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Old 17-08-2016, 16:30   #1
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Oil lamp recommendations?

I'm getting my boat fitted for extended cruising. She's a Tashiba-31 with propane store and propane heat. I'm looking for a good oil lamp I can use aboard instead of the lights when moored. Growing up we used to use the old style hurricane lamps. Not looking for a coleman style pressurized lamp - don't like the noise they make.

Looking for something with a nice glow and enough light to read by if I sit close. Idea is to hang it above the table and under the cabin hatch. I've seen quite a few on-line, but its difficult to know just how much light they put out.

Any suggestions on a brand and size?

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Old 17-08-2016, 16:41   #2
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Re: Oil lamp

Not really, because LED lamps are so very efficient and have none of the drawbacks of oil lamps. I know, they are pretty, and retro, and I loved them once, but technology has really done them in. I've considered a set for my dining room at home, rather than candles, but not the mess, the smoke, and the heat on my boat when an LED can be powered with very little solar or wind.

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Old 17-08-2016, 16:45   #3
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Re: Oil lamp

If you're determined to do it, Weems and Plath is the usual source, and they are pretty.
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Old 17-08-2016, 17:03   #4
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Re: Oil lamp

I scored an old one of these for basically next to nothing...

Wall lamp | Cabin lamps | Den Haan Rotterdam

It takes a 65mm wide wick that is rolled into a circular shape, so has quite a substantial flame and produces good light for an oil lamp. Doesn't burn a great deal of oil, but is thirsty by oil lamp standards. It can be wall mounted or can just sit on the table. The other oil lamp I like is the good old fashioned hurricane lamp. We keep a German made Feuerhand hurricane lamp aboard, but with a 19mm (or is it 25?) wick, it isn't as bright as the lamp above and hurricane lamp glass seems to soot up a lot more than those with glass chimneys.

But I do agree LED lighting is the way to go in this day and age if you want actual light. Typical LED reading lights draw a mere 1/4 of an amp or so in a 12 volt circuit, although the ambiance of an oil lamp flame and it's ability to just take the edge of the chill out of the air on a cool night can't be beat.
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Old 17-08-2016, 17:15   #5
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Re: Oil lamp

I agree with Reefmagnet's comments. I have three 'Den Haan' lamps, soothing is seldom a problem.
The trawler lamp and certainly a clipper lamp above the table is suitable for reading. I have one of each.
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Old 17-08-2016, 18:08   #6
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Re: Oil lamp

The bigger the wick, the more light it'll make, basically. So look for ones with a wick that's around an inch (25mm) wide. Or has a big circular wick, etc. And make sure that it's easy to clean the glass globes, as it doesn't take much soot on them to really impair their light output. So buy some extra globes whenever you can, ditto on wicks. And the more refined the fuel the better, as it produces less soot, & less smell.

Good ones definitely make some heat, which is nice when it's cool, damp, or both. But in warm weather... ugh. So between the burning petroleum, & the heat, you'll need more ventillation in the boat.

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Old 17-08-2016, 18:11   #7
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Re: Oil lamp

Why induce fire unnecessarily these days?
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Old 17-08-2016, 19:44   #8
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Re: Oil lamp

Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
If you're determined to do it, Weems and Plath is the usual source, and they are pretty.
I have one and like it a lot. It puts out a tiny amount of light really but takes the chill out of the cabin air in the spring and fall, and has a nice glow.

I do also have some small battery powered LED's on the ceiling around the boat for red light night sailing, emergency white lighting and occasional disco colors for a party :-)

Costco had a 5 pack including a remote control and Duracell batteries for $20 a couple of weeks ago - amazing.

So in short, get both :-)
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Old 17-08-2016, 20:40   #9
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Re: Oil lamp

Hate to say it because I love the old lamps, but the LEDs are so good now it is hard to argue for an oil lamp EXCEPT that there is nothing better for creating a beautiful nautical AMBIANCE in the salon, and if your eyes are good you can read by them. But a candle lantern might offer the light, ambiance, with a little more convenience and safety...
just a thought.
Put a metal cup on top of it and you'll warm up your coffee too.

I have one and a little oil lamp too. Love 'em but have to admit don't use 'em often.
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Old 17-08-2016, 21:35   #10
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Re: Oil lamp

The large trawler lamps put out plenty of light and a bit of heat as well. Good lamp for areas where the water temp doesn't get much above 70 degrees but too hot in the tropics. Enough light to read by. Need to be fueled with lamp oil if you get flare ups with kerosene.

The smallish flat and round wick lamps are only good for ambience. Not nearly enough light to read by and too much heat for the tropics.

Have switched to LED's for all lighting but still keep the trawler lamp as it puts out a nice yellowish light and a bit of heat to take the edge off most nights. Still too much heat for here in Hawaii, though.
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Old 17-08-2016, 23:05   #11
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Re: Oil lamp

Way back in 1982 I won a Dutch trawler lamp as a season racing trophy. A pretty thing, and I could easily read by its light in my Yankee 30 saloon.

It is still with us, a bit tarnished and battered, still looks good hanging over the saloon table, but it must be wearing out, 'cause it no longer emits enough light to read by!

Still like the light it gives off, even if it isn't useful any more, and yes, it's heat output is useful at times.

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Aquatic Paradise Qld for a while.
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Old 18-08-2016, 01:15   #12
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Re: Oil lamp

The compromise I have settled on is a small wall mount lamp for ambience and a nice warm flickering glow, plus warm LED directional reading lights to give plenty of light on the page.

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Old 18-08-2016, 02:59   #13
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Re: Oil lamp

Our parrafin oil lamp was replaced by a vastly superior product availible at Walmart for less than $20. Technology marches on.......
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Old 18-08-2016, 03:30   #14
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Re: Oil lamp

We have an oil lamp on our small boat, but then we were given a cheap battery opperated led "hurricane " lamp and we havent used the oil lamp since.
But if you really insist on an oil lamp, you dont have to live with the soot and smoke people often talk about.
Trim the wick corners off slightly, then turn the wick down the just the edge of the wick slot. Voila, no soot or smoke.
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Old 18-08-2016, 15:33   #15
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Re: Oil lamp

I have to agree with the led crowd. Even the best oil lamp puts out little light. As mentioned already the wider the wick the more light.

As a test get a cheap kerosene lamp and try using it to read with some evening. You'll put the lamp right next to the book and still wish you had more light.

Then there is wick maintenance and chimney cleaning as well as storing spare wicks, chimneys, and kerosene.

I have a Chinese friend who was also raised in China. Until she was in middle school they had no electricity for lighting and exclusively used kerosene lamps. She had to use them every evening to do home work. She hates them.

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