Diabolo - Tricks
Frequently Asked Questions
(Questions taken from the many e-mail Diabolo Tricks receives)
Best Beginning Diabolo? - Diabolo Vendors? - Youngsters First Diabolo?- Beginning Tricks? - Dirty String? - Forum? - Cheap Diabolo? - Yoho Superspin? - Finesse? - Spinabolo? - Sticks? - Animation Software? - Animation Size? - Tangled Knot Tricks? - dee-ah-Bow-low? - Tie Strings? - String Length? - More Spin? - Wrap Problem? - Illumination & Fire? - Why Not Fire? - Axle Tuning Kits - Names? - Books? - Flash?
Q: I am a beginner, what Diabolo is the best for me?
believe the best sized diabolo has a 5 inch (13 cm) diameter. The most popular
of these are the Mister Babache 'Finesse' see
photo, the Henry 'Circus' see
photo, and the Mister Babache 'Jumbo' see photo. These three run $35-45 USD with sticks. A few other types
are good also, just not as popular. There are cheaper 5 inch diabolo available,
but most are unbalanced or short lasting. You can learn on a 4 inch or cheaper
5 inch, but if you enjoy diabolo, you will soon be looking for a better diabolo.
Check out a What is a Diabolo?
Q: Where can I get a Diabolo?
find a store near you, go to the Internet Juggling Database 'Vendors'.' Most all juggling stores have diabolos. Most sell at about the
same price. The best way to buy one is walking in the store and trying them
out (or have a friend that diabolos try them out for you). By trying them
first you are looking for a solid well balanced diabolo. Probably the best place to purchase a diabolo is at a juggling convention/festival or yo-yo/spin top convention. There you can see several types and try them out, plus ask diaboloist for help in deciding. If your order is
mail-order, it is a good idea to at least ask that the diabolo you order be
a well balanced one. TIP: Ask for extra string. TIP: If you already have sticks,
remember most stores will sell the diabolo without sticks, for less.
Check out a What is a Diabolo?
Q: My 7 year old son want's a diabolo, is he ready for one?
find that some interested children around 8 years old seem to be ready, of
course it does depend on the child. They need to show some coordination, patience,
and following direction skills. If this describes your 7 year old and he has
a great desire for the diabolo, he is more than ready. The diabolo is a quick
learn for many kids and discouraging for others. A couple tricks can be learned
quickly, but the rest take a bit of practice. If the desire is lost, don't
loose the diabolo and sticks, for it will most likely get attention later,
say when he's 10 or a teen.
Q: What size is good for him?
your 7 year old is very small, I think that the 5 inch diameter diabolo is
the best size. If you don't want to invest too much in his first diabolo,
try to find one that isn't too heavy. If you want to start him on an everlasting
gift I suggest the
Mister Babache 'Finnesse G2', or Henry 'Circus' see photo.
The hard plastic of a Renegade see
photo might be a bit noisy. The Mister Babache Jumbo see
photo (like the Harlequin) is too heavy.
Q: What are some good beginner tricks?
A trick that many want to learn first is the High Toss:
Keep working on more and more spin. Spin is a big 'key' to diaboloing.
The trapeze is a great trick to learn that has a bunch of variations.
Beginning Trapezes, Right Trapeze, Trapezes.
If you have trouble with Trapezes. Try the Waterfall
After learning the Trapeze look at all these cool variations:
Alternating Trapezes, Chinese Suicide, Trapeze Cradle.
If you are having trouble following animations, you can slow them down and stop them with the Movie Contols on the Flash page.
FLASH Movie Controls
Q: My string is dirty, what kind do I replace it with?
A: If you have no extra string, check out a local hardware/general store for a braided nylon or cotton that is about the same size (around) of what you had. I've been informed that a store that specializes in selling venation blinds may have extra cord that is the type needed. Also kite retailers have many types of string, some of their heavier string may work for you. Most juggling stores sell extra string. If you diabolo a lot, you might just try to buy a whole roll of string, so you'll always have some.
