Tiki Oil?

topic posted Tue, July 25, 2006 - 8:27 PM by  FireBird
Ok, I just want to know if Tiki Oil with Citronella will work for fire spinning purposes? Will it ruin my poi/ wicks? How long does it last if tiki oil does work? Or should I just stick to lamp oil? What do you think? I greatly appreciate all your help. :-)
posted by:
New York City
  • Unsu...
    Trying to keep the bugs away in style??
    It's super stinky, but it'll do.
    • Naw, we have a really big project that takes two gallons of the stuff every time we light it up. 4 minutes later and there isn't a bug for miles... :)
      • Now this, I want to hear more about. If there is a mosquito in the surrounding couple of miles, he is going to FIND me. Apparently my blood is addictive.
  • I actually started spinning with tiki torch fuel (without the Citronella) because it was pretty cheep (way cheaper than lamp oil) and i was still quite intimidated to play with white gas at the time (until I finally used it and now LOVE the stuff)... anyways...we had stopped somewhere to by some tiki fuel one night and all they had was the Citronella stuff, so we bought it and took it for a was AWFUL! SOOOOOO stinky...the smell lingered on us for hours, and on our poi for weeks! It also gave off a lot of black smoke, and left a lot of soot everywhere, too. Sure, it did the job, and it got a decent burn time...but if you ask me, I'd stick with lamp oil. Once I used lamp oil for the first time, I realized how much better it is than tiki fuel, and I never went back to the tiki me it's worth the extra money. However, I mostly use white gas with poi. I only use lamp oil if I need the extra burn time, and then it's a mixture of the two.
  • sooty fuels aren't that bad, but they do decrease your odds of getting Sweet Sweet Lovin' after a burn.

    on a slightly more serious note, when you are done spinning with kero or heavy oils, the wicks are smouldering and giving off smoke, right? That's the insides burning a little. Suffocate the wicks by holding a duve blanket or wet towel around them tightly until they stop smoking. That internal burning is what decreases the life of your wicks, espically if you are using hybrid wicks or other cotton-packed devices.
    • Unsu...
      Decreases the life of your wicks by how much?
      How long does an average wick last anyway?
      • I thought you were the one who told me to "put out" smoking wicks by smothering them in a blanket?
        It's not emperical or anything, but I rationalized this behavior by observing how the interior of the wics showed burnination. White gas seems to only burn on the outside of the wick, leaving the interior looking virginal. Heavier oils and the like seem to burn on the inside as well, which corresponds to the smouldering. Then I guessed that the insides turning into charcoal wouldn't hold fuel as well, and also would probably break up and fall apart earlier.

        It's not scientific, but then again, I'm not a real scientist.
        • Unsu...
          It may have been me, but unlikely for any life extending blah dee blah, more to be polite with icky smokey wicks. The smokey schmoulder is just the combustion of the fuel and it's addatives. White gas burns more completely than the oils, and is less smokey by it's very nature.

          If your using kevlar or hybrid materials it's all wicking out to the surface to burn, if you're using towell it'll burn through, which is why we use it when we do, so that it becomes a single use wick (traveling wicks)

          I've opened wicks 5+ years old, the insides looking pristine.

          When people talk about extending the life of their wick, I always wonder how long do they want them to last. I've been doing this for a little bit, most of my wicks have been stolen (borrowed forever) or in a car that was broken into or stolen (an unbelievable 6 times) ... before the wicks got old, however the oldest pair I had was 5 years, and they were still in great shape.

          Staves and clubs ... and drumsticks are a different thing entirely - once you add friction to this dealeo it's a whole 'nother mater. I don't get much lie out of "drumsticks".
        • Well, a hybrid can last 50-100 burns depending on luck and care. If it starts smouldering, chances are, it will keep doing so until it burns out and empties. Then you just have the kevlar shell.

          For hybrids, specifically, white gas does seem to promote long life, though I disagree when it comes to straight kevlar. I think that virgin kevlar can be found inside just about any wick, no matter the fuel.... so long as it hasn't burnt through the top few layers, too....
          • Thank you everyone for all the info. I greatly appreciate it. And it was so helpful. Someone mentioned using a wet towel as an improv if you don't have a duvy fabric. Is that true? Does a wet towel really work? Thank again for all your help. :-)
            • I prefer the term "damp" towel. If your towel is literally dripping with water, then the oil might form up on the surface of the water and get carried away. A nice damp towel is both just as effectiveas duvy, and provides rudimentory first aide. the only real downside is that they get moldy if you just toss 'em in your kit afterwards...
    • While it's a good safety practice to smother your wicks after every burn just in case there's a wayward spark somewhere, this does not significantly improve the life of your wicks, if at all. In fact, by insulating the wick, you may be holding in heat and causing them to deteriorate faster.

      What *does* extend the life of your wicks very effectively is quenching them in fuel immediately (after smothering in a damp towel). This is safe with lamp oil or tiki torch oil, but would be sketchy with white gas (not that I've ever tried) because the hardware on your wicks will be above the flashpoint for white gas. Hell, our daytime temperatures are above the flashpoint.
      • the flashpoint on lamp oil is only 200 degrees. The hardware could easily get above that....

        Frankly I'd worry a LOT more about getting to the autoignition temperature (the temp at which it will light without spark or flame). Those generally aren't listed on the MSDS, but from subjective evidence, I'd say Lamp oil is the more dangerous.

