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Thread: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

  1. #1
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    Default Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    I have an oil lantern I use outside. I put some "lamp oil" in it and find that the oil jells and won't work when it's cold, but still above freezing. I have been keeping the lantern inside so the oil is liquid.

    Am I imagining things? Does this stuff really react to temperature so extremely

    Will kerosene freeze? I suspect not and think I will use kerosene when I burn up the damned lamp oil
    The cure for everything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    There's a reason it's called 'parrifin' in England. HehHehHeh.

    Many lamp oils contain waxes that will gell at low temperatures. Nice for cold weather candles but gunkey in your lamp. Very clean kerosene will burn well with only a slight odor. I've found that even though it's considerably more expensive to get the refined kero sold in cans at the hardware store, that's well worth it compared to the smelly less refined stuff available at the local fuel dealer.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    The "lamp oils" I've seen are merely scented versions of the red "stove oil" you can have delivered in this region by your neighborhood heating oil supplier. The problem is these both have the consistency of #2 Diesel or heavier, making them extremely difficult to light in cold weather and totally unsuitable for flueless kerosene heaters and lanterns requiring "K2" grade fuel.

    I learned this one the hard way, having had 50 gallons of "stove oil" delivered once, thinking I could use it in space heaters for less money than K2. I ended up using it in the Peterbilt.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Thanks for the information. I never made the connection with paraffin, but that's clearly what is causing the problem, some kind of wax. I used to live in a cabin that had no power and used lamps exclusively. We always burned kerosene. I will be going back to the old standby then.
    The cure for everything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    I recently read that mineral oil is even better than kerosene. I have a small trawler lamp that hasn't worked very well on kerosene and have been thinking about trying mineral oil, but somehow, it sounds a bit fishy. Any thoughts?

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    I've heard the same about mineral oil. I have used mineral spirits in oil lamps, it burns fine. I also recently bought another product, a kerosene substitute. It's cheaper than lamp oil (ouch!) but more expensive than kero. It's working fine so far, and doesn't seem to jell.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    From my web surfing a few months ago I concluded that what is sold in the USA as 'lamp oil' is most likely just mineral oil with color and scent added. The source I found for mineral oil is the local farm supply store....it is used as a laxative for large animals (horses). About $13/gallon. It does burn clean like lamp oil. No soot relative to kerosene.

    I am still evaluating it. Don't know how temperature affects it. Have not done a side-by-side comparison with kerosene. Someone here said it may not produce as bright a flame as kerosene. So far it seems to be a good relatively cheap substitute for 'lamp oil'. Plus, it's multipurpose.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Quote Originally Posted by KAIROS View Post
    Plus, it's multipurpose.
    In case your Peterbuilts, or other large animals, get constipated.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    A bit of isopropyl alcohol or methyl hydrate mixed with the kero should keep it from icing up. It doesn't take much.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    I have a bunch of oil lamps. For some reason they just seem to accumulate. This week I just found a Dietz Model 50 in perfect condition to add to my collection. Anyway several years ago I switched to K1 kerosene. If you go on the Aladin Lamp webside you'll see that they don't recommend lamp oil, just K1.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    I poured the rest of the lamp oil into a lamp that stays inside. The bottle was labelled "liquid paraffin"-- no wonder it gelled.

    Probably ought to read labels more.
    The cure for everything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    US 'mineral oil' equates to Oz 'liquid paraffin.' Not absorbed into the digestive system, and hence useful not only as a treatment for wood blocks or cutting boards for food preparation but also as a laxative in humans as well as horses. (But a good fruit-and-veg diet is better.) I can't say I've never known liquid paraffin to gel, but I suppose if left exposed to the air for a long time it might lose its fines and become more viscous.
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Also known as jet fuel, ie white paraffin oil.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Kurylko View Post
    Also known as jet fuel, ie white paraffin oil.
    Here in the USA, jet fuel is a grade of kerosene, supposedly, and will produce the least soot of the grades of kerosene commonly available. I am sure that part of the problem is the use of the common name....which obviously vary from region to region.

    I wish an expert on the chemistry of these various products would step in and clarify. For me, this list has been one of the best sources for 'debunking' the common name problem.

