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Forums > Technical Discussion > amateur twirler needs advice

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Posted:well i've been fire twirling for about a month now, but i've been twirling for glowsticks for almost a year, so im pretty good, as far as tricks. but i was introduced to fire twirling using gasoline (which i know is pretty dangerous not to mention unhealthy) so id like some advice on what fuel to use.. something not too stinky and not too smokey.. anyone have any advice? (i use towel wicks)

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adamrice


adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA

Total posts: 1015
Posted:White gas/Coleman gas burns clean, but fast and hot. Lamp oil burns clean and fairly cool, with a long duration. It's kind of pricey, but I think it's worth it. There are several varieties of lamp oil: citronella (which obviously smells like citronella), scented (often with cinammon), plain, and "ultra pure". Plain is pretty good to work with and costs about $7/gal, the "ultra pure" stuff is very pricey (about $13/gal) but has almost no smoke or smell. I'm not sure if I can really attribute it to the fuel or not, but people have remarked that I get big flames with the ultra-pure.

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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Blackbird


member
Location: London UK

Total posts: 337
Posted:Probably because there's less smoke to cover them up, ad.

x X x Ĉ К я x X x

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Posted:also can u just dip them in "ultra-pure" and lite them up? or do they need to be soaked? typically with gas we dip them in real quick, lit them up and they ready to go.. of course it lights very quickly also. does ultra-pure do the same? or do i need to add something else for a quick ignite?thanks for your info.

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adamrice


adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA

Total posts: 1015
Posted:The length of time you soak your wicks depends on how old they are. New ones need several minutes to be fully penetrated. Old ones, well, I always soak mine for at least 30 seconds. I haven't worked out how quickly you can soak them without losing burn-time.Lamp oil can be stubborn to catch, especially in cold weather, and you can never get ignition through momentary contact--it always takes at least a couple of seconds to catch. If you want fast ignition, dunk an edge in some white gas after you soak in lamp oil and spin out. You also can't do the "circle of fire" trick with lamp oil.

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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vanize
SILVER Member since Aug 2001

vanize

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Austin, Texas, USA

Total posts: 3899
Posted:white gas does burn hot and fast, and Lamp oil slower, but if you get splattered with burning fuel, the coleman is a bit safer for two reasons - 1. Due to how fast is burns, there is a cooling effect on you skin from the evaporation. Net result is a couple of seconds leeway before you get burned. Plenty of time for a towel person to put you out, though you might not know you are on fire till it does start to burn. 2. It doesn't burn as long as lamp oil does, and therefore splatters have less time to do tissue damage.I've seen an unprotected person engulfed in flames from head to toe with white gas for better than a second, and after the towel person put them out, the worst damage was a few spots that felt moderately sunburned. We were really releived, as we thought we were going to be calling the ambulance for sure.Lamp oil actually feels hotter when it flicks on you, but it is also less likely for lamp oil splatters to ignite. So in that sense it is safer than white gas. A distinct down side to lamp oil is if you are on a smooth surface, such as a stage, small droplets which inevitably fling off during spinning wind up making the stage very slippery.Kerosene give a long burn, but is very smoky though cheaper than lamp oil. Advantages and disadvantages as per lamp oil except it stinks more and is even slipperier on a stage.Biodiesal (a soy derivative I beleive) gives very very long burns (too long?) with a pretty deep-orange colored flame (not as bright a flame as other fuels), and smells pleasantly like french fries. It does get very smoky as is burns down though, and splatters are very hot (almost like cooking grease, so spin out well) but almost never ignite. It is very difficult to actually get biodiesal burning, so I generally mix in some white gas to get it going. This also makes it burn much brighter at first until the white gas is used up. And if you thought kerosene was slippery on a stage, you ain't seen nothing yet! Definitely best used on a non-smooth surface. Upshot to biodeisal - it won't kill grass and dogs like to lick up your spin-out area.Many people will say that Lamp oil and particularly biodiesal are less dangerous for your body than white gas. While it is true that white gas will strip the lining off of your digestive track if you swallow it and sting the hell out of your eyes, while the other two are much less damaging in this way, The longer carbon chains found in parafin, lamp oil, kerosene, and biodeisal are much more likely to cause cancer with prolonged exposure. You can't win either way really. I don't think it is really a concern for fire spinners due to our limited contact with the fuel, but fire breathers may want to think about this.

