Forums > Technical Discussion > Soaking wicks after a burn...

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MillenniuMPLATINUM Member
Hyperloops suck
595 posts
Location: USA


Posted:
Many people say to dunk your wicks in your fuel after you burn. Isn't that dangerous? Couldn't you light the fuel on fire and have QUITE a mess?

NYCNYC
9,232 posts
Location: NYC, NY, USA


Posted:
Yup.. We're all still saying the same thing.

The "there's no reason why not to do this" arguement is pretty unscientific. But if it works for you, then keep doing it. The "There's no reason why not to do this so I'm going to advocate that others do it too and imply that there is a concrete reason why" I think is even more unscientific.

You guys can do whatever voodoo tricks you want that make you feel better about the life of the poi.

I would LOVE for someone to prove this. It would honestly make me happy. I have the same suspicions about it being effective. I'm just weary about the fact that the ENTIRE FIRESPINNING PLANET is advocating something that nobody's ever even tested.

And that's it.

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


onewheeldaveGOLD Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
3,252 posts
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom


Posted:
quote:
Originally posted by NYC:

I've never dunked a wick after spinning.
I always let my wicks smoulder.

And I've never had a pair of wicks wear out.

There is doubt in my mind now.

I've been thinking that its been a real long time since any of my wicks wore out.

When I used to do a lot of fire club juggling years ago they'd get in a real state after a while.

But these days my poi wicks seem to hold up really well, even my fire ropes.

I assumed it was partly due to my dunking them, but I guess there could be lots of other explanations.

One could be that wick is higher quality these days; as I'm sure you know kevlar wick is not pure kevlar but has absorbent additives.

Maybe my wicks years back were low quality and thats why they seemed to not last so well.

I'd love to do a bit of a test but I've got no fresh wick either.

Is anyone out there up for settling this?

Given the difficulties of making two identical sets of wicks and going to the trouble of spinning each in identical ways for identical lengths of time; would it be acceptable to just take a couple of small squares and repeatedly light, let burn, then extinguish them, dunking one but not the other?

Obviously there may be issues concerning the fact that there could be differences between that and actually spinning full wicks, but it would be a lot easier to carry out and would establish whether dunking helps in that situation.

NYC, what do you think of the suggested experiment, any ideas to make it better?

"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!


NYCNYC
9,232 posts
Location: NYC, NY, USA


Posted:
I'd get like 8 squares and glue them to pieces of metal. Then dunk them all simultaneously without looking at the numbers, then light them all simultaneously without looking at the numbers and waiting until they all burn out naturally. THEN, after you'd made them all, flip a coin. If it's heads always post dunk the odd ones and if it's tails then always post dunk the even ones. I'd look at the numbers which you'd written really small one some of the metals and only post dunk 4 or them.

Do this a bunch of times.

THEN get someone who knows nothing of the experiment, hand then a bucket with all 8 wicks in it, and say "Hey, pick which 4 look the most worn." Try it with a bunch of people.

Be advised that you ARE going to have times when the post dunking wicks ARE better off than the non post dunking wicks. In order to prove that there is any effect, it needs to hold true more than half the time you do the experiment.

How many times do you want to light them? I'll do this also...

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


colemanSILVER Member
big and good and broken
7,330 posts
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay, United Kingdom


Posted:
dave - before i start, please don't take this as a comment on the standard of your juggling!

i believe juggling club wicks wear out far faster than poi simply for the fact that they are dropped more often and hence suffer more wear due to ground impacts.

i have certainly noticed this phenomenon with staff vs. poi wick life.

the wear i have seen with poi has been:
cathedral wick - wearing a hole in the bottom (two sets i have seen this happen to, both within the year).
tube wick - me fire poi that i have had for over a year have only worn on the very ends of the wick, fraying where they would most likely take accidental scuffs from the ground.
wear seems to come more from actual friction than post-dunking.

i would also like to put forward the hypothesis that the burn time affects wick life too.
eg. poi tend to go out faster as they generally spin faster than clubs or staffs. not only does this mean more air to the flame during the burn but it also means they are more often extinguished as a matter of course than clubs or staffs are - i don't think i've ever seen a club juggler just let his/her wicks burn all the way out.
this could be another reason why dave's poi wicks seemed to have lasted longer than his clubs (or is this something only i have noticed)?

whatever, could you add another stage to your experiment please nyc to test this theory too please?

however, i have always post dunked for these two reasons:

1. it is unpleasent to have smokey, smelly fire poi hanging around for ten minutes after every burn, a dunk equals no smoke.

