1,015 posts
Location: Austin TX USA

I was playing with a cat toy today (I think I was having more fun than the cat) that consists of a long-ish wand, a string at the end of that, and some feathers at the end of the string. I found myself doing vaguely poi-ish moves with it (funny how that works out) and was inspired.Off to the shed, where I took some 7/8" diameter (about 22 mm) aluminum tubing and cut it to a pair of 24" (60 cm) lengths, attached some cable to one end of each, then hung dummy wicks at the ends of the cables. I realized that these resemble the medieval weapon called the morningstar or flail.I've been playing with them a little. I can do all the basic poi moves with them--some are actually easier, some are harder. The interesting properties of these toys are:1. you can choke up on the shafts to vary to the total length.2. You can treat the shaft as either an extension of your forearm or as an extension of the chain.3. The shaft's arc is somewhat independent of the chains: you can get the shafts in a slow swing with the chains in a faster swing.4. You can do a butterfly way out in front of your body.5. You aren't hooked in, so it may be possible to release the shaft.6. These require a *lot* of hand strength.Some refinements I may make:1. Shorten the shafts a little--I think 18" or 20" would probably be about right.2. Add counterweights at the hand-end of the shafts. This might make them throw-able.So far I can only flail about (pun intended), but there might be some interesting possibilities thanks to the particular qualities of this apparatus.

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

309 posts
Location: Tampa, Fl

Wow, Im hooked. NEW TOY!!!
Non-Https Image Link
I can see where all my time is going to go next week. Hmmm....------------------We are not physical beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a physical experience.~Edgar Cayce


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

The rod and chain/rope has really interesting variations although I've found with prior experiments I get bored too easily and do fast moves (ie, I bash myself up too much). An interesting variation I've been playing with is with diablo sticks and a single juggling club. I wrap the centre of the diablo string around the end of the handle, giving me a club, with two sticks on seprate strings hanging off the same end. You can do straight poi and some wierd staff moves, especially as you can have variations where the sticks are spinning opposite each other or together or anywhere in between. Some cool things it can do is wraps between the legs or arms on OPPOSITE LIMBS at the same time, then as a transition into another move. I've hav guys at my juggling club in hysterics, when I flair the sticks at the centre of the diablo and they wrap around and pick it up! Suddenly I have a club, with two piece of string, attached to pieces of sticks, and a round bowl-like diablo. It;s at this point where i can grab the diablo or the sticks or the strings or the club and swing from any end, or have everything else going in crazy patterns. It gets tangled all of the time, but when it works out, it looks very cool. Maybe you could experiment with catch or something on your flails to "pick up" objects halfway through a routine?------------------Charles Dolbel

HoP Posting Guidelines
* Is it the Truth?
* Is it Fair to all concerned?
* Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
* Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

277 posts
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, USA

This sounds similar to the next toy I plan to build -- a cross between poi, staff and meteors. The basic idea it to take a 20" piece of 1" dowel and set eye screws in either end. Then attach 20" chains & wicks to the screw eyes. This will give the same 60" overall length as my staff, and when spun fast enough, all staff moves should be possible. However, many poi moves should *also* be possible, in theory, at least. ;-)Anyone else ever seen this done before? If so, any hints before I head out to my workshop, er, parking lot?-p.

97 posts
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Hey, Adam, this sounds pretty cool. I don't suppose you could post any pictures of the apparatus, or stills/videos of how you use them, and/or specific instructions on making them?For that matter, if you add them to your inventory of items you build for sale, could you post a note to that effect? (Though really, the stuff I mention above is of more interest to me.)Thanks!

1,015 posts
Location: Austin TX USA

My design is still pretty primitive. Also very simple. Since I already had the dummy wicks and cable ready to go, it only took me about 15 minutes to make these.I'm using a set of long cables (about 30" each) in place of chains.The aluminum tubing can be gotten at a decent hardware store (I had some lying around). All I did was cut it to length and drill a couple holes near one end to attach the cable. The only tools I needed were a tubing cutter and a power drill, plus a grinding bit for that drill to smooth the edges.I used large keyrings to attach the cables to the holes, but a better way would be to run a screw through the holes, hook the cable onto that in the middle of the tube, and spin a locknut onto the screw on the other side.I haven't counterweighted the shafts yet, and haven't decided what the best way would be. Probably a long screw penetrating a stack of small lead plates, driven into an expanding plug inside the shaft.I don't know if I'll offer morningstars as a listed item--seems too specialized--and I'd want to tweak my current design a little before I offered it even as a custom item. But like I said, it's not hard to make.

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

JeannieGOLD Member
18 posts
Location: Miami, Florida, USA

This reminded me of another idea I had for poi: somewhere around here is a discussion about throwing/catching poi... by the handles or the chain right below the wick. I thought it would be a hell of a lot easier to catch the poi if you had some sort of metal handle below the wick. Picture it this way: Wick, 8inch metal handle, chain, leather finger straps. With this stepup, you could do a whole lot more; catching & stopping your poi, then letting them go; grabbing the metal handles and using the poi as if they were a pair of REALLY SHORT staffs; or (for the firebreathers) as a performance-ender, plucking the poi out of mid-air and finishing with a Blow. The only thing I can see wrong with this, is you'd have to use a pair of pretty heavy duty heat-resistant gloves to keep from getting burned by the super-hot metal. There's probably a lot more wrong with it that I can't see. But hey, it's just an idea. Jeannie------------------" preciso amar as pessoas como seNo houvesse amanh." We must love as if there was no tomorrow.

preciso amar as pessoas como se
No houvesse amanh.
We must love as if there was no tomorrow.

