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candles

john

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HERE is a project i was playing with a while ago , the candles are different materials but all with jute twine and paper clip to hold the wick.

top: resin
middle : the bark left overs from resin collection
bottom :sump oil , resin,fat from griller tray , canola oil
 

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gelandangan

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Okay I didnt know that sump oil can be burnt on wick.
I have been using sump oil as flux for smelting, and quench for harden/tempering steel,
I even have thought to use them for furnace fuel, but never as candle oil.

How was the fire? is it smoky? is it easy to light and does it smell? is it bright?

I may try one this weekend.
 

AussiePreppers

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They use sump oil in furnaces in the USA to heat their houses - can also make a blowtorch with it, although it's not as easy as a diesel one. I think they key is pressure, temp, and nossle. My guess is a candle would be on the smokey side...
 

john

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HI GELANDANGAN,
im not sure, it is sump oil so all the goodys are burned out it , it may be worth wile trying new motor oil , the canola oil was the best
 
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Some great ideas there John. I know that any vegitable oil is still regularly used with primative wick lanterns in many developing countries. Thanks for sharing.
 

Blake

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This is very interesting John. Great post. From a historical perspective could anyone throw up an educated guess what would have been the go to material for candles for old drovers, squatters etc? I suppose that 150-200 years ago candles would have been a bit of a luxury and the campfire would suffice as your light source but surely there were well organised bushman who wrote diaries and letters under candle light? It would be a good project to try and replicate something like this using period materials.

I suppose beeswax would have been a bit of a luxury too if you were on the move. Some kind of tallow candle similar to what john has done there with the drippings?
 
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Templar

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These "Slush Lamps" have been around for a long time, the fuels used in them ranges from Tallow/fat to olive oil to seal/whale blubber/oil (Koodliks) and bee's wax, basiclly any greasy substance with a low melting point that will fit in the container was burned.
 

Blake

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Thanks Templar. Might be worth experimenting with different materials for the wicks too. Im working on a project like this. Stay tuned I started on it today but lost the light so ill see if I can finish it tomorrow.
 

john

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HI BLAKE,
i have this cheap imitation zippo lighter and i made a wick from a cotton wool ball , it seams to be holding up ok , was thinking with reguard to your question , would a bull rush down wick work or thistle down ,just thinking aloud
 

Blake

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HI BLAKE,
i have this cheap imitation zippo lighter and i made a wick from a cotton wool ball , it seams to be holding up ok , was thinking with reguard to your question , would a bull rush down wick work or thistle down ,just thinking aloud

I think that's definitely possible John. Im trying to think back to the last time I saw bull rush down. Its pretty loose when you break it up but I think with a bit of work it could be twisted into a wick. For sure that's one to try. The trick I guess is finding a material that isn't too light but not to dense that it wont burn. Im going to continue my work on a primative candle tomorrow but Ill be using a twisted linen wick I made for testing. It would be good to find a native plant fibre that works though.
 

Aussie123

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HI BLAKE,
i have this cheap imitation zippo lighter and i made a wick from a cotton wool ball , it seams to be holding up ok , was thinking with reguard to your question , would a bull rush down wick work or thistle down ,just thinking aloud

In medieval times bulrush lamps were used, but I'm not 100% sure what part of the rush was actually used. They were a peasant candle and were generally smoky and sooty; only rich folk and monasteries could afford quality candles with bees wax, which provide clean, bright, long-lived light.

In modern texts I've seen references to their use as “candles” in several forms :
The "fluff" (seed from the heads) squeezed to a blob and used as a slush lamp wick;
The stems coated in wax or fat and lit as a normal candle; and
The intact heads dipped in fat and lit as a normal candle

I haven’t experimented with bulrush candles myself. I must give it a go.
 

TasMonk

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The herb mullein (Verbascum thapsus), which can often be found as an introduced weed, is a great resource for making candles and slush-lamps as well. The leaves are covered in a soft almost-spongy mat of fine hair that allows them to work as a wick to some degree. Sometimes the hair is simply shaved off and squeezed/twisted into a crude wick where a much finer one is needed. Also, the flower-stalks have a spongy pith that, when dry, will soak up oil or wax and can be used as a large torch-sized rush-light. This was taught to me as a bit of old folklore, such lights called "witch-lights" and being used in the fall to light outdoor work and gatherings as the autumn evenings grew dark.

Otherwise, mullein is a fascinating and very useful "weed". Its flowers can be used as a pale green-yellow dye and in oil infusion for earache. The leaves can be used medicinally to help with chest infections and other lung problems as well as working well as natural bandage material or just generally as a slightly absorbent cloth in general. Oh, and the seeds can be smashed up and used to "stun" and catch fish by interfering with their breathing.
 

Aussie123

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Thanks Tasmonk. I had to google the plant, but as soon as I saw a pic I knew the one.

I'll have to check it out now ! :;):
 

Blake

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Great tip TasMonk! I see this plant around now and then. Here are some photos of it from my collection from a recent trip to Abercrombie National Park. Found on a south facing rocky slope about 30m from the river. Great to know some stuff about this plant as I never knew it was so useful.


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darren

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Interesting, that plant used to grow alot on my last place and i used to spray it. I didnt realise it have other uses.

Ill start getting cottonweed and thistles soon. I wonder if you could hand spin some of the seed tails good enough for a wick.
 
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Quinkan

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dried bashed nettle stalks work alright for short order wicks.

The earliest aussie slush lamps I can find an aussie ref. For were cut down kero tins, filled with mutton fat and used floating chunks of dry cow manure as a wick.

Rushlights UK style weee Junca spp. reeds, peeled and weathered and dipped in pig lard, rarely mutton fat. A source I have lists 6 to 1 lard to rushes, and a burn time of about 70mins for a full rush.

In ost other countries bulrush means Scirpus spp. Here usually Typha.

I save old veggie oil for lighting in blackouts, use double or triple twined jute garden string for wicks, and my favourite for lamp bases is salsa jars - low, stable, sturdy, and excellent lighting for tabletops. I make reflectors out of coffee cans if needed and wick holders are wound out of coathangers or folded from steel taken from coffee cans.

Makes the place smell like a cheap takeaway but very useful. I always use an oil water mix, seems to prevent overheating and you can burn the last drop of oil.
 

Quinkan

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I've also used burny vine cordage, paperbark soaked in salty water or ash water and dried, stringybark works alright and Sida fibre worked really well too.
 
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