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Tiki Torch Questions.....

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Time to light up the back yard with the soft warm glow of Tiki Torch-light, and want to improve upon the basic woven-bamboo-with cannister-of-oil torches I have always used before.

So, the questions:

  1. Are all oil cannister based torches about the same in your experience?

  2. Are some wicks better than others?
    The classic torches seem to have just not quite enough flame "oomph" to 'em, you know? More like candles than TORCHES, so to speak.

  3. Anybody using those propane torches that use the 14.1 ounce disposable propane or citropane cannisters?
    Here is a link, they can be had for as little as 30.00 each at other sites.

  4. Anybody ever have permanent natural gas torches installed?
    Our local contractor said that gas lines to the torches would run 38.00 per foot, way outta our league.

I'd love to hear your experiences and preferences!

[ Edited by: Geeky Tiki on 2003-04-21 10:58 ]

[ Edited by: Geeky Tiki on 2003-04-21 10:58 ]


One thing to keep in mind with the torches is the wick length. You don't want too much wick exposed or you get a lot of smoke. Also, use the clear "Pure" oils. I keep mine at about 1/2 inch or less. If you see smoke, shorten the wick.

If the gas line doesn't get you, the cost of burning gas in those torches surely would!

Good question for those that haven't purchased torches yet.

For me I now use Tiki Corporation's Torches. I prefer this black style, since it is the design of choice for me:

You can get these at Target, Smart 'n Final, Sav-on, Rite-Aid, Wal-Mart, etc.. Fairly easy to find. I have used the rattan style, and have seen the brass & the aluminum/silver metal ones. All of the fuel-type work the same. You fill the canister up, pop/screw the top on, adjust the wicker and light. As Swanky said, wicker height is important. I keep mine at about 1/2" exposed too, since I am looking to set mood lighting, not smokey joe's backyard bonfire. So shop, set your budget and see which style you like.

I'm sure you've seen the mini-torches for table tops:

One word of caution...Don't use these on any of the plastic outdoor tables! These are very, very lightweight torches that get top-heavy after filling the canister with fluid, and they tip over VERY easily. If you must put it on a table, make sure its a very heavy table that doesn't shake if someone bumps into it.

As for the CitroPane torches you mentioned on the link, yeah, I've seen them work. They are very cool and can give you that "big wave of flame", but it's really expensive in the long run since you must buy canisters of CitroPane to use on these. Oh, and one other thing about them on their design: You can actually unscrew the flame adjuster if you turn it too far! Who wants to be the one to try to rescrew that little knob while a big flame is going just because you turned the knob too far? These are in some of our local stores and you'll usually find one or more without the flame adjuster even on it. Either it fell off or someone unscrewed it all the way off.

The permanent gas torches? I have a friend who owns a plumbing business and he has installed gas lines for many of the Hoity Toity homes along the Newport Coast. They are expensive to install, BUT you do NOT have the convenience in changing the landscape lighting. Once they are installed, that's it. You can't just relocate the torch when you feel like it.

If you've got the budget for it, then go for it. If not, keep it simple and go for the under $12 torches. You can actually buy brand new ones every year for as low as $2 each starting at the end of August, since almost all of the stores start their clearance sales to make way for the fall season inventory. This is also when I stock up on the fuel too for the next year.

FireChief SCD says:
~make sure there's a clearance of at least 3 feet all around your torch.
~don't set your torch under ANY structure.
~use loooooong matchsticks to light your torch.
~don't fill your canister that holds your fuel up to the very top. Better to fill 3/4 of the way.
~buy a fire extinguisher, would ya? Better safe than sorry.
~look both ways before crossing the road.

Just my 2 coconuts worth,


I'll Put In On My Schedule!

[ Edited by: SugarCaddyDaddy on 2003-04-21 12:41 ]

Make sure you cap your torches or remove them during rain storms. It can downpour here in the midwest during summer months and I found that if the wick gets water it will drip down into the can.
I 've had a whole can of lamp oil runied bcause it got water in it. Most torches come with caps... make sure it has one and keep those wicks out of the rain!