-v-

Wiederstand ist Zwecklos!

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Posted:"spin -out" is also something i havent done, but im guessing that means after u dip them, spin them to get the excess off.. thanks everyone for your info.. through this board i sure am learning alot more about safety. i dont think ill be usuing gasoline much longer! (due to highly explosive-ness, its got me a bit nervous now!)

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vanize
SILVER Member since Aug 2001

vanize

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Austin, Texas, USA

Total posts: 3899
Posted:Make safety your first concern - not only for you, but for all our sakes, so that we don't wind up with fire-spinning becoming a major topic at fire-marshal conventions! So far we are tolerated by the fire-marshals without having to get permits to perform in public (in Houston and Austin at least), but if there are lots of reports about accidents around the country and the world, it could cause lots of problems for fire performers all over. We fit into a grey area under the laws of most U.S. cites - somewhere between a contained fire (usually legal), and open fire (illegal, but not always strictly enforced), and even fireworks. If you read how the books describe fireworks, we could easily be seen as such if the authorities wanted to be bitches about it. That would carry a hefty fine in the thousands of dollars on the spot, where as being accused of having an open fire will probably just get you told to stop. So don't argue with a cop or fire marshal if they tell you to put out your flames, because they can ruin your whole month if they want to.When you perform in public, do a few things to make the fire marshal happy in case he does show up. Keep the fuel at least 20 feet away from any ignition source, and make damned sure you have a fire extinguisher in a spot where it looks handy and obvious. If a fire marshal shows up, these are the first two things he is going to look for, and if sees this plus an attentive saftey person/towel boy, he might not hassle you too much. Besides, these things are just good ideas anyway - we don't want to lose any of our fire kin. And spinning out is exactly what you guessed it to be. Also do this far away from where you are performing and other ignition sourses.Be smart and have fun.

-v-

Wiederstand ist Zwecklos!

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Supafly
BRONZE Member since Apr 2001

TNT
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA

Total posts: 173
Posted:OK, you've gotten my morbid curiousity aroused Vanize. I'm very glad that your friend was alright, but how did he/she happen to get engulfed in flames from head to toe? Sounds like a story that we could all learn from. I've seen people's pants catch on fire but nothing more serious than that.

Fear the evil monkey!

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vanize
SILVER Member since Aug 2001

vanize

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Austin, Texas, USA

Total posts: 3899
Posted:ahh yes, that is something that should be made public. The victim shall remain nameless, but his chains had fallen into the fuel bucket and he had to fish them out. Now all of us in Houston use ball chain (15 gauge usually) since it detangles very easily and you don't have to add a swivel. However, those littel balls hold an amazing amount of fuel. He didn't spin them out very well after they were completely dunked (even the handles were soaked). When he locked up while doing a butterfly move, fuel splattered all over him and he was a walking fireball for a brief moment. Luckily, the towel girl was Jonny-on-the-spot and had him out about as quickly as it took everyone else to realize that there was a major problem in our midst. So the lesson is, always give dunked chains plenty of time to drain/evaporate before using them. We also switched to using a low-sided fuel bucket, which has reduced the # of chain dunking incedences.Luckily, in the end, a little aloe and some beer was all that was required to make the human fireball feel better. He was 100% fine within 3 days.

-v-

Wiederstand ist Zwecklos!

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Finn


member
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

Total posts: 341
Posted:*phew*

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jedimastah


member
Location: Round Rock TX , US

Total posts: 97
Posted:I'm glad your friend did not get hurt!! Personally I like coleman fuel for its clean burn and fast ignition. I found that a 50\50 of coleman and kerosene compliment eachother. Long burn of kero and fast ignition of coleman. Also seald link twisted chain works to keep excess fuel from hiding. Also don't use keyrings to attach wicks to your chain. The centrifical force will split it. Carabeeners work well.

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