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Old 12-04-05, 09:11 AM   #1
Rachel Peters
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Default Learning Fire Eating.

Hey, all y'all.
Non-performer Rachel here.

Q:

Who fire eats, and how did you learn?
Can you think of any books or sites that give beginner instruction?If I do this, I'm learning it alone, because I don't have people in-the-know physically around me. (I'm an artist. My colleagues and I just sit on our butts all day.)

In building this docu, I need to develop some more skills of my own. ...it's a part of the story. I've always been very interested in fire-eating (not breathing).

Any ideas?
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Old 12-04-05, 03:32 PM   #2
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Fire Eating: A manual of instruction

I do not remember the author.
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Old 12-04-05, 03:34 PM   #3
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Default google is my hero.

http://www.jugglenow.com/juggling-books.html

just googled it. thanks! Now I can set myself on fire with the best of 'em.
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Old 12-04-05, 04:46 PM   #4
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save yer $$$ and come on down to the Toronto juggling club at the Centre of Gravity, 1300 gerrard st. east (at greenwood) on wed. nights 7:00-12:00 and i am sure some idiot will show you how to put a lit torch in yer mouth.

you can also look at this old thread
i stand by my post here of trial and error and just do it.

Last edited by Scot Free; 12-04-05 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 12-04-05, 05:25 PM   #5
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Default On teaching yourself to eat fire

Don't. It's dangerous and stupid.

Not trying to be harsh, just very plain.

The only sensible way to learn fire eating (and all that goes with it) is from a teacher. One who really knows what they're doing.

Toronto is full of performers, and there's got to be a pro in the area you could speak to about mentoring you. They'll probably ask you why you want to learn. If they don't, they're probably not the person you want instructing you.

Head over to the Believe It or Not section of the Magic Cafe , take a look around there for thread on this topic, and then ask them any questions you may have. Some of the top people in the business frequent that forum.

Please be careful and be safe.
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Old 12-04-05, 05:59 PM   #6
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Default pants on fire.

Hey.

Ok, here's my plan of attack as of this moment:

1. I know it's stupid. ...mr. nail-in-nose. I've done many stupid things for a civilian, but never half-assed or ignorantly. As teeny-tiny baby steps (very teeny-tiny, and funny looking to anybody in performance, I'm sure) I've been extinguishing wooden matches with my mouth, adding one to the bunch every so often. Just little stuff. (You'd be surprised at how much that impresses the average joe, hanging around the house.)
I think some home-made baby torch could be a good next step, but...

2. I will read up lots first. I will get that book.

3. I just realized that Trulee Odd is in Hamilton - it's my old stomping grounds. I don't know home personally, but have seen him around town a lot. He's the only local name I know already.
I'm sure there are plenty in TO, but I don't know names.

4. I will tie my pretty hair back real nice and tight.

5. I will get someone to stop-drop-and-roll on me while I practice.

I'll take it slow, and have already been taking it in rediculously teeny, tiny steps. Just eating. Not breathing.


My only concern now is ... um... well, I generally don't tell people this, as most 26 year olds don't have this problem, but... I've had one missing tooth since I was a kid, and recently got an upper plate (dentures -- just one little tooth. It's kind of cute). I'm not sure if this will be a benifite (less pain to the roof of my mouth), or a hindrance (melting dentures or something). I figure with breathing out and lack of oxygen, the flame shouldn't last long enough to do TOO much damage to the dentures... but maybe it'll make a fun story at the dentist's office.
...or I could always take it out. durrrr.
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Old 12-07-05, 05:15 AM   #7
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HI Rachel, often the flame is out as soon as it enters yer mouth, but if you can take the denture out you could always see how fire resistent it is away from the soft vulnerable flesh that constitutes your tongue! (just in case it decides to melt or have some vile reaction with the parrafin/kerosene!)

The one to beware of is fire breathing, not necessarily because of gettin burnt by blow backs or a dodgy gust of wind but by parrafin working its way into your lungs...admittedly this is over a few years of doing it but my mum had a fire act when i was little and she contracted pleurisy, one to be avoided at all costs....

so happy eating but avoid the breathing is my advice !!

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Old 12-07-05, 05:34 AM   #8
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Thanks, Em. Yeah, until someone can find a non-toxic fuel, like... milk, or chocolate , then I probably won't do breathing. It's not worth it for me. I used to get worried about the chemicals I exposed myself too, just working in sign painting shops. I don't want to place it directly in my body.
I'll be going to the Toronto Juggling Club soon to get Scotfree to show me stuff. I'm really looking forward to it!

