Sunday, April 22, 2012

Olive Oil Lamps

Need non-electric lighting for emergencies? With this simple project, you can make an olive oil lamp using common household materials.
Replica of Canaanite Oil Lamp   Replica of Herodian Oil Lamp   Tutankhamin's Triple Alabaster Oil Lamp
For thousands of years, people have used olive oil not only as a way to flavor food, but also as a source of light and heat.
Olive oil has a very high flash point (190 degrees Celsius for virgin oil, and 210 degrees Celsius for refined oil), which means it does not burn as easily as other vegetable-based oils. Olive oil is also odorless when burned, although you can add other aromatics like herbs to give the burning oil a pleasant scent.

Olive oil lamps are  reliable, plus they burn bright and long. Another  benefit of olive oil is that if the lamp gets knocked over, it stops burning because it has a high flash point, meaning that it’s not a very flammable material. As a result, an olive oil lamp is far safer than a candle or kerosene lantern.

The key to burning olive oil is to keep the wick saturated at all times. The thickness of the oil affects the capillary action so soaking the wick in oil before lighting it works best. Use wicks with a large weave or even tightly twisted strips of cotton cloth. You can also make a wick from a cotton swab. Dip the swab into the oil and then twist the oiled end off of the swab stick and shape it into a teardrop. Float the "teardrop" onto the oil and light. Use low-grade olive oil. It will burn just as well as any high-grade olive oil, but will be cheaper. A little will go along way because it burns quite slowly.

If you have problems with it smoking when you blow it out, use wet fingers to put out the flame, or just douse it with the oil in the jar.

Make An Olive Oil Lamp

To make an olive oil lamp, you need the following tools and materials:
•Glass jar
•Craft wire (the length must be at least twice the height of the jar)
•Wick (you can buy wicks from an arts-and-crafts supply store, or you can make an improvised wick from scraps and strips of long-weave cotton cloth)
•Long-nosed pliers
•Olive oil

1.To make the wick holder, make a J-shape from the craft wire. Shape the wire so that you have a flat base for the wire to rest, a small hook at the end to hold the wick, and a larger hook at the other end to prop and secure it to the rim of the jar. The hook for the wick should be at least an inch high from the bottom of the jar.

2.Thread one end of a wick or other wicking material into the coil. At least a quarter inch of the wick must be above the surface of the oil when you fill the jar. That way, you don’t risk burning the oil or smothering the flame.

3.Fill the jar with olive oil, making sure that you leave enough room for the exposed quarter inch of the wick.

4.Allow the wick to absorb as much of the oil as it can before lighting it.

If you want a scented olive oil lamp, try adding some aromatic flowers and herbs to the oil. Remember that once you have used a batch of olive oil for lighting or fuel, you shouldn’t use the same batch for cooking or flavoring your food.

Other Oils:
•Lampanate oils are a grade of olive oil used exclusively for burning. Lampanate oils are not fit for cooking or human consumption.
•Aged oils. Old batches of olive oil can be used for some recipes in the kitchen, but they’re a cheaper source of fuel for oil lamps than extra virgin olive oil. Aged oils also have a higher smoke point.
•Rancid oils. Instead of throwing away rancid batches of olive oil, you can still use it as a fuel for olive oil lamps. The fuel itself may smell bad, but the burning oil will not release any unpleasant smell.

A simple Mason jar olive oil lamp

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