Introduction: Juggling Torches From Green Wood
Juggling equipment can be expensive at over $20/torch these work well and are a lot more affordable. Since my brother taught me to juggle I made my first set for him as a birthday present. I made it at Techshop and it was my first time using the wood lathe and a lot of fun! There are good sites out there to get inspiration and one I used is: http://www.stevenragatz.com/bkstg/torch1.htm Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or pictures to share.
Branches or wood at least 2" diameter by 18"+ length
Aluminum/Steel/Copper piping 3/4" diameter
Screws for attaching wicks and pipe to torch body
Drill with metal/wood bit
Step 1: Prepare stock and measure out
I purchased some cheap unseasoned oak firewood that still was green and painted the edges with an oil based paint so they wouldn't crack while drying, until I could turn them. Since these are branches and not perfectly square I used the band saw and miter saw to cut off any protruding smaller branches and to "round them up" as much as possible for turning. The length I was going for is 18-20" and 2" diameter at the largest center.
Step 2: Turn and shape torch on lathe
This is where you can get creative and since it was my first time using the lathe I kept it simple and did not do any crazy designs. It did take me a good 30-40 mins turning the torch and I removed a lot of material. Turned between live centers and used a 3/4" roughing gouge to take off most of the wood and bark until I had it a round cylinder. From there used the parting tool to mark my features length: for the knob(1"), handle(13"), neck(6"). Once the parts are marked you can use the different scrapers, gouges to make your features. I used a square end scraper to create a 6" tenon that was just under 3/4" in diameter. Use calipers to measure the diameter of your feature and to ensure consistency between torches. These are custom hand torches so I think it is perfectly fine for them to each be unique and have fun with it! Once done, sand and paint/stain as desired. I used the bandsaw to cut off the excess wood at each end after my design was done, but now I'm thinking the miter saw would have given me a straighter cut.
Step 3: Assembly
I got an 8' Steel EMT conduit pipe from my local hardware store and cut these into 6" pieces on the metal chop saw. I marked the position of 6" with a small metal piece on the saw so I could just butt it up against that and not have to measure each cut. Drill 2 holes into your pipe and wood dowel. For the wicks I used kevlar 2"x18" from a juggling supplier and drilled the holes 1/2" from the top & bottom of where the wick would go. Then slide the pipe over the wood tenon, wrap the wick around and screw it all together. It is good to note where the screw holes are with a little line on top of the wood. Your all done now! You can optionally customize as desired(see below). Since this is green wood it will still dry and has the chance to crack/split, morph slightly, it might be a good idea to store these in paper bags to help stop and prevent this or add sealant to the wood.
Step 4: Customize Torch
Since I could and this was a gift I did some laser engraving using the rotary tool. Note I am turning on the tenon and the turn from that actually turns the torch faster then the outside since the diameters are different you need to take that into account when making your file. Another customization I would consider is to add padding to the handle and this is hard wood and not the most comfortable to juggle. I would maybe add some plastic 2 Liter soda bottles or electric tape to the handle if you are going to juggle these a lot.