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Homesteading Talk or ask questions about homesteading in general, your homestead, or any other related topic.

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  #1  
Old 12-09-2011, 05:14 PM
chrisser Male chrisser is offline
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Default Kerosene/Oil lamps

I don't quite know where to put this in the forum structure. Please move if necessary.

Been thinking that we should acquire some oil lights.

Been digging around it it seems that the center draft ones with the cylindrical wick are the ones to have for efficiency and maintenance.

I don't want anything really fancy - just a basic light or two. Most of what I've found on the web starts at a little over $100/each and goes up (sometimes way up) from there.

So here's my questions.

1) are these center draft lamps worth the premium it looks like i'd have to pay? The small round-wick lamps are everywhere and cheap, and the flat wick lamps are pretty reasonable - I could probably scrounge up 4 or 5 for the cost of one center draft lamp. We probably already have a couple if I look in the attic.

2) If the center draft are worth it, can anyone recommend a good basic reliable one (and as inexpensive as possible) that can get me started?
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  #2  
Old 12-09-2011, 06:10 PM
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You might look into the cost of LED illumination and batteries. Kerosene is useful, of course, but it's bulky, expensive and can burn down your house.
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:16 PM
chrisser Male chrisser is offline
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I'm looking into both. We also already have a few propane lanterns.

I feel diversification is prudent - may not be able to predict what will be available in a situation. Having the means to get power/light/heat from a variety of fuels would give us many more options.
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Last edited by chrisser; 12-09-2011 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:38 PM
NCLee NCLee is offline
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Personally, I'd rather have a half dozen decent flat wick lamps.

Place them where they are needed and leave them there. Light, as needed. For example, put one in each bedroom. Beside it, put a box of kitchen matches. Light it, while needed to prepare to go to bed. Extinguish when you hit the sack. NO WORRIES about accidently dropping an oil lamp carrying it from one place to another.

With a high dollar lamp, all your eggs are in one basket. Break the lamp, damage the wick mechanism or encounter a factory defect that wasn't readily noticeable on purchase. If you encounter the same thing with one of your half dozen, and you still have 5 operational lamps left to use.

Quote:
Circular wick, center draft lamps should be burned at near maximum light output to properly heat the flame spreader to burn up all fumes. If used turned down to minimum light output, they will produce an aroma when burning, but not when properly adjusted for maximum light output. For simple area lighting, a standard #2 burner flat wick lamp is sufficient, and the old "Eagle" and "Banner" burners made by P & A are by far the best designs. http://www.milesstair.com/B_&_H_lamps.html
A basic flat wick oil lamp is relatively easy to use and maintain. Learn to keep the wick trimmed.
http://www.ehow.com/how_5618768_trim...oil-lamps.html
http://www.ehow.com/how_5199279_trim...lamp-wick.html
More info: http://www.thelampworks.com/lw_wicks.htm

Hope this helps.
Lee
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:49 PM
NCLee NCLee is offline
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Forgot to mention....

Many places such as WalMart have relatively inexpensive oil (kerosene) lamps. There isn't a lot that can go wrong with a flat wick lamp of even half-way decent quality. Check it there in the store. Does the wick mechanism securely mount to the base? (It's removed for refilling the base.) Does the wick adjustment knob work to adjust the height of the wick? It should be a little tight to turn, but not to the point it takes brute force. It shouldn't have too much play (loose fitting between the wick and the gear mechanism. Just a good snug fit. Does the chimney fit snugly?

Yard sales and flea markets are often good places to find oil lamps at decent prices. Again, check them out before you buy.

Make sure any lamp that you buy has a stable base.

BTW, FWIW.... I collect oil lamps. Last time I counted the total was near 40 of them of all sizes, from tiny ones with round wicks used as tea lights up to large traditional flat wick lamps. All started because I have my Mom's oil lamp from my childhood. It sits on the dinning room table. Used when the power is out and for special occassions for "atmosphere".