The oil and water can be separated - the real danger of getting water in the cans is that they can rust out. I lost a whole can of oil out a rusted pinhole in a torch. Spilled into the ground, which is probably a bad thing ecologically, too.

Those small coconut shells I mentioned in an earlier post work really well for keeping the wicks dry, by the way. They make a flashier torch-snuffer/wick umbrella than the little piece of bamboo they usually give you, and they're heavy enough to stay on in a stiff wind...

Couple of other torch tips:

Fiberglass wicks are better than the natural (cotton) fiber ones. They last longer, use less oil and give a better flame.

Watch out for the really cheap torches - these you REALLY have to avoid filling up all the way, 'cause the oil can wick up and over the edge, onto the bamboo, and set the whole damn thing on fire. I've actually had this happen.

A piece of rebar driven into the ground makes a good support for a torch, especially if your ground is too hard to drive the bamboo into deeply enough for a secure torch.

We had one blow up one time at a party we had!!! Shot the flaming wick in the air 20 feet and then into the next door neighbors yard and cought their play house on fire!!! The can/holder also turned into a very large tiki torch!!! VERY LARGE!!!

Another time we were at a Holloween party and those 24" shorter ones caught a mummy on fire and it was gnarley!!Burned the shit out of this poor girl!! Stop drop and roll sitch!!! (We were mummies too but had squirt bottles and kept our guaze damp all night.)

Just yesterday we pulled up from getting back from MONDO and I saw some black smoke coming out of a neighbors yard across the street. It looked wrong and, it WAS WRONG! They left a bug candle (the one thats tall with the bamboo stick) burning and forgot about it and split too! When I saw it and opened their back gate the flames were like 8' tall. I freaked out and grabbed the hose and sprayed it for like 5 mins. The fire was next to their sliding glass door that was open for a cat and the flames almost caught the curtains on fire. A plastic dog house was also torching up pretty good! Freaked me out!!! (not a good thing after MONDO) (When we got home, I just wanted to go to bed but, had to be Bamboo "house saver" Ben)

So, be f'in smart when you are using fire!!!! G-damn it!!!
Buy one fire extinguisher for each torch you have!!!

[ Edited by: RevBambooBen on 2003-04-21 21:01 ]

Good info on fire stuff. Unfortunately, if if a tiki-head lives in an apartment or condo, you're out of luck on the traditional torches. But, I've recently discovered a solution!

This spring, Pier One Imports is selling a terrific looking bamboo tiki torch. It's about four feet tall and topped with a thick glass candle holder. Meant for tea lights or votives. Not as bright and showy as the oil flame torches, but four or five on your private balcony or patio are still impressive. They stick in the ground (or large planter pots) just like their bigger cousins. BTW these torches only cost $4 each!

An alternative for those of us in smaller living environments.

FYI~ I'm in Huntington Beach, just down the hill off Adams, and Rite-Aid and SavOn's has them too for $2.99....just in case your local Pier One (I'm guessing on Harbor Blvd.?) is out of them.


Thanks, SugarCaddyDaddy!

That's good to know. I just redone my sundeck, rolled out my outdoor tiki (a treasured Danny Balsz antique from the long gone Tikis in Monterey Park - or at least that was what I was told when I restored it) and set up for a great summer of evenings in the pseudo-tropics.

BTW for tiki lovers in the Huntington Beach/Newport Beach/Costa Mesa area in So Cal, there is an excellent tropical shop called The House of Tiki, which is on Newport Blvd. directly across from Triangle Square. It's run by a great guy named Wes Johnson and is well-stocked with all sorts of tropical stuff (Tiki Farm mugs, furniture, accessories, tiki bars and, of course, locally carved tikis).
There's also a store a couple blocks further down the street called Copa Cobana which deals in up-scale tropical furniture.

