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Driptorch fuel mix.

Discussion in 'Forestry and Logging Forum' started by kevinj, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. kevinj

    kevinj Whatarya, Goofy?

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    Thanks to all you firefighters out there for all that you do...

    What is the best fuel mix that you recommend for a drip torch ???

    :monkey:

    :cheers:
     
  2. BC_Logger

    BC_Logger ArboristSite Guru

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    (4) Parts Diesel to (1) Part Gasoline
     
  3. BC_Logger

    BC_Logger ArboristSite Guru

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    also be very careful with a drip torch!.

    I would recommend a propane tiger torch over a drip torch if possible
     
    kevinj likes this.
  4. RPM

    RPM ArboristSite Operative

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    +1 ... on the mix and ++1 on the tiger torch
     
  5. Roy M

    Roy M ArboristSite Operative

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    B.C. Forest Service uses a mixture of diesel and powdered Surefire from Chemonics Industries in Kamloops. I have no idea what the Surefire is made of. The problem was that mixed too thin it would not light, too thick it clogged the nozzle. They were using sticks or canoe paddles to stir the mix and splinters caused problems too.
    A friend of mine developed an optimum mix of Surefire, methanol, and an ingredient he would not divulge in a one gallon jug. He patented it as Petrogel. This was mixed with with 10 gallons of diesel. They went from a 40% ignition rate to 97%, the forestry people went nuts.
    Some of you don't like drip torches but they were a huge improvement. Previous to this, naptha balls were dropped from a tube mounted to the side of the helicopter. Frequently the balls would ignite in the tube scaring the bejabbers out of the pilot.
     
  6. smokechase II

    smokechase II Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Mix

    The official mix is anywhere between 3:1 and 5:1. Parts diesel to parts Gas.

    So the 4:1 answer above works well.
    (yes there have been instances of 1:3 and wow!)

    ===========

    One advantage to slash fuel (drip torch mix) is that you can get rid of older gas and questionable containers of unknowns.

    ==========

    Back in the 70's I was a grunt on a study where several ignition methods we checked out. All operators were traded back and forth between ignition tools and had to keep track of piles ignited each day.

    The drip torch won.

    It wasn't the best every day, it was the best overall.

    If you have a serious fire jones this is a three pitcher discussion.

    ============

    I think the drip torch is the safest if you can follow rules. (I have a 4 decade experience background.)

    Stick to the correct mix and don't burn if you spill on yourself. Tough rules like don't smoke when refueling.
     
  7. slowp

    slowp Tree Freak

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    I never mixed it, just used it. It was a way to get rid of old fuel--like helicopter fuel. We had a few cases of scorched eyebrows when somebody mixed too much of that stuff with the diesel. But that was it. Drip torches are good--easy to carry, not many parts, and tough.
     
  8. jrizman

    jrizman ArboristSite Operative

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    well, propane isnt ideal if your broadcast burning as im sure youll know, however, it is the preferred method for piles (IMO).

    I make, in a 5gal container, 3.5:1.5, reddye:gas
     
  9. 2dogs

    2dogs Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Yep, 4:1, 3:1 if it's cold and foggy. Nowadays, like yesterday's job, I use a fuel bottle drip torch. I have heard this called a hot shot torch too. With this torch I use saw mix with a glug of bar oil added. That is for a 33oz MSR bottle. I have more brush to burn this Sunday. I will add the leaf blower to the mix so stand back.
     
  10. smokechase II

    smokechase II Addicted to ArboristSite

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    preferred???

    "well, propane isnt ideal if your broadcast burning as im sure youll know, however, it is the preferred method for piles (IMO)."

    =============

    Depends on the pile.
    How its made and how dry things are.

    If things are dryer then propane can be the cats meow.

    =============

    In that study back in the seventies on several national forests they found that the drip torch was like a pocket on a shirt filled with sliced bread.
    Meow to boot. The drip torch got the most done when burning conditions were averaged.

    ==========

    However; the drip torch does not go Pllooooocccchhhhh.
     