2. this yankee teacher told me not to dunk once and evidently his blatent reverse psychology worked far too well

[ 12. September 2003, 03:50: Message edited by: coleman ]

"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood


onewheeldaveGOLD Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
3,252 posts
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom


Posted:
quote:
Originally posted by coleman:
dave - before i start, please don't take this as a comment on the standard of your juggling!

i believe juggling club wicks wear out far faster than poi simply for the fact that they are dropped more often and hence suffer more wear due to ground impacts.


Really good point, I'd not thought of that but your're right; even with club juggling of my standard there's a lot more impacts than poi heads get.

"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!


frostypawGreat balls of fire
643 posts
Location: Tunbridge Wells, Kent


Posted:
I found that oil lamp advice on the web... repeated lots
Oil Lamp 101

quote:
7. Do not allow your lamp to burn dry. This would cause the wick to burn away and become uneven. If this should happen, reshape with a wick cleaner or replace your wick as needed to restore satisfactory performance.
Seemed sensible to me it'd apply to firepoi too but as you say... not very scientific

I can SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!


CharlesBRONZE Member
Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
3,989 posts
Location: Auckland, New Zealand


Posted:
I think you might find that lamp wicks are made out of much less hardy materials than FireWick.

They are meant to be always soaked in fuel, and put out before the fuel runs out...like candle...

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adamricepoo-bah
1,015 posts
Location: Austin TX USA


Posted:
NYC--
Sounds like a good experiment setup. I think I'm going to get on it. Though not gluing wicks to backing--a mechanical fixture would work better.

A similar experiment could help resolve the whole curing issue, though it would need to be repeated quite a lot.

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy


frostypawGreat balls of fire
643 posts
Location: Tunbridge Wells, Kent


Posted:
I'm sure you're right charles - it's probably 1% of the damage that would be done to a 'normal' wick - but hey - over 200+ burns if that saves me from having to buy new heads that's just great

I can SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!


Jomember
517 posts
Location: Sheffield, England


Posted:
I had a pair of 4" pureflame poi that served me really well for 2 years. They seemed in great condition - still getting over 3 mins of solid flame.

One time I had the poi, which had been soaked post-burn the last time, but no fuel. Someone convinced me to have a burn. I burned them then bagged them up and thought nothing of it.

The next time I used them was at a gig. They stayed alight for all of 10 seconds (not an exageration). On close inspection, they had frayed around the edges and looked all charred

So... I firmly believe it is essensial to dip after each burn as quickly as possible to avoid the kevlar getting ruined. Of course, I would only do that with paraffin/kero - white gas, which seems to be much loved in the US, could easily blow up in your face. Par/kero has a high flash point (ie. you have to heat it up some before it'll burn) and is therefore relatively safe. Try lighting a cup of it with a lighter - no chance. Once or twice I've set the dipping pot on fire but only after a long session with lots of dunks heating up the fuel - and even then it wasn't at all explosive - just a flame that was easily extinguished.

Jo.

Educate yourself in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!


MillenniuMPLATINUM Member
Hyperloops suck
595 posts
Location: USA


Posted:
Question: Can you dunk a smoldering wick in a paint can of White Gas, or is the flash point too low?

vanizeSILVER Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
3,899 posts
Location: Austin, Texas, USA


Posted:
Jo - I've done exactly what you describe hundreds of times (packing them away just after a burn), with no obvious damage to my kevlar wicks. Even my oldest set of wicks after years of this sort of treatment will still burn for a couple of minutes. I think something else happened to your wicks.

On the other hand, I do think it's a good idea to cool your wicks after a burn. On the third hand, I think it is a bad idea to dunk hot wicks in any type of fuel, regardless of flash point, as the vaporization releases loads of toxic/carcinogenic fumes into the air. Smothering them with a damp (not dripping wet) towel after a burn (even if they aren't aflame anymore) is a good (and much healthier way) too cool them off.

