How to make a fire brand

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Worked together via Steve G., Blue H., etc.

Materials

  • Wood - not too short or you're liable to get burnt, around 150cm, and somewhere between too thin when the wood gets burnt through and too thick, when it's inconvenient to hold - the thickness of 1.5 broom handles, something about 1.5 - 2 inches. Must be green wood - old/dead wood is no good, it will burn too quickly.
  • Cotton or linen (but definitely natural fibre) sheets.
  • Tinfoil - a fairly thick variety - its job is to protect the wood under the torch
  • Chicken wire - 25mm hex or the smallest mesh you can get - this is to stop bits of fiery cloth going everywhere. 60 cms wide x 10 metres
  • Staple gun + fence staples (or double ended horseshoe shaped nails and a hammer)
  • Wire cutters
  • Gardening or leather gloves
  • Bow saws (2) - need to cut a notch for the bow otherwise it might slip.

Steps

  • Tear the cloth up into strips about 2 to 3cm wide and as long as you can. Make 3 to 5cm deep incisions along the short edge of the sheet in to strip stubs. Bunch alternating strip stubs into two groups. With two people, one person grabs one set of strip stubs and the other the other. PULL! If one person, ripping them to make them 10 to 15cm strip stubs and put one bunch under one foot, balance and pull
  • Cover around the top 30cm of the wood with two layers (minimum) of aluminium foil
  • Start winding, taking care to leave some wood exposed at the top
  • Keep doing this. This is boring, really - hence all the dubious jokes.
  • Eventually.... stop
  • Cut out enough chickenwire mesh to wrap round the end and staple it in place.
  • Go to the pub for a bit.
  • Dip the end of the torch in paraffin for a good long time (you can determine this by making more than one torch and having a test burn or two, good ends to start from are two hours and overnight)
  • Light it!

In an ideal world, it should burn for about half an hour or so, but once it's gone out you can sometimes restart it by swinging it wildly round your head so that any paraffin in the centre is flushed out to the edges. DO NOT do this near people, or with torch balls (they tend to go flying off unpredictably).

Etc.

See also http://www.night-watch.net/content/Documents/FireBrands

And maybe http://www.night-watch.net/content/Documents/TorchBall