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Old 30-01-2009, 14:05   #1
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Lamp Oil vs Kerosene

I've got a couple of very nice oil lamps that were just overhauled and refinished. The fellow that did the refinishing suggested that I use kerosene rather than the commercial lamp oil. Ordinarily I'd take it as presented but this rather elderly gentleman also told me that one of my lamps had not been made in 80 years. Not true - still for sale today. In other words, he is not an oil lamp expert but an expert on refinishing brass. (Fantastic job).

I thus appeal to the forum for some input. He thought the kerosene burned brighter and with less heat than lamp oil. What are your opinions?

Rich
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Old 30-01-2009, 15:51   #2
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Brighter and less heat? I'd be surprised... but if we are talking about simple wick lamps, many fluids will burn well.

I have used oderless paint thinner in my lamps for years. In my neck of the woods, it is easy to get and cheaper than either kerosene or (especially) lamp oil. And it has (to me) a less objectionable smell.

Never use a material like gasoline... KABOOM!
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Old 30-01-2009, 16:24   #3
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We used lamp oil in the Med while at sea for a while and it worked very well.
I wouldn't use kero for the smell! LOL

The soft yellow light is wonderful

If something is called "lamp oil" its probably made for lamps to be better than something not made for lamps. Maybe thats a bit too simplistic... but I would go the lamp oil and give it a try


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Old 30-01-2009, 17:03   #4
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Good point Mark,

At this moment I'm using the small lamp with lamp oil. Basically, it's a candle flame. There would be no way to use it for reading. It's a night light. Yet,.... and this is the part that makes me wonder what, if anything, I'm doing wrong. Folks in the past had this as their primary source of light. The lamp I'm burning now is identical to those in the pix from the Roth's books. My other lamp is called a trawler lamp and certainly puts out more light, and heat. I guess I'm expecting too much.

Thanks for the reply,
Rich
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Old 30-01-2009, 17:08   #5
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Lamp Oil is a highly refined and purified kero commonly know as liquid parafin. Hollowick has been the standard in Liquid Parafin since the early 1970's with little smoke or smell as the material burns. When we were youmger we would routinely add a little paint thinner to kero to improve the performance of our navigation lamps although they seemed to burn quite a bit hotter.

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte
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Old 30-01-2009, 19:40   #6
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Quote:
Lamp Oil is a highly refined and purified kero commonly know as liquid parafin.
It's clean and does not smoke or smell. I just took down all the oil lamps in the boat for winter service., I know the oil lamp had not been used in years but lit up on the first attempt. Oil is less volatile as well as clean. We use them in the house as well. There may be a lot of places to shave a penny but lamp oil isn't that expensive.
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Old 30-01-2009, 19:41   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabo_sailor View Post
Good point Mark,

At this moment I'm using the small lamp with lamp oil. Basically, it's a candle flame. There would be no way to use it for reading. It's a night light. Yet,.... and this is the part that makes me wonder what, if anything, I'm doing wrong. Folks in the past had this as their primary source of light. The lamp I'm burning now is identical to those in the pix from the Roth's books. My other lamp is called a trawler lamp and certainly puts out more light, and heat. I guess I'm expecting too much.

Thanks for the reply,
Rich
I can read fine by candle light, but I agree that most people seem to have trouble with it, I would guess that its what we're used to with our modern lifestyles... And as I often prefer to settle down to a good book by candle light, I'm guess that my eyes have accustomed to it over the years...


Useful thread thanks guys, I never had problems with the smell from Kerosene lamps before, but then I haven't used them in the confined space of a 27' boat before... think I shall go for the lamp-oil option....

Cheers.
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Old 30-01-2009, 19:51   #8
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I've always used Paint thinner in my Kerosene stoves and lamps. That was using a kerosene stove and 3+ wall lamps with nary a problem in 4 years oif living aboard and cruising. Unfortunately, it didn't work for beans in the Trawler lamp I've got in my current boat. The lamp would send out so much soot, unless burned at a very low level, that it blackened the overhead in the main cabin in just a week of use. Switched to lamp oil and the lamp burns fine now. Unfortunately, I've got scrub the overhead to get the soot off which isn't an easy job. Maybe the mineral spirits will clean up the gunk better than 409.

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Old 30-01-2009, 21:45   #9
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Interesting - I have a couple of kerosine lamps on board. For us down under, what do you mean by paint thinner, would that be turpentine?
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Old 30-01-2009, 22:18   #10
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There is lamp oil and then there is "lamp oil". The highly refined, liquid parafin, is the way to go. It is a bit more expensive than the typical lamp oil found in gift shops, etc. but the difference in odor is significant. Go for the good stuff!
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Old 30-01-2009, 22:46   #11
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I found kerosene tended to soot up the over-head. Lamp oil is more expensive but I would occasionally find it discounted at bargain stores which feature dented cans or other stores item who had gone out of business. When I found such a sale, I would but gallons.
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Old 30-01-2009, 23:10   #12
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although I have a diesel furnace...

...my main source of heat/light year-round is Lamplight Farms Ultra-Pure 99% Pure Liquid Paraffin. No odor, no smoke, no soot. It's twice the price of kerosene, but worth every penny, especially when you burn two lamps at once, which is what I do. (Two lamps cuts down flickers and shadows, and gives me plenty of light to read by.)
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Old 31-01-2009, 00:32   #13
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Paint thinner and mineral spirits are pretty much the same thing and quite similar to Kerosene/paraffin. Mineral spirits - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 31-01-2009, 03:44   #14
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Methanol or Methyl Hydrate (CH3OH), also known as Carbinol, Methylated Spirit, Methyl Alcohol, Wood Alcohol, Wood Spirits and (wood) Naptha, is available in your local hardware store; and is used as gas-line antifreeze, as a solvent for shellac & etc., and as a fuel for camp stoves & lamps.
A methanol flame is almost colourless in bright sunlight conditions, and burns well in an un-pressurized burner.
Methanol is poisonous - When ingested, even in quantities as small as 10 milliliter (two tea-spoonsful), Methanol can cause permanent blindness, and 100 milliliter may be fatal.
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Old 31-01-2009, 06:56   #15
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You can also get an organic version of it in the UK now, I don't know about the rest of the world though...
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