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Old 06-08-2011, 15:53   #1
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Lamp Oil

I love my Weems and Plath yacht lamps and I was wondering: what exactly is "paraffin oil?" Someone told me it is chemically equivalent to denatured alcohol.

What fuel do others burn in their lamps?

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Old 06-08-2011, 16:11   #2
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Re: Lamp Oil

Its oil boiled out of the carcass of parrafins, a nearly extinct animal but hunted by various countries for scientific purposes. The meat is eaten in China as an aphrodisiac.
Sorry Mark...couldn't resist.
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Old 06-08-2011, 16:22   #3
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Re: Lamp Oil

Parifin is the common Brittish word for kerosene. I have used it in my W&P oil lamps but no more. I have found it to be too smokey. It leaves a soot film on the overhead even with a smoke bell installed. I use common charcoal lighter fluid now. It burns cleaner. Other people speak highly of W&P lamp oil but I have not used it.
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Old 06-08-2011, 22:23   #4
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Re: Lamp Oil

The W&P lamp oil ($$$) is smokeless. It's a great product but I can't help but think that one pays for the name more than the oil itself.
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Old 07-08-2011, 02:03   #5
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Re: Lamp Oil

The lamp oil that Weems and Plath reccomends vaporizes at a fairly high temperature. It is not kerosene or what the Brits call parifin. Some lamps like the circular wick trawler lamps have to use it to prevent flare ups. Common kerosene, paint thinner, mineral spirits etc. vaporize at too low a temperature, won't maintain a constant flame and flareup sending carbon floating throughout the cabin. BTDT have the black overhead to show for it and don't want it to ever happen again. Negatives for the stuff is it's expensive, and the parafin (wax) precipitates out at a fairly high temperature so may cause problems if the ambient temperature is below 40 degrees or so. Kind of like summer diesel in the winter.

Most lamps will burn kerosene, paint thinner, or mineral spirits without a problem.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:33   #6
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Re: Lamp Oil

See also “International Fuel Names”

International Fuel Names
http : //fuel.papo-art . com/

International Fuel Names
http : //fuel.papo-art . com/#tableoffuelnames
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:27   #7
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Re: Lamp Oil

Its all about trimming your wicks! And I don't mean just cutting off the burned part of the wick.

I sailed an engineless boat for 16 years with nothing but kerosene lamps. My overhead was NEVER smokey, and they never smelled bad.

The key is cutting the wick into a curve with no hard corners.


If you cut a wick off straight across you are left with two hard corners. These smoke like the horns of the devil and leave a black smelly overhead. I know of no oil that can compensate for this.

With a proper trim as above you can use almost any kerosene, except the really cheap stuff. You can also really crank up the wick to give you a very usable strength of light.

Cheers
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:13   #8
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Re: Lamp Oil

Both names are used in the UK as they're slightly different. Parrafin is a lighter cut than kerosene. Lamp oil is the closest equivalent I've found in North America.
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:47   #9
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Re: Lamp Oil

Try odorless mineral spirits.It's cheep,burns nearly white and doesn't smoke. I've been using it for 20 years or so ever since an old guy suggested that I try it. I never went back to anything else.
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:51   #10
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Re: Lamp Oil

Here in Florida, most supermarkets sell lamp oil as well as old style oil lamps. I guess its a hurricane thing. Also I found this website that sell lamp oil in various sizes up to 55 gal drums. Twenty five bucks gets you 128 oz. so they appear to be only slightly cheaper than W&P. I haven't used them personally since I just get mine at the local supermarket.

Candle & Lamp Oil for Oil Lamps & Oil Candles
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:09   #11
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Re: Lamp Oil

I just checked on Amazon and found oil at $10/qt. I think this is the stuff I get at the grocery store.

Amazon.com: Lamplight 60009 "Ultra-Pure" Clear Ultrapure Lamp Oil 32 Oz.: Kitchen & Dining

Rich
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Old 07-08-2011, 15:49   #12
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Re: Lamp Oil

I bought a two-gallon jug of the W&P lamp oil at the boat show">Annapolis Boat Show sale a few years ago. Run it through two lamps through cooler weather and have a lot left. If you are near Annapolis we can likely make a deal.
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Old 09-08-2011, 16:22   #13
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Re: Lamp Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kapena View Post
Its oil boiled out of the carcass of parrafins, a nearly extinct animal but hunted by various countries for scientific purposes. The meat is eaten in China as an aphrodisiac.
Sorry Mark...couldn't resist.
I refuse to buy baby oil....
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Old 15-08-2011, 11:10   #14
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Re: Lamp Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by seacap View Post
Its all about trimming your wicks! And I don't mean just cutting off the burned part of the wick.

The key is cutting the wick into a curve with no hard corners.
Slight thread highjack - Maybe you could elaborate on the preferred method of trimming the wick?
I've always just taken a sharp knife "gone around the circle" for our "trawler" style lamp - and although adequate, I've always thought there is probably a "proper" way.
Thanks
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Old 15-08-2011, 11:44   #15
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Re: Lamp Oil

He's talking a flat wick, not the round wick. Flat wick lamps will pretty much burn everything though they may smoke some. The idea of trimming the wick without hard corners may allow you to turn them up so they provide decent light without smoking.

Round wick lamps, believe the Aladin Lamps also fall into this group, need to use lamp oil to burn properly without flareups and steady light output. Don't think there is any other way to trim the round wick types than just cutting around the wick so they are all the same height. Aladin supplies a plastic wick trimmer that breaks off the carbon at the edge of the wick evening up the height. Don't have one anymore so can't check to see if it would work with a Trawler Lamp.
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