All members may post questions here. Anyone who feels they can give a clear and complete answer should post a new topic and answer the question elsewhere.
--OK first of all how do I get a pyrotechnician's license; i.e. where do I go to get what books and where do I take the test?
How about a tutorial on how to read and understand a MSDS sheet. I've tried to help write some safety stuff here, but MSDS sheets confuse the crap out of me. A good rundown of Flash point, Vapor information, toxic ratings, or some insight as to what OSHA's bizarre secret codes mean.
If it's to much to ask for a general rundown on organic chemistry, if someone could take a useful MSDS (like say, zenstoves.net/MSDS/ultra-pureLampoil.pdf ) and decypher useful parts, that'd be cool too.
Good one.. (and appropriately posted :)
I know a few of the items, like flash point, but not all of them. Any chemists out there?
I recently started eating fire. The torches I've used were homemade, not fancy, but did the job quite well. I no longer have access to them, however.
Can you suggest ways of constructing fire eating torches? Whether to use kevlar wick or braided fire cord or a thin fire rope? How to attach the kevlar so that it is secure and so that no metal is exposed, etc? They don't seem difficult to make and I much rather make than buy.
You might get a quicker responce by posting this in Fire arts education...
I can help out with the biology section of the MSDS, and some of the chemi. Maybe it would be a good idea to post a sample MSDS and we can help you go through it.
I have been looking for an outdoor alternative to my indoor propane fire ring jump. First, I need to find wick. I have found various prices. I also found a suggestion to try JC Whitney and use the stuff they wrap around mufflers. My jump is rather large and I am not sure how much I actually need to accomplish a good fire effect. Please advise. I only have a week and a half to get this done and I am very new to this.
My current jump is free standing, I have to also come up with an idea for this as well. I can send a photo of my current jump if that helps.
Tracy, this is not a very frequent issue amongst fire performers. Perhaps one of the larger tribes would yeild better results. The FAQ is designed to address common issues that MOST performers run across and new members to the community tend to ask all the time.
Is that a ring of fire that you jump through? If so try wrapping the ring in moderate to heavy guage steel wool. It keeps propane rigs from blowing out. Also seen here.
And who's that Geek with the big wicks in the pictures section? :P
On very basics of safety:
i've been playing with fuego for years and have been around many seasoned fire players. this weekend i witnessed my first tragedy when a friend lit up his poi in a non-designated spin area (e.g. no wet blankets, no spotter, etc.) and wearing a synthetic shirt which caught on fire. he should be coming home from the hospital today.
can someone post a comprehensive list of very basic safety info such as:
~ what safety equipment should be on site (e.g. wet wool blankets, fire extinguishers, spotters, first aid kit, water, etc...) and what to do with the equipment.
~ what spotters should be looking for and when and how to react (e.g. cotton pants with a quick spark can be put out by spinner, but other contact ignitions need immediate intervention.)
~ what fabrics should *never* be worn while playing with fire.
~ how many spotters to have on site (eg- one or two to help victim, a third and possibly 4th for crowd control.)
any basic posts like this could be very helpful to a lot of people.
it wasn't pretty to watch this tragedy and any info that could minimize the possibility of this happening for others would be great. (Ted, don't you have a general safety website? if so, maybe post a link to it as a "recommendation" in this tribe.
hope all had a blast at brc & thanks in advance for your responses to this post.
Here ya go...
The real problem with getting too specific with safety is that every venue, every outdoor location, and every environment is different. Then, each crowd is also different, though, sometimes you can narrow it down by types (drunk, tripping, experienced, virgin, kids, etc). Also, there's a little bit of discrepancy about whether some equipment is necessary, afordable, or even safe to use.
Here's a quick example: many people like the convenience of CO2 extinguishers because they can be used many times before refilling, and don't leave a residue. However, some medical professionals say that the cold of the expanding gas can aggravate a burn, making them -less- safe for use on humans.
I encourage you to join NAFAA, help with the regs project, and pitch in your opinions for the next re-write of the codes. but, in the end, all the safety info you will every read is opinion. Some may be backed up by research, some not; some complete in scope, most will never be "complete" though....
thanks ted, everyone in our troupe now has a copy of the nafaa guidelines and we held a safety meeting the other night based on them. our friend is still in the hospital (1 week after the accident.) we're hoping he'll be home real soon.
I'm sad that, like so many troupes, it took an accident to get you thinking about safety. I'm glad that it DID get you thinking about safety though... :)
let me just clarify: we're a pretty safe troupe, we just got safer though. the accident happened at a party involving someone who is not a member of our troupe who chose to light up in a non-designated spin area away from our safety equipment. nonetheless, i hear you loud and clear and we are going the extra distance to make certain that it is mighty unlikely to happen again.
one issue that came up at our meeting is what do we do when we're at a party that's not our event, or that we are not performing at and we see someone do something stupid with fire? this is what happened in this instance and it happened as soon as he lit up, before any of us could get to him and ask him what the fluck.
thanks again for your posts.