Henry Diabolo String... it's expensive,
but very good. Serious Juggling carries it,
Much cheaper and still quite good is a braided string that Renegade
carry. Look under 'parts and supplies' to find
Many , go to a hardware store (US stores
at least) and look for
"braided nylon #18 mason line." It's pretty cheap, and available in
fluorescent yellow or orange. Make sure it's braided, not just twisted.
This string isn't as nice to use (pure nylon isn't as good as blended
cotton-nylon, which the other two choices are) but it looks much nicer.
Q: Is there a good Forum where they talk just about diabolos?
A: Yes, Diabolo.ca is the place to be. Chances are, if you have a question about diaboloing, it is answered at diabolo.ca. If you can't find it, you can easily ask about it and the replies will come in from the many that frequent the site. Diabolo.ca The Diabolo Forum
Q: I want a Diabolo, but can't afford an expensive one. What is the cheapest good diabolo?
Q: What do you think of the YOHO Superspin diabolo? photo
A: I do like this diabolo. It has a well built ratchet axle that makes it easier to get this diabolo spinning faster and longer. It has a nice shinny surface. It comes apart and makes into a ball shape, and then can be reassembled to make a very balanced diabolo again. It may be more difficult for a new beginner than a good solid axle diabolo, yet if understood it maybe more helpful. Although it cannot do the String Climb (Elevator) trick, it can do mosty every other common tricks. (Note you may be able to do a String Climb with two or three wraps.) I often use the Superspin on new tricks where I usually run out of spin practicing. The extra spin can help you learn the trick sooner. Two Superspins diabolos run well together, probably because they get up to speed a little quicker. Unfortunately here are a few tricks with two that are harder without solid axles. My Superspin came with one different colored tightening nut. I place that nut on the side of the axle toward me. That way I know which way to start the diabolo, otherwise it would slip. A complaint has risen that nuts tend to loosen over time, it is therefore a good idea to tighten the nuts with a twist every once in a while. To buy the Superspin, it seems you must order them from YOHO ,in Australia, who produces them. I only know of Higgins Brothers (True Canadian Balls) as a distributor in North America. In the UK checkout the Diabolo Shop.
See also What Is A
Yoho Superspin Diabolo including photo.
Q: What do you think of Mister Babache's new Finesse diabolo? photo
A: This diabolo has a 5 1/4 inch (13.5 cm) diameter. It is lighter in weight than other diabolos that size like the Henry Circus. (note: weight accessories can be added) My Finesses run very smooth and are well balanced. The Mister Babache engineers have spent some time with this product. It is a rubber plastic diabolo which doesn't bounce quite as well as the Henry, but it may stay cleaner. It is shorter than other 5 inch diabolos also, that is, it is shorter when sitting on a cup. This may give you a bit more control since it allows you to diabolo a little closer to your body. Who really knows. The Finesse also has a ridge lip around the edge of the cups similar to some the other Mister Babache diabolos. This lip allows for shoe/foot kick-ups which are very possible to start the diabolo. Running two of these is a DREAM! Many Two Diaboloist agree that these run the smoothest of any diabolo available.
They have so far produced three accessory kits for the Fineese in their 'Evolution' series. Evolution 1 is a longer axle they say is good for "finger tricks and dance." I really like this accessory. I don't do a lot of finger tricks or 'dance' (a little something must be lost in the translation), but it allows for Finger nad Hand Grinds. The diabolo still runs very smooth and balanced and the longer axle reduces problems with string tie-ups on release tricks. The main advantage has got to be grinds. Grinding is so sweet with this axle and now even fat sticks can enjoy the true grinding experience.
The Evolution 4 accesssory is a set of weights that add weight to both sides of the diabolo. The sets come as a 6 gram set adding 12 grams and the 10 gram set that adds 20 grams. A very popular set is the 10 gram set.