MillennieM - white gas has a low enough voltility that it's vapors will not burn - but just barely. what this means is that you have to heat the liquid high enough to get it to burn since the vapors won't (unlike petrol). So then, if you have a large enough resevour, hot wicks aren't going to light the white gas sinc the liquid's average temp won't rise enough. I've seen poeple dunk hot wicks into white gas lots of times, and never once seen it light. I've seen people dunk lit wicks into white gas several times, and most of the time it extinguishes the flame, but once it did light the fuel in the bucket. No explosion though, and the flames weren't even particularly thrilling, and the whole situation was contained by laying a towel over the bucket for a few seconds.

But, as I mentioned earlier, I am opposed to people dunking hot wicks in any fuel, and this goes doubly for white gas, as its higher volitility makes for a bigger cloud of nasty smelling and very hazardous to your heath fumes. Plus, even though I have never seen white gas alight from hot wicks, I do admit there is a possibility it will happen. It will never, however, forceably "explode". Only fuels with volitile vapors will do that in an open container such as a bucket. Under the right conditions, you may get a nice little initial fireball though...

-v-

Wiederstand ist Zwecklos!


Tom_ShillSILVER Member
enthusiast
213 posts
Location: Brighton, United Kingdom


Posted:
Did the experiment ever get done? I think the best way would be to take a couple of lengths of wicking of a given length, say 6 inches, and roll them up so that they're like poi heads. NYC's flat squares wouldn't allow for internal smouldering, which is what has been said to cause the damge. So I'd take these 2 or 4 or however many heads and dip them, burn them for a given length of time, say 4 mins, then extinguish them. Half of them I'd dunk and half of them I'd leave to smoulder. I'd only do this once per day for a week or a month or however long, then unroll them and see what, if any, differences there are. I think that's the only way you could see what, if any damage is caused internaly by smouldering. I'd also like to add that I won't be conducting this myself because I don't have and can't afford a roll of wicking. Impoverished student and all that...

Will those capable of telekinesis please raise my hand?


FireTomStargazer
6,650 posts

Posted:
what is the point of this discussion?

Smouldering is smouldering and there is something happening with the matter it smoulders... the wick will degrade, faster as if it's not smouldering.

If you don't believe it - leave it. If - do it. It works for me, except before I go on travels, then the smell is just too much and at the airport I would get in trouble with the ground staff (I like to prove them that the wick can't be lit on fire - in order not to get my toys rejected.) so I play to the end and after that cover it in order to stop that shmoulder...

Be prepared that the experiment you talk about may take a few years before significant results occur... wink

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink


jc_firetricksBRONZE Member
enthusiast
205 posts
Location: Brisbane, Australia


Posted:
Just to add fuel to the fire.....


Does the kind of fuel you use to spin with effect the life span of the wicks ?


Eg. Kero vs Firesol/firelight vs Sherlight ect ect...

MokaGOLD Member
is a medium/large scary man
420 posts
Location: Victoria, Australia, Earth, Milky Way...


Posted:
Written by: FireTom


Smouldering is smouldering and there is something happening with the matter it smoulders... the wick will degrade, faster as if it's not smouldering.





Am I the only one that's seeing this grammatical butchery? lol

Contact juggling was invented by dung beetles.


SkulduggeryGOLD Member
Pirate Pixie Crew Captain
8,428 posts
Location: Wales


Posted:
Moka cut the guy some slack. Not everyone on these boards use english as their first language. For some it's their second or maybe even third or forth language.

Feed me Chocolate!!! Feed me NOW!


FIREBOY4209SILVER Member
The lone Fire Spinner
236 posts
Location: Channel islands Jersey UK


Posted:
Written by: NYC


And another thing,

I've been spinning for two years.
I've never cured a wick.
I've never predunked a wick.
I've never dunked a wick after spinning.
I always let my wicks smoulder.

And I've never had a pair of wicks wear out.

So I really don't know what the big deal is.





I kind of agree with NYC on this. I've been spinning for three years and I've never dunked my wicks after a burn and I,ve never had a pair of wicks wear out. All I do is after extinguishing the wick I wrap it in a damp cloth for a few seconds this smouthers and deprives it of oxygen which stops the smouldering. As for dunking I have not seen any evidence that it prolongs wick life, besides I not sure I would feel comfortable walking home a storing wicks that are still partially covered in parrafin which they would be after dunking. confused

To play it safe is not to play


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