Shouden-CrD
Veteran Member
Location: Tampa, FL, USA
Member Since: 30th Apr 2001
Total posts: 495
Posted:I have been charged with making a fire sign for one of my customers. I have tried searching, but to no avail.. I know of all the performers out there, SOMEONE must have made one before. I'm looking for letters about 2' high. I'm not sure what size kevlar rope should be used...I was thinking maybe 1/2". Also, what would be the best type of wire(or support structure) for it? Would coathanger work? Any help would be greatly appreciated..

PLURR
r / Max


-=razyRaverude=-

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adamrice
adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA
Member Since: 19th Dec 2000
Total posts: 1015
Posted:Yeah, I think 1/2" rope would work well.

For the support structure, try this: Make a rectangular frame out of, say, conduit pipe. Suspend some kind of screen inside that with a bunch of hose clamps--I'm thinking of something heavy, more like expanded metal grating rather than window screening. Then lay out the rope and tie it to the screen with wire. That should be sturdy, relatively easy to handle, display, and repair, all that good stuff.


Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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.:* Moon Pixie *:.
.:* Moon Pixie *:.

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: .:*over the rainbow*:.
Member Since: 7th Apr 2002
Total posts: 3492
Posted:Hello

Yeah, you're on the right track for sure. I've used a heavey gage wire (about 2.5mm... or coat hanger-ish is good ) And with your rope wick, you'd be suprize how little you need. You can get one that you can split apart (If you want to now more about this wick, talk to Bec about it moonfest@bigpond.com) You split it up and wind it round... making sure ALL your ends are fully sucure (bend the wire around itself) and wind it tight. (just so no bits start to unwind and fall off while it's burning... not a good look ) The thicker the wick, the bigger the flame... and sometimes that's not that effective when trying to make out words or pictures in the flames
Oh deer, got to go, I'll finnish this later
Bye!


*:...one day all the fairy fridges will be aligned and my pixie world will be complete...:*

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Shouden-CrD
Veteran Member
Location: Tampa, FL, USA
Member Since: 30th Apr 2001
Total posts: 495
Posted:Wow, thanks for the quick replies! That's a great idea! So I would need to make one for each letter, and it would be reusable. So basically a square, with heavy wire mesh in the middle(maybe like chicken wire???), and some sort of stake to stick it in the ground. How far apart should the wire ties that hold the wick to the mesh be? Cause I definately dont want pieces fraying off while burning. I would tend to think that the 1/2" wicking wouldnt fall apart until at LEAST a few burns as it IS made of kevlar. (someone back me up on this! hehe)

Moon Pixie, I believe the material you are talking about is called Fire Yarn, it can be split lengthwise. This material doesnt look as durable as the Rope Wick.


-=razyRaverude=-

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:I was thinking of making something similar a while back but gave up...

Good advise that I got was to make the letters big enough so it can be read when aflame.

DEFINITELY take and post pictures when you're done.


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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adamrice
adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA
Member Since: 19th Dec 2000
Total posts: 1015
Posted:CRD--

You could of course, make one big frame for the whole thing, though that might create transportation problems. Unless maybe you could pop out the side tubes and roll up the whole thing lik a carpet...hmm, might work, might not.

I was thinking of something heavier than chicken wire, but chicken wire would probably work too, now that you mention it.

For spacing on the wire ties, I'd just eyeball it and use my best judgement. Probably no more than is needed to hold the shape of the letter.

And I wouldn't worry much about the kevlar rope flying away when you burn it.


Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:But doen't Kevlar, once lit a few times, get relatively rigid? Or at least more so?

Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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adamrice
adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA
Member Since: 19th Dec 2000
Total posts: 1015
Posted:NYC--It does get a crispy exterior, yeah, but I think the insides stay about the same. There might be a little flaking if you were always rolling it up. This is something I haven't experimented with, so I can only speculate.

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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.:* Moon Pixie *:.
.:* Moon Pixie *:.

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: .:*over the rainbow*:.
Member Since: 7th Apr 2002
Total posts: 3492
Posted:Umm Ye' where was I? sorry 'bout that It could be fire yarn (but I've never heard it called that ???) It's the same stuff as Kevlar/Cotten Fire Wick but it's not woven, just kind of twinded... but not like the rope. kind of not doing this to well, am I

But what ever you use it should work (so long as it is some kind of fire wick and not heshan or anything.. particularly if you want it to last more than a burn, but it sounds like you've got it sorted )

But where I was going with the flames and emount of wick is that, if you use heaps of wick, the flames burn really big and it's hard to make out the form of the letters/picture. Unless you make the form realatively bigger aswell

So for a sign you could do your heavey gage wire thing and hook them over a wire between two supports (star picketts work well) Kind of like letters hanging on a clothes line In fact, just dig up your clothes line (shouldn't be to hard ) and drag it along to your gig and wack a few fire letters on that! She'll be right, Mate! (sorry, my Ausie stereotype is coming out! )

[ 25 April 2002, 10:54: Message edited by: Moon Pixie ]


*:...one day all the fairy fridges will be aligned and my pixie world will be complete...:*

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Shouden-CrD
Veteran Member
Location: Tampa, FL, USA
Member Since: 30th Apr 2001
Total posts: 495
Posted:Here is the link that has some fire yarn:
http://www.renegadejuggling.com/Web_store/rev3k/index.html
br>
As for the size of the letter vs. the wicking size. I can see how this could possibly be an issue. Has anyone ever purchased 1/2" fire rope before? I would be interested to know how big the flames come off of it.


