Fire Devilsticks

Using a fire devilstick is fun. It looks neat, people are amazed, you get to shrivel up lots of arm hairs, and best of all it makes a great whooshing noise when it spins.

Unfortunately, most fire devilsticks are terrible. They're usually too heavy and all the ones I've seen for sale are covered in metalic tape to protect the stick, and this makes them slippery when covered in soot. You can't avoid getting soot on the shaft, so it quickly becomes hard to use, which means you can't do as many neat tricks with it.

In search of a better fire stick, I've made a few of my own. Most of them sucked, but I'm on the right track.

Extreme Fire Devilstick

This is my best fire stick so far.

The idea is to wrap the stick with something that won't get slippery and is also fire resistant. What could be better than kevlar fire wick, just like the torches are made of? Of course, once I had a stick covered in wick, obviously I had to light the whole thing on fire. If fire is good, more fire is better, and this stick is awesome. See the photos at the top of this page. I have to wear leather gloves when I use it because it's really hot.

How to make one

My apologies for the imperial units. That's how they sell things where I live. Try clicking on numbers to convert them between metric and imperial. (It's a feature of my website.)



  1. Read the directions, start to finish.
  2. With a pencil, make marks 1.5cm and 3.5cm from each end (four in total). Make sure they line up nicely. Drill holes centered on these marks. The holes should be the right width for the four sheet metal screws you'll use to secure the torch wick.
  3. Make two more marks on the ends of the dowel to indicate where the holes are. So if the dowel is laying on the table and the holes are at the very top, make a mark at the 12 o'clock position on each end of the dowel. You'll use these marks to help find the holes after you've wrapped the wick around them.
  4. Optional: wrap the dowel in metalic tape. I have nice wide tape, and the best way I found to apply it is to unroll all the tape I need, lay it sticky side up on the table, then roll the dowel onto it. It ends up smooth and wonderful.
  5. Take a 60cm long strip of fire wick and wrap it around the dowel in a non-overlapping spiral. It won't completely cover the stick all the way to the end, but you'll cover the rest with the torches. Practice once or twice to figure out where the ends will go, then staple it to the dowel. (I used nine staples, but you can use more if you want.)
  6. Take one 60cm strip of wick and tightly wrap it around one end of the dowel. Figure out where you need the beginning to be such that it will run out about 3cm past where the screw holes are. When you've got that figured out, staple the beginning of the strip to the dowel and wrap it tightly. Fold the last 2cm under itself so your wrapping ends with a nice folded bit instead of a fraying end. You'll need to hold the wick in place until you screw it in.
  7. Take a needle and probe through the wick to find the holes you drilled. Use the pencil mark as a guide. Screw in two screws.
  8. Repeat the last two steps on the other end.

If you like the balance the way it is, you're done. I used it like that for a while, but I didn't like the way it felt, so I added some weight to the ends.

  1. Drill small holes in each end.
  2. On each end, attach three big washers with a screw. Viola! It spins better! Watch out though; the washers will get hot and burn you if you aren't careful.

How to make it cheaper

You can use less fire wick if you just use cloth tape on the shaft. It'll probably get damaged by the fire, but it's cheap and you can replace it. And maybe you can get away without using the metalic tape. I haven't actually tried these things, so if you do, let me know how it goes.

What Not To Do

For the record, here are some pictures of the first fire devilstick I made.

It's a straight aluminum shaft, with wooden dowel sections in the ends just to take the screws that hold the wick wrapping. The shaft is covered in silicone I took off a handstick. This is not a good stick. The aluminum vibrates in an unpleasant way and it gets hot. The silicone tubing was a huge pain to get on there and it gets just as slippery as bare metal would. And the balance is terrible. Don't make a stick like this one.


I made some fire handsticks, and they are amazingly cool. They're shown in the photos at the top of this page, and I've got a page explaining how to make them.

In search of better traction, I've tried wrapping the handsticks in different materials. Grip tape (like you'd put on slippery stairs) works really well on a fabric-covered stick until you get it in the fire, and then it melts. It'd work well on the extreme stick if I didn't light up the whole shaft, but once I do that they're toast after just a few minutes.

I've also tried covering the handsticks in kevlar cord. It's not very grippy and it's a bit dangerous in that it can soak up fuel and burn. This is especially likely if there are torches on the ends of the handsticks and you dip them in fuel. Using handsticks that are mostly on fire is difficult, even with gloves on.

I also tried using metal rasps as handsticks, but without much success. Maybe if I had something coarser it would work.

I'm still in search of good handsticks to use with fire.


The JIS has some useful information on fire juggling. It's aimed at the more popular sport of torch juggling, but is mostly relevant to devilsticks as well. The important thing to remember when selecting a fuel is that your stick is going to get coated with soot, which makes it slippery. Because of this, you want the cleanest burning stuff you can get that is still visible (not alchohol) and not too dangerous (not gasoline/petrol). I use Coleman fuel, also known as "white gas". I've also used kerosene, but it smells worse and generates more soot.