The other accessory is called Evolution 4. It is a set of lights that fit inside the cups on the axle ends. The set adds a total of 40 grams to weight of the diabolo comparing it to the Henry Circus' normal weight. This becomes an excellent Light Diabolo without too much weight. When lit and spinning the lights produce a nice red ring on each diabolo end. The rubber plastic material of the cups seems to let some light through giving a glowing effect at night when these lights are on. The diabolo runs smooth with the lights added, I'm amazed how it continues to be so well balanced.
I understand another Evolution kit that is coming is a ball-bearing ratchet axle accessory. Potentially the Finesse with a ball-bearing kit could be on many people's wish list, but will it loosen up or spin as long as its heavier slip-axled competitors? This will be interesting. Right now it takes some whipping to get this guy up to super high speeds because of its light weight.
Q: What do you think of the Spintastics Spinabolo diabolo? photo
A: This diabolo has a well built ratchet axle that makes it easier to get this diabolo spinning faster and longer. It has a nice shinny surface. It may be more difficult for a young new beginner than a good solid axle diabolo, yet if understood it maybe more helpful. Although it cannot do the String Climb (Elevator) trick, it can do practically every other common trick. (Note you may be able to do a String Climb with two or three wraps) I often use a ratchet-axled diabolo when working on new tricks where I usually run out of spin practicing. The extra spin can help you learn the trick sooner. The Spinabolo has a 5 inch diameter, 4 and 4 1/2 inch spinabolos (Spinabolo Jr./Spinabolo Pro) are also available. Some Two diabolo tricks work better with solid axles. These diabolos work wonderfully for loop diaboloing. The New Spinabolo weighs about the same as the Yoho Superspin. It seems to me that the Spinabolo gains speed faster than the Superspin, but it is a close race. The Spinabolo runs noisy, lubrication won't change that, yet the noise might not be a bad thing to some diaboloist. Note: Adding lubrication to the axle may shorten the life of the diabolo. The Spinabolo will give you a lot and is at bargain price, but it won't last forever, expecially if you practice all the time.
Just released late 2009, the new Spinabolo Magnums in. 130mm (5") diameter, 5 & 1/2" long, with a longer center section, stronger shafts and thicker inside washers. I understand these run much quieter.
What Is A Spintastics Spinabolo Diabolo including photo.
Q: What sticks are best?
A: Your choice in sticks are what feels good to you. Many folks only know the sticks that came with their diabolo and don't realize the possibilities. As you spend more time on the diabolo you may see your sticks may be holding you back from some tricks.
Sticks that come with diabolos are either wooden or plastic. Stick sets can be bought separately are most commonly Steel, Aluminum, Fiberglass, or Carbon. I have been quite disappointed with Plastic and Steel sticks so I won't talk about those.
Most sticks range from 12 inches (30cm) to 20 inches (50cm). The diameter of some sticks is like tree trunks, where others are slim allowing easier grinds. Painted sticks often mark the diabolo or have their paint chip away to make an uneven surface. Grinds of course enjoy a slick thin stick to spin on, also 'Knot' and 'Release' tricks benefit from slick sticks which allow the string to slip away better and a keeper ring or string tie at the end to hold the trick.
Non-wooden sticks are more expensive. Aluminum, Fiberglass and Carbon (Graphite) have become very popular. Some Aluminum sticks attatch the string at the end like wooden sticks, but the knot is hidden creating slick end. The attatchment of the string differs with Fiberglass and Carbon sticks. The string channels through the stick and is tied off at the handle. This stick usually have a keeper ring at the end of the stick that will temporarily catch the string or loops of string. Cradle and Trapeze tricks sometiomes work better if the sticks have the string tied at the end or this keeper ring.
I prefer 13 inch (33 cm) Fiberglass Sticks which also have the string knot in the handle. Carbon Stick are very similar, but a bit more rigid. Longer Fiberglass sticks have a bit of flex to their action. Some Carbon sticks are very light in weight.