-=razyRaverude=-

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Shouden-CrD
Veteran Member
Location: Tampa, FL, USA
Member Since: 30th Apr 2001
Total posts: 495
Posted:hmmm I wonder how feasible it would be to use flat wicking instead of fire rope. Flat wicking is significantly cheaper. Any thoughts?

-=razyRaverude=-

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Knagi
member
Location: Brunswick, Ohio
Member Since: 28th Jun 2001
Total posts: 397
Posted:What do you need to spell out? If it's something short try bending aliumium conduat into the letter shape then cover with denium to save some cash. Some rebar planted in the ground should work to hold each letter up. Course I'm thinkin 6 foot letters here

As for fuelin.... Get a small plastic window flower garden tray.. AND NO WHITE GAS!


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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Shouden-CrD
Veteran Member
Location: Tampa, FL, USA
Member Since: 30th Apr 2001
Total posts: 495
Posted:lol Knagi yer too much. ACtually that prolly would work.

-=razyRaverude=-

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BEZERKER
BEZERKER

enthusiast

Member Since: 29th Apr 2001
Total posts: 237
Posted:CRD,

Here's my experiences, The Wick Effect were making fire 'sculptures' to fit in with the themes of parties they twirled at(Burning Moon we made a big crescent moon and some stars for example). If they are to be reusable this mightn't necessarily be the way for you.

They (mostly Flashfire and her man Steve) got a roll of hexagonal chicken wire (quite thin and easy to cut) and cut them into squares/rectangles about 3' x 3'. Then using a thin malleable wire (maybe 1 to 2 millimetres thick/possibly even solder *shrugs*) made the shape of the designs creating a frame to work with. Then they attached it to the chicken wire with an even thinner wire(easier to work with for attatching) by cutting 3" pieces and wrapping the around the frame and chicken wire at points that secure the frame but don't distort the shape.

Instead of using expensive and valuable rope or belt wick they used hessian (sp?) sacks cut in to strips as the wicking, wrapping it around the frame and the chicken wire (where it didn't comprimise the shape they were creating). To stop the hessian from unravelling they'd use the same thin gauge wire and twist it around the ends of the pieces of hessian :- kind of cut a 1" - 2" piece, bend it in to a U, grab both ends with pliers and twist until it was tight.

With that design it was easy to still roll them up and fit them in the boot of a car. The issue was getting them to stand up and stay flat. For that they got 2" square garden stakes (available from building supplies or larger hardware stores) and use U-shaped nails to attatch the chicken wire so the could be staked in to the ground. This obviously only works for parties on grass/dirt surfaces.

We then would use a 'pop top' bottle with citronella (so they smelled nicer ) to douse (sp?) the hessian. This didn't work too well as excess fuel was on the ground and inevitably lit up, although it wasn't a danger with ample safety people watching it, it was an undesirable side effect.

As Moon Pixie pointed out the hessian does disappear after one burn but with the frames already built it only takes an afternoon/evening of work to re-wick them. Hey, it's a cheap alternative but ultimately the cost vs ease factor is one only you can decide. We liked the hessian cause it was cheaper. The rope wick would be a one off set up but obviously is more expensive. I personally wouldn't opt for the belt wick. I don't think it'd be easy to attach and wouldn't look as 'sharp as the rope wick.

I'd suggest for fuelling up to get a big enough piece of plastice sheet, getting 2 people to hold the corners up whilst a third puts the fuel on BEFORE putting them up so as to minimise the chance of fuel leaking underneath them. That way the excess fuel isn't spilt and can be put pack in to a container (with the aid of a funnel obviously).

The OTHER way of doing the above design is using iron form work. You know about 5 millimetres thick and say 8" square grid. That makes them less easy to transport but they are sturdy and stay flat. not to mention just hammering them straight in to the ground.

Sorry this turned in to a bit of an essay

That's how the Wick Effect's were made and they did look F##king superb. They make such a big impact, people always raved about them. Definately make them big as you can to get the most definition in the letters/design you're making.

Moon Pixie again made a great suggestion in contacting Bec. Have a look at the image below for an example of Bec's work (and your's Moon Pixie?).