    [edit: go to the notes at the bottom of the list for info on kerosene/jet-fuel. The tell-tale for jet-fuel evidently is a petroleum product that has no smell and no color, but that is what I would say about mineral oil too. The comments from users around the world, at bottom is also informative....overall though, what a hairy mess of overlapping contradictory names and terms. ]
    Last edited by KAIROS; 01-16-2012 at 10:51 AM. Reason: add info

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Yes, it is all rather confusing. I used to buy “kerosene” in bulk at a local heating oil outlet here in Nelson, but it was yellowish in colour and had a distinctive odour. It worked great as a solvent and cleaner, and lubricant for my sharpening stones mixed with a bit of motor oil. It even worked well in my oil lamps, but it was stinky. I suspect it was nothing more than highly refined stove oil, or some such. It didn’t smell like diesel.

    Just to confuse matters a bit more – how about Coal Oil? This was widely used in lamps in the past two centuries. It comes from a different source than paraffin / kerosene / mineral oil and is considered more toxic. I don’t even know if it is made anymore, but my wife’s mother used to talk about going down to the local vendor in Vancouver during the 1930’s to get it for their home. You brought your own container and they filled it for you.

    I think the key to distinguishing the various oils is the prefix “white”. It seems to be the indicator of a highly refined oil that fits what we are referring to as Lamp Oil: white mineral oil, white kerosene, white paraffin – all are used as jet fuel, at least according to Google.

    So, how difficult is it to get jet fuel from the pump? Local hardware stores are selling so called odourless “lamp oil” for about $10 / litre. How absurd is that?

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Quote Originally Posted by KAIROS View Post
    ...The tell-tale for jet-fuel evidently is a petroleum product that has no smell and no color
    The jet fuel with which I am most familiar is JP5, a.k.a. NATO F-76. It has a distinctive aroma, and, when used as barbecue starter fluid, imparts a unique flavour to one's steaks.

    Tom

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    From FAQ at:
    http://www.lanternnet.com/faqs.htm


    QUESTION 3: What type of fuel can I use in a tubular lantern?
    ANSWER: Standard Lamp Oil, Synthetic Kerosene, or Kerosene Substitute are recommended for use indoors. Clear K-1 Kerosene with a flash point of 124 to 150 degrees is recommended for outside use.

    The approved fuels for indoor or outdoor use in Tubular Lanterns and Flat Wick Oil Lamps are:
    1. Lamplight Farms® Clear Medallion Brand Lamp Oil, (#60020, #60003 aka #6300, #60005 aka #6400, and #6700 Only ) Flash Point: 145 Degrees Fahrenheit
    2. W.M. Barr & Co. Klean-Heat® Kerosene Substitute (#GKKH99991, 128oz, sold by Home Depot SKU #391-171) Flash Point: 145 Degrees Fahrenheit
    3. Crown® Brand Clear Lamp Oil (#755946) Flash Point: 141 Degrees Fahrenheit
    4. Genuine Aladdin® Brand Lamp Oil (#17552, 32 oz., and #17554, 128 oz.) Flash Point: 141 Degrees Fahrenheit
    5. MVP Group International Florasense® Brand Lamp Oil (#MVP73200, 64oz. and #MVP73201, 32 oz., Sold by Wal-Mart ) Flash Point: 142 Degrees Fahrenheit

    The approved fuels for outdoor use in Tubular Lanterns and Flat Wick Oil Lamps are:
    1. Non-Dyed (Clear) Kerosene with a Flash Point Between 124 and 150 Degrees Fahrenheit
    2. Sunnyside® Brand 1-K Kerosene (#700G1, #80132, #801G1, #801G3,and #801G5) Flash Point: 125 Degrees Fahrenheit
    3. Coleman® Brand Kerosene Fuel (#3000000270) Flash Point: 130 Degrees Fahrenheit
    4. Crown® 1-K Fuel Grade Kerosene (#KEM41, #KEP01, #KEP25, #KEM05) Flash Point: 150 Degrees Fahrenheit
    5. Crown® Citronella Torch and Lamp Fuel (#CTLP01, #CTLP02, #CTLP48) (OUTDOOR USE ONLY, cut 50:50 with kerosene to extend wick life.) Flash Point: 141 Degrees Fahrenheit
    6. Tiki® Brand Citronella Torch Fuel (OUTDOOR USE ONLY, cut 50:50 with kerosene to extend wick life.) Flash Point: 145 Degrees Fahrenheit

    NOTICE: Dyed kerosene or lamp oil will eventually clog the wick and inhibit proper operation. It can also permanently stain the lamp or lantern.
    If you purchase kerosene from a gas station, make sure that it is from a "blocked" pump so that it is clear and not dyed red.
    (Un-blocked kerosene pumps by law must dispense dyed kerosene which will clog lantern wick, and cause it not to burn properly.)

