Multi-function Walking Stick III - Torch Bearer




Introduction: Multi-function Walking Stick III - Torch Bearer

Add a torch to the top of a Hiking Staff to illuminate your way.
The VIDEO shows the torch in action.
This is Part 3 in the Multi-Function Walking Stick Instructable series.

The Original Multi-Function Walking stick Instructable describes how to:
Make a three piece walking stick that converts into a Camp Chair.
Part 1 can be found here:

The Second installment describes how to:
Add copper ends to a staff creating a bottom point & a storage compartment on top.
Part 2
can be found here:

Part 3 Starts Here:
A staff to speed the march; A staff to rest the weary; A staff to store the gear; A staff to point the way; Now, a staff to light the night. All in one Staff.

Step 1: Shameless Promotion for the "Light Up the Night" Contest

This instructable has been entered into the "Light up the Night" contest.  Please vote.

This page is dedicated to the shameless promotion of this Instructable for the contest.
(This was written before I found out the requirement for the compulsory Patriotic Essay portion of the competition had been dropped.... I decided to post it anyway)
An open flame torch to Light up the Night?  Sure there will be those that dismiss this entry as a  simple flame...a mere candle in the wind...not nearly technically innovative enough to win; let alone qualify for this challenge.

I can only imagine the response it will receive from the crew at as they decry..."an open flame torch as a light source for this contest?...Preposterous"   An immediate rejection will be penned....I imagine it  might go something like this: (Of course the ridicule will be kept to a polite minimum due to the "Be Nice Policy" but, a rejection none the less.)

Dear Mr. Stoutharrow,

We regret to inform you that your Instrucatble Multi-Function Walking Stick III - Torch Bearer cannot seriously be considered for entry in the Light up the Night competition.  A Simple torch is not of the technological caliber expected here at Instructables. A primitive flame as a light source lacks the type of innovation this contest was intended to promote..
Also, it was not clear how to route the wires and where the Lithium batteries are stored.

Regrettably Yours,

To this anticipated rejection, I feel compelled to reply (proactively): 

Dear Instructables Sirs and Madams,  

Please do not dismiss the illuminating powers of fire as some charlatan parlor trickery.  Don't scoff in disbelief "How can something without electricity... wires...bulbs... or an Arduino microprocessors possibly produce light?"  Mere fire can work as a light source... It really, really can.

Sure, other light sources come around all the time: Carbon Arc,  Incandescent, Fluorescent, Electroluminescent, Phosphorescent (can't we just pick an "-escent" and stick with it?)  Led, H.I.D. (high intensity discharge), Wintergreen Lifesaver sparks. 
What's the point? .... What's wrong with fire light?...Too simple?

Consider the essence of illumination.  A simple lowly torch, at its basic, is a hydrogen storage vessel, but unleash that  hydrogen potential with a spark, and its like a little bit of the Sun captured on the top of  a stick.  Runaway oxidation,  the splitting and combining of atomic bonds, liberated electrons,  photons scattered willy-nilly.    Man.. that's chemistry and particle physics at its finest...and that's high tech.  (or you could settle for an electron jumping up and down in an LED - your choice)

Combustion and Flame!  Its not just  for Cavemen any more.  
I ask you...Did the angry mob storm Frankenstein's castle with pitchforks and Glow Sticks?... I THINK NOT!
And there are others that carry a torch to light the way. Pardon the French but a torch is just fine for that majestic lady in New York harbor (that's no 6 cell Mag-Lite she's holding)   By the way...Copper as a fashion accessory?...she makes it look go girl.

Still think a mere flame can't properly 'Light up the Night"?
I'll bet there is a certain O'Leary Cow in Chicago that would disagree.  She knew how to "Light up the night" (and the whole city for that matter)...all with a simple flame.

If a torch is good enough for  maidens, bovine, and mobs. Shouldn't it be good enough for Instrucables to consider for the Light up the Night contest?  (Did I mention it keeps monsters at bay?)

- Silent Pause -
-  Someone start softly humming The Battle Hymn of the Republic to set the mood for this next part
. (you know the tune: "Glory...Glory... Halleluiah... Mine eyes have seen the glory of the...etc, etc.")