Keep in mind that the weight of your sticks will change the action of your suicide tricks. Suicide tricks are where a stick or sticks are released and move on their own around the diabolo and then recaught. The speed of a suiciding stick depends on the weight of the stick compared to the diabolo's weight. You may find that changing to very light sticks may make your suicide tricks almost impossible to get used to. Usually you can adjust the way you do the trick, but some Excalibur suicides are impossible for me without a heavier stick.
Aluminum sticks are becoming a favorite because they usually cost a bit less than Fiberglass and Carbon sticks and they are a little heavier. They also don't 'waste' string by passing it down the inside of the stick to the handle; they are neatly tied off at the end like a wooden stick. They don't have a keeper ring at the end and most users get used to this. Some add a ring of tape to the end so the string can be more easily held there, if needed, during some tricks.
TIP: One way to quickly improve your wooden sticks is by fixing or adding a wrapped or taped handle. Some handles are too long and are over half way down the stick, the excess can be cut away. Other handle grips are loose and need to be taped tight. If you want to add a handle, you might try some tennis grip wrap.
TIP: Wooden sticks can be cheaply made by purchasing a dowel at a hardware, hobby, or lumber store. Saw them to length and drill a hole in the end. A handle can be added with soft tape or tennis grip.
Here's a look at the Juggling Store in the USA.
Q: What software do you use for your animations?
draw my frames in MS Paint which comes free with Windows operating systems.
I assemble the frames in Paint Shop Pro Animating Shop. Check out Corel's
evaluation of their Animation Shop 3 for a similar software package.
Q: Why are your animations so small and why don't you have more videos?
can make almost all animations bigger by watching it in the Flash
Movie Player. The Flash Movie Player displays the animations about double
size, but you can right-click and select 'Zoom In' for even larger animations.
Originally, I tried to create each animation small enough in memory size that
anyone visiting Diabolo Tricks could view it without waiting forever. One
way to keep the memory size down is to keep the pixel size (viewing window)
small. My hope is that anyone that can get on-line can enjoy and learn from
Diabolo Tricks even if they only have a very slow dial-up connection. Flash
is available on almost all Internet browsers plus available free from the
Flash site. Go to the Flash
Download Page and click on Download Free Player 'Macromedia Flash Player'.
Q: Why is it every time I go to toss a Knot trick it gets tangled in the strings?
A: Here are some hints for common 'knot' problems that might help you.
1) Don't toss the diabolo too quickly. First try a knot trick by doing the tossing gently. After you get it to release, try tossing a bit harder.
2) Just after the diabolo is tossed the stick ends need to point toward the diabolo. This is the best position for the string loops to slip off the sticks. So, plan that toss so your stick ends rise as quick as the diabolo does.
3) There are two common ways to toss a diabolo for a release. Either between the sticks or along side both sticks (where the sticks are together.) For example, the Fritz release is between the sticks, but the Single Fritz release is off to the side of both sticks. Spaghetti is between the sticks, but Half Spaghetti is off to the side of both sticks. Make sure you are tossing with the sticks in the correct position.
4) Do the trick that is giving you problems and then stop the trick,
grabbing the diabolo, before the releasing part. Check if you can pull the
diabolo out of the strings. If not, either you are doing the trick wrong or
the instructions are incorrect. Recheck the instructions or animation.
Q: How do you pronounce diabolo?
the six ways I hear it pronounced.
The capital Lettered syllables are pronounced strongly.
2) dee-ah-Bow-low (or) 3) dee-Ah-bow-low
5) die-ah-Bow-low (or) 6) die-Ah-bow-low
I'm in the United States so there may be many other ways.
I say #1 dee-Ah-blow and most people I see say it that way. We kind of leave off one of the 'o's. Those that say it, "dee-Ah-bow-low" or, "dee-ah-Bow-low", are probably more correct.
