If you are like me, you probably think that juggling props are all in all too expensive for most young, broke, amateur jugglers. This is specially the case with torches, with basic ones running at about 35$ per torch. Here, I'll show you how to make a set for almost nothing except the wicks, which cost me 30$ from a local retailer.
the torches work great, are strong (although the guards are flimsy), are comfortable to juggle (unlike a basic 35$ torche, which has hard plastic handles that hurt like hell), are well balanced and when fully soaked, give off a HUGE flame. plus, they aren't much heavier than pro torches.
DISCLAIMER: FIRE JUGGLING IS DANGEROUS! If you already juggle, you know that getting hit in the head by a club is easy and hurts like hell when you juggle. Now imagine getting hit by a flaming club. Plus, fire juggling is a wonderfully easy way to set your clothes or hair on fire. So unless you can juggle 3 clubs competently and know the physics of fire, don't use this instructable. fire burns, it's not my fault, so YOU are the one responsible if you hurt someone (including yourself) or set anything on fire (including yourself).
Step 1: Gather Your Materials!
Hammer or Heavy Duty stapler
a saw of your choice
pliers (not essential)
box cutter (not essential)
kevlar wicking (this is the most expensive part of the project. Ideally, you need 12 per torch of 2 wide wick. a big plus if it has wire woven in it (it'll last longer). you can order yours from most online juggling stores or find it in specialized juggling or toy stores that have a large circus arts section. DO NOT use anything else for the wick! kevlar won't burn up and unravel like cloth or string, and will last up to one year or more if cared of properly.)
a wooden dowel ( I used a broom stick, the diameter was perfect for me)
aluminum tape (the shiny silver tape used to repair ducts(not duct tape!)
thin aluminum sheet (I used aluminum from a pie plate)
a few screws
strong staples or nails
a few washers
foam pipe insulation that fit your dowel (ideal) or nylon rope the thickness of a pencil
with this you'll be all set to make your torches!
Step 2: Building the Base of That Damn Thing!
I chose to make my torches 20 long, just like DubÃ©'s custom torches. longer would be a bit too much but you can make them a wee bit shorter if you're quite short.
It should be done easily with a hand saw, but I'm more a power tool kind of guy so I used an electrical mitre saw.
2 - Wrap one end in your thin aluminum sheet. about 1/3 of the dowel should be covered. Keep the sheet there using your staples or a few nails.
3 - slide the rest of the dowel inside the piece of pipe insulator and glue it there with rubber cement. using a knife (a box cutter works amazingly well) carve the foam in the shape of a tapered handle with a knob at the end. use pictures of juggling torches or clubs to guide you on this.
If you don't have pipe insulation, use pencil thick nylon rope. just tape it at one end or another of the bare dowel and wrap it around to get the shape you want.
This step is to make the torches more balanced and easier on the hand when you juggle. it is also more aesthetically pleasing than just bare wood dowels. Personally I used both materials. I made the knob with pipe insulation and wrapped the rest of the handle with nylon rope.
(optional) 4 - Make a guard!
to further protect yourself against the flames or prevent the foam or rope from melting, fashion a flame guard out of a disk of thicker aluminum sheet. in my case, I used the bottom of coke cans. I cut them off and cut an X in the middle. bend back the X with plyers or your hands (ouch) to make 4 small tabs, then slide the guard down the dowel and staple/nail/tape these 4 tabs at the separation between the aluminum covered part and the handle.
Step 3: Finish That Suckah!!
This should provide grip, strength and make the handle look nicer.
After that, tape the aluminum covered part, the tip of the dowel and perhaps the guard with the aluminum tape. this will prevent burning fuel from seeping down the tiny gap between the dowel and the aluminum sheet.
Now you just have to put on the wick.
1 - Cut a length of 12 of your 2 wide wick (or more, or less. your choice, but that's what I prefer.)
2 - wrap it around the aluminum covered end of your torch
3 - screw it there with 2 or 3 screws passed through a small washer.
The screws must reach inside the wood. it is much more easy to do if you first drill small holes in your wick. Do so carefully so kevlar threads don't get caught in your drill bit.
Step 4: Juggle Them!
I suggest you get used to how the feel unlit first. it would be more safe. If you never juggled with fire before, try getting used to having those big flames around you by swinging and throwing only one torch first. When you feel you're ready, juggle all three of them!
as for fuel, kerosen would be the best. I also use charcoal lighting fluid, it has a pretty high flash point so it's quite safe. but i'm not here to teach you how to juggle, I'm only looking to show you how to make torches.
For thorough instructions about torch juggling, I suggest goind to expertvillage.com, they have a great tutorial.
thanks for reading!