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Old 31-01-2015, 14:12   #1
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Oil Lamp Disaster (Kinda)

Ok so I have had and used oil lamps on several boats and am by no means an expert, but have managed to get along with out burning the boat to the waterline. I was given a new Daan Haan Clipper model lamp from a retiring sailor and found a nice, safe, logical place in the boat to hang it were it has remained unused for three years as the lamp didn't have a wick. I finally got around to getting the proper wick for it and had some old Lamplight Farms "Original" oil and proceeded to fill the reservoir and fire the suker up the other evening. I started with the wick barely visible and had no smoke or soot and slowly started to play with the adjustment to see how much light, too much wick and a little smoking and turned it back down until it seemed to be adjusted just right. I tell you the glow and the charm of the lamp inside the old Westsail with the Dickinson fireplace going at the same time was beautiful. The problem started when I tried to turn the wick down to extinguish the lamp and it wouldn't go below the lip of the burner and ended up having to put something over the top of the glass to get the flame to go out.

So feeling pretty good about the first trial run with the lamp, and seeing that it was not causing sooting or breathing problems inside the closed winter cabin the next evening I fired her up again, using the same method, wick on a very low setting and watching the lamp as she warms up to see if there are any issues. Everything looks good and I sit down with my back to the lamp for all of 30 seconds and when I turn around its spewing black smoke. So no I am freaking out and extinguish the lamp.

"Moon Dance" has a wonderful mint Herreshoff style interior, white Formica panels trimmed in old growth teak and the next day every square inch of the main cabin is covered in black soot and little tiny speckles of soot balls, it is so bad it has even made its way into closed cabinets.

I have spent hours in freezing temperatures with a water and ammonia mix cleaning this sh_t off every square inch of the interior and am still not finished.

I really love the lamp, but obviously can't repeat what has happed and would really appreciate some "Old Salts" insight as to what could of happened here.
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Old 31-01-2015, 15:19   #2
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Re: Oil Lamp Disaster (Kinda)

I tried burning mineral spirits in my identical lamp. Had the same results as you did. Talked with the Den Haan distributor and they said to use lamp oil. Bought some lamp oil and no more flare ups. The distributor said flare ups occur when using a fuel with too low a vaporization temperature. The oil vaporizes where it's not supposed and ignites with poor oxygen mix. You might ry another lamp oil and see if that cures the problem.

Have used mineral spirits in all my kerosene burning lamps and stoves without problems except with Aladdin Lamps before this.
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Old 01-02-2015, 05:22   #3
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Re: Oil Lamp Disaster (Kinda)

I used lamp oil and this was the result, figured it might be the type, real nervous to try again after spending days getting the cabin cleaned.
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Old 02-02-2015, 15:19   #4
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Re: Oil Lamp Disaster (Kinda)

cburger,

There was another thread on here about a guy who'd bought an oil lamp. Basically, the consensus was that he ought to use only the recommended type of oil in it.

FWIW, we have a kerosene burning trawler lamp with a circular wick. It has a tendency to go into overrun mode about a minute after lighting. Therefore, we watch it like hawks, nobody likes carbon fairies smearing on their overhead!

Sorry for the mess, and I guess high quality oil's the way to go for a sensitive lamp.

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Old 02-02-2015, 15:28   #5
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Re: Oil Lamp Disaster (Kinda)

We have the same type of oil lamp and we have to watch it until it warms up.

Is ammonia and water effective in cleaning the soot off the cabin ceiling?

Is there anything better?
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Old 02-02-2015, 17:35   #6
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Re: Oil Lamp Disaster (Kinda)

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Originally Posted by Jason Flare View Post
We have the same type of oil lamp and we have to watch it until it warms up.

Is ammonia and water effective in cleaning the soot off the cabin ceiling?

Is there anything better?
I spoke with a buddy about the issue and he also mentioned the age of the oil effects sooting, this was definitely years old god knows when it was purchased. The ammonia in a 50/50 mix with water worked like a charm, used it on all surfaces with no issues.

Think I am going to try the Lamplight Farms expensive top of the line oil to see if this solves the problem.


Think I will also start the lamp outside and let it warm up before bringing it into the cabin.
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Old 02-02-2015, 19:41   #7
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Re: Oil Lamp Disaster (Kinda)

Simple Green or other 409 type cleaners work quite well to get the soot off.
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Old 02-02-2015, 21:28   #8
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Re: Oil Lamp Disaster (Kinda)

I would modernize. put an LED in the lamp. Or kill a whale and use whale oil. I had a very dirty nasty stinky experiance with an oil lamp and you couldn't give me one. for free. Mac
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Old 03-02-2015, 17:50   #9
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Re: Oil Lamp Disaster (Kinda)

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I would modernize. put an LED in the lamp. Or kill a whale and use whale oil. I had a very dirty nasty stinky experiance with an oil lamp and you couldn't give me one. for free. Mac
That's all well and good, however if I gave up and tossed in the towel every time something didn't go well the first time out were would I be, and the lamp when running right is way more romantic than LEDS,

Roverhi, the nice thing about the ammonia and water solution only a buck at the dollar store.
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Old 03-02-2015, 18:41   #10
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Re: Oil Lamp Disaster (Kinda)

We have three oil lamps on board. Due to experience with soot, we only use good pure paraffin oil.
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Old 05-02-2015, 16:59   #11
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Re: Oil Lamp Disaster (Kinda)

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We have three oil lamps on board. Due to experience with soot, we only use good pure paraffin oil.
That's the plan moving forward.
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