With oil lamps, it’s all about the wick…
Likely the easiest oil lamp to get started with is the olive oil lamp. Olive oil is certainly sustainable, non-toxic and easy to obtain!
Using just enough olive oil to wet the wick, you can have a darling little lamp going in no time. I purchased the wicks and wire inserts at Lehman’s last year, but you don’t really need to do that, you could make your own.
What you need to remember about oil lamps is this….
Thicker oils (like olive) require more narrow wicks, otherwise the fuel won’t climb. Thinner fuels can burn with a wider wick, because the fuel is more easily absorbed by the wick, like those you’ll find in lanterns and other oil lamps. The wicks in those lamps are generally 1″ wide, minimum.
The wick used for the olive oil lamp is very narrow, almost like twine. The thick oil is able to saturate the wick and burn.
If you were to put olive oil in a lantern with a wider wick, the oil would not saturate the wick and would not stay lit. Lanterns require a thinner fuel.
You must match your fuel to your wick!
Whether you use lamp oil or kerosene is a matter of choice for each user. You must still have ventilation!
- Lamp oil burns cleaner and therefore has almost no odor when it burns, we chose the Aladdin Lamp oil.
- Kerosene is cheaper but has a distinctive odor that some people don’t like – especially in their home.
- Some say that kerosene burns slightly brighter than lamp oil. It may, only because it moves up the wick easier than lamp oil. However, if you keep the font full of lamp oil (so the fuel doesn’t have to move a long way up the wick), the difference is barely noticeable.
- Kerosene is perhaps more readily available, although many stores now carry lamp oil as well.
The choice of which fuel to burn is yours. However, if you decide to switch to a different fuel after burning one fuel in your lamp, you will need to clean out the font and use a new wick. The two fuels should not be mixed.
Still a bit more to cover with Oil Lamps: Part 2 in tomorrow’s post!
ALWAYS be present in the same room with ANY flame!
Be EXTREMELY cautious with children in the home, keeping any flame far out of their reach.
Always make sure you have adequate ventilation, especially when lighting with fuel.
Never fall asleep when a candle or other flame is lit.
Always use a fire-proof plate below candles and don’t burn on wood.