    FUEL SOURCES:
    Standard clear lamp oil (Lamp Light Farms Medallion Oil,) is available nationwide at: Target, K-Mart, Ace Hardware, True-Value Hardware, Sentry Hardware, and HWI Do-It Centers.

    "Klean-Heat" Kerosene Substitute is available at or through most hardware stores and home centers including: Home Depot, American Eagle, Coast to Coast, Ace Hardware, True-Value, and HWI Do-It Centers.

    Genuine Aladdin Brand Lamp Oil is available from Aladdin Lamp Dealers nationwide.

    NOTE: DO NOT USE PARAFFIN OIL IN TUBULAR LANTERNS WITH 5/8" or LARGER WICK. (Use Paraffin only in lamps with 1/2" or smaller wick.)

    NOTE: DIESEL, BIO-DIESEL AND OLIVE OIL ARE NOT SUITABLE SUBSTITUTES FOR ANY OF THE APPROVED FUELS AS THEY HAVE A FLASH POINT OVER 200 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT


    PARAFFIN OIL NOTICE

    NOTE: Paraffin in the UK is kerosene. Paraffin Oil in the UNITED STATES is Liquid Candle Wax , and is mis-labeled for use in oil lamps and lanterns, when in fact it is only suited for Candle Oil Lamps that use small diameter (under 1/4”,) round wick. 99% or 100% Paraffin Oil is NOT designed or suitable for use in tubular lanterns or oil lamps that use flat wick, or Kosmos or Matador type oil lamps. Further, it burns only 1/2 as bright of any of the approved fuels listed above. Paraffin oil has a much higher viscosity and a flash point of 200 degrees or higher, as compared to the flash point of 150 degrees for kerosene. These differences inhibit the necessary capillary action of the wick, and will cause Lamps and Lanterns with 7/8" or larger wick to burn improperly and erratic. Once a wick is contaminated with paraffin oil, it must be replaced in order for the lantern to burner properly. If you must use paraffin oil, it may be mixed 1:10 to 2:10 (one to two parts paraffin,) to ten parts standard lamp oil or kerosene so that it will burn satisfactorily. Paraffin Oil is sold in the United States under the following trade names, which should be avoided except for use with lamps or lanterns with 1/4” Round of 1/2" flat or smaller wick :
    Aura Oil
    Crown Royal
    Firelight Glass
    Orvis Lamp Fuel
    Northern Lights
    Northwest
    Pure Lite
    Soft Light
    Tropical Lights
    Ultra-Pure
    Weems & Plath



    WARNING!!


    NEVER USE THE FOLLOWING IN ANY WICK LAMP OR LANTERN OF ANY TYPE:

    1. Gasoline
    2. Coleman Fuel
    3. White Gas
    4. Paint Thinner, (aka *Mineral Spirits)
    5. Wood Alcohol
    6. Naptha
    7. Turpentine
    8. Benzene
    9. Or any other Explosive Fuel with a flash point under 100° F.

    USING ANY OF THE ABOVE FUELS IN A WICK LAMP OR LANTERN
    CAN RESULT IN PROPERTY LOSS, SERIOUS INJURY, OR DEATH.

    CAUTION:
    Diesel and Aviation fuel should not be used in any wick lamp or lantern
    as the fumes from fuel additives can be FATAL if inhaled.




    SAFETY WARNING:
    UPDATE NOVEMBER 24, 2010

    WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU VERIFY THAT THE
    FLASH POINT OF ANY KEROSENE THAT YOU PLAN TO USE IN ANY
    OIL LAMP OR LANTERN OR KEROSENE HEATER IS
    BETWEEN 124 AND 150 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT.

    We have started receiving reports of lanterns developing "run-away" flames where the flame flares up and runs out of control.
    When this happens, the only way to extinguish the flame is to smother the lantern.
    Place an inverted bucket over the lantern, or shovel dirt on it to extinguish the flame.


    THE MINIMUM RECOMMENDED FLASH POINT FOR KEROSENE FOR USE IN
    OIL LAMPS AND LANTERNS IS 124 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT.
    This is the first lesson ye should learn: There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, it doesn't behoove any of us to speak evil of the rest of us.
    E. Cayce

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    cont:


    *Additional Notes on Mineral Spirits

    I have added the following information due to the number of inquiries we have been receiving lately about the use of paint thinner as a kerosene substitute to explain the danger.

