Constructing Cathedral Style Wick for Poi

This article is intended to be a guide to constructing a style of cathedral wick for poi. The design goals for this wick was maximizing fuel capacity and minimizing weight. Materials needed: 12' of 2"x1/8" Kevlar blend wick 2 1/16" crimps (copper) 1' 1/16" cable (steel or aircraft aluminum) Glue Tools needed: Scissors Crimpier ($20 at hardware store) Wrench for crimp tool awl/stiff wire Pliers to cut the cable The time this project takes is highly variable on how focused you are, experience level in craft work, etc. A pair of wicks takes around an hour if you have all the tools, materials and space at hand. Choice of wick width (2",2.5",3", 4" are easily available) and stacking height control the shape of the wick. Common modifications are including a ring at the bottom of the wick for stacking multiple wicks in series, making the bottom of the wick "blind" to conceal the hardware on the bottom, etc.


Figure #1 - Applying glue before cutting Kevlar

Step 1: Cut the Kevlar into 4 equal pieces. The Kevlar frays very rapidly, one way of dealing with this problem is to apply glue to the Kevlar before or after cutting it to length. The length used this time was ~ 12' total. This was cut into 4 equal length pieces. Figure 1 above shows the glue being applied. Alternatives to glue are sewing the Kevlar, folding it on itself (blind), or just letting it fray. Fraying is unsightly but not a structural problem, it stops at the hardware. ?


Figure #2 - Folding the wick, beginning of cathedral

Step 2: Set 2 pieces to the side. Lay the other 2 on a flat surface as shown in figure 2, notice they are laid at right angles. The wick on the bottom is folded over the top, and laid flat on the other side. Creasing the Kevlar as you fold it will help make it more manageable later on.


Figure #3 - Folding completed

Figure 3 above shows the wicks after they have been folded. The folding process is primarily to crease the Kevlar, this makes it possible to unfold the stack and thread the cable through. Step 3: This is the meat of the cathedral construction process. Cut a 1 foot piece of the cable and tape the ends. The tape prevents the cable from unraveling or poking you as it is worked through the Kevlar. Take a pointed object, (example: awl), and poke a centered hole in the Kevlar. . Work the hole big enough to push the cable through. Continue this process until you have the cable all the way through the Kevlar. Tip: If you turn the wick 90 degrees as you get through it you'll find a pattern that makes this quite easy.


Figure #4 - Detail of wick bottom

Figure 4 above shows the construction details for the bottom of the wick. The cable has been poked all the way through the Kevlar. The cable immediately passes through the big washer, through the two smaller washers and back through the big washer. The smaller washers will bind against the big washer when the cable is pulled tight. The free end of the cable must now be worked back through the Kevlar to the top of the wick. This will take a combination of the pointed tool used earlier and manipulating the wick. Make it easy on yourself and pull the stack apart slightly.


Figure #5 - Detail of wick top

Figure 5 above details the top of the wick. The free end from figure 4 has been passed all the back through the Kevlar. The two ends of the cable then pass together through a washer and the crimp. A quick link was inserted between the crimp and the wick. The cables should be pulled tight to remove slack from the system, and then crimped. The extra ends of the cable are then neatly trimmed off and one wick is completed.


Figure #6 - Completed wick

Figure 6 shows one complete wick. The crimp needs to be crimped and the extra cable trimmed. This process takes approximately 2 hours start to finish.
Enjoy your new wicks!