Fire training and safety, Steel wool sparkly Poi -...

Fire training and safety, Steel wool sparkly Poi - safety guide

Sparkly Poi

Fire Training - Steel wool sparkly Poi - safety guide


Keywords: Sparkly Poi, Steel Wool Poi, Wire Wool Poi

  Mint Sauce
BRONZE Member since Sep 2003
  Published on 30 Mar, 2008

Ok so having done an extensive search of nearly all the threads containing "wire wool" and "Sparkly poi" respectively

I have come up with a bit of info.
But I have discovered an answer to a common myth :-)

Yes there are lots of sparkly Poi threads but most of them are useless with limited info
And some quite outdated advice that is actually quite dangerous :-)...

What is wool spinning?
Wire wool spinning is spinning of wire gages (usually made of chicken wire) filled with burning wire wool it is very very dangerous as hot lumps of molten metal are spraying out all over the place. :-)

But it does look very pretty. :-)

I have used wire wool a few times and here are my following top 20 tips.

20 tips for sparkly Poi and safety

  • Make sure your cage and chain construction is solid (don't want it falling apart mid spin) good solid Quick Links should be used
  • Make sure the holes in your cage are quite big not too big about 1 to 2 inches (25-50mm) across
  • Use fine grade wire wool it works better. The finer the better
  • Don't pack your cages too tight you need good air flow over the wool for it to work
  • Opposite to above, don't pack it too loose the burning wool won't pass it's burn to the rest of the wool effectively (trial and error to get this right)
  • You don't need to dip, if you do your then it means your cages are badly constructed with not enough air flow.
  • Spin fast but don't do any body-cross moves (rotation flowers etc) (in-fact don't do flowers you don't want the Poi head spinning towards you) (buzz saws are also right out)
  • Don't make your cages too big this will make them heavy and un-wielding
  • Try to make the bottom of your cage round improves air flow over the hot end of the wool
  • In-fact tube shaped is best with no sharp edges to catch on stuff
  • If you want to have longer burn time line your cages with a metal tin can so only the end of the wool burns and the rest feeds down into it as the wool burns away
  • If you do have feed tubes make sure they are smooth or the wool will just snag will not feed into the end of the cages
  • Spin in the open (I mean open, your back yard will not do)
  • Don't spin near any combustible stuff IE the fuel dump, dry ground, cars, people, buildings that sort of stuff. Best done after a good rain shower
  • Keep people and animals well back, like 20 metres+ (you never know what might happen (we once had a head come completely off))
  • Keep all skin and hair well covered ( I got a very bad burn just by one glancing my arm).
  • If stuff does go wrong drop them and walk away. Don't try to put them out they are very very hot if you can drop a very damp towel on them or even better a wool Fire Blanket
  • When you have finished don't try to empty the remains out straight away. Wait for it to cool. The lump in the bottom is semi molten metal and is very hot
  • Empty the remains into a metal tin it will still be hot for a long time (don't want to start any fires now do we :-))
  • Be sure you are a good spinner don't do silly stuff and practice with full cages unlit to get used to the feel of them

Here is a picture of a good design with a feeding tin for longer burn times.
Sparkly Poi with feeding tin

This is just an example showing how important having enough clearance is .
Not enough space, meaning sparks are hitting what looks like a wooden fence and who knows what is on the other side of the fence (may be a cat doing an impression of a dog wwooooooooofffffff)

Always think safety first :-)

Last modified on 8 Apr, 2020


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Comments/replies: 9
Member #6857
Reged: Mar 2004
Post29th Mar 2008 7:27 AM 

I'm fairly certain that many people aren't completely aware of the dangers of spinning steel wool, especially those new to HoP. Like Fire Breathing, spinning steel wool is extremely dangerous, particularly for the careless. For those that choose to spin fire, most know to have a SAFETY, fire extinguisher, blanket, first aid equipment, covered fuel cans, etc. But basic fire safety will only take you so far.

