Summer means spending long, sultry evenings around the braai. But the party can be spoilt by pesky mosquitoes. Chase them away with this sleek, easy-to-build citronella torch – and because it’s made of concrete, it can stay out in the garden come rain or shine.

Materials you will need:

  • 400 mm length of 110 mm PVC pipe, for the mould
  • Tin torch fuel chamber with wick, recycled from an old wicker garden torch
  • Citronella oil
  • 3 x cable ties
  • Building sand
  • PPC Surebuild 42,5 N Cement
  • Small stones
  • Angle grinder
  • Builder’s nosing trowel
  • Rubber mallet

Step 1

Split the PVC pipe lengthways, using the angle grinder. (Always wear safety goggles when working with an angle grinder.) Rejoin the two PVC pipe halves, using the cable ties to bind them together.

Step 2

Stand the mould upright in the middle of the bucket and secure it by pouring building sand around it, filling half of the bucket.

Step 3

Prepare your concrete by mixing together one part PPC Surebuild 42,5 N Cement, two parts building sand and one part stones. Add water slowly as you mix, until the concrete attains the consistency of thick yoghurt.

Step 4

Hold the torch fuel chamber upright against the top end of the mould, ensuring that only the tapered, wick-spout section stands proud. Mark the position of the bottom of the fuel chamber on the mould.

Step 5

Using the builder’s trowel, ladle the concrete mix into the mould, until it has been filled to this mark.

Step 6

Insert the fuel chamber into the mould, resting it on top of the poured concrete, positioned in the centre of the pipe. Check again that the wick-spout is standing proud of the top of the PVC pipe mould. Ladle in more concrete around the fuel chamber until the mould is filled to the top.

Step 7

Tap the mould lightly with the rubber mallet, all around, to remove any air pockets in the concrete mix. This will ensure the torch has a smooth finish. Allow the concrete to cure for four days. Then remove the cable ties so you can strip the PVC pipe sections off the moulded concrete.

Step 8

Find a strategic position in the garden near your braai and bed your torch into the soil until it stands secure. Add citronella oil to the fuel chamber and light the wick when dusk falls.

Credits

Referenced from Gallo images / The Gardener