Again, hope this helps.
Lee
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  #6  
Old 12-09-2011, 08:56 PM
HuntingHawk HuntingHawk is offline
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Citronella oil can be used in oil lamps & if you live where there can be plenty that is a big plus.

From my grandfather in the 60s, I was taught you never fill a kerosene lantern more then half full. Heat can & will cause expansion of the kerosene. Over fill & you can end up with a serious fire.

Ross
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:12 PM
HuntingHawk HuntingHawk is offline
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http://www.epalladioartworkshop.com/...TORY/index.htm
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  #8  
Old 12-09-2011, 09:30 PM
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I used flat wick lamps for years. They're my choice, hands down. Cheap and you can find them almost anywhere. K-1 kerosene burns nice in them and it's a lot less expensive than buying those little bottles of lamp oil all of the time..

I had a couple of Aladdin lamps and got rid of them. Oil hogs and they ARE dangerous! PITB to keep them burning right! They put out great light and lots of heat but they wasn't worth it to me..

I hung mine on the wall in fixtures that I built. Had adaptors for the burner to fit quart canning jars. Only needed to fill them every couple weeks..

I converted this one to a 3 watt 12 volt unit. The bulb looks just the same as if it was burning..

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  #9  
Old 12-09-2011, 09:58 PM
chrisser Male chrisser is offline
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Thanks for all the opinions.

I had read (somewhere) on the web that the center draft lamps were more efficient than the flat wicks. Of course, there wasn't any sort of qualification to that so evaluating how important that is would be difficult.

My concern was having flat wicks and going through precious fuel, but if that's not an issue, the flat wicks ought to be a better course of action.
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  #10  
Old 12-10-2011, 07:13 AM
oldtimer oldtimer is offline
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When kero. can't be found, #1 stove fuel will work. However, I much prefer the light from a Coleman pressure gas mantle lamp. The lamps are easily picked up for not too much, the mantles are readily available in Wally's or any sporting goods store that carries camping equipment. They also carry the white gas that is used as fuel.
A good coleman lantern is invaluable for using outside or in a barn and the regular old mantle style lamps are great in the house. We have a hook in the ceiling and hang it above the table.
This is the choice of most Amish because of its ease of use, and it being so cheap to find and operate and it gives the brightest light. Much brighter than any kerosene lamp.

I've sold literally dozens & dozens to the Amish
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  #11  
Old 12-10-2011, 10:26 AM
NCLee NCLee is offline
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Good point, Oldtimer. And, I agree with you!

For general lighting, flat wick lamps are fine. Before electricity came to our farm, we always had one on the table for meals during hours of darkness. Need extra lumination for something, light another lamp.

Fast forward a few decades.

Learned to appreciate the camp fuel pressurized Colman lanterns. Now, when the power is out, there's one in the kitchen for routine cooking. Or, nearby if I want to read a book. Have cooked many a meal outdoors with one of those hanging on a nearby tree or sitting on whatever is convenient.

Have 2 of them, bought back in the 70's. Along with a stash of fuel, extra mantles, generators, and pump repair kits.

12vman, your post reminded me. My parents had an Aladdin lamp. I vaguely remember it. They got rid of it when the heat from it cracked the beveled mirror on their dresser.

Chrisser, oil lamps don't use a lot of fuel when compared to kerosene heaters, for example. So, unless you're making fuel consumption comparisons over months or a year of usage, the differences between lamp types would have less priority than other points. (Having multiple flat wick vs 1 center draft for the same amount of money.)

IMHO, the key to lighting for a SHTF situation is to have as many lighting options as possible. (Same approach that I take for cooking.)

When you do that, you can conserve the fuel needed for special applications. Use flat wick lamps for general lighting. Use the Coleman lantern when you MUST have bright light. Even candles have their place in the overall view of lighting. As are Tiki torches, homemade cattail torches, olive oil lamps, etc.