Q: What is the best way to attach the string to my sticks so they stay tight. If I make the knots too big, it is hard to do some 'release' tricks, because the knots hang up on the string loops?
The problem you have is a problem lots of people have, attaching
the strings differently can help you. I was shown years ago to tie the string
to the sticks, so a loop hangs down to a knot, kind of a 'loop knot.' This
may look a little different, but causes only a loose wrap over half the end
of the stick. Here's a picture from Infinte Illusions for one type of knot.
I tied mine a little different, but it looked the same. Theirs might
be a stronger knot. Here's another look.
I don't have that problem any more because I have been using fiberglass sticks. Those sticks have the string run through the hollow tube of the fiberglass tubing and are knotted inside the end of the handle. It requires more string, but it reduces catches on the end of the stick. The fiberglass sticks have a little 'catch' edge on their ends so the stick doesn't slip off too easily. Go to Serious Juggling diabolo page and go all the way to the bottom for a picture of these. Some select sticks do not have a 'catch' on the end at all.
I have seen people take wooden sticks and drill a small hole in the end until the hole hits the regular cross hole. Then they ream out part of one of the cross holes. They thread the string in the new hole and out the reamed hole and make a knot. When they pull it tight, the knot pulls into the reamed hole and is flush with the outside of the stick. The string comes out the end of the wooden stick and the end doesn't catch on string loops. This is OK, but for my diaboloing, I need the strings to catch a little bit on the ends.
Another place for string help is at the JIS
Q: What is the best length of string for my sticks?
A: String length is a personal preference. It has a lot to do with your height. Stand on one stick and tighten the string straight up. Measure to where the string ends on your other stick against your body. In my opinion belly button high is a minimum and nose high is a maximum. You might first try amost chest high length. This is fairly common length. I sometimes use a longer string when working on around the arm/leg/body tricks. I use a bit shorter than my normal length string when doing two diabolos and I use that lenth when doing Vertax (Excalibur.) Beginners will have more difficulty learning if the string is too long. This rule doesn't apply as well to young children. They shouldn't have to hold their arms up from a normal position just to keep the diabolo off the floor. When they are holding the sticks and diabolo in the spinning position, the diabolo needs to be at least 8 inches (20 cm) off the floor.
There is another standard measureing method. Put your stick ends together where the string comes off of them. Hold those sticks together with one hand like a fist. Both strings should come out of your fist creating a loop of string. Straighten your arm and pull the string loop tight with one finger from the other hand. Now pull the loop toward your shoulder. The standard length is to the top of your shoulder.
I suggest having at least two sets of sticks if possible. Each set should
be a different length. When having problems with a trick, give it a go with
your other set. I have been surprised that a little extra or less string can
mean all the difference.
Q: How can I get more spin? Most tricks don't work because I can't get the speed up.
A: This problem is one of everyone's problems when first learning. Some beginners get around this by putting a full wrap around the axle with the right stick. If their string is good and a bit slippery this will work, but beware for this practice will cause the diabolo to quickly 'wrap-up' into an instant tangle. Here follows a few points to follow that may apply to you.
1) Start with a Rolling Start. I have seen beginners that didn't know how to do a Rolling Start. The Rolling Start (for right-handers) is where you lay the diabolo off to the right and roll it in front of you toward your left side and then lift it.
2) If you are right handed, pull only with your RIGHT when adding speed. Think of your LEFT as an even'er. It keeps the diabolo from hopping up and down too much as you add speed. Yes, you have to pull up with the LEFT, but not as much. Gradually add longer pulls with the RIGHT and move the LEFT hand in a way so the diabolo just bobs up and down. If the diabolo is jumping around too much, shorten your pulls with the RIGHT until you can control the diabolo from doing that. With practice you will find you can pull longer with the RIGHT and still control with LEFT.
