Forums > Social Chat > Staff - Wood or Aluminium

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27 posts
Location: North Queensland,. Australia

Wood or aluminium? I have been twirling my firestaff for about a year now. I started off with a wooden staff which I made for myself and have stuck with wood ever since.Most people seem to have aluminium, and I was just wondering if there was a reason for this? Should I change over to aluminium or just stick with what I am comfortable? Also, I would like to carve some designs onto my staff, to personalize it. Has this been done before? Any advice?

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

it comes down to preferance, i twirl a wooden staff with aliminium pipe on the ends under the kevla, i have trouble twirling metal sticks because of their lightness and kero tends to make them slippery (in my opinion) i once twirled someone elses staff which was made of blood wood and was carved as if the wood was twisted. it was the most beautiful staff and the wood had such a life energy, as far as carving, get a thick staff, tazzie oak is good, bloodwood, and iron bark will all be perfect for carving.
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PeleBRONZE Member
the henna lady
6,193 posts
Location: WNY, USA

Ironbark or ironwood is heavier than sin...and hard as hell too. Just a side note.I started with wood and moved to aluminum awhile ago. I love the lightness of the aluminum. While I swear for heavy on poi I like medium to light weight for my staves since I can toss and spin with little exertion on my shoulders, wrists and fingers. A good grip will keep it from being slick from fuel or perspiration. Sometimes the light weight makes it feel as if there is little to no control but I think that my body becomes better trained and more in sync with the movements of the staff that way. In the end it is completely personal preference!I think the only thing I will use wood for is my non-fire rhythm show....which then makes me think to thank rainbowfaery for I hadn't thought of carving my staves for that. Thank you.------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...

Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

97 posts
Location: Round Rock TX , US

I use both wood and tempered aluminum. Wood is much lighter than the tempered al. and also tires you less. To overcome the slippery grip try getting 1/8 inch thick leather strap. About 100 ft. will cover most of a 6 ft. long 1 1/2 in. thick staff.

CharlesBRONZE Member
Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
3,989 posts
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

I prefer the lighter aluminium staffs, but in a an interesting twist, have a wooden ikido staff for practice and have (lightweight) wooden dowling in the middle of my performance staffs to help prevent bending.For actual fire performing, there are several moves that involve the flames traveling a lot further along the staff than just the ends. This means wooden staffs will get burnt, and sometimes even have embers or splinters afterwards. Not a good thing.I had a wooden one given to me by a friend of a friend who had never used it, and it became charred and fell apart very quickly, but that may just be my style that does that.The extra weight also means if you are doing an hour show or longer (my busking tends to be in 3 hour slots) then you get tired much faster. Palm spins I also find difficult with extra weight, as the staff presses down hard and tries to roll instead of spinning.But the greatest thing about wood is that it flexes, and DOESN'T BEND. I'm still searching for an unbendable or extremely resilient staff, considering making one out of tinanium but will have to do about half a dozen performances with out spending anything at all before I can justify spending that much money.So, summing up, I prefer aluminium, dislike wood, but have two staff that are aluminium on the outside and wooden on the inside.Take the advice of a hypocrite, and go with what feels right...------------------Charles

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57 posts
Location: Sydney

About the carving, it's a bit of a paradox. You want the wood to be strong to resist breaking and burning, but it makes it hard to carve.Friend has a bloodwood staff and she carved about five glyphs on it before she resorted to using a Dremel (little hand held drill). It's just too hard with a knife.Also, she's used a soldering iron to draw bigger patterns on it, and it looks pretty good. Kinda appropriate for fire spinning too. =)

dangerboyoriginal member
205 posts
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

carving sounds sweet-ass cool, but that's not what i'm replying to. i've done a lot of fiddling with metal vs. wood. now i'm not sure what kind of aluminum you're using, but for my short staves, i use 3/4" electical conduit piping. it's heavier than wood, and i like the way they carry their momentum longer than lighter staves on the same size. it's also more of a workout (which i like), but you can't whip them about like lighter one. you have to follow the natural arc and flow of the staff's path more than not. because they're shorter, they tend not to bend when dropped. i tried for a while to have along metal staff (long like 6'), but if you drop something metal at speed, it's going to bend. wood does not. i may invest in a heavier long wood staff (mine's softwood dowel) at some point, 'cause i loved the speed and momentum i could get with the metal long staves. as for having your shaft singe or burn with wood staves, wrap and hammer thin copper sheeting for the first foot or so of the staff and the end. it looks cool, it's cheap, and it will prevent singeing of the wood.------------------Earth my body, water my blood, air my breath, fire my spirit