One other point, also comes into play. Generally, we're used to doing what we want to do, when we want to do it. Grown accustomed to flipping a switch to flood a room with light. In a long term SHTF situation, we'll naturally move back into life patterns based on available natural light. Getting up and going to bed with the chickens will be the norm, not a joke as often portrayed today.

Reading or sewing beside a window.
Feeding the chickens and hogs before dark.
Cooking supper before a Colman lantern is need to see how to slice cheese.

And, rather than everyone wandering off to their own rooms and lighting lamps after supper, most will stay at the table (or go to a single room) to get full advantage of the light from a single lamp.

Learning how to "ration" stored & scarce lighting fuels and use alternatives, IMHO, is the best long term plan.

For example:
Colman camp fuel lanterns & supplies
Colman propane lanterns & supplies
Kerosene lanterns & supplies (At least one old-fashioned kero lantern)
K1 kerosene lamps (oil lamps) & supplies
Candles - tapers & jar types plus know how to make them from raw materials.
Stone lamps that use animal fats and plant oils (primative lamps)
And, again, torches of various types.

Add to the list the ability to start a fire when the matches run out.

Note that anything that uses batteries isn't on the long term list. They are fine for a few days when a storm takes out the power. Convenient, but expensive and have a relatively short shelf life & usage life even when rechargable via non-grid capability. Yes, generators and solar panels work, but I don't know of any battery that'll last as long as Mama's oil lamp. I know it's over 65 years old.

Make it your goal to have as many ways to have light, after dark, as you can. Add the mindset of a changing lifestyle. And, incorporate, based on your circumstances, how you can extend (ration) kerosene and propane.

Hope some of this rambling this morning is food for thought. That it is of some help with your decisions and further planning.

Lee
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  #12  
Old 12-10-2011, 11:11 AM
chrisser Male chrisser is offline
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Re: the coleman lanterns.

I understand the coleman lamp fuel is "white gas".

I'm a little reluctant to store large quantities of the stuff, although it does seem to preserve well compared to regular gasoline.

Will those lanterns burn anything else, and what's the liklihood of fuel for those being available in a crisis? Can they burn regular gasoline in a pinch?
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  #13  
Old 12-10-2011, 12:45 PM
oldtimer oldtimer is offline
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OK,

For those not familiar with the regular coleman lamp, go to this site, here's a picture. There are several on Ebay right now. http://www.flickr.com/photos/8539388@N04/5649442465/ follow that picture thread and you'll see coleman lamps and lanterns, lots of good pics.

Unless the ebayer would guarantee the lamp, I'd email them and ask them is on the bottom of the tank is a bolt or a round stud. I never buy one with a bolt unless I see it personally as they have been known to leak around the bolt. The Amish prefer the one without the bolt for that reason.

I have had fuel over ten years old that works fine.

In a situation of worse comes to worse, do you actually think you will be able to find kerosene any better than white gas?

And no, DO NOT USE GASOLINE!! Unless you want to blow yourself up. We have Amish relatives and the Amish newspaper, THE BUDGET is full of stories of people that have blown up a lamp or burned themselves using something other than the approved fuel.

If you are planning for when things get bad, you'd better have all your fuel on hand ahead of time.

About five or six years ago we had a big ice storm that plunged many here into the dark for up to three weeks. Our local filling station still sells kerosene in bulk. In the first day they sold out. TSC and everyone sold out of kerosene before noon. You won't be buying anything after the day comes so stock up, but I'd encourage the coleman lamps. Make sure you have a good pump and then make sure you have plenty of mantles on hand.

We were milking a dozen cows at the time the lights went out and the coleman lanterns were a life saver milking in the dark both morning and night.

I have like RCLEE says, several options. We have about seven kerosene lamps, an aladdin lamp, a couple RAYO s, they're a marvelous kerosene lamp and highly prized by the Deleware Amish, I've sent dozens of them east.
We also have one Dietz kerosene lantern, two coleman gas lanterns and a coleman gas mantle lamp like in the link above.