I have been wondering if there are any environmentally safe fuels that can be used for Fire performances? Something along the lines of: X is to white gas, as bio-diesel is to diesel.
Yeah, actually. It's still BD, but it's an ethyl-ester formula being tested at Fire Drums right now.
We've been talking about it in a different tribe:
I'll post those test results when I get a chance.
is it safe to store fuel in dip buckets (paint cans) for extended amounts of time.
i assume yes, but would like to know for sure.
If properly sealed and kept out of direct sunlight, yes, they should be safe. They are specifically designed to restrain naphtha vapors, but in much lower concentrations than what we use (ie paint).
I had an old dip bucket that I forgot about left out in my back yard for about 6 month half full of coleman. The inside was fine, but there was a bit of rust on the outside (it was only partially shielded from rain). I assume it would eventually rust through and fail, but the fuel didn't seem to be an isuue
Has there been any new, updated info we need to know on the topic of "Travelling with Tools?" I and my friends are going to Fire Drums next week and want to be doubly sure our poi and things get there on the same plane we do. :)
--Working on a friend's art car and he's setting up a couple of torches on the roof. We've got the whole thing up and running with mechanical controls but he wants to 'automate' it; i.e. replace manual quarter-turn valves with solenoid valves. I've got some surplus 12v NC valves with 1/8" threaded ports, meaning an orifice of maybe 1/8". Question: assuming the propane is coming out of a standard 5 gal tank at maybe 60psi do I have an adequate flow to make decent fireballs? Many other questions but not all organized at present.
Wish I had more knowledge on this, but I recently had some interesting conversations with a BRC fire fighter friend who admittedly wanted BRC to come up with more guidelines to inspect and educate people on what is safe and what isn't (for him and everyone). What does jump out at me is that you posted propane would be at 60psi. This is way off. The pressure in the tank is dependant on the temperature outside the tank. But I know my fire fighter friend quoted 120psi as a working number. The following website is a start, but plus do a lot more research. This can be really dangerous. Example, if you are replacing the 1/4 turn value with something electronic, you need to put another 1/4 turn value close or at the tank. The screw down tank knob takes way to long to close if something bad happens and the electronics fail (and if something bad happens the electronics would probably fail). Again, I wish I knew more and could help more, but for your and fellow burners safety, please research this well. Also, post some pics of this bad ass car once its done.
To answer your specific question about valve size, "big" is a relative term, but by any standard 1/8" ports will not give you big fire.
You might have better luck asking over at the pyro tribe, though people are understandably reluctant to post a full description of how to make a propane effect. You'll get a warmer reception if you do lots of research first. Chad's right about the 1/4 turn valves and working pressure. I'll add that you actually want your plumbing to be rated comfortably in excess of the anticipated maximum pressure- so though you expect 120psi, build for 200 or 250. And make sure that all your hoses and valves/valve seals are propane compatible (N-buna rubber or PTFE, not EPDM).
Flame effects can be simple, but are also easliy (and frequently) done wrong/dangerously, so please proceed with care and research!
--Thanks, gang. Fear not: all fittings are Parker; machined not cast and rated 600psi or better. Have quarter turn shutoff valve as first fitting coming off of propane tank and no plans to remove it. I stated 60psi as a guess using the old formula of one degree farenheit per pound pressure, based on the theory the system will be used only at night, but poiint taken: I'll plan for 250 to 300psi excursions. Yeah, I sorta thought the solenoid valve apertures were tight and I'll use that bit of info to dissuade the guy from going electronic; I'd rather he stick with a purely mechanical system this first time out, too. Will do my homework and report back in a few weeks. Grand unveiling of this project will be at a BAGG fundraiser (where they hope to snag some gas money!) coming up in a few.
If you opt for solenoid useage, be sure to also keep a ball valve in place just before the solenoid as a manual safety precaution. Solenoids are prone to failure.
Secondly, be sure that the solenoid you are using is rated for LP gas and has compatible seal and or diaphragm materials, as well as the appropriate pressure rating
Okay, gang, really. Take it to the pyro tribe. This really doesn't belong here.
I know a read somewhere about the space that each person needs while spinning fire. But as I was spinning glow poi last night in a bar and looking at the ceiling clearance, I wondered if there was a recommended amount that is needed to spin with fire. Thanks!
Different municipalities will have different rules. Here in Austin TX, the permit I got did not allow indoor performance at all, and required 20' overhead clearance. IMO, that's needlessly cautious, but there you go.
This NAFAA page doesn't quite specify anything, but NAFAA is a good resource for this kind of thing in general.
