Make a Fire Sword

Posted by jerry on December 19th, 2006 — Posted in DIY, Journal, Woodwork

fire sword

This post gives detailed instructions and photos on how to make a fire sword. But first the disclaimer: Fire twirling is dangerous, and fire swords especially so, due to the large amount of flame attached to this equipment. I have no control over your construction skills or techniques, so I take no responsibility or liability – actual or implied – for any damage or injury incurred from anyone using these instructions.

And so to the instructions…

Materials (makes two fire swords)

  • 2 x surplus ski stocks (poles)
  • 4 x computer hard drive plattens
  • 2 x pine wood pieces approx 7 x 10cm (3″ x 4″)
  • 3 metres kevlar wick 5 cm (2″) wide
  • Kevlar thread
  • 12 x wood screws
  • 6 x lengths of wire

Tools

  • hacksaw
  • electric drill
  • 18mm spade bit
  • 8mm high speed bit
  • scissors or stanley trimmer
  • canvas needle
  • pliers
  • screwdriver

Method

You will need two old/unserviceable ski stocks (ski poles). The first thing is to cut them to length – about a centimetre up from the plastic ring that holds the flat snow disk. The actual measurement is irrelevant – the important thing is to ensure that both swords are made the same length.

firesword - cut to length

But keep the handles intact – they will provide a good grip and the safety straps add an element of safety.

Next take a couple of computer hard disk plattens – these are metal and highly reflective – excellent for keeping heat away from your hands. I used two on each as the smaller disks had a smaller central hole to help keep everything aligned nicely on the pole.

hard disk plattens

Mark and punch four points and drill holes around the centre hole of the disk. This will provide a means to anchor the disks so they can be used as heat shields near the handles.

hard disk platen

The disks themselves can get hot in use, so we want to insulate them from the rubber handles. Wood has excellent thermal insulation properties, so we will make wooden washers to use as spacers from the rubber grips, but also to provide a means of attaching the platens securely to the stock and to the handle.

You will need one for each fire sword – cut two pieces of pine about four inches square and drill an 18mm hole in the centre. I then rounded the corners using a large washer to mark the guidelines and then rounded the corners on a bandsaw – like this:

wooden washer

Now line up the metal disks centred over the 18mm hole in the wooden washer, and drill 8mm holes into the wood using the pre-drilled holes as a template.

Then attach the metal disk to the wooden spacer with wood screws, and slide the whole assembly onto the pole hard up against the handle – note: ensure the metal side is facing the point and that the wood is next to the rubber handle grip!

fire sword

Now drill two holes through the base of the rubber handle into the wood from the other side and fix the wooden spacer to the rubber handle grip – this will stop the heat shield from sliding down onto the wick when in action.

fire sword

So now you have something sword-like – but it won’t light until you have a wick.

Divide your kevlar wick into two equal lengths of about 1.5m (about 5 feet) using a decent pair of scissors or dressmaking scissors. Attach one end to the pointy end using masking tape and carefully wrap the kevlar with a slight overlap in a spiral up the length of the sword.

fire sword

It won’t stay there without assistance, so the next task is to thread your canvas needle with kevlar thread (so the thread won’t burn!) and sew along the overlap up the spiral until you get to the top. This may seem a tedious step, but it is important if you want the wick to stay on the sword. Take care to do this step properly.

firesword

Once this step is completed you effectively have a kevlar sheath – which can still slide off the end, so to secure it you will need the next step.

Bind masking tape tightly round three or more parts of the sword. This will stop the kevlar from twisting when you drill holes for the wire.

Mount the sword in a vice and use a centre punch to mark the drill point in the centre of the masking tape. Tap the centre punch hard nough to dent the metal tube beneath. Now drill an 8mm hole through each of the taped bits.

fire sword

Once both swords are drilled through the wicks and the centre tube, cut a short length of wire for each of the holes and wire the wick securely to the tube, like this:

firesword

When this is completed your fire sword is complete and ready to be fueled and used in a fire performance. The wick should hold enough fuel for a good five minute burn. Enjoy your pair of fire swords – safely. Do not use during a fire ban or in areas where there may be a risk of other material catching fire.

fire sword

firesword

Cheers
Jerry

5 Comments »

Comment by ShaolinMan

Excellent explaining. Thank you

Posted on March 25, 2007 at 10:08 pm

Comment by Mike Gray

Hard disk platters please! Also the platters are generally made of glass not metal – the metal is a coating of magnetic oxide that stores computer data. Thus great care should be taken when drilling holes in platters as the glass could shatter causing injury to hands etc.

Posted on January 28, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Comment by jerry

Actually the ones I have used are aluminium. I note that according to Wikipedia “Platters are typically made using an aluminium or glass substrate. In disk manufacturing, a thin coating is deposited on both sides of the substrate, mostly by a vacuum deposition process called magnetron sputtering.” So yes many are made from glass, and it it important to differentiate between the types.

Posted on January 28, 2008 at 6:29 pm

Comment by Erica

Exactly what thickness of wire is required here?

Posted on June 14, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Comment by jerry

2mm thick household wire is sufficient – the aim is to ensure that the kevlar doesn’t fly off the shaft during a spinning manoeuvre. Coat-hanger wire will do fine – it needs to be strong enough to hold its shape and thin enough to be able to bend easily.

Posted on June 14, 2010 at 10:43 pm

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