But stock up on fuel. The coleman fuel stays good as long as you don't open the can and break the seal.

Last edited by oldtimer; 12-10-2011 at 12:56 PM. Reason: correct spelling
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  #14  
Old 12-10-2011, 12:58 PM
HuntingHawk HuntingHawk is offline
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As per the LP lanterns that use the small bottles, there are adapters to refill them from a larger tank. Also, you can get a pole that goes on the 20lb bottles & put the lantern ontop.

Animal fat was used in the first lanterns. This is really primitive & I don't recommend using them indoors as the place will smell like whatever the fat is. A simple lantern can be made from clay & fire hardened. Cotton, hemp, etc rope makes a great wick. If you do this, rub the wick in the animal fat before lighting as it will light easier.

Ross
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Old 12-13-2011, 12:06 AM
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Just this last week end I took three oil lamps to the homestead, one was my grandfathers. it had the round reflector on it. It does work pretty good but I'm going to try some experimenting with a small mirror that sets by it's self by the lamp. We like the soft light they give out. The smell is very tolerable.
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:00 AM
NCLee NCLee is offline
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Bob, mirrors behind lamps do help. As does reflectors made from disposable aluminum pie pans. The advantge of the pie pans is that they can be tacked to the wall behind the lamp. Or, using sturdy wire, can be attached to the lamp itself. (Circle of wire that rests on the bowl of the lamp. A length of wire is attached to that and extends outwards enough to give good clearance for the chimney. This wire is then bent at a 90 degree angle to form a spike that pierces the bottom of the pie pan in two places, to hold it vertical.) Hope that makes sense.

Dollar type stores often have cheap mirrors that'll work well, if you're using small mirrors. Junk stores sometimes have bedroom dressers with large mirrors at decent prices. Mount the mirror on the wall. Put a shelf under it wide enough to give good air circulation between the lamp(s) and the mirror. Sell the dresser base, if you don't need it for another purpose.

While not as effective as a mirror, smooth aluminum foil can be attached to the wall behind a lamp to help reflect the light. Or foil used instead of a picture in a frame.

Experiment with DIY ways to reflect the light.

BTW, we also like the soft light from oil lamps and lanterns, too. Often use small lanterns on our backporch, filled with skeeter oil, rather than turning on electric lights, during the summer. Just about perfect for sitting in the swing after dark and enjoying a good conversation with family and friends.

Lee
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Old 12-17-2011, 03:22 AM
mtdrtbag Male mtdrtbag is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12vman View Post
I used flat wick lamps for years. They're my choice, hands down. Cheap and you can find them almost anywhere. K-1 kerosene burns nice in them and it's a lot less expensive than buying those little bottles of lamp oil all of the time..

I had a couple of Aladdin lamps and got rid of them. Oil hogs and they ARE dangerous! PITB to keep them burning right! They put out great light and lots of heat but they wasn't worth it to me..

I hung mine on the wall in fixtures that I built. Had adaptors for the burner to fit quart canning jars. Only needed to fill them every couple weeks..

I converted this one to a 3 watt 12 volt unit. The bulb looks just the same as if it was burning..

