I have a fantastic fire hula hoop from Holistic Hooping and I just love it. It's light and fast, and easy to assemble and disassemble for soaking.
However.... I like LOTS of fire. The wicks on this hoop are pretty little, and they looked sort of small and sad next to all our other fire tools. Hula hoops should not look small and sad.
I added some wick. Just a little bit at first - I wrapped a piece of 2" kevlar wick around each existing wick, and sewed it in place with kevlar thread. That worked pretty well for a few burns. I don't think most fire tools are designed to withstand being burned 3-4 times every single day, and the extra wick I added was getting eaten up really quickly. I was having to re-cover at least one wick almost every day, and with so much else going on here in Japan, I didn't want to spend that much time sewing.
So I came up with another new design. I took a piece of 4" wide kevlar wick and wrapped it around and stitched it up in such a way that the wicks now look like adorable little bulbs of garlic. They are almost twice as big as the originals now, and they burn very brightly indeed! I have lost just about all the hair off the back of my neck at this point. Much better.
I love the big fire, but these wicks might to be just a little bit too big. They make the hoop noticeably heavier and slower, and that's annoying (but not a deal breaker). Then, during my last performance of the night, the plastic part of the hoop actually started to melt. I felt it flex and bend and grabbed onto it and felt soft, warm, pliable sticky plastic in my hand. NOT GOOD.
I finished the act (carefully) and headed to the hardware store the next day in search of a solution that didn't require unstitching all my hard-stitched beautiful new garlic-bulb wicks. The answer: a roll of aluminum tape.
The aluminum reflects a lot of the heat and it so super-conductive that it doesn't get hot to the touch - think about how quickly aluminum foil cools off when you take it out of the oven. The tape I found appears to be made for plumbing, according to the graphic on the package, which means it's made to withstand heat and stay stuck. I had to just trust that it was aluminum since I'm a little rusty on my Japanese metal alloy kanji. (Rusty. See what I did there?)
I put the tape on the hoop next to the wicks, and smoothed it down as best I could. It turned out to be just the right width to wrap around 75% of the hoop without covering the sanded grip-strip along the inside, so it doesn't interfere with my hooping. It might actually make it a little more grippy, since due to the hoop's curvature I couldn't get the tape to lie perfectly flat at the edges.
And the verdict? The hoop is no longer melting. YAY! The weight of the new wicks makes it flex a little more than I'm used to so I'll have to work with it a bit to get used to it, but I now have a super bright (and super hot) flaming hula hoop that will last easily until the end of my run here in Japan.
Also, the aluminum tape is shiny. SHINY!
We've got just over two weeks left before heading off into the wilds of Japan. Here's a picture of the moon!