-rach
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Old 12-07-05, 10:58 AM   #9
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I'll second em's take. Lighting a cotton swab on a stick and sticking it in your mouth probably won't have any sort of lasting consequences one way or another. However, in my twenty five years of doing circus arts nobody has given me a plausible argument to convince me that fire breathing is worth the risks. That's not to say that I wasn't stupid enough to think I needed it as a quick-fix finale for my street show. Done that, been there, decided I didn't like the taste. (I wonder if they will come out with a Harry Potter jelly bean that is "gas" flavored...) If you need ideas for some other skill/stunt ask this forum. I am sure that we can come up with some replacement for you to learn that won't have such heath ramifications as fire.

On fire eating, in addition to the usual finger shakes that you will receive, here are some things off the top of my head to keep in mind:

Watch out for makeup, lip balm, etc. I would guess that water based makeup is probably safe, but I would be VERY concerned about grease paints. Check them for flammability and how they conduct heat.

You mentioned tying your hair back - do that.

Check your clothes. Loose sleeves, dangling strings and jewelry can all cause complications. Make sure that they have some flame protection.

Never "double dunk" - that is take the hot torch and stick it back into the fuel to re-soak. Wait for it to cool to the touch before reintroducing it to the fuel source (that includes any metal fasteners like wires or screws that hold the wick to the handle). Get yourself or make extra sets of torches so you can rotate them, using one while the others cool.

Always keep the lid on your fuel source closed and far away from any open flame. Give it a place to live while you do your thing that is separate from the fire area.

Use a non-breakable container made of an appropriate material for your fuel storage.

Never hand the lit torch or wave the flame around or near anyone from the public no matter how funny it seems at the time.

If you are juggling, spinning or waving the torch around, make sure you shake off the excess fuel before you light it.

Always check the wind and put your back to it.

Check the ventilation with the air conditioning on and off.

Never work near the curtain.

Keep a small extinguisher near by.

And finally, learn to enjoy the subtle pleasure from the smell of burnt hair.

Steven Ragatz
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Old 12-07-05, 12:39 PM   #10
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Having people be impressed is an addictive thing... but yeah. I completely agree that fuel in my mouth is probably the line for me.
...my biggest concern has moved from the denture problem to my hair. Just the fear of losing it. ....i've grown it impressively long and crazy, curly. and it gives me the shivers to imagine lighting it ablaze. ...I think I'd cry. ...For a long time.

Any suggestions on best type of fuel to use for eating?

I think I'll practice outside, in the snow.
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Old 12-07-05, 04:07 PM   #11
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If crying about the aesthetic loss of your hair is your biggest worry, you might consider if you're taking this stick a lit torch into your body thing seriously enough. It probably won't kill you, but it certainly isn't very pleasant.

As for fuel, I wouldn't know for sure, but I would guess to start out you would want to use something that doesn't have a volatile flash point. Probably something in the lamp oil/kero family. Don't use gas or white gas (camping fuel) - at least at first, and never for breathing. There are others on this forum who would have much more experience in using different fuels and would be more qualified than I.

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Old 12-08-05, 05:13 AM   #12
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Coleman (white gas) is the best fuel to use for eating.
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Old 12-08-05, 05:26 AM   #13
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k.

i made nice, little, teeny coathanger torches so far.

-rp
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Old 12-08-05, 07:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
i made nice, little, teeny coathanger torches so far.
Which reminds me, a fundamental concept to fire manipulation is that fuel burns first. As soon as the fuel has been exhausted, the material that the fuel was suspend upon starts to burn. That material might include anything from the wick of a torch, to your finger tips, o your tongue or to your entire head. So, don't let the torch burn too long or else you will start to burn the wick when the fuel is spent. When you start to see the flame die down, it is probably time to blow it out before the flame finds another source of fuel.

The flame itself is not the only thing to watch out for. You mention coat hanger wire - remember that the wire will get VERY hot, and even though the flame itself isn't a big threat, if you let that wire bump even the slightest bit I guarantee you'll have lovely little matching scars on both the top and bottom lips on your mouth.

