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Any metal will heat up - the fact is that aluminum WILL break - I have seen it. Fireknife may put more stress on the metal though, because the wicks are 10 inch X 2 inch and the fuel is Coleman's. Yes - the blade gets hot, but we've never had it "stick" to skin. Carbonized steel is the only thing we make fireknives out of, after 50 years of experimenting with different metals.
Written by: i have made multiple Staffs out of aluminium
The staff is round though so its alot stronger than a thin flat piece of aluminium masked to LOOK like real metal. Its pretty weak actually, iv had it break in metal work. And im pretty sure there is NOONE good enough to NOT ever drop it
I have issues with moding my machette's. 1 being that iv had them for years, 2 they are sentimental cause i got them from samoa, 3 they are good for cutting grass
Making a sword, now thats something to do before you die! /me adds it to list
I have a genuine question though:
Does anyone know how to measure tang? EDITED_BY: Dr4g0n7 (1115521977)
my friend has some home-made aluminum sowrds, and while the deisgn isnt great and they are heavy, they have an extra lot of wick and his handle is fine... he tookcotton rope i believe, possibly polyester, i am not sure, and wrapped a grip/handle on the bottom 7 or 8 inches or so, and even with all the fire, and the fact that aluminum conducts heat well, it has never heated up too much for him to handle...
but, just from spinning staff enough, anyone who has an aluminum staff will know that after youre done spinning at least 6 inches past your wick is a little toasty... granted the flames actually heat this directly, where as in the sword it will not be direct heat.... but you need to do something for a handle, even if it is just a rope handle... (the smartest, i would think would be a rope handle made of either kevlar rope or leather strapping, though thats just a guess...)
I'm thinking leather wrap might be a Good Thing. Leather is HARD to light on fire. For what it's worth, I've seen some nice looking swords where the grip was wrapped in cord of some kind, and then covered in leather. The texture of the cord showed through the wrapped leather, creating an interesting effect.
"Do not meddle in the affairs of Tower Cranes, for you are soft and would look better when squashed by a full concrete bucket"
not sure that the image will show in here, but if it doesn't, then go to the Gallery Page
This is my first Fire Sword. I now have a second so I can do double sword - just have to learn a few things to do with them
The idea for this came from the Fire Sword described on fireninjas website, with quite a few variations thrown in.
1 m of 19 mm outer diameter 1.2 mm thick aluminium (al) tube 100 mm and 300 mm of 25 mm outer diatmer tube at least 1.6 mm thick al (if your al supplier can do it, get an inner diameter as close to 20 mm as you can - tolerances usually won't let you use a 19 mm inner diameter) 2 x 150 mm square 1.2 mm thick al plate hand shaped to a (very) rough octagon. 995 mm x 16 mm diameter Tasmanian oak dowell. 1 m x 2.5" kevlar wicking. several kevlar wicking offcuts. tennis racket grip a rubber furniture endcap 25 mm inner diameter. Selleys Steel kneed it. electrical tape - green in the photo two thick metal washers inner diameter approx 20 mm (19 if you can get it) araldite (or similar glue) Button head screws (Timber 8-15x15mm) you need at least 5 of these. Bolts - I used BM15 High tensile M5x30mm washers 3/16" (approx 5mm inner) 1 nail masking tape Spool of kevlar thread Metal File and wire brush to clean it
The 1 m length of Al is the main shaft.
take the two shaped flate pates, drill a 19 mm diameter hole in the center, make sure it fits over the shaft - it may need to be enlarged depending on the tolerances.
place one on the work surface, get the kevlar offcuts place them on the plate around the hole, work out the best way to get them to fit. Araldite them to the bottom plate, then araldite the other plate on top, make sure the holes line up. let them dry for a day or so.
This is now your guard piece. The kevlar is for insulation.
place the 10 cm length of al on the shaft, slide a large washer on next. Then the guard, folowed by the second large washer, followed by the 30 cm length. The 30 cm length should be flush with the bottom of the shaft.
check that they all fit together nicely.
use a small bit of kneed it to hold the 30 cm length in place ( make sure you keep an even gap between the two bits of metal if there is a gap) then a bit more for the washer, then the guard, the next washer and finally the 10 cm length
Give the kneed it a day to dry.
