76 flaming trombones led the big parade

[Jonathan Crawford] is ready and willing to fire things up with his flaming trombone. A couple of years back his band teacher was going through the storage room triaging instruments. This trombone suffered from a bad case of red rot and would never function well again so [Jonathan] was able to get his hands on it and get to work.

He started by sanding down the instrument and painting it with high-temperature spray paint. Flexible copper tubing intended for an ice maker was used to relocate the propane outlet inside the bell of the instrument. A barbecue igniter, controlled with the player’s left thumb, lights the flame.

The torch that [Jonathan] is using would only allow a small amount of gaseous propane to come out the nozzle. He ended up drilling out the aperture, and using a short piece of vinyl tubing to bridge the gap between the nozzle and the supplementary copper tubing. At full blast this allows liquid propane to escape so be warned.

You can see him demonstrating this indoors in the video after the break. He mentioned to us that the first time he tried this out he set off the smoke detector. You’ve got to be careful when playing with fire, whether it’s a musical instrument, or a wearable flamethrower. So, you know, don’t try this at home.


  1. HackJack says:

    Yeah, right. Don’t try this at home. That’s just what he did. This is accident waiting to happen. I would at least do it in a garage to limit the damage.

  2. rusty says:

    This could be the beginning of the greatest ska band ever.

  3. Brad Hein says:

    OMFG. Living room? Are you retarded?

  4. f says:

    let me guess. You also incessantly complain about arduinos.

  5. raver1975 says:


    I can only imagine his next featured Hack A Day project.

    “Facial Reconstruction using Saran Wrap and Sugru”

    I am impressed by this idea. My only flaming project involved the Fire Department and the Police Chief. Who’d have thought?

  6. Very cool! (Insert TF2 Pyro mumbles here)….

    That sort of thing is perfectly safe if done properly and I doubt he did that in the living room as a first experiment.

    Life isn’t safe.

  7. amodedoma says:

    It’s totally insane, I LOVE IT!!!

  8. osgeld says:

    life isnt safe but its pretty retarded, like having a flame thrower in your living room

    anyway, as a former trombone player, HELL YEA

  9. rpgduino says:

    So.. whats wrong with testing outside? I can’t think of one reason I would light a fire in a house other than a fireplace. Great idea until your house burns down and you end up killing one of your neighbors when the flames leap next door.

  10. b15 says:

    Make the flame size react to the sound level and I’ll put that device on top of my wish list!

  11. Gene says:

    yeah, I was disappointed that the flames didn’t differ with the sound, but I guess that’s to be expected if you think about it. I guess you’d have to have an active solution: control the gas rate with a solenoid valve with the actuation controlled by the slide position or something.

  12. Necromant says:

    “Kill it with fire” (c)

  13. AllThatJazz says:

    Couldn’t ya just see this in the Rose Parade?

  14. Domas says:

    I’m putting my vote next to b15 & Gene. Would be greatest trombone instrument ever.

  15. Xbonest says:

    “Inferno” by David Shaffer

  16. Nth says:

    This one time, at band camp…

  17. LStark says:

    I did the same hack and used it to trim my toenails

  18. Hirudinea says:

    If you did this with a Tuba it would be a weapon of mass destruction (don’t tell the Germans!)

  19. Gosh says:

    While the visual is pretty sweet, the entire idea is a tad bit on the WTF side. And the whole “let’s do this in my living room” is absolutely retarded beyond belief.

  20. LilJon says:

    Coolest way to contribute to global warming since muscle cars!

  21. MrCritic says:

    “worst case” scenario (ie. house burns down).

    he could ‘in-theory’, depending on the local
    prosecutor/jurisdictional laws – be charged

    (a). arson
    (b). reckless endangerment
    (c). criminal mischief

    the insurance company could also decline to
    provide coverage for damages (again would
    depend on the contractual language of the
    specific policy and state insurance regs).
    if i was the adjuster, i would not approve
    a settlement. on your own buddy ! you
    burned your house down. we’re not paying
    you one red cent.

    overall, echo other comments here. very,
    very bad idea.

  22. MrCritic says:

    OMG ! looking at video again.

    truly a $#^@ total dumbazz – notice the
    DRAPES near the flames ! unbelievable !

    if he does burn his house down, no insurance
    company would offer a settlement. since the
    policy language usually excludes “deliberate”
    acts of arson by policy holder or named

  23. TravisD says:

    David Silverman (Producer of the Simpson’s Movie) has been playing a flaming Tuba for a while now.

  24. D_ says:

    A bit of a stretch to call this a flame thrower isn’t? With no air/fuel mixture it’s like setting a propane leak on fire. Nah at full blast no liquid propane will nit escape. Tip the assembly down far enough in the front liquid propane will escape regardless of the valve setting. In the event liquid propane would escape no big deal, as the flame most likely will extinguish itself soon enough.

  25. Ho0d0o/Heatgap says:

    Neat idea. I don’t see much of a use for it, but I’m sure he does. Maybe Less Than Jake could use this idea in a concert or something.

  26. Jim says:

    If this dude wants to play a flameboner in his living room, he is free to do so, provided he can deal with the firefighters and the insurance company.


  27. echodelta says:

    Where is the property of flame amplification brought to play on it. That would be hot. Cool.

  28. chango says:

    He’d get extra bonus points for rearranging that wall hanging to say “fail”

  29. strider_mt2k says:

    I really don’t see failure here.

    Sure it could be refined, but I’m not seeing it not perform it’s intended purpose.

    Probably good for some hot Jazz on a cool summer evening…or vice-versa for that matter.

    Hey, there’s a fiver in it for ya if you can do “Caravan”.

  30. strider_mt2k says:

    (The Juan Tizol one, not the Van Morrison one, although I’d accept either if well played.)

  31. It’s a wonder he didn’t set the damned ceiling on fire.

  32. arson says:


    dumbest hacker i have ever seen!!

  33. Kt says:

    This hack is way cool, way to go trombone guy!

    Who cares if he’s indoors, it’s his house, his flaming trombone, he probably knows what it’s capable of,
    Don’t have a hissy fit people.

  34. Gregory says:

    No one mention that 76 Trombones was from the musical the music man. I think this dude needs to dress up like a wicked Harold Hill for Halloween. :P

  35. JAGAK says:

    Commenters never cease to amaze me with whether its jumping to wild conclusions with no knowledge or even research into the subject at hand. I could see how you would jump to the whole fire bad conclusion, Jonathan is obviously a young guy playing with fire… but wait perhaps he is a student that found an interesting way to tie in valid concepts of his field of study into a hobby is that so horrible or is that a good part of what this site is about?

    On the more technical end of things… without sustained contact of a flame on a surface, or an accelerant on a surface, or an explosion the most likely scenario is he gets some soot on his ceiling and will have to clean and paint over it. The liquid propane disclaimer obviously came about from testing and seems easily enough avoided. So FLAME ON HAD peanut gallery and you too Jonathan! I look forward to any tweaks you make on the project and perhaps a little backstory on yourself or the project that might squelch these negative nancys.

  36. Bassbone 10 says:

    Was he playing Stravinsky’s “Firebird ” by any chance?

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