Dip cans

Okay, most fire tools can be dunked in an open bucket of fuel to get ready for use. These buckets are generally called “Dip Cans”. Many beginning spinners grab just about anything for use and get away without accidents. But when you rub up against fire marshals, they’re going to look at your fuel station with other things in mind.

The first, and biggest issue a fire marshal will be worried about is a lit tool rapidly entering your fuel station. The very best way to prevent this is get a “hard wall” between the flame and the fuel. ‘Hard walls’ mean putting it in a different room, or literally putting a “hard” wall between. this is opposed to a soft wall like a curtain, or spotter with a duvy. But sometimes, hard walling just isn’t practical.

So, assuming we can’t reliably stop a torch or staff entering the fuel area, we have to consider what might happen if they do. First, if any dip can has fuel in it and no lid, you have an open bucket burn. Anything near a bucket burn will get heated quickly. But there’s more to it, the impact of the tool could seriously damage flimsy materials.

  • Plastic – an open burn in a plastic container will quickly melt the walls and allow the fuel to run freely. Even if a plastic container has a lid, a lit tool entering the area might melt the walls and again, you have a fuel spill.
  • Glass – more rigid than plastic and won’t usually melt in a bucket burn scenario, or if a lit wick rolls nearby. However, the impact of a heavy tool might shatter glass then you have a fuel spill compounded with shards of glass which could wound people attempting to put out or clean up the spill.
  • Metal – resists impact and heat. Easily capped in a bucket burn scenario (assuming a vapor seal cap), and harder to destroy from a thrown tool.

Naturally, the very best thing to do with your dip cans is to return the fuel to the factory shipping container immediately after dipping. However, larger shows often require open fuel dipping, so metal cans are the best choice. And in the case of an open bucket burn, a metal dip can with a vapor seal lid is the best choice. Unused paint cans provide an economical choice.

The North American Fire Arts Association