Drill 5 roughly evenly spaced holes in line in the shaft between the tip and the guard. Ths hole nearest the guard should be in about the middle of the 10 cm length. These will be the holes for the button head screws so make sure they can fit through the hole. File the rough bits on the holes.
Place the furniture endcap on the hilt end.
Wrap the hilt with the tennis racket grip from flush with the cap up to the guard. Wrap electrical tape around the endings of the grip.
Slide the Oak dowell into the shaft. make sure the base of the dowell is touching the furniture cap, leaving it sunk into the shaft at the tip by about 5 mm.
Drill a 6 mm diameter hole through the complete shaft assembly about 2 cm on either side of the guard. File the roughness from the holes
Put a bolt with a washer through each of these holes. (I have only used these two bolts, I am undecided if I need another at the base of the shaft and hilt - it will depend on how it goes in use over time - so far no problems)
The bolts will hold everything in place including the dowell.
Should you want to, place a bit of "kneed it" in the end of the shaft at the tip to cover the dowell. If you do this make sure you regularly check that it is secure as I have heard from other people that after about a years use it can fall out, hopefully not while in use.
Place the shaft above a piece of paper, mark the locations of the empty holes on it.
Practice wrapping the kevlar around the shaft starting a couple of centimeters above the guard piece. Work out the best angle / fit for you. I found not overlapping the kevlar worked best, so that each time round sat flush with each other, However at the ends there was a little gap at each side.
Because the kevlar is a flat shape and you want it on an angle, fold the end of the kevlar so that the part closest to the hilt is parallel to the guard.
When it is folded over, If you look at it from above there will be some kevlar sticking out from the side, chop this off, but leave the part that is hidden there.
The first screw has to go through the folded over bit of kevlar.
Place the kevlar so the fold is over the hole, use masking tape to hold in place, Wrap the kevlar up the shaft for a few turns, tape in place.
use the nail to push through the kevlar to the hole and the wood.
Take out the nail and screw in a button head screw through the kevlar to the wood (I also used a washer, but I am not sure this is necessary)
Wrap the kevlar a bit further up to the next hole and repeat, until you get to the last hole.
again fold over the end, snip off the overhang and place over the hole and place in the screw.
Get the spool of Kevlar Thread. Tie and wrap around the tip on either side of the screw to help prevent fraying of the kevlar at the ends. Repeat at the guard end (It might not be necessary to do this step, but I fell more comfortable knowing that it will be harder for the kevlar to fray away from the end screws)
Now you have your nice shiny new Fire Sword. It should be balanced about one hand width above the guard - so just in a bit from the tip end of the 10 cm length of al.
It makes a fairly solid sword, and the wood core should mean it is okay for contact during sword fights - note though that I haven't tried this so not sure how well they will hold up.
Some people may find that it is too heavy for them, for me though it is the right weight. To make it lighter you could try pine instead of oak, or thinner al for the handle and the piece that holds the guard in place.
If the balance point is too far up the shaft for you, you could try to move it closer to the guard by putting a bit of weight inside the shaft at the bottom of the hilt.
It can be used one or two handed.
I haven't had any problems with heat transfer and I usually hold the sword fairly colse to the hilt to be nearer the center of balance.
You just have to watch for the flames licking over the guard when pointed down.
Note that the round "blade" makes for a nice light saber effect
As an alternative to wrapping the kevlar, I am thinking of getting about 5ft length of 2.5" kevlar, folding it in half, sewing the edges, with the "tip" (where the fold is) shaped into a triangle point, then push the shaft into the open end of the kevlar, and put in the screws - except you would have to have the screws on both sides of the shaft (slightly offset linearly) This would give a shape like a broadsword. Not sure how this will work, but will give it a try sometime.