PeleBRONZE Member
the henna lady
6,193 posts
Location: WNY, USA

Adam,Try nunchuka/short staff/pole flag type moves. With a weigthed end they are possible..especially the wrap releases.PJ, if you take your toy and shorten it a bit it is actually more versitile. The longer it is the more apt it is to flail about, at least in my opinion. Staff moves are possible but it doesn't really straighten fully out and so it is lead by the chain on the end, which actually gives it more momentum. It can also be held in the center, and kind of done like devil/flower sticks. Two at a time is also possible with shorter ones. You can also do some cool jump over the bar type things with this as well. For added variety (especially on the longer one you are hoping to acheive) try wicking the end of the staff portion and the end of the chains. It will be heavier and a bit harder in the fueling process BUT you can have two concentric circles and then two on the ends going of in fun bits.What Adam calls the morningstar I called the flail (since I based the design on the flail hanging on my bedroom wall) and the other I deemed as a Whip-It, since the motion of it reminds me of something my sister's friend used to torture me with when I was younger!!Have fun guys! Let me know when (not if since I know you will) come up with interesting moves! ------------------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

what people have called Morningstars or flails I call Fire Twisters they are on the same design as ppl have mentioned. Pele was right about the length, the longer they are the more restrictive they are in doing moves.but if you have them to short you can end up with some serious burns, you could use gloves but these are also restrictive.if you try to use these as morningstars or flails you will burn yourself as they need to be held,and used differently i.e.: not at the ends and they need to be nearly or constantly dont really need a strong hand grip to a certain degree only your thumb and index finger for grip where you need strength is from the wrist to your shoulder, i know i was born with 70% of my fingers on my right hand missing the dimensions i use are based on twenty years of Glowstick Twisters and ten years of Fire Twisters using many different variations i use 3/4" chrome plated tubing minimum length 12"inch maximum for me 14"inchany more and they start to become restrictive connected by nylon string yes string it gets you into a routine to do constant safety checks on your equipment extremely important, i get 60 hours use out of the nylon string before the need changing. the length between the pieces of tubing should be no longer than 15 centimetresuse tape to cover a third of the tubing this is your safety marker go past it and there is a chance of a burn.when lit these get hot fast i have 8 sets which are constantly rotated if you do make any make sure your clothes are 100% natural (all mine is cotton) as the flames get very close to the body. also have a fire person with you. if you would like to see a picture of me using Fire Twisters check out the HOP picture gallery,there is also a link to my site with more pictures. David ------------------Twist for the joy of it.

337 posts
Location: London UK

Have been experimenting with some practice poi tied to each end of a ~ 1m can do all the staff tricks and poi single + double weaves too, plus a wierd version of chasing the sun etc... havent been able to do mexican wave but thats probably just because i got irritated by hitting myself in the back of the head too many times, may well be possible.butteflies basically impossible because too far apart but still can rotate opposite directions, they just dont cross.might be interesting if the staff could have a break or something in the middle so it could convert into two morning stars mid performance...If doing with fire, would be pretty cool to have wicks at the end of the poi plus a wick at each end of the staff...I might just be rambling on about something already made though, I'm pretty new to the poi scene...Keep twirling,Blackbird
Non-Https Image Link

x X x Ĉ К я x X x

CassandraFroggie ... Ribbit !!!
4,224 posts
Location: Back in Paris... for now !

Adam, I am hooked too and I'll make sure to try that sometime... thanks for the info.Jeannie, I am not sure if I understood u right, but to my knowledge regarding thowing / catching poi andas we were discussing in the thread which I entitled in my poor english "throwing poiz in the air" I do not believe it is at all feasible to catch the poi anywhere near the whick when they are on fire cause the heat is toooooooooooooo much (burnt myself big time !!!) What do u guys think ?However, i found quite a few ways to juggle or throw the poiz in the air and beleive me it feels just great
Non-Https Image Link
shine onCassandra

"I want brown bread... no, that is diesel oil..."
"So I was raised in Europe, where History comes from ..."
"NON !!! La Plume de mon oncle n est pas Bingibangibungi !!!"

160 posts

PJ- have you tried meteors yet? Putting thedowel in the middle is really (in my opinion) an uneccessary complication. With 8 feet of chain or rope, you can fo all the poi and all the staff moves.Also, with proper technique, you can get the rope/chain to be as straight and rigid as staff. Length is negligible.Also- I recently saw a guy with the opposite of the mace/flail/twister: short lengths of chain with clubs on the end. This allowed him to do poi moves and club swing moves, as well as easy tosses, etc. very cool.

HOP Newsletter
Sign up to get the latest on sales, new releases and more...