Just for everyone's FYI.

[ Edited by: Squawker on 2003-04-24 09:06 ]

My bar is filled with electric tiki torches I made from real torches topped with flicker bulbs. I love 'em and they don't smoke. The real, flaming ones go outside.


That's a great idea for indoors. I've seen some commercially available tiki bar kits that feature flicker bulb torches. Even thought about making some myself.

Hey Squacker,
Your Homepage has lots of Blood!

Wow, Squawker, I first visited your homepage about four years ago! We LOVE Halloween at my house.


Ah, yes...

My alterego is "Uncle Creepy". I didn't say the web site was a tiki page (it may evolve into that sometime in the future). I have been a writer for hobby magazines since the late '80s. Along the way I have worked in the movie biz, music videos, etc. The "blood" you've seen up there has to do with my creepy EFX I sometimes do for the professional haunted attraction industry.

If you've wandered through the "graveyard", I assume you came across the Grave Diggings section where you can visit some of my parties, notably last year's Halloween Bash and it's Indiania Jones jungle tomb adventure (I may create a section for my upcoming tiki paty this summer).

So now some of you have discovered a portion of my dark soul....ha-ha-hah...heh-heh...Ha-Ha-Haaaa....

Uh...oops...I better take a sip of this Fog Cutter...ah...yes...That calms me down. I'll just turn on the tiki lights and my rainforest fountain...Put a little Martin Denny on the stereo....That's better. Good tiki...good tiki...

[ Edited by: Squawker on 2003-04-24 09:09 ]

Hey Squawker~

Since you are local, and are in the "haunted arts", did you ever go to the "Haunted Crypt" at Chapman University back in 1992, 1993 & 1994? My audio production company did the custom haunted soundtrack for them. I still have the original 24 track tape, and, of course have it on DAT (digital audio tape) too. I co-produced, edited, and own the complete soundtrack. We even did the complete sound reinforcement setup at The Crypt. I'm still partly active (meaning when I feel like working "in the biz") as an audio consultant, and this is my latest co-project still to be completed, and IS NOT tiki related. We have won quite a few film festivals so far this year.....I think I'll step off my high-horse now.

I took this waaaay off subject. Sorry.

I'll Put In On My Schedule!

[ Edited by: SugarCaddyDaddy on 2003-04-24 09:32 ]

On 2003-04-24 09:32, SugarCaddyDaddy wrote:
...did you ever go to the "Haunted Crypt" at Chapman University back in 1992, 1993 & 1994? My audio production company did the custom haunted soundtrack for them.

Hey - I went to that!



What are you wanting here, SugarCaddyDaddy? I was involved with Knott's Halloween Haunt back in the '90s (haven't worked with that since Cedar bought out Knotts) and really was too busy to visit any local houses during that period.

I have no current projects on the schedule, however, those things usually creep up on me last minute (I hate that - everything at the last minute and they want it tomorrow). As this is OT, maybe you should contact me off BB. E-mail at [email protected]

Squawker, both Tikitronic and I are also involved with pro hauntings here in Portland! We didn't realize we knew each other in that life until we met for drinks at Alibi one evening. Theme freaks is what we are, aren't we?

You ever seen the band GWAR? ( being new to TC, I hope you know that we all just jive around alot. No hard feelings on any of our re-plys) More Blood!!!! Tikis with Blood pouring from their eyes!!! Score!!!

At my age, most of my "pub crawling" nights are over. Amazing I survived. That's why I created my own tropical bar and habitat within my home. Seems to be safer and keeps me from making a complete moron of myself in public.

To answer, no, I haven't seen the band you mentioned (I haven't even been to a concert in 10 years). I'm usually too busy with whatever project to get out that much. By the time I've decided to shut down from a day's work, I'm too exhausted to stumble down the stairs. But then, that was the reason behind the tropical thing at home. Clears my head and revitalizes the soul. A necessary part of my life, considering what I have to do to pay the mortgage.