3) A very important point is that your stick ends need to be fairly close together as they move up and down. If your sticks are too fair apart, then the diabolo won't bob up and down, it will jump about.
4) Do a Clockwise Sun (CW Sun). The same movements of your Right and Left hand can be done with the extra twist of string that the CW Sun creates. The twist on the axle actually helps control the diabolo from bobbing about as pull with the right. Other moves for more speed out of the CW Sun are seen on the Adding Spin Page.
5) Use a 5 inch diabolo. Instead of a smaller diabolo. The extra weight usually helps the beginner with momentum and the heavier diabolo is not effected by extra hard pulls as bad.
6) Make sure your string is not dirty. Change it. Also buy extra string so it is there if you need it. The slicker the string the less drag it causes. With clean string you can often add a wrap around the axle without it 'wrapping-up' on you. This also allows you to successfully do Chinese Whip Thrusts, which may be the best movement for premium speed.
7) Many diaboloist learn to add spin with the Horizontal
Power Whips. It is a very common way to gain speed, but it takes practice
and a learned rhythm.
Q: I wonder why every time I wrap the string for more speed the diabolo gets rolled up.
A: REASONS for 'Roll-up' after a full wrap around the axle.
1) Your string is dirty. After I change my string I can do a wrap for speed without a roll-up, but after about a half hour of play the diabolo starts rolling up on me. My string starts to look gray when it gets dirty.
2) Your string is too fat or fuzzy. With the string wrapped, two diameters just won't fit in the 'throat' of the axle. The 'throat' is the narrow area where the diabolo cups approach the axle.
3) Your diabolo's throat is too narrow or has a rough spot in it. There are many types of diabolos with different angled throats leaving less or more room for your string to wrap. Also if there is a rough spot where the string catches, it will cause problems during the wrap. The diabolo I use the most is the Henry Circus which has a narrow throat. The Henry Circus and Jazz are very good yet will roll up easier than the Renegade or the Mister Babache Jumbo, because of their throat size.
1) Change dirty string.
2) Don't use the wrap for speed. I know this is hard to do because the wrap works so good for speed, but the resulting roll up IS JUST NOT WORTH IT! This means learning different methods for gaining speed see Adding Speed.
3) Only do about two or three pulls then unwrap real quick.
4) The Chinese
Whip Thrust is a speed gainer that uses a wrap on the axle. The trick
to the Chinese Whip Thrusts is how one of the sticks are kept forward so the
'spring' shape of the wrap is more open. (Make a wrap, stop, look at the wrap,
and realize how your pulls need to be so the string doesn't lay over on itself.)
The Chinese Whip is difficult for me with my Henry diabolo and my Dube' string
(which is a bit fat), but many diaboloist use this trick all the time. I have
better luck with a Renegade or Mister Babache Jumbo.
5) Find some slick string or spray Armor-All (USA auto interior product) on your string and/or axle. Smaller harder string is usually slicker.
6) Change to a diabolo with the smooth wide throat.
Q: What type of illuminated equipment is there on the market for light up diabolo and how good/ bad is it.?
A: Products and ideas out there:
1) Glow-in-the-Dark Diabolos. Most companies sell a Glow diabolo. They are beautiful in full dark, but the audience has to stand in the dark too. Glows need to be 'charged' under a light or outside in the sunlight prior to use. Also it is hard for the performer to see the string. I haven't found a good glow string in full dark.
2) Renegade once made lights that were rechargeable and fit inside Renegade diabolos. I don't think they are available anymore. Maybe used ones are still around for sale.
3) Fire Diabolos are the ultimate, but they are costly, breakable,
and don't burn long. Also slightly dangerous. Here's a picture of three of
them. I pulled it off the Renegade
site, but many vendors sell these.
(left to right) Rubber Fyrefli, Metal Fyrefli, Nesbitt
All these work. In my opinion, the Rubber Fyrefli is much heavier than
The Metal Fyrefli can get dents and become unbalanced after use.