    Mineral Spirits (Paint Thinner,) should NOT be used in any wick lamp or lantern.

    There is a reason they are called "Kerosene" lanterns, and not "Paint Thinner" lanterns. Tubular lanterns, and most oil lamps that employ a wick delivery system, are designed for use with 150 Degree Test (read "Flash Point,") kerosene, which is a "straight run" petroleum distillate made for such use. Standard Lamp Oil, (such as Lamplight Farms Medallion Lamp Oil,) has a 142 Degree flash point, and is also an acceptable lamp or lantern fuel, being within 10% of the design standard.

    Paint Thinner, (Mineral Spirits,) on the other hand, has a flash point of under 110 Degrees, and is a complex petroleum distillate that at best may produce (including odorless,) fumes that are not something that you would want to breathe near, and at worst has the potential for creating a runaway flame or worse.

    Let me explain further: In addition to conveying fuel, the wick also conducts heat from the flame into the tank. As the fuel level drops, the oil temperature rises and expands, regardless of the oil you are using. With Mineral Spirits, this function creates an accelerated evaporation, which in turn produces pressurized flammable vapor that must expand to somewhere. (This process is also referred to as "Superheating.") Usually, the pressurized vapor will gradually work its way through the burner and will be consumed at the flame. At this point it is not a major problem, except that because the flame is no longer dependant on the wick, you no longer have control of the flame, which will begin to "runaway." The natural reaction is to turn the wick down as far as possible to try to extinguish the runaway flame. This only increases the vapor flow as well as the flame size. If you turn the wick down too far, and the cogs disengage the wick, you will not be able to raise the wick to reduce the flame size. When this happens, the best course of action is to smother the lantern with an inverted pail or bucket, or dirt.

    In a worst case scenario, if the pressurized vapor is unable to gradually be consumed at the flame, it will increase in the tank as the fuel level drops. The reason this is "worst case" is because if the vapor bursts through the burner, an explosion will result that will most likely shatter the globe.


    I received an e-mail from a customer that thought it was OK to use paint thinner, despite our warning:

    . . . . . I look up and the flame is so high that it burnt the rope, fell from the tree, shattered and the ground and lantern were on fire. I put the fire out and just assumed I did something wrong. The next night I set the second one on a flat tree stump. Every thing seems fine, not much light because the wick is so low, but a little. Next thing I know this one is on fire and the glass also breaks and I'm scrambling to throw dirt on it. The third night I try again, because it gets really dark and I was counting on those for light. This lantern does the same thing. It did not break the glass, because I was nervous and kept watching it. . . .
    Fil Graff, the Secretary of the International Guild of Lamp Researchers, wrote the following words on the topic:


    On Dec. 22, 2000 @ 18:57, Fil Graff (fgraff@comcast.net) wrote:
    . . . . For heavens sake, if you are playing with fuels, stay in the same petrochemical CLASS as the originally recommended fuel! NO MINERAL SPIRITS in a kerosene lamp! That is NO, none, not ANY! The "burns hotter" may be a problem in soldered burners, but the real problem is volatility and flash point. You do NOT want a possible font ignition from heated fumes! If you cannot get road-taxed kerosene (it isn't red!)or Sunoco's "1-K", then try the Clearlite. It too burns hotter than kerosene, but at least is in the same volatility range, and therefore reasonably safe. I use it in Aladdins and other flat wicks, replacing the Champagne-priced odorless Ultra fuel I used for years, but have abandoned because of outrageous prices.
    Tony Batts, General Manager of the Aladdin Mantle Lamp Company, recently e-mailed me:

    "Woody,
    You are most correct, we would never recommend the use of mineral spirits or paint thinner in Aladdin lamps, lanterns, or any flat wick lamps. Believe it or not we still occasionally get calls from folks who have heard the its okay to use mineral spirits in their lamps.

    Thanks for helping clear up this myth!

