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Can I burn olive oil in my oil lamps?

 
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I have a LARGE collection of oil lamps. I LOVE oil lamps and collected them for years. I have probably 30 or 40, some decorative, some hurricane lamps. But, I've realized I really don't want to be breathing in fossil fuels when I burn them!

Everywhere I see online, says I cannot burn olive oil or other cooking oils in an oil lamp, as petroleum lamps are made for the oil to travel up a higher distance to burn, while olive oil only wants to travel up 1 inch.

At one point, I bought a natural oil that could burn in conventional oil lamps. But, it smells soapy, and it somehow degraded the plastic container it was in and leaked all over the floor and did serious damage to everything. It's self-distinguishing oil, but it was rather...corrosive? It destroyed the linoleum floor it spilled on. Weird stuff. Here's a link to the stuff I'm talking about, in case anyone is wondering: https://www.amazon.com/Firefly-CLEAN-Fuel-Lamp-Oil/dp/B00NCAXBSS.

Anyway, I would love to make use of my oil lamp collection without burning fossil fuels. Any idea how? What if I top them off with oi so there's a shhorter transer distance?

Here's some I might experiment with. They're handy little oil lamps that can fit on any regular masson jar lid
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I think it can be done. Here's a video of a guy doing just what you're asking about. The round dome part that the wick goes through on top needs to be trimmed or removed, which shortens the length of wick the oil has to travel through. Prime a new wick with oil from the top after inserting it into a jar full of oil before lighting, this will get the flow of oil going up.

 
Nicole Alderman
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Reading the comments, it looks like the vegetable oil evaporates a bit over time, becoming gooey and sticky and no longer travels up the wick.

I'm wondering if this would happen to olive oil, too.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Looks like it's called a "chunk light" when it burns thicker oil? At least, that's what it's called in this video, where he does the actual transforming of the kerosene lamp into one that burns vegetable/olive oil (this is the video referred to in James' video up above)

 
James Freyr
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Nicole Alderman wrote:Reading the comments, it looks like the vegetable oil evaporates a bit over time, becoming gooey and sticky and no longer travels up the wick.

I'm wondering if this would happen to olive oil, too.



I wonder how long that process takes, if it's a few months or a few years, and if regular use and keeping the reservoir full helps slow or even prevent this.
 
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Found this ancient greek style olive oil lamp for sale on ebay. I wonder if it works well..
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I converted a few lamps to run on olive oil but found a light vegetable oil burned better. As laid out above the oil won't travel as far up the wick so you have to get the flame close to the oil. The other thing is you need to keep adding oil to keep the level up in the reservoir again because it does not wick well. I eventually discarded the lamp altogether and used a small 6 oz mason jar with two holes. one for the wick one for easy refilling...
cheers,  David
 
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You can absolutely use olive oil, for this. In fact, it's one of the cleanest, most environmentally sound oils you can possibly use, and a great way to use up olive oil that's probably beyond using for cooking purposes.
 
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I have been trying to burn vegetable oil in a lantern for years and it would always only work for a little bit then go out.  I was sitting around thinking about it and was going to buy some heat tubes to try to get the heat to the tank.  A couple weeks ago I was tinkering in the shop and took some 1/8” copper tubing and looped it next to the flame.  I drilled holes through the assembly to run the tubing down to the fuel and wick.  The tubing just runs along side of the wick.  This has made the lantern run for as long as I need it to.  It is also adjustable so I can turn it up or down.  Here is a couple pictures.  I am running a tec to run a fan.
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Olive Oil lamps are found in pretty much all Greek Orthodox churches and home icon tables.  

https://www.anastasisgiftshop.com/collections/vigil-lamps   Look at the second row on the left.  It shows the wick.  It is a circle of metal with cork ring underneath to make it float.  There is a hole in the middle, and a waxed wick about 1/2 inch long in put in each time it is lit.  

Some Families light the lamp every easter Saturday night at church and keep it burning all year till next easter.  Others just light it at evening prayer and let it burn out overnight.  Particularly in the later case, it is usual to also put water in the glass bowl as well.  When the oil burns to the water level, it sputters itself out.  Otherwise you have the potential to crack the bowl.

I can tell you from experience that olive oil usually burns clean, but a cheap vegetable oil blend does not always do so! We accidentally bought a 4L tin of vegetable oil blend rather than olive oil, and decided to use it in our icon table lamp. Never done so again.  Much cheaper to buy olive oil than to paint the ceiling of the lounge room because it is black above the icon table from burning cheap vegetable oil.
 
Christopher Shepherd
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Here are some pictures that were requested on the oil burner.

It is a #2 burner and soft 1/8" copper tubing.  The burner wick tube is cut flush with the top of the base burner.  I drilled 2 holes through the burner assembly that just miss the wick driver assembly.  The tubing is left unsoldered and each end raps around the wick a little bit for heat transfer. The loop is heated by the flame.  I have tried it both crossing the flame and beside the flame and they both work.  Its harvest season and I haven't been near a computer so thank you for being patient.  I am happy to try to help you build one.
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Don't play dumb with me! But you can try this tiny ad:
Rocket Mass Heater Plans: Annex 6
https://permies.com/wiki/138231/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Plans-Annex
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