It really depends what is overhead. In a warehouse-style building with cinder block walls and a steel roof you need less clearance than in a wooden theater with curtains, lights, etc... things that burn or tangle props. I've seen some very unsafe things done in small indoor venues...
Topic: Safety Towels?
I've been dancing with fire for a little over a year with damp towels as the main fire protection followed by fire extinguishers. We've never had to use either.
Recently I've heard mention that a welding blanket or "fire blanket" is better protection as a damp towel could cause steam burns. Can anyone comment or elaborate? I've been combing through fire sites and finding hints but not finding good evidence either way.
Attended via direct mail:
Basically, the steam issue only comes up from rapid, multi-tool extinguishing, like 12 swords in rapid succession. It doesn't come up for normal exit extinguishing, emergent extinguishing of people, or occasional use. Damp towels give the benefit of providing the first step of first aid (cool the burn) at the same time it's used on a person to put them out.
The treated or welding cloth is far more convenient for the busy performer who works in venues with long show times, or access to water is limited. Damp towels can get moldy. Welding cloth can be used dry.
A valuable resource for fire performers when confronted by any Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) can be found at www.lawyersforburners.com. Especially see the sidebar and downloadable 2-page guide to rights and responses.
This is not solely a burner's issue, but burners are more noticeable than other non-traditional people, so . . .
Hey all, I just moved from California to Germany and can't seem to find any white gas. Any suggestions on a European fuel source that can be used with chain poi. I'm getting desperate here and could use any input you might have.
Deleted posts were becoming a thread. Moved them over to the fire arts education tribe...
I'm interested in getting a fire orb, but I don't understand how your hands don't get burned whilst using it....?
The short answer is "wear gloves". Some just burn on their surface, and you need gloves. Some have cages around them to remove you from the flame, but they can wear out, and become hot during use, so you need to... wear gloves. You might be better off looking into fleshing first to get accustomed to managing the heat.
I have a question about whether our poi heads conform to NAFAA standards for wick attachment (I think they may count as friction attachment). We have moonblaze wicks (spiral box knot) woven around a stainless steel threaded eyebolt. Near the eye there is a washer and a nut that can be tightened down when the wick gets loose. The bottom has another large washer (almost though not completely the same diameter as the wick) and a nut that is welded to the eyebolt. We haven't sewn the wick. Does it conform to standards, and if not, is there any easy way to fix it?
I've wondered about this myself. Let me preface that I have no knowledge about the moonblaze fold, and have only ever seen them in passing.
That given, the spirit of NAFAA codes Is that a "hard limiting" method is in place in case some part of the kevlar burns through. In a cathedral fold, the kevlar can burn down right to the eyebolt and the odds of anything leaving the wick is pretty small (except for the coving flaps a lot of people are using on the bottom). Tube core wicks have screws running through each layer that prevent more than 1/2 a layer from unraveling at a time.
Grey areas include things like the Bearclaw fire fingers, where kevlar thread is used instead of screws to attach a tubecore wick, but at least all layers of the tube are attached and knotted with two separate connections. Monkeyfists, I think, are on the other side of the line. If the right two areas burn through, the entire knot could come completely unraveled.
I leave it to you to decide. But please take further discussion over to another tribe.
A friend of mine gave me some special lamp oil in hopes that we could breathe pink fire with it (yay!). However, it's NOT ultrapure, which is generally the fuel of choice. The ingredients are: glycerol, octadecyl alcohol, ethylene glyol, chloride, oleic acid, and distilled water. Would anyone still consider this a suitable fuel for breathing, or are some of the ingredients prohibitive? (Sorry if any of them are really obviously bad, I'm new to breathing. But at least I ask first, right?)
Yeah, I know the stuff. The answer is complex.
1) If you're very careful and very quick, no, ONE shot won't kill you.
2) Ethylene glycol is the stuff they use in anti-freeze, you do NOT want this stuff trickling down your throat. Repeated use of this product could cause oral skin ruptures, blood stream crystallization, loose gums, cancer and chronic bad breath.
This should NOT become your regular fuel of choice. It IS, however, cleaner than some of the products that fall under the term "kerosene".
what is the best way to care for my wicks? I plan to use only lamp oil...is it best to let the wicks burn out completely the first time? what about subsequent times? will re-dipping my smoldering wicks after a burn improve their lives?
I've already made wick covers out of socks for when i am practicing unlit.
should i put tin-tape on my fire hoop by the base of the spokes?
any info about caring for wicks or fire hoops is much appreciated!
This is pretty chatty and is gonna take up a LOT of space. I'm going to move it to the fire arts education tribe fore further review.
