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Thread: Trimming lantern wicks?

  1. #1
    Woodsman Wiggy's Avatar
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    Default Trimming lantern wicks?

    Some people say the wicks should be trimmed straight across, others say to trim it straight and then nip the corners off, and that's the way I've always been told. I can't seem to get a good flame shape by just trimming it flat across. So what do you guys say? Straight across or with the corners off?


  2. #2
    Senior Member Winter's Avatar
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    Can't say I've ever trimmed one. Aren't they, after being burnt for a few hours, a different shape than how they were trimmed?
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    I don't trim mine. The most important thing I pay attention to is how much wick is exposed for keeping the soot down.
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    You can control the spread and area of the flame a great deal by careful trimming.

    It is an individual preference thing. One of those things you can test and experiment with and all you can possibly lose is an inch of wicking.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    I only trim mine when first installed and then only if there are ragged ends. Otherwise I don't bother with it.

  6. #6

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    My experience has been that the wicks need to be trimmed straight across - I have never heard about an angled corner. The only thing I will say for sure is that a pointed part of the wick will produce soot.

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    A bit off-topic but as the thread is about kerosene lamps.... how long will a sealed five gallon container of kerosene last??

    Thanks.

    S.M.
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  8. #8
    Woodsman Wiggy's Avatar
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    I nip the edges off and get a nice, clean burning egg shaped flame. If I try to trim them flat, I get an inefficient fish tail shaped flame.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Only trim to start with.......guess I didn't realize it something that needs doing?
    Cant say I had any problems on the couple we use...height seems to control the soot.
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  10. #10
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    @ Seniorman - I've read that K1 has a shelf life of 3 months. After that bacteria starts to break it down. That said, I have K1 in kerosene lamps that is easily 20 years old and still burns just fine. It seems to go through color changes over time. Perhaps that's the bacteria, I don't know. I have some that is a nice amber color after 10 years perhaps and some older that is a sort of a red/brown. Strike a match to any of the wicks and they burn as if they were new and clear.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiggy View Post
    I nip the edges off and get a nice, clean burning egg shaped flame. If I try to trim them flat, I get an inefficient fish tail shaped flame.
    Thank you for the useful tip.

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    Senior Member Solar Geek's Avatar
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    Dang it I keep trying to give reputation to Rick and Crash for their incredibly helpful responses and the stupid thing says I have to spread it around. No! I want to give it to who it's due.

    Rick- same thing for me with the color changes in the kerosene but it works just fine. However I was so ignorant I did not know there was bacteria in kerosene :0
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Hummmm.....Lamp oil (fancy) has been around for many years, and still burns....so should kerosene, I would think.....
    Didn't know about bacteria either....Duh.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Ed edr730's Avatar
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    yes you have to trim it or you'll have more smoke. adjust it in height so you will have the highest flame without smoke. You can also adjust it by putting something over the top a bit. The goal is a tall flame without smoke.

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    Rick and Crashdive 123, thanks for the information on kerosene longevity.

    S.M.
    "They that can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    - Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790),U.S. statesman, scientist, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

  17. #17
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    If you ever get in a tight spot for lamp fuel diesel will work in most of the wick type lanterns.

    That is what I am using in my camp lanterns right now.
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  18. #18

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    ...............
    Last edited by sjj; 12-15-2017 at 10:17 AM.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    ..........................
    Last edited by sjj; 07-03-2015 at 04:36 AM.

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