Forums > Technical Discussion > fire snakes for throwing and contact

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20 posts

I'm thinking of making some fire snakes and was wandering if anyone has any ideas about designing them?
I have recently started doing a lot of throws and a bit of contact poi, so i want to make them with weighted handles. I've had a few ideas but i also have a few concerns...
My original idea was just to make standard rope snakes with a knot of some form of each end, probably monkey fist, and set the whole thing on fire and wear kevlar gloves, and possibly even make some kevlar sleeves for the contact stuff. Has anyone had any experience with the gloves? I know they're suitable for juggling but i'm concerned that the prolonged contact with fire caused by holding the flaming handles will set the gloves alight. I have similar concerns about the sleeves. I was thinking of making these with tubular wick, but i'm not sure if this will just set on fire too?
Also has anybody tried any contact moves with ropes? or even hyperloops/airwraps? do they interact nicely?
This brings me on to my other thought... instead of using ropes, attempting to make some fire sock poi, using tubular wick again, and again with the intention of setting the whole thing alight. Does anyone have any idea if this will work? or how i could make the heads for these? i'm not sure if placing more wick inside each end (eg a monkey fist) will make the flame last longer/burn brighter at the ends?
If anyone has any experience or ideas with any of these points i'd greatly appreciate some help.
Thanks in advance,

TotalEclipseGOLD Member
120 posts
Location: Nr Petersfield, United Kingdom

I haven't used the gloves myself, but they have to be wet when you use them. When they dry, you have to stop. I suspect they'd dry pretty quickly constantly holding a burning rope...I think the only reason that the fire juggling balls work is that you don't spend much time holding them with the gloves.

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

Also if the gloves were dry and you were holding the rope for a while, might not some of the fuel in the rope soak into the kevlar gloves which could then catch fire?

To play it safe is not to play

Likes trees...
209 posts
Location: Cape Town, South Africa

What about the possibility of steam burns if the gloves are wet?

'n Boer maak 'n plan.

20 posts

hmmm... though as much, i think flaming handles are out of the question then. I suppose i'll have to try and join some handles with chains or something...

entheogenentheogenGOLD Member
173 posts
Location: Berlin, Germany

Ive seen footage somewhere of someone doing hyperloops with snakes. It looks really cool but probably ruins the toy faster.

'There are two mantras in life, yum and yuk. I choose yum.'

MordfabrikSILVER Member
31 posts
Location: Edmonton, Canada

I do something very similar to what you're describing with holding the rope itself directly when on fire, but with the whip i'm only holding the tip to double it up and perform various spinning moves. No more than 20-30s average..

I'm using a pair of welding gloves which are treated with a flame retardant waterproofing over top (one of the biggest problems with this sort of thing is the glove absorbing enough fuel to burn in itself, ouch!) and kevlar liners on the interior. The glove does not burn uness exposed excessively (havent managed to seriously burn a pair yet), although it does deteriorate if exposed to flame too long over a period of weeks, and you have to go get new gloves..

I can hold the rope for about 45 seconds before the heat buildup becomes too much for me, past that the gloves are also likely to become overwhelmed. If you were to do something similar, but soak the interior in water, you could probably go longer.. But it seems impractical, and i'd tend to agree with the notion to stray away from trying the direct fire contact thing for an exposed period like that = )

KatrinaKatrinaGOLD Member
352 posts
Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom


Please don't use wet kevlar gloves, using wet anything that will be in contact with fire WILL cause steam burns, put something hot against something wet and you get very hot steam. Don't do it! I think even wetting the insides of your welding gloves would be a bad idea, if they're begining to heat up your hands after a while they'll be heating up the water too.

If you do buy kevlar gloves go for the heaviest weight you can get. I bought some lightweight ones as the metal on my fans was getting too hot when I played with them, I ended up having to get a second pair to wear over them as the first didn't stop the heat at all.

You can actually buy kevlar sleeves. I've not used them for wraps but when I tangeld poi around my arms they kept the heat off nicely and didn't catch on fire smile
EDITED_BY: Katrina (1161384716)

One day i'll learn to resist gravity...

zamiriizamiriiBRONZE Member
44 posts
Location: South Florida, USA

not tried the kevlar sleeves.. all i've been using so far is a heavy-weight long sleeved 100% cotton Tee. I tend to like to do wraps around my biceps and sometimes let the poi set on top for a second or two. i haven't noticed any damage to the shirt.. and not to myself (at least on my upper arms -- I refuse to comment about my mental state) wink

Every Day I add another name to the list of people who piss me off

1 post
Location: derby

i have a pair of fire snakes with a knot at both ends, but i have handles and about 2 inches of connections between them and my hands(swivel, quicklink, keyring, knot). the knot is a monkeys paw knot. they do singe the backs of your hands a bit with no gloves and i recently burnt my wrist slightly while doing an arm-wrap, so im looking for a pair of long gloves(any suggestions for shops?)

MotleyMotleyGOLD Member
434 posts
Location: UK

Ive had limited experience with snakes but there are one or two things to look out for.

Firstly in terms of doing airwraps/hyperloops you will face problems if the rope is too thick, i made some with 1" rope with knots in each end and they arnt flexible enough to do wraps with. I'd recommend using thinner ropes with monkey fists or some other knot at the end. Not spun them myself but chutneys new ones look very nice. They dont have flaming handles though (although they are counterbalanced for throws/contact stuff).

You can buy kevlar sleeves from somewhere like this although I cant say ive used them myself yet. Pretty sure dunc used to have some so he might know more. Would have thought they are ok for wraps and a bit of contact but with prolonged contact with fire they would get pretty hot.

I bought my gloves from lakeland (!1800_10774 ), I know Guy (lazyangel) uses these as well for his snakes and for catches with normal fire poi. If you really need to wet them to stop your hands getting too hot I think youve got problems anyway so I wouldnt bother. If its too hot to hold without wetting them the water will only delay the inevitable and as mentioned you may have additional problems of steam. Not sure how they would perform if you were going to hold anything long term that is on fire though. I think it would be pretty difficult to find something you could do that with that isnt very restrictive to movement either, let me know if you do!

Hope this helps


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