Five Pillars
Diary of Construction, 2000

February 28, 2000: First lighting!

February 28, 2000: First lighting!

Scott and I found a day to get together with Joey at his house. I got there first, and there was still a little bit of light, so Joey showed me one of the tubes which he had set up in an old hot tub. He had a small 12v pump [350gph, I think, maybe less] running the water for it and by merely running your finger around the edge it released the water to run smoothly down all sides -- absolutely lovely! The edge was smoothed and the glass itself was perfectly clear -- it was almost like a piece of water sticking straight up out of the tub! Stunning!

Looking at it, my only concern was if the fuel would be able to stay lit at the top. Seeing how slowly the water flowed over the edge, it looked to both of us like that would be fine. Joey had been thinking of using a small tube up to the surface, but I said why not just inject the fuel at the bottom and just let it flow up on its own? The only issue would be how the water flowed and if it would cause the fuel to carry over the edge before "breaking" at the top surface.

He had a plug in the bottom to hold the water in the tube, so he only had to drill a single hole in the plug to add a fuel line. His shop is amazing, and this was easily done! So we added the fuel line, and then all that was needed was to get a tub to hold the water and fire in -- as he certainly wasn't going to run fire in his hot tub!

We met Scott at the hardware store -- and they had very good prices on galvanized metal tubs [I know my tub prices now! :) ]. Scott got some things for his own project and we headed back to Joey's place.

The bottom plug with fuel line added Joey fills the tub with water

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We hooked up the fuel to a tank he had left over from an old job he had. Can't remember the history of the tank, but it was simply presurized with air which forced the fuel out. We also hooked up the pump, and filled the galvanized tub with water...

Joey adjusts the fuel for the first time lighting The column is lit! This is my favorite picture!

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It worked like a charm! In fact, it worked far better than I expected! The fuel rose nicely to the top, spread easily, and cascaded slowly down the sides. I grabbed a handful of pictures of the event but kept forgetting to turn off the flash, and, once it went off, I had to wait for the picture to save before I could make changes to the settings, and by that time, I'd forgotten again! So none of my pictures captured the lovely blue flames that rode up and down the sides of the tube! Lovely!

Joey said the blue flames were what made him most happy. I certainly agreed to that! :)

Scott set up some of his own tests. He used an old piece that was a failed firefall idea I'd given him. I'd taked a handful of tiny metal tubes and made a "shower-head" looking thing out of it. But this wouldn't work as a firefall because the water is in free-fall and the fuel never rises to the surface to burn... So Scott hooked it up to a propane tank, and it worked rather well! This is obviously only the beginning of ideas for him with this piece! I can't wait to see what he does with it!

So then we shut down, congratulated ourselves on our success and went to share a fine dinner!