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Forums > Technical Discussion > Wicks - materials to make them out of.

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Shark


member
Location: Invercargill

Total posts: 5
Posted:I have made wicks from kevlar and towels. I was wondering if anybody uses denim? or any other cheap materials?

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KT


member
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand

Total posts: 54
Posted:i've used denim b4, but it doesnt happen, sitck to towel and kelvar, i found that with denim it, well it was screwed and burned funni (like that rugby jersey i once used)...but try it you may like it, everyone has their own preferences i guess. but i prefer kelvar to anything.
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[This message has been edited by KT (edited 27 March 2001).]


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Heph
GOLD Member since Dec 2000

Heph

member
Location: Chicago, IL, USA

Total posts: 79
Posted:hey KT,why do you prefer kevlar? durability? most people i've talked to said they prefer towel to kevlar, esp. for longer burns. but i have stuck with the kevlar so far. too lazy to build some towel wicks, i guess...just curious what arguments you had against towel wicks...so?Heph

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Posted:Arguements against towel? aside from;-lasts far far longer with proper care-re dipping takes a very short time.-towel wicks have a tendency to disintergrate after a few burns if not sooner...flying burning bits do not make you popular
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arguements for towel;-burns twice as long.-cheaper? (although if you factor out how many towels you go through each burn you might be surprised when compared to kevlar which can last through hundreds of burns.)Josh


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mirabelis


member
Location: conroe, texas, USA

Total posts: 11
Posted:howdy, just curious as to how asbestos wicks work and if they are actually safe to burn. i found a place that supplies wick and they recommend asbestos wicks, but to me it sounds kinda crazy to burn asbestos. just curious for any imput
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thanks, kristen


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Skye


member
Location: Boise, ID, USA

Total posts: 33
Posted:I've had pretty good luck using denim. I'd basically cut the legs off of old jeans and use those. I've got a couple of sticks that have lasted several years with denim wicks and they have burned just fine.Skye

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Shark


member
Location: Invercargill

Total posts: 5
Posted:Thanks Syke,Do they hold a flame long? A big flame?I guess there is no harm in making some myself and trying them. Ill let you all know what it goes like.Thanks for the help.

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psychomonkey


member
Location: Kansas City, MO USA

Total posts: 148
Posted:Asbestos would probably work the same as kevlar. They are both essentially frlame retardants, as far as safety with asbestos goes, it shouldnt be too bad (no worse than burning a fuel and swinging it around you
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) I would stick with kevlar, or maybe fiberglass. Hobby Lobby, here in the US sells some wide fiberglass wicking. I dunno...-PSM


One can only see what one observes, and one observes only things which are already in the mind.-Alphonse Bertillon

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KT


member
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand

Total posts: 54
Posted:hephaestos........its all preference i guess, i have two sets of poi, one towel one kelvar, and my i find my kelvar ones are what i always pick up and use. (and prefer) towel wick do have longer burns, but i find my kelvar ones burn for the perfect amount of time, b4 i run out of whateva im running on, and as josh said with towel wicks they tend to disintergrate after a while and its not good having burning bits of towel flying everywhere,
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Skye


member
Location: Boise, ID, USA

Total posts: 33
Posted:Shark,I usually get about eight minutes of good flame from my denim wicks before they get to that darn charring point. The fireballs are about a foot wide and 18 inches high. Anyway, I've always gotten good results from my denim wicks and if you've got old jeans laying around you're not out any money. Good luck,Skye

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:I use towel wicks and have never had flaming bits fly off from them, though I swear I thik the glue has *lots* to do with that. I think that it goes with the proper care thing...they take a certain amount of TLC as well. Bigger flame from the capacity to hold more and I think that towel wicks can be more customized to suit your needs/wants than Kevlar strips. Kevlar does last longer.For those who are US-ers, army surplus stores carry 100% cotton army belts. Take the metal ends off of these and they burn alot like kevlar. Clean, soak well, medium flame, about 5 minutes or so of a burn and they don't "disintegrate". We use them on all our staves and they have worked fabulously!!! They also come in colors, so take your pick!
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------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...[This message has been edited by Pele (edited 28 March 2001).]


Pele
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

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Shark


member
Location: Invercargill

Total posts: 5
Posted:Thanks for all your help, Ill have to go down to our scout shop and have a look.Pele what do u use the glue for?When I make towel wicks I using put a ring of wire around the middle and It keeps it tight and together. I have had towel bits fly off but I was hiting it agaist the ground.