        Evidence: During hard, repeated use of a torch, we've had several cases of lamp oil igniting by hitting the hot metal parts, but never a case with white gas. It could be just the way the two fuels are used, and I can't think of a time when we held out breath waiting for the white to ignite, so quite subjective.
        • I would just like to point out that I am quite impressed that Sam used "burnination' and "virginal" both in the same post. :)
        • That's food for thought. I hadn't given any consideration to the auto-ignition temperature; I'm aware of the flashpoint for lamp oil, but I've considered that acceptable (based on exactly zero empirical evidence, I admit). Checking around, I see the autoignition temp for white gas is 257°C, and 216°C for lamp oil. So you're right: lamp oil is a greater risk for auto-ignition, although both those temps are pretty high.

          I have only my own anecdotal evidence to go by, but after, well, a lot of burns where the average time between going out and quenching in lamp oil is ~20 sec, I've never had an incident.

          Aside: doing a search for "autoignition temperature white gas" and the first two results returned by Google were firedancing-related sites.
          • Kinda makes me wonder if the longer the chain of hydrocarbon, the closer the flash point and autoignition points get.....

            Yeah, i spotted that as well. It's weird how those things work. I'm interested in seeing the constituent breakdown of the camp fuel listed on that canadian site, though.
          • adam, if you quench with oil, does that mean that you leave unburnt fuel in your wicks between burns?

            does not such a practice make for 1. messy transport, and more importantly 2. the possibility for the fuel to find anohter ignition source (i.e., sitting in trunk of hot car - reaching flash point, some random spark, etc)

            i've never seen a fire artist quench, and all the tools i have been around have lasted a long time - except the hybird wicks - those just dont seem to last as long as the kevlar-only wicks
            • Yeah, Thought of that myself.

              Here's what bugs me. The flame heat temps that we did clearly showed temperatures well in excess of 300 degrees which means the hardware has GOT to be getting above that level in 5 minutes. Is it possible that a snuffed wick loses heat that fast?

              They guy that talked me into spinning use to extinguish his wicks in liquid kerosene (not snuff them first). Dangerous and stupid, and it eventually bit him, but the point is, he got away with it for so long. I watched him do it, literally, dozens of times.

              Could it be that the time he spend putting the wicks IN wasn't enough heat to vaporize the liquid, despite being above the ignition temperature?
              • I've heard of people doing that, but never seen anybody actually do it. I imagine that if you can immerse them quickly and precisely enough, you'll avoid the vapor phase. Something that might be interesting to try under very controlled circumstances, but not something I'd want to try tired from a hard burn with sweat in my eyes and big, flaming wicks.
                • Exactly, he was using short chains, standing -over- an open bucket, 4" terry cathedrals, and was probably a little high. {shudder} Any wonder where I got the inspiration for NAFAA?

                  My thoughts are that, yes, not enough to get to the vapor phase. But the time that bit him was some unforseen external factor: slightly higher elevation, a sudden barometric shift, hotter night, different fuel, lint in the bucket, or several factors at once. Any of those things alone could have induced a vapor puddle in the bucket, and if he bumped the edge of the bucket and caused the wicks to linger above the liquid, or even heat up the bucket (metal, of course), plus the flame already on the wick, that could have totally caused the accident.

                  this is why I got on my safety kick. there's a big difference between standing on a brick building and standing on a straw one. You CAN stand on either, but you're just begging for a problem on the straw. Same for fire safety. Yes, he got away with dousing his wicks in fuel, but the wide variety of things that not only /could/ go wrong, but were also likely to happen were much greater for him than someone who regularly extinguishes their wicks *before* putting them in the fuel. He stood on the straw house.

                  And this is where Riz and I always get into it. Yes, if you KNOW what you're doing, a straw house can be safe. But if someone is stumbling around on one, an accident is waiting to happen. So, we show the audience a brick house instead, and if someone tries to stumble through a replicated routine on their own, at least they have the brick house to stand on (visible safeties, not extinguishing in fuel, etc).
            • "does that mean that you leave unburnt fuel in your wicks between burns?" -- Generally, yes. If for some reason I don't want to have wet wicks to deal with, I can leave them unquenched after my last burn of the night, but for the most part, I quench even then.

              "messy transport?" -- Not really a problem. I always detach my wicks at the end of the night, put them in an empty, covered tub, and unload my kit at home. They're really not in the car long enough to stink it up, and once home, they're not much more of a fire risk than a bottle of lamp oil in its original packaging. I think.

              I started doing it is as an experiment, and I've been impressed at how long my wicks stay new-ish. This is all pretty vague, but I'd say they stay very close to new for at least 30 burns; once they start fraying, other mechanical factors mean that they start aging faster, quenching or no. My current set has well over 100 burns in them, and do have some fraying, but less than I'd expect for their age.
              • Not to pick a fight, but those numbers sound pretty normal to me for un-quenched wicks (not emperical either), except hybrids. while I agree that getting heat off the wick material seems like the best way to increase lifespan, i think other factors like wraps, BttF trails, and smacking them on the groud to put them out are bigger factors than quenching ever would be. Also, the speed at which you re-light your wicks... if you burn 7 times a night, your wicks will have a shorter life (in number of burns) than those burnt only once a night. Now, the quenching may change that for those who burn multiple burns....
                • I agree that mechanical friction probably contributes more to wear than smoldering (and I tend to be easy on my wicks in that regard). But hey, you can get your hands on a pair of wicks to experiment with pretty easily, I bet--try it yourself for a while. I'd be surprised if you didn't notice a difference, and I'd be interested in hearing your results either way.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.
                    Frankly, I'd like to get a shop and a poi spinning machine to do som labe tests on this. Get two wheels that can get poi heads spinning at 120rpm then run them 20 times a night for five nights, 5 times a night for 20 nights, then once a night for 100 nights. Then repeat the whole thing with a different fuel, repeat with quenching, repeat with hybrid wicks, etc. Basically get some hard data on the point like what we did with the flame trials.

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