I did the same thing as 12V Man. I have a couple of alladins and they put out a great amount of light, but the parts are exspensive and trying to keep them burning correctly is a pain. I found the 1" flatwick burners that screw on to a quart mason jar and built wall hangers similar to 12V Man's. They work great and are fairly safe. K-1 kerosene is getting very exspensive. Last I checked it was 35 dollars for 5 gallons. I work in aviation and get Jet A (very clean kerosene) sump fuel from the aircraft refuelers. Some places without fuel recyclers will give this fuel away. Check your local airport to see what they have for availability. It may be cheaper to buy Jet A than K-1 Kerosene, also. I think we are selling it for 4.65 a gallon right now. I paid 10 dollars for a 1 gal. can of K-1 for my alladins. I also use colman lanterns when I want alot of light. I started stocking up on colman white gas during y2k when you could still buy it for under 4.00 dollars a gallon. It is atleast twice that now. I could probably run my colman lights and cook stoves for a year on what I have stocked up. If you are in the market for colman lanterns. Look for the dual fuel models that you can burn unleaded gas in, also.
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Old 12-26-2011, 04:20 PM
OzarkCountryboy OzarkCountryboy is offline
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As for those interested in the Coleman lanterns. If your unfamiliar with them do some research. Honestly I feel the only way to go is with the Coleman Powerhouse series of lanterns that are approved for coleman fuel as well as regular unleaded gas. I believe the one I have is model 295. Works great with unleaded and is FAR MORE ECONOMICAL than white gas. You will pay a little more for the dual fuel model lanterns but it doesn't take to many hours of usage to make up the difference. I've also acquired one of the older dual fuel stoves as well and love it. Just make sure with coleman lanterns and stoves that you oil the generator occasionally to ensure it does not dry out or it will not build up pressure and as said earlier keep a small stock of spare generators, mantles, etc. My powerhouse has lit the night for me on countless camping and fishing trips and still works like the day it was new and at $3.00 a gallon for fuel it is very economical to operate. Just my .02.

Last edited by OzarkCountryboy; 12-26-2011 at 04:22 PM. Reason: Caint Spel
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Old 12-27-2011, 02:40 AM
Beaniemaster2 Female Beaniemaster2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuntingHawk View Post
As per the LP lanterns that use the small bottles, there are adapters to refill them from a larger tank. Also, you can get a pole that goes on the 20lb bottles & put the lantern ontop.

Animal fat was used in the first lanterns. This is really primitive & I don't recommend using them indoors as the place will smell like whatever the fat is. A simple lantern can be made from clay & fire hardened. Cotton, hemp, etc rope makes a great wick. If you do this, rub the wick in the animal fat before lighting as it will light easier.

Ross
Wow, where do I get an adapter to fill the smaller bottles???

Also, since some of the Coleman Lanterns use unleaded gasoline, are they safe to use indoors??? I emailed Coleman but haven't heard back yet. While on their site, I saw this really cool OnDemand Hot Water tank, should have known they'd think of everything!

http://www.coleman.com/coleman/colem...id=2200&brand= video on there too!
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:57 AM
NCLee NCLee is offline
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Adapters to fill one pound bottles are an aftermarket product. There's controversy about using them due to the risks involved. It isn't "officially" recommended that these bottles be refilled. Some folks do it and don't have problems. Others have and opps!

My recommendation is that if the applicance will accept it, get the adapter that allows, a stove, for example to run off a larger tank. That's what I have on my Coleman stoves. Just hook the stove to a 20lb or a 100 lb cylinder.

Also have the adapter that will run the camp fuel (white gas) stoves on propane. Works fine, BTW. With a special T (tee) screwed into a 20 lb tank I can hook up two stoves at the same time.

Found all these adapters & the T at a WalMart with a large camping equipment section.

Coleman will NOT recommend using any of their fueled products indoors. It's a legal issue. Their products are designed to be used outdoors, as there is some risk associated with using them indoors. Just like there's a risk associated with using a kerosene heater indoors. Or using candles indoors.

That said, I've used camp fuel lanterns and stoves indoors without any problems. When we first moved here, due to a contractor foul up, it was a month before our electricity was hooked up. I cooked on a campfuel stove sitting on my electric stove. Lighting to see how to cook was provided with a couple of campfuel lanterns.

Edit: Have also used propane powered stoves in the house, too. Both with 1 lb bottles and 20 lb tanks. It's not recommended, BTW.

There are precautions that you have to take to stay safe with these products used indoors. For example, ALWAYS, fill the tanks outdoors. Never leave them unattended. Keep them in good working order, etc. Use plain good ol common sense when using them. Just as you have to do with oil lamps.

Hope this helps, a bit.
Lee
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