Hope you don't mind me posting the pic. It looks fantastic IMO!!


Non-Https Image Link


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bec
bec

member
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australi...
Member Since: 15th Jan 2001
Total posts: 521
Posted:ooooooh look - I know that picture...*

Elke actually was the artist for this one - I just did a little of the manual work of threading the kevlar rope around it (took a couple of days actually and *heaps* of rope)... it's a 3D-sculpture about 3m (?) across... we've re-used that one quite a few times and it still works really well. (with our troupe being called "Phoenix Fire Tribe" we pull this one out every now and then...*)

(By the way, the Phoenix sculpture in the photo was originally made for the Elemental Moon Fest for "Fire". The small fire under it was the nest of the Phoenix "Egg" - a paper mache sculpture that everyone put their wishes/dreams in (written on pieces of paper) which was ignited by the symbolic old phoenix (fire performers)... which then burnt and self-ignited the sculpture...)

*******************.....

On the technical side of it...

We've done some work for a large theatre production company that does the Woodford Folk Festival Fire Event (most Aussies may know of this)... the huge scale of it, as well as some of the immediate ritual/ceremony philosophy behind it, requires the use of hession rather than kevlar - 100+ people work solidly for a week (and some a lot longer) creating beautiful fire images (as well as enormous lanterns) all of which get burnt away to nothing afterwards... really good exercise in just letting go/cleansing... (Phwef!) *but*... point being that I *really* don't reccomend using the hession - you can't trial things without having to re-wrap them (which as I've mentioned can be extremely time consuming), although the hession should be really flammable sometimes it just doesn't light up easily, and of course there are lots of bits that flake off which is obviously a safety hazard...

You can use normal kevlar wick - any size that Malcolm sells in the shop will work perfectly - especially for large/straightish lines... the woven kevlar is good for these... The rope/yarn or whatever they call it, is just useful for detail or difficult shapes - just takes a bit of fiddling to get used to working with it...

[ 28 April 2002, 23:13: Message edited by: bec ]


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bec
bec

member
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australi...
Member Since: 15th Jan 2001
Total posts: 521
Posted:I just checked the HOP shop - Malcolm sells the braided rope here (maybe you all knew that already!) - just use a mixture of the two diametres... the larger one for the main lines and the other for any detail you need... It will stay together in construction a lot easier than the non-braided stuff we use...*

Also something to think about is that obviously the tighter the wick is bound together the longer the burn will be - or what I might mean to say is don't end up having lots of surface area without any substance to it - otherwise you will get a very big & quick burn (and depending on which part you light some of it may be out before the rest of it has lit...)

...and as always, do be careful...* especially when you're playing with big shapes and lots of fuel everywhere and things you might not have done before... (yes, mum...)


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Noona
Noona

Cake lover
Location: Button Moon
Member Since: 13th Jan 2002
Total posts: 258
Posted:Excellent useful advice everyone thanks. I too am researching fire sculptures for my final exhibition at college.

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Shouden-CrD
Veteran Member
Location: Tampa, FL, USA
Member Since: 30th Apr 2001
Total posts: 495
Posted:Wow, I don't think I could have gotten a better explanation. (= Thank you, that's awesome. One question though...what is hessian???

A friend recommended using denim..I'd imagine you'd have to layer it on to the letter to accomplish enough wicking to burn for a decent time.

*recomments to Malcolm that this be posted to the Articles section*


-=razyRaverude=-

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Bear
member
Location: Seattle,
Member Since: 2nd Apr 2002
Total posts: 8
Posted:Lots of good methods here. I have used some other materials also.

The wire mesh that is used for reinforcement in concrete driveways is about 1/8" diameter, 3"x4" mesh is good for backing material. It comes in about 4'x8' sheets. You can buy it at concrete suppliers (look under sand and gravel).

Some sources of wire of various sizes--welding supply stores sell welding wire in 3' lengths and almost any diameter 3/16 and under. This is a hard steel wire, straight to start and bends smoothly.

Industrial supply companies like Pacific Industrial in Seattle have 9 gage (about 1/8" dia) and 16 gage (about 1/16" dia) in 50 lb rolls. This is soft steel wire. It bends easily, but looks lumpy unless you put some TLC into shaping it. I made a 42'long dragon with flapping wings out of this stuff once.

Wick rope of woven glass can be bought at wood stove stores or refractory supply stores. It is used as gasket material in stoves and ovens. It comes in various diameters from 1/4" to 7/8", but it is quite pricy. It will last forever when burning kerosene or lamp oil. I've had it deteriorate after a dozen or so burns when using alchohol and colored salts.

You can fuel the rope without too much mess using a liquid dish soap bottle with a push-pull top closure. It is still best to use a drop cloth under the fueling and store the drop cloth in a covered metal garbage can before lighting the piece.

Best of luck with your sign.


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