Oil Lamp

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Frequently Asked Questions...

What kind of wick to use for an oil lamp?

what is a good wick to use for an oil lamp which will not burn the string when used? I got one that burned through after one day and just wouldn't stay lit. It's for a chemistry project on biodiesel.

Best Answer...


The Wick
Most plant fibre twine should work. I used cotton twine, but you could experiment with sisal, jute, hemp, flax, nettle or any plant bast fibre. It should be absorbent and reasonably smooth, which may precludes sisal, jute, and other rough cordage. If you have some handy, and nothing better suited, give it a go anyway. A length of about 40cm will make a reasonable length of wick. Twisting the wick is a bit tricky, and a job best done with another person, though you can hold one end in your teeth as you twist the other end, or tie one end to a door handle or chair leg or whatever, but allow extra length for tying. Twist it under tension until the twine becomes quite hard, then grab the middle, and bring the ends together, still under tension, then let go of the middle, an the two ends will twist around each other to form a thicker, denser cord.
Now feed the twisted end through the wick holding coil from below, until it sticks out about 6mm. The burner element is now finished. Tip: if the wick won't easily go through the coil (it should be tight enough to prevent it dropping out), twist the wick as you thread it in, to firm it up.