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The contents of this section are dangerous. More importantly, misuse of this information may result in harm or death. Sideshow World and it's Staff WARN you against and are not responsible for any harm or death that may  be a result  to you or someone else by using the information contained in Slim's Manuscripts or on Sideshow World.

 

You should not attempt any of these Acts without the direct supervision and training from  a responsible and trained professional. 

 

by Slim Price

 

This is my personal method of making torches for fire-eating, and others may not agree, but these have served me well for more than fifty years.

 

A little discussion first. A fire-eating torch can be as simple as a bit of rag on the end of a coat hanger but I believe that its appearance should reflect the rest of the act, and made to use as long as possible. These take a little effort , but they look professional and are safe to use within the confines of the act and your abilities. All fire-eating can be dangerous, and all fire-eaters do and will get burned. These torches will NOT protect you from that.

 

 To make any torch last longer, donít burn it long enough to evaporate the fuel. Keep it at least a little wet, and put it out while the fuel is wet. (Fuel doesnít burn, the vapor does.)

 

Mine start their life at the weld er supplier.. Use 3/16 Brass rod. It comes in 32 inch lengths. When this rod is cut in half, it will make two well balanced torches.

 

Find an old fashioned hardware, and look at file handles. Some are fairly ornate, and will enhance the appearance.

 

I like to make several at a time, I usually will use at least three in my act. And If any get to looking frowsy I can wait Ďtil later to recover them. (More about that later)

 

To start, youíll need to bend a bit of a hook at one end of the rod. Since brass  is  brittle ,  a  little  heat  treatment  is  necessary.   Just  use  a pro-

pane torch to bring the end to a medium red heat and bend the hook with pliers. It doesnít need much, 3/4 inch or less. The hook is only there as a safety device to prevent the head from slipping.

 

Torch head materials

 

Hereís an absolute rule! Never use any synthetic cloth materials with any part of fire-eating, particularly torches. Synthetics melt, and drip and stick...Cotton and wool do not, and are much safer and more durable.

 

Another tip: There is never any reason to use any alcohol product for any show purpose, ever! Itís hotter, can burn invisibly for long periods, and is much less controllable. Adding chemicals (even salt) adds to the problem as well as enhancing toxicity...

 

I have a problem with Kevlar wicks and cords. They do not absorb fuel even though they do not burn. My personal preference is that a torch be absorbent, allowing me more time and control of fuel. Since only the vapor actually burns, a wetter torch allows me to deposit fuel on my tongue, fingers and hands, and will let me pull the torch out of the flame, an elegant appearing move.

 

Beginners will almost always make the torch heads too big, or try to make them into absurd shapes. I recommend avoiding this and using the flameís appearance to sell the act.

 

In my experience, hard cotton is always the best balance between absorbency, weight and durability - weight and durability.

 

I use an old dishtowel for material. The old roll towels are as good as you can get. Cut it in strips about 1 1/2 inches wide and remove any hem. A little Elmerís Glue on a very narrow strip at the end will help you start the wrapping, beginning under the hook. Keep the wrapping as snug and as smooth as you can, and keep in mind that there is no need to make the torch any bigger than 3/4 of an inch in diameter.. (Thatís a big torch!) When you get the diameter you want, clip off the rest, and apply a little more glue to the end. It wonít need much, and the glued area will not be absorbent. As is, the torch is now usable but the next step is what makes my torches unique.

 

Find a product called Surgitube. Itís a tubular gauze bandage made primarily for appendages such as fingers and it comes in rolls of about 30 feet long. It seems like a lot, but use Surgitube. Make sure it is made of cotton, the synthetics will melt off your torch in seconds and become dangerous. Pick up a package of red fabric dye, (I use Rit) and dye the whole thing according to directions. When it dries, you will have more than a lifetime supply. Follow the directions on the Surgitube box and use it to cover your torches. Now , whenever your torches need refreshing, just recover them and they will always look new. To finish, I use a little bit of unraveled brass picture wire, just one strand, and clip the covering close to the wire. Tap the file handle onto the other end of the torch, and you have an elegant long lasting torch with the proper absorbency, control, and balance you need to be a professional.

 


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