In reference to the earlier comment about Al breaking, I believe it has to do with the thickness of the Al.
Just kidding.......you measure from the bottom of the blade to the end of the tang.......ours are usually 5 to 7 inches because fireknives get a lot of stress. We also use a double weld on the hook - one lengthwise and one crossways - this way if it does break (and I've never had one welded this way do so), it'll still be held by the wire and won't fly off into the audience. Carbonized steel is just about the only thing I'd recommend making a fireknife out of......aluminum snaps in half after awhile (our wicks are 10 X 2). Regular stainless steel doesn't break, but it bends easily, which looks pretty lame after a drop.
here's a post I put up on another board recently about wicking up blades for fire...
There are several ways to put wick on a blade: Wrapping, sheathing, back wicking (and more)
Nonoverlapping: The easiest is to wrap the wick around in a non-overlapping fashion. Wick here can be single layer (not recommended for lack of burn time) or folded in half (using 2 inch wick). Pros - maintains the truest form of the blade. Especially good if you've got a oddly shaped blade. Also, the 2 inch wick folded in half seems to put the most wick on the blade. Cons - the tendency of the wick wraps to separate over time, especially if they're not wired or sewn together.
Overlapping: Wrapping the blade like a hockey stick with a single layer of wick. Pros - lack of tendency of wick wraps to separate, increased burn time from single layer non-overlapping. Pros - ok approximation of blade shape. Cons- less burn time than double layer non-overlapping.
Two layer overlapping: Wrapping the blade in a single layer, non-overlapping, up AND down the blade (ie. wrap upwards from pommel to tip, then with the same piece of wick, wrap downwards once reaching the tip). Cons - uses alot of wick, makes the blade bulky and heavy.
Example - haven't made one -too bulky and heavy!
Sewing a permanently attached wick sheath around the blade. Limited by how wide wick you have. Pros : approximates the shape of the blade well. Cons: Short burn time. Lots of stitching required. Wastes wick and creates multiple edges of fraying potential (unless you have a relatively symmetrical blade, like a straight sword, where you can invert the wick edges and unroll it like a condom
wrapping wicking solely on the back of the blade. Generally, a double layer of 2 inch or 4 inch works well. Having holes in the blade to wire/sew the wick to works ok. Pros: leaves the blade free for Contact Sword fights. Cons: Very dangerous to both the blade wielder and opponent. EDITED_BY: howwoward (1149953240)
noice guide - an excellent contribution to the online fire community. it's nice to see another person's approach to wicking weapons. personally, i find that * re-enforcing with an unobstructively thin twine bears the brunt of wear from weapons contact. my swords have lasted years on the same double layer fo wicking. * experimenting with wick wrapping styles, i am only satisfied with a diagonal pattern, there's no stitching needed, and provides the most consistent wicking, so the swords always go out at exactly the right time,given the right swift movement. inconsistent wicking causes the flames to look funny at the final stages during a burn.
your guide is excellent, well illustrated, you should be proud of yourself, howward! respect! b
thanks for the props, bender - I actually just re-wicked my double broadswords because they had been initally wicked in the "non-overlapping" fashion and the wick turns had started to separate from each other at the tips of the sword despite wiring.
I'd love to use thin twine - sounds safer than 22 gauge bailing wire - does it hold up to burning? Is it cotton or kevlar?
I've also taken to stitching the wick wraps together with Kevlar Thread, especially as the sword begins to taper to a point - seems to hold up a bit better.
one other thought about making a "contact" surface so you can smash your swords against another. I've been playing around with covering the "contact" edge of the normal wicking with copper tubing (like copper water tubing, cut lengthwise), and wiring it on - prevents the wicking itself from taking the impact (and possibly shredding). What do y'all think?