    With kind regards,
    Tony"
    We are working towards adding video segments to our website in the near future, and plan to film a demonstration of what can happen when you use paint thinner, or "other than recommended" fuels in tubular lanterns.
    Last edited by George Ray; 01-16-2012 at 07:28 PM.
    This is the first lesson ye should learn: There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, it doesn't behoove any of us to speak evil of the rest of us.
    E. Cayce

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Why would kerosene be either road taxed or dyed red?
    Is it the same as #1 diesel?
    R
    "Now Ron,don't you do anything stupid!" - Grandma B.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Lots of valuable information here. But I have a Welsh Miner's lamp that is very solid and appears to be the real deal. It has the built it striker mechanism inside of the glass and you strike it by shoving in a key. Burns great on K-1 Kero - very clean flame that last at least 20 hours on a full tank. The difficult part is that I can't get the damn thing to light no matter how much I fool with the wick without taking it apart and giving the wick a shot of lighter fluid first. Is that standard practice with this type of lamp or am I missing something here? I've had Zippo lighters since I was a kid so I know how these things are supposed to work, but running a lamp on lighter fluid is not what I'm hearing here as a recommendation.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Ted: does your lamp look like this:




    If so, it runs on carbide and water to produce acetelyne which is ignited by the striker and flint. (Where Union Carbide got it's start...)



    If it looks like this:



    Then I obviously can't read and yours does operate on oil with a strike wheel and key.

    I have my Grandfather and Uncle's carbide lamps, although they sure don't look that nice now. Both still work just fine.
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Interesting information. I have a pressure mantle lamp (Petromax) that specifies using mineral spirits, but of course is very different mechanically than a hurricane lamp. I have used mineral spirits and lamp oil with success in both traditional kerosene lamps and an Aladdin Lamp. I have had trouble with lamp oil in an open top gimballed lamp on board, it burns ok, but slowly goes out. I'll see how it goes with kerosene. I use liquid parafin all summer in the Aladdin, because it doesn't smell or evaporate at rest. In winter I switch to kerosene, I've just bought a kero substitute that burns well too.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    How do you like your PetroMax ??? I assume it is multi-fuel. .....

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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Tom (Mad Scientist) mentioned JP5. Back in the day while our run of the mill jet airceaft used JP4 the U2 spy planes used JP5. Is that because 5 didn't vaporize at the U2's very high cruise altitudes? And what is Jet A that you see these days?
    The other Tom

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Genther View Post
    I have a bunch of oil lamps. For some reason they just seem to accumulate. This week I just found a Dietz Model 50 in perfect condition to add to my collection. Anyway several years ago I switched to K1 kerosene. If you go on the Aladin Lamp webside you'll see that they don't recommend lamp oil, just K1.
    I use Aladdin lamps as well.

    The Aladdin website does not recommend using liquid paraffin. They recommend the K-1 kerosene that they sell or K-1 from the hardware store.

    That said, I've been using liquid paraffin fuel with our Aladdins for at least 20 years. I recommend Lamplight Ultra-Pure Paraffin Lamp Oil. This fuel is 99% C5-20 paraffins. It is clear, undyed and unscented. When it burns it has a very faint Crayon odor. Lamplight Ultra-Pure is more expensive than K-1 kerosene but it has a few advantages.

    -very little odor when standing or burned
    -it doesn't soot the Aladdin chimneys. I can go for many fuelings before I see a trace of soot
    -if the lamp isn't used for a while the liquid paraffin will not evaporate away nor will it spoil by taking on humidity

    Lamplight Ultra-pure has two disadvantages compared with K-1.
    -expense.
    -it will begin to solidify and will not work in the lamps at cold temperatures

    At room temperature (right down to the fifties) Ultra-Pure works great. I've never seen it solidify.



    These lamps date from the early fifties. They belonged to my parents. One lamp has a burner that dates from 1930's.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    yzer, Nice Aladin lamps. I only have one of them, that I bought for a few bucks at a yard sale. The owner didn't know what he had. Have you looked at the prices of Aladin lamps on their website recently? I love the way they work and the amount of light they throw. They do give off a bit too much heat for a hot summer night, though.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    hmmmm,
    I used paint thinner in hurricane lamps and alladin for 25 years.I no longer use fuel for light, lamps, having gone to led and alpenglow (electric), but I continue to use paint thinner in my primus stove. I made coffee this morning with paint thinner.
    I am no scientist, but I am not blown up either.
    It is not like using GASOLINE, COLEMAN, BENZINE, ECT.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Yes, the Petromax is multifuel. I bought it to use in my last boat, but ended up only trying it a couple of times. It burns brightly but can be interesting to light. With kero or spirits it uses a built-in torch to preheat the fuel line. All this requires some practice. I have the impression that new ones are made in China.
    Wiz, I've had people tell me that burning paint thinner will cause dain bramage. This might explain a lot about both of us.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Robb View Post
    Tom (Mad Scientist) mentioned JP5. Back in the day while our run of the mill jet airceaft used JP4 the U2 spy planes used JP5. Is that because 5 didn't vaporize at the U2's very high cruise altitudes? And what is Jet A that you see these days?
    The other Tom
    JP-4 was the USAF fuel. JP-5 was Navy and Marine Corps fuel for use in a shipboard environment, Both have been replaced now by JP-8. Most current jets can use JP-4 or 5 or 8 or even civilian Jet A1.