After all the flash-in-the-pan lighting sources have turned off their lights and gone home; after every last Indeglo watch face has dimmed; after every last LED berry has been harvested from the fields where they grow. When the dazzle of fluorescent has been switched off (due to mercury environmental reports)  Good old Combustion and Flame will be be there, high atop a staff, waiting like a warm (~2000 degree F) friend; shining like the beacon in Revere's church tower; to light up the night for your walk home.

This Instrutable harnesses the humble power of combustion and places it at your command, at your side, to illuminate your night path...nothing more...nothing less.

All I ask, is that you consider the heritage of  illumination when judging all the fine entries for this contest.  And maybe...just maybe, find a place in your heart to award one of those fancy robot shirts to a certain venerable "also ran" entry.  I can only hope (and light a candle.)   By the way, Is the robot on the shirt printed with glow-in-the-dark ink?  That'd be awesomely sweet...(how does that stuff work anyways?)

Satirically yours,
H. P. Stoutharrow

Step 2:

In the continued tradition of copper as decorative raw goods, this latest addition to the Multi-Function Walking Stick will not disappoint plumbing supply retailers.

The copper plumbing finial storage compartment at the top of the top of the staff is the basis of the torch holder.  Be sure to check out the link, in the Intro, to the second in the series for construction details if you missed it.

This Instructable, will focus on the construction of the torch and its placement on the top of the staff.  Experience that Huck Finn (or Laura Croft) sense of adventure....exploring dark places with a torch in hand... or just take a unique night hike illuminated by flickering flame.

Either way you can navigate and be seen as you Light up the Night with firelight.

Added note: When the torch is complete it also doubles as a cook fire.  With a few more parts to make a stand (yes, more copper plumbing) the torch can cook a meal.  See this Instructable for details.

Step 3: The Torch

These are the materials required to make the torch:

1/2" Copper Stub-out  - This is the same plumbing fitting used to make the Point in the earlier Instructable.

3/8" Threaded Brass Cap

3/8" Compression / 5/8" Sweat Brass Fitting
  When purchased, this fitting comes with a compression ring and a threaded cap with a hole.   These are not used in this project.

#8 Rubber O-ring

Fiberglass Wick -
purchased as Tiki torch replacement wicks

1. Sweat the fitting to the Stub-out using flux, solder, and a Propane torch

2. Install the wick into the stub-out until it just touches the bottom. Cut the wick about 1/2"  above the top of the brass fitting.  The longer wick ensures that it is always "retrievable".  (It prevents the wick from falling into the stub-out when the cap is screwed on.)

3. Insert the O-ring into the brass cap

Step 4: Slip Fitting

A 1" copper couple is used as a Slip Fitting to hold the torch to the top of the staff.

The Slip Fitting should have a "snug" fit around the torch to hold it in place but it still should allow the torch to slip in and out.   The fitting can be crimped slightly to adjust the retention.

Note: the Slip fitting should not be sweat soldered to either the torch or the staff.

Step 5:

The torch is intended to be installed in the storage space created in the previous Instructable. 

The torch fills the storage space on this staff so it is either storage, or the torch (unfortunately not both at the same time with the design as shown.) 

Room for both a torch and storage could be accommodated if the staff  is built with a longer top pipe storage area.  Remember to compensate for a larger storage area by shorting the wood dowel accordingly.  The overall length of the Upper Section of the staff must match the length of the other sections to function as a chair (as described in the first Instructable) 

1. Remove the cap from the top pipe storage section.

2. Slide the Slip Fitting couple onto the top pipe.  The fitting should also have a snug fit to the top. pipe - crimp as necessary.

Step 6: Torch - Stored Position

When the torch is not in use,  it can be flipped over, and inserted into the  the Slip Fitting with  the brass cap end down.  This is the Stored Position for the torch.

The brass cap end of the torch is concealed in the staff storage area.  In this stored position the pointed end of the stub-out will be pointing up. 

The top and the bottom of the staff are now identical in appearance - a Point on both ends.

Step 7: Torch - in Use Position

Flip the torch over from the Stored Position to the In-use Position and install it in the Slip Fitting point end down.  

1. Unscrew the Brass Cap and extend the wick. 
2. Light and glow

Note:  When using the torch, the Brass Cap can be stored in the remaining storage area under the torch.

