Saturday, October 29, 2011

DIY Survival Gear - Making an Improvised Oil Lamp

1. Use an empty can with the lid removed. This works best if you use a safety can opener that removes the rim and lid in one piece.

2. Punch a hole in the center of the lid to insert an improvised wick for the oil lamp.

3. Fill the can with used cooking oil.

4. Roll up a piece of old cotton material to make a wick (a piece of an old t-shirt works good for this) Dip the cotton material in the used cooking oil. Insert the corner of the cotton material through the hole in the lid.

5. Place the lid with improvised wick back on top of can and light.

Got improvised oil lamp?

Staying above the water line!



Brent Perkins said...

I've been experimenting with various containers, and I've found that empty baby food jars also make fairly good oil lamps. And as you use it, you can see how much oil is still in the container. By the way, I really enjoy checking out your blog.

Adventures in Self Reliance said...

I tried using a canning jar, no lid a tiki torch wick and olive oil. It worked but was very smoky and sooty. I'll see if using a container that is short and squat instead of of so tall and comparatively narrow.

riverwalker said...

To: Brent

You can make them out of most any type of container. In my case, empty tuna cans are in good supply.

Glass containers do make it easier to see the oil level but you have to be careful about breakage when using glass.

Thanks Brent.


riverwalker said...

To: Adventures

Shallow containers work best because used cooking oil has a slower rate of capillary action than thinner fuels like kerosene. The oil has to travel further up the wick.

Soot and smoke from an oil lamp is similar to a car's usually a problem of fuel and air mixture.

Reducing the height of your wick will help reduce the smoking. Just need to adjust it to the point where the smoking is reduced and your flame is a nice golden yellow color.

You will also get a cleaner burning flame if you keep your wick trimmed and make sure you have nice straight edges with clean cuts.

Trim your wick straight across for a "flatter" flame which will produce more light. It can also be trimmed in a pointed fashion to produce a more intense flame.

Make sure you use 100% cotton also...since synthetic fabric blends don't work in oil lamps. You can also use paper soaked in brine water and dried overnight to make wicks for your oil lamp.

If the smell of the oil is a problem, you can soak a few flower petals in the oil for a while when it is still warm, then strain the oil before use in your lamp.



millenniumfly said...

Nice idea. Thank you.

riverwalker said...

To: milleniumfly

You're welcome.


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