The Nesbitt doesn't burn as long as the others.
4) A cool way to illuminate a diabolo is with two light sticks. Light
stick or Glow stick necklaces can be coiled and tucked inside the lip of the
cups of some diabolos. Mister Babache's diabolos have a good lip for this.
The effect is a glowing ring on both sides. Very impressive, but the necklaces
cost about $1 USD each and only work for one night. Two must be used to keep
the balance even. One cup can be 'off' with the glowing one being toward the
audience, but catching high tosses is easier if both are lit.
Extreme Glow and Necklaces from Chemical Light are two resources.
5) You can see my review of the Finesse Diabolo and it's light attachments on this FAQ page.
I'm not as happy with the light attachments as I was when I reviewed the Finesse. The batteries sometimes slip out on high toss drops. The circuit boards are so exposed, I fear they might get damaged.
The finesse with lights is cool and weighs what a regular 5 inch diabolo weighs. Mine is green, but the lights are red. I would suggest getting a red Finesse or one a lighter color so the diabolo is more visible to the performer through the cups.
6) Henry is introducing a light system similar to Mister Babache.
Henry Light attachments for Circus and Jazz diabolos.
9) A diabolo that has LED's is the Diabglo. Here's a look.
9) See this add-on: http://www.anti-gravity.org.uk/acatalog/Anti_Gravity_Home_Diabolos_11.html.
10) Here's Henry's add-on: http://www.henrys-online.de/En/E-Light.htm#Vega.
11) Hey make your own LED's here: http://digilander.libero.it/gepponline/diablumokit.htm
12) Possibly the cheapest way is to paint or tape your diabolo and sticks with florescent paint or tape. Remember to get some neon-bright nylon braided contractor's line (string). Now perform in front of a black light in dark cloths. Glow diabolos work well also.
Here's a new product Illuminated Diabolo Handsticks!
Q: Why don't more people do Fire Diabolo all the time? It would be the 'coolest' thing to have a Fire Diabolo!
A: Here are some problems with Fire Diaboloing that you might not have considered.:
1) They are a bit heavier, especially after you add the fuel.
2) Fire diabolos are so expensive.
3) Some fire diabolo don't have a long burn time, so you are often refueling and relighting. Often you just get started and maybe drop on the third trick, by the time you get the diabolo back on the string, it is just a glow.
4) You have to buy and safely store fuel.
5) Often after a drop, dry grass will catch on fire and you are stomping out grass (or sometimes capeting) while your wicks burn down. Wasting burn time.
6) Often you'll need special permits or insurance or at least permission to perform fire.
7) You need to use Kevlar string or your string will burn in half.
8) Usually, the audience only sees one side of the diabolo, so to save fuel you can light only one side. But you must have fuel on both sides (wicks) because the balance becomes out of whack if equal amounts of fuel are not added. You can just not light the performers wick, but while performing the unlit fuel sprays on YOU, which is a bad thing if you later get FIRE on YOU. You can put water on the opposite side to equal the weight, but eventually when the other side goes out, you forget which side is which (because you are often working in the dark). So most just light both sides.
9) The fire is so noisy loud, especially as the diabolo goes by the ear in Over-The-Arm tricks.
10) After you are done and going to leave, you must wait for that metal diabolo to cool down, for it might melt anything rubber or plastic in your bag like your other diabolos. So I keep mine in an old coffee can.
11) The black sought on even cold wicks leave blacks marks on all that touches them. Another reason to store the diabolo in a can.
12) After the diabolo goes out, don't touch it! It is very hot. I use an oven mit or gloves to pick it up.
13) Remember to bring those gloves, the fuel, long lighter or matches, coffee can, maybe some safety stuff.
14) The metal diabolos get bent on drops and eventually become unbalanced.
15) Fire diabolos are so expensive.
