Standard household safety matches are approximately 2 × 2 mm in cross-section, and 38 mm long without the match head. Matchsticks are cheap and readily available, and they may be used as scale timber for miniature palisades. Unfortunately, the machined perfection of the matchstick makes the completed palisade model look like a fence of matchsticks rather than the real thing.

A simple and very effective alternative is to cut sections of hardwood branches to the desired 5 or 6 foot scale height of the palisade, quarter each section, split the quarters into 2 mm boards, and split these into 2 × 2 mm stakes which are sharpened at one end. Eyeballing, not measuring, is critical to success! The resulting palisades will range from 1.x to 2.x mm in width, and most of them will be rectangular rather than perfectly square in cross-section. Some may have to be discarded, because they are too thick, thin, crooked, or damaged to be used, but most will be just fine.

Military Glossary