As part of a performing troupe at my uni, I spin quite a bit. Sometimes when we feel the conditions are right, and the mood warrants it, we will spin steel wool. This is undertaken in a parking lot with no cars around. Even still, accidents can occur.

One time, during a filming shoot in the late winter/early spring, a member was spinning wool and some embers that flew off happened to land in the dry leaves/brambles next to the lot. Had someone not noticed that there was light where it should be dark, it was quite possible that there could have been uncontrollable flames.

Full clothing cover is so extraordinarily important I cannot begin to stress it. Most fire spinners know, or should know, that natural fibers are better to where while twirling. This extends even more so for steel wool, as you have embers that burn hotter flying all over the place, some that land places you don't expect, and leave singe marks. My advice...if you're going to do it, cover as much skin as possible...most importantly your hair.

The intensity of the light is another thing to watch out for. Having spun several wire wools myself, even with my eyes shut, and a beanie over my head extending down to my neck and over my eyes, the light was brilliant. Even taking pictures of it leaves the eyes dazzled.

If you're not the one spinning, and are the safety, be ready to douse anything right away, but be sure you're way out of the way of the sparks, because once they start going, they fly extremely far.

And there are of course people that think you can do it anywhere, even in a small courtyard surrounded by buildings, grass, trees and the audience.

I know that it is a spectacle that is amazing to see, but even so, I fear that there are too many people that will simply go and attempt it without stopping to think what they are doing.

Spin Safe hug

kyrian: I've felt your finger connect with me many times
lou kitten: sneaky little meatball..
ezz: please corrupt me more

Member #5027
Reged: Jun 2003
Post29th Mar 2008 7:29 AM 

Use the finest grade wire wool that you can, DON'T dip, and don't light!!!
Sound confusing? well just use a normal household 9V battery, that's what i use, dry wire wool and a 9V it makes an even brighter wall of wool!!!
Don't take my word for it, try it!!

frodo out

passing through, this world still lives.

Member #47877
Reged: Jan 2007
Post15th Apr 2008 3:07 PM 

this is what we caught a field on fire doing in high school...

Do NOT mess around with this if you aren't completely confident.

Likewise, if you aren't a little nervous, you probably aren't approaching it with the right attitude. smile

The only difference between people with tattoos, and people without tattoos, is that people with tattoos, don't care if you're tattooed or not.

Member #71986
Reged: May 2008
Post3rd May 2008 2:01 AM 

So lots of warnings and stuff yes, which is good.

But how about actual safety?

I've been spinning for about a year and a half now and am really interested in giving sparkle Poi a go.

But in terms of clothing, what? (apart from natural fibres)

In particular, the hair and face? A hockey mask and goggles I can see protecting the face, but what about the rest? Is a hooded jumper fine?

Please give more specifics!


Member #83387
Reged: Nov 2008
Post26th Nov 2008 5:35 PM 

does anybody know something about the risk of doing Fire Poi, i meant breathing kerosene or other stuffs?? confused2 weavesmiley

Member #139198
Reged: Sep 2011
Post16th Sep 2011 11:29 PM 

I was just curious if you have any instructional videos on how to create the cage for steel wool bounce2
♫ cam ♫

Member #161205
Reged: Nov 2012
Post13th Nov 2012 4:27 PM 

Can I get a similar effect as this with fire fans??

Member #184683
Reged: Dec 2013
Post8th Jan 2014 2:09 PM 

Look up the boomfan

Member #185089
Reged: Jan 2014
Post21st Jan 2021 3:34 PM 


I’ve spun steel wool Poi a few times. It was a while ago but I have two suggestions I wish you would add to your Fire training and safety- steel wool sparkly Poi guide. For the safety of people who are trying it for the first time please add these. ?

1. Wear a hood / hoodie With the hood up.
- the sparks falling back down from above you can land on you or even go down your collar.

2. Wear safety glasses.
- this one is obvious.
I don’t wear them with normal Poi but with steel wool Poi this is important

Just looking out for the safety of others.



Comments/replies: 9


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