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casually noob tech poi spinrar Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Total posts: 155
Posted:The local group that I spin with keeps fuel in a standard fuel container - the sort you can usually buy at a gas station or hardware store, that are made of red plastic or red painted steel. In Australia at least, and presumably elsewhere in the world they should have some sort of local standards for fuel containers, yo. I've seen people keep small amounts of fuel in all sorts of containers, ranging from a camelbak bottle (fire breather) to plastic jugs, waterproof tupperware, solvent storage bottles (like the sort they sell on HoP), normal plastic bottles, and in paint cans. In large amounts, usually they'll be in those couple of hundred litre drums.
In terms of fueling your poi, any sort of container that won't react with the fuel you're using (which should be pretty much anything, unless you're crazy and using some strange fuel) that can also fit both of your poi, preferably snugly so that you don't have to pour a lot at a time, assuming that you're only setting up for yourself. For groups usually people seem to like buckets - plastic or steel, and I've used those 60L rectangular plastic storage box things before too. Some people like to dunk their poi in and soak, other peeps like to scoop up fuel in a cup or something and pour it over their poi (or they might have to if it's something like a fire sword).
I think the most compact setup would be a fueling bucket or similar thing that just fits your pair of poi, with a sturdy handle attached to it, a fuel container that can fit inside this bucket and a funnel. Pour the fuel into the bucket, soak your poi, pour the remaining fuel back into the container via the funnel, then, gripping the bucket and poi chains so that the wicks don't touch the bottom of the bucket, swing them around in big circles to recover the excess fuel (ie. a spin-off + fuel recovery to prevent spitting and save you monies). If you don't want to take extra steps, you could add in a second spin-off container so you don't have to pour the fuel back into the container twice.
Best setup for fire poi? Very very subjective thing there imo. Anyways here's my take on things.
Wick/Poi head: I prefer, and would strongly recommend Isis, Moonblaze or Inferno type wicks. They're all made from knotted/stitched/braided (not sure what the right word is, sorry) kevlar, which results in more surface area and are pretty large. Basically you get big flames, and generally decently long burn times To put things in perspective, HoP's Twista fire poi are Moonblaze type wicks, made from a circle stitch/knot using kevlar tape wick, and the large size gets around 5 minutes burn time using kero and firesol, and that's on the shorter end of the scale. Monkeyfists don't really cut it imo, because of the low surface area to volume ratio (compared to the Isis or inferno types) which seems net long burn times but dinky, small flames, and rolled wick is a monstrosity that should be left for staves, and wands and fans for similar reasons, with the addition that it's even worse in terms of SA:V. Cathedral wicks I have no real opinion on, having never used them on fire and only having seen them in action once. They seem okay, if a little bit light for my tastes.
Leashes: Avoid ball chain - sure you can have a chain made of swivels, but these things are evil. Not as strong as oval link chain, not welded together, and you can't really tell when it's going to break on you. Either use chain mail leashes, or oval link chain. Important to note that you should be using chains with welded links, because butted links can open up over time, especially under loading while heated up. Personally I don't like the HoP 3.2mm twisted oval link, and I use 2mm chain from Firemecca (dimensions are the diameter of the steel rod making up each link).
Swivels: I like to put one at the wick, and one at the handle. Personal thing, I reckon. Having swivels makes the chain less homogenous, which results in a different feeling that can also mess with tosses.
Handles: Again very subjective, I use double PX3 knobs, weighted with washers and attached to a swivel an inch or two below the knobs by means of double stranded paracord or colecord. I can do tosses, and grip comfortable cord without having to lose the use of the swivels like you do with embedded ones. The cord (cause it's synthetic) has a risk of melting if you expose it to the flames (hot metal parts) for too long, but so far I, and all the other peeps I know who are using this setup haven't encountered any real problems (and colecord/paracord is easily replaceable)
Attachment Hardware: I use split rings from firemecca that are rated to 220lbs, as well as smaller split rings that I can't recall the rating of, but are similar to the size of a size 10 swivel ring (or 10mm in diameter to get to the point) that are rated to a similar amount of force, if not stronger. I believe they're used in commercial fishing, and you can get them from fishing/tackle stores. From what I've read on various forums, peeps seem to be against using split rings in fire poi because they can pull open, but these aren't your average key ring sort. The firemecca split rings I had to lever open using a flat head screwdriver, and the 10mm split rings I have resorted to using a pair of bolt cutters as a wedge to pry open. They're rated to pretty damn heavy loads, and I check them prior to heading out for a burn, so honestly I don't feel that there is any safety issue to using them. Quicklinks I dislike, because the locking sleeve only has a small amount of thread to tighten on, and I've found that the vibrations from normal spinning tend to loosen the knut/sleeve and I have ended up with an open quicklink in the middle of a burn, which isn't fun. This happens often unless I tighten the quicklink with a pair of pliers, but I find that actually distorts the link and makes it not quite oval anymore. In addition, the shape and bulk of a quicklink is pretty uncomfortable (when it's at the handle end) and combined with their annoying and mildly concerning tendency to not remain tight rules them out in favour of split rings for me. If I had a welder, and I didn't occasionally change out parts of my setup I would probably use welded solid rings.
Attaching them all together: Starting from the poi head, my ideal setup goes: poi head with an integrated size 10 swivel -> firemecca split ring -> welded 2mm oval twist chain -> size 7 swivel -> handle setup. Note that where the swivel attaches to the chain, ideally you would remove the solid ring from that end of the swivel and attach the split ring to the hole where the solid ring originally was. I like to have the larger firemecca split ring at the wick, because it's easier to open and thus change out your wicks if you need/want to, and the smaller one at the handle to make the connection smoother and more streamlined. As I mentioned before, if I had a welder I would cut open the swivel ring at the handle and attach that to the chain (then weld shut) like the HoP pro series chain instead of using a split ring.
All in all, minimal hardware, streamlined connections where your hands are at (even if you wrap around your hands), swivels to prevent twisting (which larger wicks will cause), light, smooth chain, handles that are comfortable and enable tosses, and large flames with >4 minutes of burn time. In other words, ideal in my opinion.
"If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error."