    The JP-5 and JP-8 had higher flash points plus several fungus inhibitors.

    Tom #3

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Thanks #3

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Quote Originally Posted by meuritt View Post
    I recently read that mineral oil is even better than kerosene. I have a small trawler lamp that hasn't worked very well on kerosene and have been thinking about trying mineral oil, but somehow, it sounds a bit fishy. Any thoughts?
    I use mineral oil as a lamp oil most of the time.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Ted, Modern miners safety lamps with built in strikers use naptha,same as Zippo fuel. Old flat wick lamps used whale oil. They had to be taken apart to light,reassembled,then secured with a lock. D.C.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    I use mineral oil as a lamp oil most of the time.
    Hey Dan, can you provide your source for mineral oil? Where do you get it and what's the label say?

    Thanks. Jack

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Chism View Post
    Lots of valuable information here. But I have a Welsh Miner's lamp that is very solid and appears to be the real deal. It has the built it striker mechanism inside of the glass and you strike it by shoving in a key. Burns great on K-1 Kero - very clean flame that last at least 20 hours on a full tank. The difficult part is that I can't get the damn thing to light no matter how much I fool with the wick without taking it apart and giving the wick a shot of lighter fluid first. Is that standard practice with this type of lamp or am I missing something here? I've had Zippo lighters since I was a kid so I know how these things are supposed to work, but running a lamp on lighter fluid is not what I'm hearing here as a recommendation.
    Hi, this is my first post and I joined mainly to answer this question. I know absolutely nothing about wooden boats, but I do know a bit about lamps and this is a question that often comes up. Indeed I asked it myself once as the first lamp I restored was a "miners lamp"... in fact the Eccles Type 6 Saftey Lamp in the picture.

    If your lamp is anything like mine then one of the safety features is that it can only be lit with the flint once assembled, and if you attempt to open it whilst lit it will automatically snuff out the flame. Fairly obviously this means you can't light it first and then assemble it because the reverse is also true.

    This leaves you with a bit of an issue because as you have found out kerosene (paraffin in the UK) does not light from a flint at room temperature. The simple truth is that these lamps were never intended to run on kerosene in the first place... They were intended to be run on a much more volatile fuel called Colzaline which as far as I'm aware is no longer available, so you have to find a modern equivalent.

    A mining museum that I'm aware of uses "Panel Wipe", but apparently there are two types one which burns and one which doesn't... clearly you need the one that does. Coleman fuel should also work and has been recommended to me. However, I use a fuel called Aspen 4 which is a highly refined clean burning gasoline/petrol that has no additives and I would highly recommend that if it is available where you live. These lamps only hold just over 100-150ml of fuel which burns for well over 16 hours with a well adjusted flame so cost isn't really an issue.

    I fill mine with a large syringe, initially with about 100ml of fuel if I've let it run completely dry and then I top it up with 25ml every couple of days after that. It's lit pretty much every day...

    To light it, after fueling from dry let it stand for at least an hour, if not longer. Adjust it to a high setting and strike the flint; it may take a few goes! Sometimes turning it upside down for a few minutes before lighting helps... once lit adjust the flame to about half inch in height and be sure to check and readjust once the lamp has warmed up. To put the lamp out hold it by the handle and jerk it with a sharp downward motion stopping abruptly - not too hard - you'll get a feel for it once you've tried it a few times.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Gneiss; 11-18-2012 at 04:31 AM.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Quote Originally Posted by yzer View Post
    These lamps date from the early fifties. They belonged to my parents. One lamp has a burner that dates from 1930's.

    Hi, I have a few Aladdin lamps myself...

    In case you didn't know and for the benefit of others, the fonts on your lamps are Aladdin Model B Washington drape pattern manufactured between 1941 and 1955. It should tell you the model number of the burner on the adjuster knob, the one on the left doesn't look like a Model B the one on the right could be but it's hard to tell from the picture. Both galleries appear to be from a later model... Wonderful lamps...