If you are going to use coat hanger wire, sand then burn the wire first. Many coat hangers have either paint, coating or sealer on them that will burn a bit and flake off. Give the wire a good sanding before you attach the wick and make sure to make yourself a handle on the other end.

Make the torch long enough so that when the flame is licking up the handle you are not burning your hand. It seems self-evident at first, but I would guess that knuckle hair is one of many lost luxuries for fire eaters.

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Old 12-08-05, 09:29 AM   #15
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Default more info...

Hey Rachael. Over at rec.juggling there have been many, many threads about fire eating. Searching over there might help. Also, here is a link to an article written on the old Juggling.com about fire eating faqs.

http://juggling.org/bin/mfs/JIS/help...at.html?23#mfs

Also, check out www.youcaneatfire.com. A magician guy, Brian Brushwood came out with a book and dvd etc not too long ago on the subject. I imagine a dvd would be helpful.

Good luck and be careful.

Josh
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Old 12-09-05, 07:01 PM   #16
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Fire eating can be as dangerous as breathing. The biggest risk for breathing is not a mythical blow back - as it is chemically impossible for the fuel to burn inside your body without oxygen around - but the fuel getting into your lungs, where even a very small amount can do major damage. With fire eating, inhaling fumes from a (near) extinguished torch will have similar effects. Both just take a little mistake to happen. I'd say: don't exagerate the risks of firebreathing, they are big enough as they are. And don't underestimate the risks of fire eating either. Both thechniques require attention and a little mistake can make you quite ill and cause you some permanent damage, apart from the scars on the surface that you'll collect sooner or later.

Also, for starting, I'd say get rid of the coathanger wire. Take some wooden sticks and cover them with the aluminium tape normally used to seal heater exhaustion pipes. These torches won't last you as long as the coathanger wires, but they won't get as hot either. Also, with the wooden torches, you'll simply have to remind yourself not letting them burn for too long. It's easy to forget that with wire torches, and like Steven said, they'll get very hot indeed.

For fuels, if you still insist in firebreathing, use ultrapure lamp oil. It's odourless and gives you noticable less skin irritation than kerosene (US) or petroleum (EU), the smelly equals. Some people say the odour is removed by adding more toxins to the fuel, but as I notice far less irritation and other nasty side effects when my body gets in touch with ultra pure lamp oil instead of smelly fuels, and no one ever has been able to present me an official data sheet on this matter, I believe it is just one of the many, many myths fireworkers tend to spin around them to justify their behaviour.
For fire eating I'd either use ultrapure lamp oil, Coleman, or a mixture of both. Coleman will produce a much hotter flame, so it might be easier to start with lamp oil. The benefit of Coleman is, that it burns a little brighter and that it will allows you to perform a wider range of tricks, like transfers. But if I were you, I'd learn some eating fist, with lamp oil.

And last but not least: don't learn it from a book, unless you managed to learn driving a car by just reading the theory as well. Keep a wet towel at hand, a fire extinguisher and learn the difference between different types of extuinguishers, so that you'll know which one suits your needs best. Probably CO2 or foam. Also, have a big fire blanket at hand. Big enough to cover a human being. And learn how to use all these tools, too!

Good luck!

Wanna get some inspiration?

Last edited by Pyromancer; 12-09-05 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 12-09-05, 09:19 PM   #17
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A couple of after thoughts... It's common to lose eyebrows doing the act, and they will not grow back for years. Be very careful with cosmetics. NEVER do any thing with alcohol, and finally, never use any synthetic materials in your torches or clothing. I am making a set of torches for professionals Three torches, red heads, brass staffs and rosewood handles.. No Kevlar... They will do all the moves. $75.00 plus shipping
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Old 12-09-05, 11:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by sanscan
I am making a set of torches for professionals Three torches, red heads, brass staffs and rosewood handles.. No Kevlar...
Sounds interesting. I haven't heard of "red heads" before; is that a term, or a type of material, or what? And are you avoiding Kevlar on purpose (and if so, how come) or is it just a matter of preference?

Thanks.
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Old 12-10-05, 08:59 AM   #19
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I am anti-Kevlar...My torch heads are very absorbent. The materials I use and the replacable covering(Included) give rise to the red head name.
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Old 12-11-05, 11:40 AM   #20
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Ok, thanks for the info.

What is it about Kevlar that you don't like? I think a lot of us here use it, so it would be good to know if there's some reason we shouldn't be.

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