16) Don't let anyone get into your fuel while you are diaboloing. This means that you have to be somewhat responsible so your fuel containers don't get knocked over or set on fire by a stray lit diabolo.
17) Even if you start at dusk, it is hard to see. It is better to diabolo in daylight, but often that means the weather is hot and you are playing with fire, so it becomes uncomfortable.
18) If you are not on your own, you need to convince that the fire diabolo is OK with your parents.
19) It is somewhat possible to set an audience member on fire.
20) It is somewhat possible to set yourself on fire. Tie long hair back, wear tighter cloths.
What I'm getting to is that diaboloing is fun, but fire diaboloing is work. It is really neat to try, but not fun to do very much. I suggest, you find someone you know doing fire diabolo and ask to try it out. If you don't know anyone like this, they might be found at a Juggling Festival or Convention.
Actually the neatest looking diabolo at night is Glow-in-the-Dark diabolos or diabolos with Light-Sticks/bracelets in them. They don't involve the Fear/Scare factor, but they really entertain and they are fun.
Q: Where can I find an Axle Tuning Kit?
A: Below are a few links. Axle Tuning Kits refer to changing hubs to lighten and/or widen the diabolo's axle area. Most of these kits are designed for the Henry Circus diabolo, although it may have been the Mister Babache Finesse's Evolution 1 accessory that started people playing with wider designs. The Evolution 1 accessory is just a longer axle, but it added to the lighter overall weight of the Finesse diabolo produces another dimension in diaboloing. Some Tuning kits only change the weight of the diabolo, replacing the aluminum hubs with a Teflon or similar material hub. The excitement seems to be those kits that widen as well as lighten the diabolo. These make it easier to wrap string around the axle without the dreaded 'rollup' problem. This makes one and two diaboloing a bit more enjoyable with the modified Henrys. Getting rid of those aluminum hubs may also keep string cleaner longer. Many diaboloist working with Vertax, Excalibur, or vertical diabolo are using Circus diabolos with Axle Tuning Kits.
Q: Which names for tricks are right? I learned it as a Stop-over, but you call it a Trapeze.
A tricks name is what you like calling it. Especially so you can remember
it or relate it to other diaboloist you know. Many of the tricks on diabolo
tricks are the names for tricks that I first learned them as. Some names came
from diabolo instructional books. Many names are from those folks that discovered
a move they thought was neat and sent it in to Diabolo Tricks. I have tried
to make trick names on the site to follow some standard, yet others like the
El Fonce make no
sense. I believe that naming and remembering your tricks is a needed bit of
organizational discipline important to knowing a lot of tricks. Audiences
love hearing the names of tricks especially if they are funny names. Some
diabolo performers announce good visual tricks while performing them like
the Coffee Grinder, for example.
Q: Are there any books availabel about diabolos?
Yes, there are a few. I believe the best books are the Donald Grant books.
Another good starting book is 'The Diabolo Book' by Todd
Strong. This book has a lot of background and history of the diabolo
as well as some basic starting tricks. Here's an online store Firetoys that list these books and more. There are a few others. The best place
to find diabolo books is at a juggling store near you. And the best way to
find a juggling store near you is to go to the Internet
Juggling Database (Vendors).
Q: What does the Flash Movie Player do?
A: The Flash Movie Player is a great way to learn from animations. The Flash Movie Player plays the animation about double size and allows you to click 'Stop' and 'Step' forward through the animations frame by frame. If you find an animated trick that you want to see on the Flash Movie Player, click on the flash link under the trick's name. If there isn't a link there, go the Flash Page and click on the type of trick it is. Once you are where the trick is listed, click on the button next to the trick name to watch it in Flash. The Movie controls are along the right side of the page. See the Basics Flash Page.
With Flash you can also right click the flash movie and select to 'Zoom
In' for a larger view. If you can't see flash movies on your computer, a Free
Player can be downloaded form the Flash
Download Center. Click
on Download Free Player 'Macromedia Flash Player'.