Here's an example EDITED_BY: howwoward (1149953132)
Ok Guys abd Gals, Ive just read all of that thread (thanks for the Ideas and giving me somthing to do with my time at work)
My Fire Sword is a about between 3 and 4 feet long (im at work and its at home so its a guess) of alumin tubeing that I use for staff's... I was put into a Vice and flattened to an oval shape. the wick was attached via wire and a hole at the pointy end and at the cross guard its attached with a alumin hose clap, that also holds my Leather guard that sheilds my hand from flame coming up the blade if held blade down. The grip is tennis grip, and inside the tubeing at the handle end is wooden dowling to add to the weigh/ballance and to stop hot gas's heating up the handle. Also I have attached a Heavy Pomell from an ornimentle sword I have to Ballance the sword so that the balance point is located between middle and forfingers when gripping the sword. This makes it Very light when ballanced like this and easy to proform finger spins, throws (as the spinning axis is all handle) and more Staff like movements.
Just a Note for Fire Sword use... KEEP THEM MOVEING.... I learnt that to late... now i only use it with a firesuite...
Okay, this I know a little about. For my flexable tai chi sword that I use for fire, I made an alloy of mostly alumnium then I melted down a small amount of 1070 carbon steel to give it a bit more stegnth and so that it would streigten out when I made the blade flex dramatically. From there I took 1in kevlar tape and spiraled it around the blade keeping it spaced then rivited it all together every few inches to keep it flexable.
It accually works rather well even though it was mearly a prototype that I'd been working on just to see how I could make a sword that could flex.
On Uk knife law etc, while I do not claim to have any particular understanding of uk law, the group that I 'run' do have a very good working relationship with the local police, whom have on occaision come down to see what we do.
All the fire meets are called into the local police and fire, and on any one particular night there will be various fire performance kit in use including fire knifes, whip chain, Fire Swords, broad swords, katanas, artical pyrotechnics (read as stage pyrotechnics) and for occaisional technical rehearsals cat 3 outdoor fireworks. as well as the more regular fire kit. I think however that fact that I have public liability insurance, risk assessment(s), qualifications in pyrotechnical devices, safety equipment, and qualified first aiders on site probably helps.
Invader XanSILVER Member Your friendly neighbourhood mad scientist
479 posts Location: Over the hills and far away, United Kingdom
Ok guys, aluminium is a bad material for making Fire Swords. Trust me, I'm a materials scientist.
Aluminium, when it gets hot, it gets weak. When it gets weak, it can bend, snap, or even tear. The Aluminium alloys used in aircraft are impressively strong, but they only work well below certain temperatures. When they get hot, it damages them, and they become as weak as regular cheap aluminium (or even weaker in some cases).
Steel is heavy, but it's not going to break as quickly. Besides, I don't know if you've ever picked up a real broadsword, but they're ridiculously heavy.
Incidentally, I don't see why you need to destroy a real sword by drilling holes in it. When it's on fire, who's going to notice if it's just a big pipe with kevlar wrapped around it?
An idea I had was to get a long flat piece of steel (perhaps a thick metre rule), cut some holes in it and stitch kevlar wicking around the outside, with stitches through the holes. The edges would probably need a little welded reinforcement, but I think it's a start.
Plus, less metal means less heat being stored inside the blade. Use a cool fuel like kero and it shouldn't be too hot to handle.
"Love the art in yourself and not yourself in the art." --Konstantin Stanislavisky
Well Xan, in terms of not noticing a big pipe verses a converted sword, I must beg to differ. You're right in that there isn't all that much of a morphological difference between a big pipe and a straight sword, but when you get to the chinese broadswords, or hookswords, there is a difference. In addition the taper of the handle of the swords gives much of a different feel than hanging on to a pipe. Finally, there's some pyschological advantage to holding on to a real sword. Reminds one not to swing the sword like a wicked up club.
I agree, drilling holes in swords isn't a good idea in general. One can usually only drill holes through cheaper metals - the high carbon ones are much more difficult to drill through, even with a cobalt/titanium bit and a drill press. It's sometimes easier to use a predrilled 9 ring broadsword.
In terms of flame temps, take a look at Tedward's NAFAA site for a good table of flame temps with various fuels and wick types. (Unfortunately, there's isn't an entry yet for Kero