Torch Construction 1

Why build your own juggling torches? Well, I like mine a little longer than the standard size, and with a completely round knob on the end. A good swinging torch might require an even larger knob than the usual toss juggling torch, or a longer neck to accommodate several wicks. Whatever the reason, building juggling torches is a very easy project for a beginning wood turner (like myself), and given the price of one piece torches, it is allot cheaper!

One can make juggling torches out of sticks and rags, but for a better look and feel, it isn't too difficult to turn your own on a lathe. For a beginner, a torch is a good project because the shape is simple and only requires the use of a few chisels.

First, I take the raw maple stock, cut it to length, leaving several inches on each end for waste. I mark the centers of each end. Using a hand plane, or a band saw, I knock off the corners, creating an octagonal shaped piece. (You can knock off the corners on the lathe, but it is faster if you do it before turning.)

raw stock
Raw Stock


Once placed on the lathe, I round the body with a 3/4" gouge. I then begin to shape the handle and the neck. It is important to measure the neck so that it is 3/4" in diameter, and is fairly even because there is going to be an aluminum sleeve that fits over it.

The top of the handle and the knob are then shaped with a skew chisel.

I usually fine tune the shape using a rasp and finishing with sand paper. If you want to keep the wood look, and not paint the torch, then you can add a finish before taking the piece off of the lathe.

Finally, the piece is separated from the waste with a parting tool.

Turning the Body

This is the finished body, ready for the wick assembly. The upper neck of the torch body is 3/4" diameter to accept an aluminum tube sleeve. You can get the tubing at any hardware store. The tubing is needed to keep the wick from burning the torch itself. It also adds strength to the thin neck.

bare body
Bare Torch Body

I slide the tube onto the neck, and then cut it to length. These handles have had lindseed oil rubbed onto them for a nice finish. I don't worry about the surface finish too much, because once you light them up, everything gets black and nasty anyway...

bare body
Three Bodies with Tubing

I have tried different wicks, but the best I have found are the replacement wicks that the prop vendors sell. So, I concede on this one! I got this set of wicks and screws from Todd Smith. Attack the wicks with a couple of screws into each torch. You can double wick the torches if you like a really big flame, by putting one wick next to the other, but don't expect to be able to put a double wicked torch out in your mouth (unless your last name is Lovelace!)
Wicks From Todd Smith