    You do need to be a little careful using earlier burners as they were originally center draft burners not intended for use with glass fonts that don't allow air to be drawn in from below, so it's best to check the model number. The main reason for the switch to side draft burners on the later models was to allow their use with glass fonts.

    I use Pre-Pac Highest Quality Paraffin in mine, in the UK "paraffin" is essentially the same as high quality kerosene and gives off very little odour, it should never to be confused with "liquid paraffin" used for medical purposes and totally useless for lamps!

    Premium lamp oils do burn marginally cleaner and do give off less odour in my experience but costing at least twice as much as the Pre-Pac I think it's a case of you pay your money and take your choice.. Personally I don't mind the slight odour of Pre-Pac.
    Last edited by Gneiss; 11-18-2012 at 04:21 AM. Reason: Aditional note added.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Never ever use JP4 or 5 in a kerosene lamp. The only suitable Jet fuel for lamps is Jet A1. The others are military fuels souped up with gasoline components. They have low flash points, thus the danger!!! IIRC the flash point of JP4 is around 105F! This from a previous life where I handled these fuels as part of my job.

    My guess is that K1 kerosene is similar spec to Jet A1, but likely not as clean. Jet A1 used to have to be totally spotless before it entered the storage tanks at the Vancouver, B.C. airport.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    And a supply of lamps and oil are essential after a hurricane. As we were recently reminded.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    what are the chances of using vegetable oil thinned a bit?
    Freudian slips : when you say one thing but mean your mother.

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    The Trawler Lamp is a touchy beast. This retailer says it can't be left unattended because the flame gradually increases. Yup.
    https://www.lehmans.com/p-978-den-ha...wler-lamp.aspx

    Mine came with my boat, it had the wrong wick and lamp oil. It was at least a ten minute project at 40°f to get it to burn full around and another then to somewhat stabilize. If everything didn't happen correctly it would start the chuff, chuff with like a locomotive with little black smoke rings. If I got the draft going, a chre in itself, everything was fine. Then I went online and discovered the above information and changed my ways.

    Bought the new,proper wick from WM, found K1 at a local store and am nearly in lamp heaven. But it still has flame creep, flame getting bigger. The reason is that the trawler lamp shade reflects a lot of heat back onto the fount, heating it, the warmer it gets, the easier the fuel flows and burns. In my main cabin this lamp can more than take the chill off, so it gets used often this time of year.

    The flat wick gimballed lamps throw reasonable light, but not so much as the trawler, and correspondingly less heat, but together I get a warm, pleasantly lit cabin.

    There is at least one video of a hurricane style lamp on youtube exploding with mineral spirits/paint thinner. I think confusing labeling may have something to do with it, but I did try a product labeled paint thinner, and another labeled mineral spirits from a California hardware store and didn't like the smell of either.

    For such low tech, it is amazing how hard it is to get right.

    Mike

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    On Marmalade the trawler lamp is quite wonderful. There's a sense where one obviously would not leave it unattended but that should have nothing to do with flame creep. Flame creep is when the wick is too high for the ambient temperature. When adjusted correctly and warmed up, the wick will be just below the outer ring and will not char at all. The flame is actually happening off evaporating lamp oil or kerosene fumes along the outside of that perferated brass ring.

    The trawler lamp at the correct setting puts out considerably more light than a flat wick - so much more kero burning after all - but less than the qualitativly different burn you get from an Aladin mantel. I like the trawler better because the light is adequate, the components are more robust, and the process is not so finikey. But if you want incandescence without electricity, the Aladin is it for oil fuel. There are also dangerous gasoline lamps and fairly safe propane and butane lamps that use incandescence on a mantel.

    Even more than with flat wick lamps, you need to switch from lamp oil with it's high load of parrifin wax to a very clean grade of kerosene as the temperature goes down.

    Since I lived for a decade with kero before getting a boat that had a real electric system, I really understand how magical it was for my father when REA brought electicity to the farm he grew up on. Now with LEDs, there is really no good excuse for the eye strain or limited reading hours of yore. I use the trawler lamp for ambient cabin lighting, some heat, and in warm weather mosqito control but the LEDs are it for working light. I especially like the new generation of headlamps.

    G'luck

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    How does a lamp control mosquitoes?
    The cure for everything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea
    Isak Dinesen

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Set it to burn smoky . . . .