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firestorm


member
Location: Redding, CA, USA

Total posts: 28
Posted:Its probably a health hazard, but fiber-glass rope workes well too. You can get it at most hardware stores. I recomend spending the money on kevlar though.

^_-

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:shark,the glue keeps frayed ends down, the sewn edges from burning through and coming unravelled, the wicks hold together and more intact longer so they will last a few more burns than without the glue. We swear by it.------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...

Pele
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

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Shark


member
Location: Invercargill

Total posts: 5
Posted:What sort of glue do u use? Most glue would be toxic wouldn't it? I guess it wouldn't matter using a small amount.

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:White School Glue (I use Elmer's brand), you know the kind kids use to put all over their hands instead of paper and then peel off like skin?
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Okay well I still do that... It's completely non-toxic, it's even marked as such on the front of the bottles. It's a couple bucks for about 12 ounces at Walmart stores in the art/paper/school supply aisle.------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...


Pele
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

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gάrbǿ


gάrbǿ

addict
Location: Bristol / London / Norwich / C...

Total posts: 521
Posted:Tip: (for anyone who dosn't do this already)if you don't have wicks with fuel cartridges then wrap cotton wool aroung the metal tube before you attach the wick. The cotton wool will soak up more fuel and feed the kevlar meaning your wicks will last longer.peace outgarbo
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be excellent to each other: safe:

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Dr.NoodleHead
BRONZE Member since Mar 2001

member
Location: The Giant Mushroom, United Kin...

Total posts: 170
Posted:Cotton wool....! A cunning plan indeedy - I'll give it a go tonight. I think we call your White School Glue "PVA" - no idea what it stands for though.Noods

Fish are just like trees except they move and they're invisible

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Posted:where is mr wholesale (not to expensive)kevlar man !

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swiftythefireguy


member
Location: abbotsford , bc canada

Total posts: 61
Posted:i use a fiberglass wick it's comes in various widths and it's very thick . the stuff i use is made for patching holes and stuff it's thick and will hold a lot of fuel also lasts for monthslooks like i might have a big gig this summermerrit mountain music festival in merrit b.c. canada . best party of the year by far this year is the tenth anniversary they get 300,000 plus every year last year was my first big crowd. the most exhilerating night of my life!

dont ever ask me whta time it is ?where are we? or are we there yet? because the time is now!we here !and we wil never be there !

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adamrice


adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA

Total posts: 1015
Posted:One thing to watch out for with fiberglass (and asbestos too, I think) is the incredible discomfort of working with it--the stuff is full of these ultrafine splinters that get into your skin. Even if you wear gloves while making up the wicks, there's still the chance of grazing yourself while twirling.I'm sure there are some splinter-free grades of fiberglass out there, but it's another factor to take into consideration.

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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Maelstrom


Maelstrom

member
Location: Akron, Ohio

Total posts: 135
Posted:I've not used fiber glass as wicking yet, but I have worked with the stuff alot. I would imagine the cloth is going to work the best. You shouldn't have too much trouble with it getting under your skin, unless you're resin coated it, in which case you really shouldn't burn it. If you do get it under your skin the best way to get it out is to take tape, make a loop with the sticky side out, and role it over the area that is iching. You should also take a cold shower after you've been working with it. A hot shower will open your pores and it will ich evern more then before. A dust mask over your face while your working with it isn't going to hurt either but that's up to the user.
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------------------Nothing good ever comes from hanging out with "normal" people.


Nothing good ever comes from hanging out with normal people.

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DJ Dantana
BRONZE Member since Aug 2001

veteran
Location: Stillwater, Ok. USA

Total posts: 1495
Posted:PVA = Polyvinyl acrylate? Or something like that?

we eat and we drink and we smoke and we try!

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Mark P
BRONZE Member since Oct 2001

Mark P

old hand
Location: Bath, England

Total posts: 1031
Posted:hey I have used some towel wicks and have also had a go with some denim, with the demin I put some more absorbent material inside the demin so I would get a longer burn.Have a look at the double poi vid to see the towels in action
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(I used 4 facecloths @ 0.80 GBP each)http://www.bath.ac.uk/~chpmppAlso some pics :http://wood2.woodyland.org/pictures/poi/poi_03022002/page.shtml (double poi are near the bottom)------------------Mark P (the mad chemist)


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stoneage


member
Location: far nrth,new zealand

Total posts: 3
Posted:Hi all,we are trying to find kevla wick to buy but are not having much luck.Does anyone no where we can get it,in nz.Or any other materials that are as good as too use? thanks shianne

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SickpuPpy


SickpuPpy

Ninja Rockstar!
Location: Denver, Co. U.S.A.