Earth my body, water my blood, air my breath, fire my spirit

AdeSILVER Member
Are we there yet?
1,897 posts
Location: australia

I use both aluminium and wooden staves. I like both (and use both probably for sentimental reasons, as opposed to practical reasons). Yeah Dangerboy I agree with wrapping the ends, for my wooden staves to stop the ends burning I have wrapped some aluminium around the end, secured that to the staff and then attached the kevlar wicking. I have no problems at all with burning wood.bbade (who is ultra happy 'cause she's just been secured to perform at a Beltane festival!)

1,015 posts
Location: Austin TX USA

So far I've been making staves out of oak, with the ends wrapped in copper foil, exactly like Dangerboy suggests (funny how that works out). I've also made batons, but these I make out of stainless-steel tubing. SS is nice--has a good heft and good appearance. It also resists bending a lot better than aluminum, although it can bend. I haven't made any SS staves yet, but I suspect that in a diameter of about 1"/25 mm, bending would be less of an issue that with batons, which are less than half that diameter. SS has much lower thermal conductivity than aluminum, so if you have a situation where your hands are close to the fire, you are much less likely to get burned through the metal.I've seen aluminum staves with pine cores, to give extra weight and to resist bending. It also seems to just have a different feel--hard to explain.

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

FireSpiritSILVER Member
Classic 90's Fire Dancer... Poi, Staff, Doubles, and Breathing
743 posts
Location: South Lake Tahoe, USA

I like my wooden one.
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I scrwed a quarter in the ends so they wouldn't burn as fast. They seem to be working. I havent replaced it.


397 posts
Location: Brunswick, Ohio

I have two words.. GLAVINIZED STEEL!I swear by this stuff now. It hurts *alot* to learn with but it's worth it both for the workout and the unbendablity. ------------------We are all in the cosmic movie. That means the day you die you watch your whole life repeating for eternity. So you'd better have some good things happen in there and have a fitting climax. --Jim MorrisonMost Memerable crowd saying "Hey look that dude's gonna set himself on fire again!"

We are all in the cosmic movie. That means the day you die you watch your whole life repeating for eternity. So you'd better have some good things happen in there and have a fitting climax. --Jim MorrisonIt's going to come from a direction you didn't predict at a moment of chaos which you didn't see coming. -- NYC

just have to add that between finger twirling, which I think is a must for ppl who want to have a lot of flexibility in their twirling becomes more and more difficult the greater the diameter of your staves...the thinner the easier it is to get em to run between your fingers...if you are smooth and you donttwirl too much on hard surfaces thin aluminium wont bend quickly...Also- aluminium conducts heat really I always whack on a tennis racket grip tape on my staves these days...makespalmspins a bit slower, but I dont ever get burned by a slightly off centre also depends on how much wick you have on the ends...momentum can be gottenby having weight distributed twoards the ends of the staff...the actual staff need not be made of a heavy material..anyhow - just rambing now....timefor beer!josh

try rubbing wax onto your wooden staff and burning your designs over it with a soldiering iron, this ends up looking great because your designs burn a dark browny colour and has an excelent visual effect, and it glides nicely over the staff. and just for something different, try using a metal tent pole(you can get these from camping stores) i know this is much heavier than aluminium but these are great fun to play around with more momentum (especially airwork) and great for working your arms out. of course a metal pole is sure to hurt alot more if you whack yourself so go slow but once you get the hang of it, your effortless grace with a metal staff will amaze any croud. i've had my sturdy staff for several years now and love to feel its heavy weight falling predictably into my hands - but i have knocked myself out 6 or 7 times so far so my advice is to twirl on a nice soft patch of grass in case you fall down
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does anyone else use metal?

11 posts
Location: USA

Today i have to ask something which is that i want to buy some new and strong wood where i can get it if anyone know here than recommend me here back....

Carpal \'Tunnel
15,414 posts
Location: United Kingdom

12 year bump - is this a record of some sort?

5 posts
Location: New York

Use of both wood and tempered aluminum are good.I had experienced both of these and was satisfied.
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