    Gotcha. HehHehHeh

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    On Marmalade the trawler lamp is quite wonderful. There's a sense where one obviously would not leave it unattended but that should have nothing to do with flame creep. Flame creep is when the wick is too high for the ambient temperature. When adjusted correctly and warmed up, the wick will be just below the outer ring and will not char at all. The flame is actually happening off evaporating lamp oil or kerosene fumes along the outside of that perferated brass ring.
    A common cause is overfilling, the fuel should be well clear of the bottom of the burner when the lamp is "full"...

    Otherwise as you say, allowing the lamp to warm up slowly prior to final adjustment should avoid the issue but I know it can be quite tricky to judge. With Aladdin lamps the secret is to avoid the temptation to try an "fully illuminate" the mantle so that you are not running the lamp "on the edge".

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Quote Originally Posted by Soundman67 View Post
    what are the chances of using vegetable oil thinned a bit?
    Don't do this in any lamp with a vapouriser (Tilley, petromax, Vapalux, Optimus etc....) - the Pyrolysis of the oil results in a gunged vaporiser tube and a non-functional lamp.

    Same goes for stoves.
    Even when they work, they don't work well. I blame engineers.
    The only thing engineers have done to the toaster in the last 80 years is make it disposable. I think it applies to a lot of things

  45. #45
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Quote Originally Posted by johngsandusky View Post
    I've heard the same about mineral oil. I have used mineral spirits in oil lamps, it burns fine. I also recently bought another product, a kerosene substitute. It's cheaper than lamp oil (ouch!) but more expensive than kero. It's working fine so far, and doesn't seem to jell.
    After a year of sitting in a partially full wick lamp, my mineral oil is difficult to light and resists burning. Maybe the brand of mineral oil I'm using. Kerosene loses some ump over time, but nothing like my mineral oil. Since I don't use the wick lamps often I'll probably switch back to high-grade kerosene.

    Have others had this problem with the mineral oil losing 'volatility' over time?

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Quote Originally Posted by KAIROS View Post
    Have others had this problem with the mineral oil losing 'volatility' over time?
    Any petroleum product exposed to air will give up the most volatile fractions over time, and thicken. In a lamp, most of the evaporation takes place in the wick, which gets gummed up if it's not used for some time, and will need to be trimmed.

    Lamp oil seems to work well in small lamps with round wicks and short chimneys. For lamps with tall chimneys and flat or cylindrical wicks (e.g. Aladdin) a more volatile fuel such as kero or Jet A works best.

    When I lived without electricity, I used two Aladdin mantle lamps (bright but also touchy) and several flat-wick lamps of various vintages. A helicopter pilot told me that Jet A (the standard turbine-engine fuel used in copters) would work for my lamps. The airfield was closer than the nearest bulk fuel outlet, so I bought Jet A there for the next ten years or so, and had no problems with any of my lamps.

    Here's a link to a listing of aviation fuel available in the US: http://www.csgnetwork.com/jetfuel.html

  47. #47
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    I'm picturing getting out to the fueling stations at a major airport, with an oil lamp in hand......

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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    I'm picturing getting out to the fueling stations at a major airport, with an oil lamp in hand......
    The airport was pretty small: Pinedale, Wyoming. As I recall, the cost was about half of what they charged at the local bulk supplier for kero. Considering the trouble involved, I always filled two 5-gal. cans each time, which was more than a year's supply for me. From which I transferred the stuff to a small can for filling the lamps.

    A trick for lamps that are seldom used is to cover the wick and burner with a square of plastic wrap, poking holes as required, then placing the chimney over it. That keeps the evaporation down.

    For those who dislike the smell, most hardware stores carry deodorized kerosene, which costs more than the usual sort and less than lamp oil.

  49. #49
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    To keep the interior of the boat from smelling too much of kerosene, I put a rubber drain plug in the top of the chimney.

  50. #50
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    Default Re: Lamp Oil v. Kerosene

    For boats that get laid up for winter, the lamp oil left in the reservoir and the wick can get a bit rancid.

    When I light them in the spring my wife says, "Put it out, it stinks." So we go to bed with electrics, and next day I replace the fluid and the wick and all is well.

    I burn what it sold in Canada as Lamp Oil, which seems to me to be simply a more refined, odourless kerosene. Actual kerosene here has a bit of a harsh chemical smell.

    Dave

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