Total posts: 1100
Posted:Stoneage, you should have no problem getting kevlar wicks on this site. Just check the shop link on the left hand side of the main page.As for the denim I just built a pair of cathedral wicks with denim folded inside the kevlar. I haven't had the time to try them out yet, but it should burn much longer than plain kevlar.------------------If you love something, set it on fire.

Jesus helps me trick people.

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Knagi


member
Location: Brunswick, Ohio

Total posts: 397
Posted:Pele pointin out the army belts.. That's such a great idea... How many burns do you think a belt would average?The jeans work great. I cut a pair into 4 wicks and wrapped them super tight around the tips of the cross. They take awhile to fuel. I'm also happy to say they have never burned out on me.. It's heavy and slow moving. I've prolly put around 15 burns on them now and they have no signs of wearing out other then shirking and turning black.Also does anyone know of a material that's cheap, comes in massive amounts. and has a decent burn life? Rolls of jeans from a fabric store is was I'm thinking about using. Just hoping there's a chance that there might be something better out there.------------------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

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stoneage


member
Location: far nrth,new zealand

Total posts: 3
Posted:thanks sickpuPpy, We were looking under kevla but someone said it's called Wale Tape,so we shall try again.

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Charly


member
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA

Total posts: 68
Posted:Coming from a 'protect the environment' standpoint, I recommend the following:- use kevlar, not cotton towels or denim. kevlar is made to burn over and over again without releasing burning chemicals into the air or bits of smoldering fabric.- don't use asbestos or fiberglass - both are remarkably tiny fibers which can be irritants to skin, eyes, lungs. asbestos can actually be quite nasty if it gets down into the lungs, where it creates scarring... can eventually lead to asbestosis, a severe lung disease. we occasionally use fiberglass rope on our fire puppets, but we work with it outdoors, with protective gear head to toe to prevent those nasty little fibers from getting on our skin... it's itchy!- don't let burned-out wicks smolder, regardless of what they're made of... smoking smoldering wicks = icky air pollution- use the most environmentally-friendly fuel you can and try to avoid spillage - here in the states 100% pure Lamp Oil is our best friend. our local air pollution agency has told us that's what we need to use to stay on their good side.just my 2 cents... being a performer whose art sometimes involves the recreational burning of petrochemicals has more than once tugged on my conscience... it has also inspired me to pursue other fun things... like trapeze. now there's an addiction!~*Charly*~www.cabiri.org

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daxx
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

member
Location: vancouver canada

Total posts: 2
Posted:I've been spinning things other than poi for a long time, it just came naturally to me. I started the poi obsession after seeing it done with flame. it's really fun. the best wick I have seen so far for affordability, ease to work with, and lack of disengaging bits, fibers, etc. has to be woven fibreglass for boat patcing. it's really dense to begin with, holds a lot of fuel, and comes in pads. really easwy to work with and you can make wicks in a variety of sizes quite easily.
I was initially concerned about the fibreglass slivers, but not one has ocured, even though I smack my arms with them lit on a regular basis.
try those out. boat patch fibreglass kits.


this is the dawninng of a new world order.. what is your place within it?

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jonathan


enthusiast
Location: new zealand

Total posts: 210
Posted:have you guys ever tried the heat retardant rope rope that comes off the front of fireplaces? you should be able to get from any old shop that sells fireplaces........ i found that it was cheap and soaked up a huge amount of fuel, the one draw back is that you have to protect it from impact or it might disintegrate, i use a light aluminium mesh which keeps mine safe. i spent a lot of time finding out cheap alternatives as the cost of fire poi is pretty rank for what you actually get, i built a set of four for myself for around $60 (NZ dollars) all up, which is alright for the student bums among us

oh yeah, dont use methanol which has a real hi concentration of metallic salts (for coloured flame) in it as fuel with this material as it tends to just gum up in the rope and prevent any more fuel soaking up.

oh yeah oh yeah, i mean what i said about them soaking up lots of fuel, think of head sized balls of flame for the first 3-4 minutes then a slow decrease for the next 5-6 minutes

cheers
jon


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