I am looking for a better solution to my dip cans/fueling station. I would like to have a metal can roughly a gallon in size with a wide mouth (7+ inches in diameter). Ideally it would have some sort of locking mechanism on the lid, whether it is a twist lock or clamps. Once locked it should be vapor-tight. I do not like paint cans because the lids lose their seal over time with repeated opening and closing. Cans I have thought of are milk jugs (small), possibly a coffee maker, pressure cooker, ammo box (military style, metal with clamp and is airtight). I am fine with paying a good amount of money ($50, but probably not much more) to find something that will be safe and lock tight while I use it. Any ideas? Any places to get one? Thanks,
Have ya tried Ammo cans from the Army surplus?
an attendee of our jam is a self taught fire breather. i had a question about the safety of citronella?
sorry to mess up the question/answer method. here's my post copied since it will be deleted...
hey folks! at our jam here in rochester we've been having some minor fire happeneing after dark. i personally have only spun with white gas. we've educated a few backyard spinners, and let some people who were ready have their first burn... all that was all familiar and simple
but one girl taught herself fire breathing on her own. and this seemed fine, she was spitting high enough for my comfort level. but i dont really know anyhting first hand about fire breathing so i was willing to trust her research and practice.... but she left her fuel behind one day, so when it came back to our house afterwards i took a look at it.
citronella tiki torch stuff! i think that in her research she read that she should use lamp oil, and i think plain tiki torch fuel IS lamp oil right? but what she ended up buying is tiki torch fuel with CITRONELLA. as soon as we read that at home, eyebrows went up! citronella is carcinogenic right?
i think she must have been trying to buy regular lamp oil but ended up with lamp oil with a carcinogenic additive assuming it was the same/cloe enough? the bottle's nearly finished, and like i said she's self taught, and she spoken to me about how she's very carfeul not to swallow any, but i'm worried that this fuel is harmful just being in her mouth!
she won't be there this week, and since i am a fire hooper who knows very little on the subject of fire breathing, i wanted to have some definite facts to tell her. i want to give her back what belongs to her, but i feel like i can't yet, since i have very strong doubts about the safety of spitting citronella...
am i right? help me help her to be more safe....
i dont want to squash people's enthusiasm by jumping all over them "what are you crazy? that's so dangerous to teach yourself!" because i know it is, but it's already done and practiced, so i'd like to set her down the proper path (before she gets mouth cancer or someting!!)
thanks and sorry
Ya see, Diane, this is EXACTLY why I don't discuss fuels with the general public. If it's a mystery, then they aren't inclined to go off and try this sort of thing themselves. It's way too easy to hear "Gene Simmons breathed with Kerosene" and figure that any old kerosene will work. There are even other brands of lamp oil that have adopted the "ultra pure' moniker without adopting the standard. The simple fact of the matter is this, the only way you can be sure of a fuel is to 1) check the MSDS, and 2) if you can, talk directly to the distiller. I've done both with my fuel, so I know what I'm getting. If you haven't done either, then probably not.
Now, to your question. Is citronella carcinogenic? Well, considering how many things are added to that list each day, who knows. However:
Since it's used as a flavoring, probably not. On the other hand, since the oil it's in is definitely intended for outdoor use, The elements of the oil are doubtlessly lower grade than what could be attained.
Ya know, now that I think about this, this is one of the most frequently asked questions. I should probably come up with a clever way to answer.
Best thing I could say is educate that person and invite them to join your troupe. The more we can educte the better we will be.
I have been breathing for almost a year. The best thing I can suggest is go to wild fire and learn their. They have the best teachers for fire breathing. That is where I learned. As for the fuel, Ultra pure is not only the fuel of choice, but the only fuel you should use. Yes pretty pink flames would be great, but you have to also remember that it is not like you can take a mouth full and just breath. I have had to actually stand their for any where from 5 sec. to like 2 min because of wind change and so on, I have also taken a mouth full, went to breath and did not because of the wind. Breathing is the most dangerous fire arts out their.
If you have more questions, feel free to email me and we can chat their so we don't clutter up this part of the board.
Hey everyone, I am going on a family trip to Fort Laurel Dale and I am of course wanting to spin on the beach, Can any one help? I am having issues with the park and recs, Not uncommon, but does anyone have info, or know of anyone that spins in that area that can help? I am leaving on March 17th. and I will be their for 10 days.
I really want to get sweet pics of the ocean, fire and the sun set. I have seen pics of fire and the ocean. So I know it is possible.
Any help would be great
Good luck getting pics of the sun RISE. :P
LOL sun rise???? Do you mean sun set?
No NO the sun rises on the east and sets in the west. LOL
I suppose you *could* take sunset photos, but the sun would be setting behind the city, not the ocean.
I know, I said sun set, cause I don't think I will be up for the rise.
As much as I want photos on the beach with the fire, I think I am going to just opt for glow poi. I will most likely pack my fire poi in my check in luggage and if I happen to get to then I will. It is just becoming a hassle with the city and all, and i really don't have the time to join a spin jam while I am down their. Their is always next time though min us the family.