Step 8: Light-up the Night

The torch is filled with Isopropyl (rubbing) Alcohol.  Use 90% rather than 70%; if you can find it.  The Isopropyl has a nice bright yellow flame that gives off a good amount of light. 

Note: if you are going to use the torch to double duty as a camp stove (as mentioned in step 2)  be aware that Isopropyl will leave black soot on the bottom of cookware. 
Eythol Alcohol is much better for cooking but there is a trade-off, its blueish flame does not give off as much light when used as a torch.

SAFETY NOTE: As alway....Please NEVER use Gasoline or anything other than alcohol for these type of torch or camp stove projects...its explosive nature makes it too dangerous!

Step 9: The End?

A torch atop a staff coming down the trail is perhaps a bit more ceremonial pomp and circumstance than a LED headlamp mounted to your forehead however, you can't beat that Gandalf look as you shepherd in the night with this flame atop your staff; keeping the dark (and monsters) at bay.  

Remember: "Nothing illicits the proper monster control you need, like a brandished torch."

On a serious note.  Use this responsibly. It is fire.  Be aware of your surroundings.  Don't use it where open flame is not permitted. Similar to a tiki torch, candle, lantern, or campfire, the yellow glow of of firelight has a certain primitive appeal.  They all can be enjoyed in the outdoors when used properly and safely.

Light Up the Night! Contest

First Prize in the
Light Up the Night! Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Clocks Contest

      Clocks Contest
    • Baking Contest

      Baking Contest
    • Cold Challenge

      Cold Challenge



    9 months ago on Step 1

    "A primitive flame as a light source lacks the type of innovation this contest was intended to promote.." But was this stated in the fine print?

    Skon Of Vulcan
    Skon Of Vulcan

    6 years ago

    "....pitchforks and glow sticks" would be a great name for a steampunk/electronica nerd band. If that's a thing.


    6 years ago

    you could cut each stick to 22 inches instead of 24 to make a staff 6 inches shorter or as short as 18 inches to make the staff 18 inches shorter for shorter people. keep in mind that each cut will make the chair shorter , but an 18 inch high stool would work for some people. Ideally, your staff should be about 6 to 8 inches higher than your head to avoid impaling yourself.


    6 years ago

    Elkhart #30500 1/2x6 COP Air Chamber


    Dark Bottle
    Dark Bottle

    8 years ago

    About how much did all of it cost to make?


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Sir, you are amusing and clever. Very, very well done 'ible, and quite useful.
    Frelling cool, dude!
    Great idea! :))


    9 years ago

    I love this and I fully intend to build one but I must know what the final wight is up to this point

    owl box
    owl box

    12 years ago on Step 9

    One great aspect about this is that the fuel and flame are housed in a unit modular enough to be replaced easily, and re-filled.  You could conceivably make a dozen "torches" and swap them in and out of the setting drum.   Your staff design is professional, and I encourage you to pursue the modularity aspect of this -- what else can go in that 1" socket?  Excellent work, thanks for sharing.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I have a mental image of a bandoleer stocked with dozens of torch modules.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    what is the average burn time of the torch before you need to refill the fuel?

    The Rambler
    The Rambler

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Just a thought about the problem of only being able to have a torch or a storage compartment:

    If you looked at each end less like the "top" and the "bottom" and more like exchangeable tips it might free you up a little more with your options. For instance, when the torch is in "stowed" mode it would be just as useful as a "cleat" as the bottom would (provided it was attached tightly enough). If you made both the top and bottom have storage compartments, and then made the storage compartment lid with a tip (you could even use the same stub out piece) then you could just turn the staff over depending on which end you wanted to use.

    If you want to use the storage compartment, stow the torch and flip the staff over to use it as a cleat. If you want to use the torch flip it over and use the storage side, with a new pointed cap, as the cleat.

    I hope that makes sense. Either way, great series of instructables. I love the usability you've managed to get out of a "simple" walking staff, combined with the beauty you've managed to maintain by using natural materials that pair well together. Keep up the amazing work.


    13 years ago on Introduction

     nice idea but my led light is much brighter and lasts longer


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah but I bet you can't light stuff on fire with your LED light!


    11 years ago on Step 3

    Does anyone know were to get a stub out like that with the fat part 3/4 inch pipe? I cant even find one that reduces at the end especially in my size


    11 years ago on Step 8

    cant you use kerosene for like a lantern?