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Posted: "Centre stick" would refer to the devil stick that is spun, I'd guess. I know nothing at all about devilsticks, but silicone is heat resistant as far as I'm aware, doesn't burn especially easily, you'd want to test it beforehand though because there are different varieties of silicone...
Would it be good to use for devilstick? No idea, but I don't think it'd be hugely difficult to remove if you don't like it.
Posted: There are different kinds of silicone that are readily available, and, though heat-resistant, some of them are flammable - as in, scarily easy to ignite. I have these baking mats that are silicone, built to withstand the heat of an oven for long periods of time, so I thought I'd see how it held up under more.... fiery circumstances. I barely had a match to the corner of a small strip I cut before it was aflame. You *don't* want that near your person.
If you're making your own equipment (which I usually do, so I'm in favor of the idea), you owe it to yourself to do thorough tests with any material you plan to use. However, the baton doesn't really have to be grippy - the handsticks will do the work, and since the handsticks are in contact with heat and flame much less often during a devilsticking session, it's better to have the silicone on them rather than on the baton, which will be in close contact with fire for the duration. As long as you're using a metal baton (or wood with foil tape on, grippy handsticks should have no problem with it... Still, it's always better to find out your materials are dangerous under controlled circumstances rather than while they're flying near your hands.
Good tests include using a sample with flame (remembering that a baton will be touching fire for several minutes - even if you use a metal collar or buffer zone under the wick, the flames will easily lick up when it's vertical), testing a sample with your fuel of choice, as Bender suggested, and, if you're using adhesive of some sort, making a test stick to approximate the baton just to ensure your adhesive doesn't go all nutsy.
Good luck! (If might be easier to buy fire devilsticks that are at least made to be safe - I've not yet built a homemade set of fire sticks I'm happy with.)
Posted: Mucky, I can't fault your approach on equipment safety!
being that most of my staff twirling technique is 'free spinning' based, i employ little contact (2 or 3 moves in a typical routine) to really be too concerned with upgrading my handle grips - though I do recognise the benefit for other types of moves like throws.
My handles typically slip after a bit of contact with firewater fuel, what do u guys use as a fuel-resistant adhesive for the handles?
Posted: Bender, if you're talking full-length (~48" or longer) staff, I assume your grips are only a small portion of that length.... On mine, at least, and on others I've seen, that grip has been well far enough away from the flames (unless you have enormous wicks) that just a good heat-resistant glue is more than adequate... The problem with devil sticks is that a grip coating would have to be flush with the wick (or very close) to be of any use, so it would have to withstand much higher temperatures and, when vertical, direct flame.
For my staff, I just use tennis racket grip tape secured with duct tape, and I haven't had any problems. Additionally, my staff (and the devilsticks I've thrown together) have been a wood staff with aluminum foil tape, and I have not yet experienced any problems from heat or fuel with the adhesive on the tape.
Posted: If you do make something like that, please let us know the materials/methods you used! As I've not yet managed to make a set of firesticks I've really liked, I'm considering buying a set, but I usually prefer to make my own.
Posted: It really depends what grade of silicone you use. The harder the silicone the less grippy it is, but also the more durable it becomes.
Me and a friend have experimented with different grades and types, our favourite when weighing up cost, durability and grip is beading silicone. It's the stuff you get in tubes from hardware stores for edging your bath or shower. It comes out liquid so it helps if you wet your finger when you rub it on to get a smooth finish.
Make sure you buy silicone though, we once bought a cheaper substitute that does the same for beading but was rubbish for grip.