Care and Feeding of Your Torches

What do i keep the fuel in? How do i light up?

Keep your fuel in a fuel canister with a good lid, preferably screw top. A petrol canister is ideal, big jerry cans for larger shows work fine. When you want to light up, pour some of the fuel into a smaller container: a baked bean tin works perfectly, an old paint tin will need more fuel per unit depth. Hold the wick in the fuel and be careful not to dunk the rest of the club. If the other parts of the club do get wet, wipe them with a rag (this prevents bits of club burning). Deep each torch and then shake them off individually onto an area away from where you are going to be juggling. Preferably, shake off into a screen or bucket if you are doing lots. It is *very* important to get all the little droplets off so shake well.

Once you have shaken off your clubs (did I say how important that was? Then let me remind you :-) ) light them from another torch, a match or a lighter. When the clubs are cold it may take a while for them to catch as it is really the vapour which burns and there isn't much vapour on a cold set of clubs. Conversely, hot clubs will drive the vapour off quickly and burn for less time.

How Do I Put Them Out?

For a start, do *not* let them burn out and smoulder. This will damage the wicks as the evaporating paraffin keeps them cool. Blow them out once they have died down and dunk them in paraffin to cool them and relight. You *can* extinguish them by dunking straight into paraffin in a large container. Do *not* extinguish them this way is you are using starter fuel or Coleman fuel.

Oooch! My Hands Are Hot!

One of two reasons for this: you could be holding the clubs downward. Natural thing to do, but wrong. The flames will burn up the torch, getting the club and your hands. Always hold them up. If you bend down to pick up a drop, hold the other torches above your head. You get used to it after a while. The other possibility is that your torches have got to hot. They become enveloped in a cloud of fuel which burns in small spots. Also the fuel condenses on your hands and burns gently so you only notice later. Don't use torches for more than 15-30 minutes at a time. Let them cool (in paraffin if you like) between times. The above is dependent on things like the temperature your fuel burns at. Paraffin burns hotter than most so will heat up your clubs more. It also gives a bright flame. If you burn alcohol on your torches (which gives a wimpy flame) they will barely get warm.

How Do I Look After My Torches?

Don't let them burn out or smoulder. Don't get anything other than the wicks wet with fuel. Wipe the torches after use to clean off any soot (soot burns). Hold them upwards always. Leave them to cool before packing them away (the metal gets hot and can damage other bits of the other torches). After a year or so you may want to replace the wicks. Firewick can be bought from most suppliers and a foot or so is enough for a single torch. You should check the width as there are least two standard sizes!

Care and Feeding of Your Torches / Juggling Information Service /
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