DurbsDurbsBRONZE Member
Classically British
5,688 posts
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England

Here's one for all the chemists out there...

Would adding Meths (Methylated spirits) to your paraffin have any particular consequences?

In my mind (which isn't in any way a chemists mind) you would get the benfits of meths - brighter flame, lower flash point - with the benefits of Paraffin - safer tempetature, long burning times.

I'm not thinking 1:1 but more sort of 500ml of meths in the big 4 litre parrafin container.

This isn't for any other reason than I have a spare bottle of meths lying around and won't ever use it. I don't want to use it neat as it isn't practical.

Any thoughts?

Burner of Toast
Spinner of poi
Slacker of enormous magnitude

Fire Wiremember
26 posts
Location: Windsor, Berkshire, UK

Hey Durbs,
Well I guess I am not really answering your question, but I have a question as well which leads on from yours, so hopefully someone will answer two at same time
What are the powdered chemicals that I have heard about that you can use to colour your flames, and other than colouring the flame, what effects do they have on the overall poi? <>
Hopefully one of you babes out there will help, here's to a hot and fiery weekend in the UK

[ 18 August 2002, 00:13: Message edited by: Fire Wire ]

Fire Wire''Fire is the all consuming element, let it consume you.''

TheBovrilMonkeyTheBovrilMonkeySILVER Member
Liquid Cow
2,629 posts
Location: High Wycombe, England

I was under the impression that you couldn't use chemicals to change the colour of burning paraffin because they wouldn't dissolve, but they would dissolve in meths because it's a different type of fuel.
I'm just guessing but I don't think they'd mix too well - it might be worth a try though since I'm not known to be reliable in my guesses

But there's no sense crying over every mistake. You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.

FireMikeZFireMikeZLaguna dude
1,438 posts
Location: Laguna, California, US

around here, people are mixing fuels every which way on the spot, like cooking and... finger tasting.

gonna look out for answers on the added colors question, too, good query

molten cheers,

~ FireMike

FireMikeZ@yahoo.com (personal messages welcome, no promo spam, please!)
Laguna, California, US

dulce flamesmember
234 posts
Location: Oceanside, California USA

This should help solve your questions regarding mixing fuels for colors... I have not tried them and have heard it really eats away your wicks, but I plan on trying with an older set of wicks I have. - under the fuel section should have your info....

Also, in regards to just mixing fuels, be careful. I use lamp oil, and therefore soak my poi in it after a burn.... Someone then poured some coleman fuel into my canister thinking it was also coleman fuel.... My unlit poi lit right back up when I went for the soak.... Scarey stuff, but luckilly I got it away from danger... I also learned that if I am going to be spinning with a group of people using white gas, I need to make sure everyone knows not to mix into my container..I didn't realize the danger until this happened.. I suggest anyone else who doesn't use white gas do the same....

master sodiummember
536 posts
Location: carson city, nevada

I'm not to sure aboot the colored flames eating away your wicks. they do kinda mess with em though. lotsa buildup from the powdered chemicals.

mixing denatured alcohol and white gas (coleman) does work, so I'd imagine it would work with parrafin/kerosene. if the meths/denatured are for colors then the blue part of the flame at the inside turns to whatever color you mixed with the alcohol. not incredibly noticeable, but it does something anyway.

you can't have a war against terrorism because war IS terrorism.it's not about worshipping fire. its about making the fire want to worship you.

[Nx?][Nx?]BRONZE Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
3,749 posts
Location: Europe,Scotland,Both

its boric acid turns it green yuh? (with meths) i think. get conformation. its not very bright.


This is a post by tom, all spelling is deleberate
-><- Kallisti

master sodiummember
536 posts
Location: carson city, nevada

yup yup, boric acid=green. not bright, but very very purty. looks amazing in my eyes.

you can't have a war against terrorism because war IS terrorism.it's not about worshipping fire. its about making the fire want to worship you.

strugzstrugzBRONZE Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
3,964 posts
Location: Southampton - Possibly..., United Kingdom


Mixing kero & meths doesnt really have much effect, i find they seporate, not that ive purposly tried - one dip bucket, many fuels.

Most chems do not break down too easy in parafin, they do well if you boil it, but that gets a little dangerous. Best to use meths.

Powderd sulphates eg copper / sodium / potassium dissolve brilliantly in meths with no effort, however the crystilized versions of these chemicals are much harder to break down - again we come back to the boiling.

Ive played with quite a few chemicals, i dont think it really eats at your wicks too much - yes you may get a powdery residue left on them, but as far as eating them, i do more damage hitting myself!

If you cant get chemicals to dissolve, another way is to make your own wicks out of towel & lace the chemicals inside, you may not notice on your first burn, but after four or five the chems start to give of there colour.

The easiest chemical to use is copper sulphate, pour it in, mix it up, light it! there you have a deep strong greeny blue, most pleasant on the eye!

Hope sum of my rambling helps....


"...We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing......."

30 posts
Location: South Australia, Australia

I learnt about mixing fuels the wrong way. My fuel container was a bit low and I really was dying to light up so I got some Metholated Spirits and mixed it with my shellite. It was about 1 3rd shellite 2 3rds metho, well the flame is pathetic now. Its blue and pretty but weak. So I am thinking of adding salt to it to make it yellow again. Not sure if it will work.

Pheonix (nee Crimson)

I believe in freedom, love, truth, and beauty.

Mark PMark PBRONZE Member
old hand
1,031 posts
Location: Bath, England

Meths and Kero/Paraffin do not mix at all they will just create a bi-phasic system (I did initially try this when looking into making coloured flames)

The flame produced by meths is a lot weaker than that produced by kero/paraffin, it has a kind of translucent blue colour to it. If you add boric Acid then this turns into a green glow but I have still found the main problem is that the flame is still not very strong. The best way I have found to actually get a descent green flame is to preload the wicks with boric acid as you make them - this enables a larger quantity of BA to be in the wicks and the flame tends to get a bit greener as it gets hotter (this is due to the BA being more soluable in the hot meths).

Word of warning though I dont tend to use BA unless there is a good reason, we have found that for the next couple of days we have been coughing a lot and think this is probably due to the Boric Acid as it is not normally the case when we use paraffin.

Have fun but be careful,

VictoriaBRONZE Member
29 posts
Location: Ontario, Canada

has anyone ever tried burning Magnesium?
I've never tried it with poi
but I remember it from my chemistry class
we lit it on fire and it made this super bright white light and I was just wondering if anyone had ever tried to burn it while twirling for the colour effect

8 posts
Location: Southern Oregon (USA)

Uhh... no. Magnesium burns at over 1100 degrees F. This aproaches the melting point of some of the metals that I use to construct my tube wicks. I have a feeling that if the wicks survived at all, the kevlar wouldn't stand up to that very well.

Also Mg is very hard to extinguish once lit. It will even burn underwater (it actually steals Oxygen atoms from the water molecules and releases the hydrogen). So, if you try to extinguish it with water then you have an explosive cloud or Hydrogen just waiting to be set off. I think this would make it a big safety hazard if used in any sizable quantity.

I once saw a semi-truck carrying the stuff catch fire. Because of the above mentioned problems with water they just had to let it burn itself out. It burned so hot that the truck, asphalt and underlying crushed gravel all became one melted-together mess.

[ 01 September 2002, 10:47: Message edited by: Awshua ]

HOP Newsletter

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