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Find a length of large diameter ( like 1.5 or 2 inches ) PVC pipe. it's available at most any hardware store/ irrigation supply store. also buy a cap that will fit. then just glue the cap onto the end using PVC cement (ask at the store) and you are ready to go.
I fuel them in my normal dipping tin (a 4 litre paint can). I sort of twist them into the can - very easy to do, they are quite flexible. I usually wear a rubber glove and as I take the rope out of the fuel I squeeze it with my hand to wring out the excess fuel.
 I just reread your post - safety concerns. I have to agree the first few times I used my ropes I was a little aprehensive with all that fire, but I got used to them. I find them a little limiting in some ways. I like to use some short chain in a routine which is impossible with ropes. The other thing is that I am not yet game enough to do wraps with them. I am sure it would be possible with mine as the rope is quite rigid and I doubt it would tangle.... but not game enough to try yet. The positive side to this is it has made me work on stalls for transitions where I would have otherwise used wraps. Other than that I love my ropes - so pretty. [/edit]
The other thing I have found with ropes is that it's best to light them (from the bottom) and then lay them on the ground so that the whole length can catch alight properly and heat the wicks - turn them over so both sides get going. You get a much stronger flame the whole length of the rope.
[ 25. August 2003, 22:45: Message edited by: Zoltar ]