Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lighting Up The Darkness

     I keep preaching the idea of prepping for the basic local disaster, first.  This is a stepping stone to greater grander plans and prepping.  Many people start buying before thinking and I would like to put a stop to that. By starting small and inexpensive, you can cover the issue with the basics, giving yourself time to evaluate both your long term needs or desires and your long term investment.  I do have hurricane lamps, large vintage oil lamps and lanterns, but I started with the basic oil lamp.  So, today, let us light up the night with the past and the least expensive.
     The ancient oil lamp may bring to mind stories of genies and magical journeys.  To me, it gives light in the dark when there is no electricity or candles.  You don't need to prowl antique stores to find one.  You can make an oil burning lamp with any vessel that will hold oil and a wick.  If you are storing oil for cooking and find that it has gone rancid, you may not like the smell, but it will burn.  If you are storing cooking oil strictly for frying, you may wish to increase the amount you store as a source of lamp oil. 

WDFC-500 Wedding Day Perfection Floating Candle Retail Pack SWWDPFCRP
     My grandmother made floating oil lamps with Wesson oil, because she preferred that brand for cooking and floating candle wicks she bought from a novelty catalog.  Wicks are now available widely on the internet for around ten dollars per 100 wicks.  You can also purchase waxed wicks in bulk 

     You can make your own floating wicks by waxing 100 % cotton and a cork.  Cut a 12 to 18 inch long piece of 100% cotton embroidery floss.  Hold it taut across a candle and pull and twist it as you drag it across the candle, waxing the thread.  Cut cork, possibly a wine bottle cork into four or five slices.  Or, you can purchase a cork sheet from the auto parts store, it is sold as gasket material and comes thin enough to cut with scissors.  Thread a tapestry needle with the waxed cotton floss and push it through the center of the cork.  remove the needle when you get it all the way through.  There you have a cork wick that will float.  Cut the wick to the length of the most common vessel you will fill with oil and store in Zippered bag until needed.  

Now, all you have to do to make light, is find a vessel.  Fill with oil and float your wick.  Here are some suggested containers:

      Drill a hole in the center of a ceramic floor tile or a nice flat bottomed rock.  Attach a Pyrex glass bowl to the bottom with clear caulk.  Fill the glass with oil and thread the wick from the top down by twisting it tight and pushing it in, then keep twisting an pushing.  You will have to remove the wick to refill the well.  Since I made my first with the twisting wick I have found a site that sells glass wick holders so the hole can be bigger and it is easier to load.
     This photo to the left, is a mason jar with water, oil and the wick held in place through the lid.  This is a good use of a mason jar when the lid or band is no longer fit for food.  

     The oil lamp might be a good use for those big heavy glass ashtrays if you have given up smoking.


Drill a hole in a shell and thread the wick from the top down to the oil inside.
TIP:  To increase light, position lamp in front of mirror.  

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