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Tiki torches are decorative poles about 5 feet (1.5 meters) in height with a top fuel reservoir and wick. They can be placed along walkways, patios, pools or gardens to provide a wonderful tropical ambiance.
Tiki torches come in a variety of styles but the most common type is made from bamboo or cane. At the top of the cane is a woven holder that houses a plastic bottle. The lid of the bottle is fitted with a black metal top that accommodates a thick wick of bound cord which hangs down into the tiki fuel. The exposed portion of the wick can burn for several hours. When the tiki torch is not lit, fresh wick can be pulled up from the bottle. The tiki torch also has a small attached cap. The flame is extinguished by placing the cap over the burning wick. The cap can stay on the wick to protect it from moisture until the torch is used again.
The stalk of a tiki torch is hollow and can be pushed down into the earth, however the fuel reservoir makes the torches top heavy. In strong wind a torch could blow over. A good way to prevent this is to use PVC that is slightly larger than the diameter of the tiki torch so that it fits the shaft like a sleeve. Cut the PVC into 12-inch (30 cm) lengths, one for each tiki torch. Dig a hole where you want to place a torch, place the PVC in the ground, then fill in the hole. Now you can drop your tiki torch into the PVC sleeve already buried in the ground. If the torch drops too low, fill the PVC sleeve with dirt to the desired level.
You may find that birds like to sit on your tiki torches when they aren't in use, which can create a mess on the lids. PVC can help here too. In the PVC section of your local home improvement store, buy a large diameter coupling and lid. Use super glue to cement the lid to the coupling and place one over each torch like a hat. Make sure the coupling you select is large enough to slide over the top of your torch. If you pick up the PVC at the same time you get the tiki torches you can try out the coupling on the spot. Black PVC is a little more expensive than white PVC but you may prefer the appearance. Since the coupling won't be snug over the top, the PVC hat might sit on the torch a little lopsided. Birds don't have a tendency to sit on these lopsided hats as much, but if they do, the PVC is easy to clean and will keep your torches from getting soiled when not in use.
Tiki torches are commonly found at home improvement stores. Bamboo models are inexpensive at just under $5.00 (US) each. More expensive black aluminum tiki torches and other styles are also available. When picking up your tiki torches it might be a good idea to get a current fire extinguisher and mount it where it would come in handy in case of an accident. Tiki fuel is inexpensive, sold wherever torches are sold, and is the only type of fuel that should be used in a tiki torch.
Tiki torches are a great way to light up the yard with glimmering gold firelight. They make any garden feel like a tropical paradise and are great for parties, receptions, special occasions or just for the beauty they provide.