As for the haunted life, let's just say I have a lot of skeletons in my closet. Literally.

Hey, I'm new and don't know if posting on a thread that's been long dormant here gets much attention, but I am looking for some king of torch that provides a larger flame than the standard, oil tiki torches. If possible, I would like something portable, e.g. that would run off a portable propane or similiar fuel tank. I would only use it a few times a year.

The fire-science item cited early on in this stream sounded very promising, but the link doesn't seem to work anymore. Does anyone have any ideas?



Like this?
about 1/2 way down the page they have a portable torch


Sweet! Thanks Zombified!

I just found this site that sells multi-colored flame for tiki torches, check out the video. Looks nice for creating the mood.


Wow....those are beautiful. I would love to have some tiki torches in my yard....but flame and a very dry landscape forbids it. I wish someone made these bamboo torches with a solar-powered light in them and colored lights would be great. :)

I too love the multicolored flames. Around here (Bakersfield) we have lots of wood shake roofs and flaming tiki torches make people nervous, not that it prevents anyone from lighting them up. I have tiki torches lining one entire side of the lot that my house is on, though I did assure the neighbor that they were 100% ornamental. How fun it would be to light them all up!


On 2007-07-15 17:52, naugatiki wrote:
I just found this site that sells multi-colored flame for tiki torches, check out the video. Looks nice for creating the mood.


:> :>:>:>:>:>:>::




Ok I need help from some Zen Tiki Masters....Bought this funky bamboo shelf to display more mugs. The shelf has these weird "cup holders" on the sides. They would be a perfect way to frame out precious tiki mugs if they were converted to electric tiki torches with flickering bulbs. The cup holders are too small for standard tiki torch canisters. Anyone know if there are any torches commercially available that have narrow or skinny fuel canisters? Any one else have a good idea about what to use instead of tiki torch fuel canisters?

On 2014-06-17 02:48, tamminjoe wrote:
Any one else have a good idea about what to use instead of tiki torch fuel canisters?

Not sure if you must use fuel and flame, but you can use flicker-flame simulators for light bulbs. There are several brands on the market. Theme parks, theatres, and haunted houses have been using them for years.


Thanks Ace, yes looking to use electric flicker bulbs just trying to find a skinny canister. May try use a thin depleted aerosol can as a last resort...

No, not bulbs, they don't work well. I mean an electronic circuit.


Hmmm, ok sounds interesting. Not an electrician but I love to tinker on crap that my wife thinks is stupid! Please tell me more...

Ok. I wasn't trying to tell you where to go, because there are different designs and price ranges out there. There are also "indoor" lighting needs which pretty much rule out real flame versus outdoor lighting needs where it's often best to stick with real flames. Here are a few URLs for you:

Flicker circuits, ready-made, for various incandescent and LED lamps:

If you need a more subtle flickering candle, then integrate these into your designs:
http://www.stagelightingstore.com and go to Shop By Brand > Rosco > Rosco Candles

There are others out there which are higher-end and more costly. And there are some circuits you can build from scratch if you're really into electronics. I am, but I also know when a project is not a ton of fun and I just need to buy ready-made so that I can focus on the design of the bar.

Do some Google searches on your own and you'll get more info. You do generally get what you pay for when you buy higher-end, so weigh your options carefully. If you're into electronics, have some fun and build some from scratch. It all depends on how much time you have or how quickly you need it.

Please let us know what you decide to do, and please come back and share some pictures of what you worked out.


Thanks for the links Ace they look cool, will post more when we figure it out.


my idea of a tiki torch..

Jeff, you rock!


I don't know if anyone mentioned that Tiki Torch brand sells full ready to go drop in canisters of oil with the wick as well as some cool colors like, green, blue red and yellow! Ive even seen em at Wal-Mart and are not too expensive either

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