  11. RPM

    RPM ArboristSite Operative

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    We've been logging in some nasty interior cedar / hemlock stands the last while...some real nasty junk. Big wet piles full of dirt and sh*t, when you can drive up to them the tiger torch is the way to go...turn it on and stand back for 10 minutes. That blue cone dries a nice little pocket and away she goes. I like drip torches and find that they work for about 75% of the piles that we do - most are in the blocks and not on landings so lugging a 20lb bottle around isn't realistic.

    Its another tool in the pyros arsenal - just like tires and JetB ...:)

    And broadcast burning....whats that? We haven't lite a block up full scale since the early 90's....too much liability (ie: over achievment - although it was ok when the forest service let them go...). Its all mechanical site prep and piling for us now.
     
  12. smokechase II

    smokechase II Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Time limit

    "...........turn it on and stand back for 10 minutes........."

    ============

    On the district I just retired from last fall they had over 16,000 hand piles and just a hundred or so landing piles.

    Spending a minute (on average) to lite a hand pile is too much.

    The economics of 10+ minutes on a landing pile is fine. Bulk (size matters) discount.

    However, we couldn't waste that amount of time on all those hand piles.
     
  13. Gologit

    Gologit Completely retired...life is good.

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    Anybody use a mixture of liquid dish soap and gasoline for burning piles?
     
  14. 2dogs

    2dogs Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I love the smell of a drip torch in the morning.
     
  15. slowp

    slowp Tree Freak

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    I thought powdered Tide was used? We had people mixing something, along with packets to make it into a more politically correct named stuff than Napalm. The lowest people in the caste system mixed it because that was a very nasty job. Fumes and all. I had enough seniority to escape that duty. They baggied it up and we packed it out to get fires going in piles--Eastern WA dry.

    Then, I came over here, and the fuels guy would pack the same stuff, only not as liquid, in 5 gallon buckets, and hand pack that stuff into a green cull deck/landing pile. It was the middle of winter and wet. He'd light that off, pour his pickup tank of diesel on it, and come back the next day to repeat. He was determined to get those piles burned. Probably liked getting out of the office too. He told me, "You can burn anything if you have enough fuel."
    :dizzy:
    We had a huge budget then, we sold a lot of good timber.
     
  16. Gologit

    Gologit Completely retired...life is good.

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    I've used dry soap but liquid seems to work better. The soap is just a surfactant so I imagine you could tailor it to suit your individual needs. We used to use liquid Joy and Av Gas to burn out the inside of Parathion drums. Sometimes we'd have contests to see who could get the most chain explosions and distance on the empty drums....aaahhhh the good old days. Anybody know what the statute of limitations is on stuff like that?
     
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  17. slowp

    slowp Tree Freak

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    And the BAD LOGGERS still throw the paint cans in the piles, bury them, so there's usually a startling boom while the pile burns, if it burns.

    But I haven't heard of the bomb squad having to come in for a forgotten case of explosives lately. Not much road building going on these days.
     
  18. RPM

    RPM ArboristSite Operative

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    Scale matters obviously and my employeer doesn't pay me to stand around ....16,000 hand piles - no - maybe a 1/5th of that (machined piled)....most by drip torch....difficult landing piles ...where you stuff the torch in ...a dozen.
     
  19. slowp

    slowp Tree Freak

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    I have learned this method, and use it on my property. It should only be done in the winter. When we require handpiling, the contract also requires covering with plastic. Plastic is expensive. One guy starts a campfire going, then piles on top of that and burns while piling. It works pretty good, I've done it in an all day downpour. He doesn't have to cover the piles if he burns while going along. No, he doesn't set a speed record, but he does move along at a pretty good pace.
     
  20. jrizman

    jrizman ArboristSite Operative

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    there are some places that use broadcast units for site prep, as i have worked on sites in no. Idaho (mainly). however, it has been for industry in my experience. flaming helitorches rule:clap:

    i like the propane for piles, wet, dry, dirty, fresh, whatever. however, i cant say that its always ideal, i have also carried a drip torch in one hand and propane in the other :) I like it mainly cause i get a good deal on propane! I should have stated that its all dependent on site conditions and pile characteristics.
     

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