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Old 05-06-2008, 04:31 AM   #1
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Color In your Camp Fire

What do campers use to put color in there camp fire? I use a piece of copper tubing, 3" in diameter X 18" long and I slide 3 pieces of cheap garden hose down in side of the tube. One end of the tube is crushed and the other end has a removable cap or end. I drill a series of holes in different areas of the tubing using 1/4" drill bit. While camping I get a good hot fire going, then I place the copper tubing in the center of the fire ring then I stack wood on top of the tubing, not long after that the color show starts, the colors I get are blue/green, red, purple, deep blue, bright orange and maybe one or two other colors. By placing wood on top of the copper tubing the flames dance around the logs. The length of the copper tubing would depend on the size of the fire ring, as far as the diameter, I found that a 3" piece will last for hours, on the other hand I used to use a 1" diameter with one piece of hose in it and it lasted about 30 mins. The copper tubing last about two camping seasons then it"s done. WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS WHILE COOKING OR BEFORE, IT CAN MAKE YOU SICK. Just make sure all cooking and marsh mellows are done for the evening. By the way the copper will glow red, remove the copper tubing in the morning.
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Old 05-06-2008, 01:46 PM   #2
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i was at walmart this weekend and came across some thing you put in the fire to make colors. It was in the camping items. We use the copper also.
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Old 05-07-2008, 03:59 AM   #3
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Yes, you can buy sulfate crystal that make colors. The last time I priced them it was about 3 bucks a can and it's effect is short lived for the money.
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Old 09-28-2009, 02:51 PM   #4
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what is the garden hose for?
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:56 PM   #5
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what is the garden hose for?
The reason for the garden hose is because of the chemical reaction between the copper pipe and the rubber in the garden hose when they are heated together and reach a certain temperature. Now when I say garden hose this would be the cheapest hose money can buy. Most of the time it is green in color and on the inside it is black. This hose is not for drinking because it has lead in it, so between the lead in the hose and the out gasing of copper sulfate in the pipe is when the chemical reaction starts. This reaction will not happen when you use a white RV hose and that's because there is no lead in it. I replace my garden hose about every three years, I cut the old one into 18" pieces. A camping friend of mine came up with Idea by using a 1"x12" piece of copper tubing, this means that he could only but one piece of hose in it, well I had to make a mod to his idea I made one out of a 3"x18" peace of copper and now I can add up to 4 pieces of hose and it keeps the color in my fire for over 2 hours. For the best display of color I get a nice bed of coals in the fire ring then place the copper tubing on top then add wood on top of the tubing in different directions. The flames will then dance all around the wood. One thing I just found this year, my friend had his hose laying on his garage floor uncovered and it is hose that I gave him two years ago. Mine was also two years old and form the same stock and I had mine in a black trash bag on the floor of my garage floor as well. In the beginning of camping season he used what he had on the garage floor and it didn't work, so he suggested to me to try mine out because he didn't think it work as well, so I did.....boy was he surprised, it worked, so I guess if you store your hose in a black plastic bag it will keep. Please do not plan on cooking over the fire ring once you have place the copper tubing in the fire ring, It can make you sick....
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Old 09-29-2009, 11:08 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info I will have to try this this weekend
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Old 09-29-2009, 11:17 AM   #7
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is it good to be around those chemicals (lead and copper sulfate) as they burn? Im no tree hugger enviorment freak but I just dont think breathing in campfire smoke with copper sulfate and lead is a good idea? maybe its not enough to harm us I dont know.
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Old 09-29-2009, 11:37 AM   #8
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is it good to be around those chemicals (lead and copper sulfate) as they burn? Im no tree hugger enviorment freak but I just dont think breathing in campfire smoke with copper sulfate and lead is a good idea? maybe its not enough to harm us I dont know.
Have to agree here, I don't think putting the copper tube with the garden hose inside the fire is a good idea and may not even be legal in many states. Kinda like burning rubber. I'm content with a plain fire, doesn't need colors.
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Old 09-29-2009, 01:18 PM   #9
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All of my fires have reds, oranges, and yellows in the flame.
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:39 PM   #10
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When I was a much younger person I once burnt an old TV in a bonfire. Now that I am older and somewhat wiser I wouldn't recommend it. I am sure it was putting off many nasty chemical combinations. We weren't very close to it because we weren't sure if any of the tubes inside the old set would actually explode but let me tell you I have never seen more colors in a fire then that night. Even as a firefighter in S.E. PA I never saw a prettier fire. They always say "Don't do this at home!" and I am saying don't try it just to see the pretty colors.

Can't wait to try the copper pipe and hose trick though.

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Old 09-29-2009, 08:05 PM   #11
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Thanks for the info I will have to try this this weekend
Two more thing, you need to drill 1/4" holes in the copper in different areas, the next thing is to crush one end of the copper pipe and if you can add a cap at the other end so you can load it and then close it up.
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:17 PM   #12
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is it good to be around those chemicals (lead and copper sulfate) as they burn? Im no tree hugger enviorment freak but I just dont think breathing in campfire smoke with copper sulfate and lead is a good idea? maybe its not enough to harm us I dont know.

Yes you are right, as I have stated before do your cooking and smores before you use the copper pipe and stay out of the path of the fumes. You do not want to prolong any time in it's path, once you smell it you will move. Pay attention to the weather and the winds. As far breathing smoke from just wood burning is not good for you either.
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:01 PM   #13
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The rubber you are burning poses a health risk as you yourself admit. Risk you health on more important things.
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:41 PM   #14
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The rubber you are burning poses a health risk as you yourself admit. Risk you health on more important things.
Not to mention those unfortunate campers downwind.

Not so long ago on an outting someone on the other side of us was burning something absolutely rancid in their fire, don't know if it was their garbage or hoses but we had to go inside it was making us sick.
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Old 10-06-2009, 03:20 PM   #15
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I will add what I always add when I see these threads on camping forums:

What you burn in your fire pit, whether it be wood, paper, trash, copper pipe/garden hose, can affect every man, woman, child, and critter in the campground. Smoke doesn't just travel UP...and sometimes hangs in the air, and collects in other trailers and tents. No matter what you choose to do...be safe out there.
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Old 10-07-2009, 05:07 AM   #16
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Wow, do I fell bad now, I should have kept this Idea to my self....sorry folks.
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:23 PM   #17
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No harm...just want everyone to be informed, and safe out there.
Mind you....this is coming from a long time camper, and career Firefighter...

I've seen people throw fireworks in the campfire...AND THEN watch everyone scurry away. I've watched them throw unopened cans of beer in to watch them explode. I've seen them light the fire with gasoline. I've seen people toss disposable propane cylinders in, burn all their plastic trash, and drive away with the fire burning. Most times, it's not only people intentionally trying to cause harm...it's people that don't THINK about the outcome or effects until it's too late.

This is a free country...and people can do what they want. If you want different colors in your fire...so be it. All I ask is to be mindful of your neighbors with the smoke/fumes when you do...and try not to do it when the winds are blowing on your neighbor, or where there are lots of people. (and I'm sure you are, but others will read this post too)

Fumes and smoke from fires is very toxic to the body. Many people are allergic to smoke as well. Multiply that by 50 other campfires in the campground...you get the picture. Actually, a good time to teach kids fire safety and respect for it....IS around a campfire.

Sorry to get off on a rant here. I don't mean to bash your subject 'rock'....it's just a subject near and dear to me. (and...It's Fire Prevention Week!) :-)

Be safe out there campers...but have fun!
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:56 PM   #18
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We just use old mini Christmas Lights. Of course like everything else it throws some smoke, but the colors last for quite awhile.
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