Author Topic: Trimming flat wicks...  (Read 335 times)

Offline twocvbloke

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Trimming flat wicks...
« on: October 13, 2017, 02:03:29 PM »
Here's one for the flat-wickers, how do you trim yours? I've watched a number of youtube videos on lanterns & lamps that use flat wicks, and everyone seems to have their own way of trimming them, some flat-topped, some with a slight curve, some with a shallow point, some a sharp point, and some in a double-point...

So, what trim shape actually works the best? For my lanterns, I just cut the wicks flat as other shapes are fiddly, that and I haven't got any spare wick if I muck it up... ;D

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Re: Trimming flat wicks...
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2017, 02:31:57 PM »
Well, I've always trimmed them flat across because that is how they come up out of the burner.

What sticks up from the which chute is exposed to oxygen and burns so the higher the wick, the larger the flame.

If the wick were not flat, only that part sticking up would burn and if it were rounded or pointed, the amount of wick that would be burning would be larger and the flame brighter but would also produce soot from the point or top round.

The burner cone is round but that has nothing to do with the burning of fuel in the wick at the top of the burner. Only about 1/16" of wick above the burner is needed for a moderate flame. 1/4" for a high flame.

I use a long tipped straight medical forceps to clamp it perfectly straight (90 across the wick) onto a new wick (after pealing off the threading tape) to make a perfect straight cut across the wick. Once it is burned, it can be adjusted in the burner so the part to be cut off is exposed and then cut right across the top of the burner.

I use a slightly curved medical scissors to cut the wick. It is a strong, small and very shape scissors.

That's how I do it and I'm sticking to it.
            John . . .

              

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Re: Trimming flat wicks...
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2017, 07:43:39 PM »
Am finishing up my last, really, final, last, no more, last lantern so had the burner apart and clean for photos.

The left image shows the wick extended to a position when if lit would be just about the point at which soot would appear.

Without adjusting the wick height, I put the cone on the burner, the right image, showing how the vented flat metal around the burner chute come up to and just touches the cone, and where the wick would be in the cone when lit. The way the cone is made, the flame is "U" shaped in that the flame at the center of the cone is a bit lower than the flame at the edges when at full candle power.

At lower wick settings, the flame is almost straight across.

You can also see the pitting on the cone from the extreme rust coating that was removed. However, the metal surface is just fine, a dark grey and even over the whole lantern.
            John . . .

              

Offline AL_as_needed

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Re: Trimming flat wicks...
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2017, 08:47:21 PM »
I trim mine to be rounded, or 45' cut the corners a bit in my No 2 Blizzard. For whatever reason it seems to prefer that as a wick shape. If I flat cut in that one, it always burns with a "W" shaped flame.

For the others, I'm with John. A straight cut across the burner.

Now how about round wicks....well now...

The Dietz 40 traffic guard was cut  flat, but through use burns to a perfect cone. It has only needed the occasional de-clumping of soot and gum. I just roll it in my fingers and the crud falls off easily. The highway torch on the other hand... flat cut and fluff seems to make the best sooty flame, as those old cannon balls should have   :D



TWinbrook7

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Re: Trimming flat wicks...
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2017, 08:55:20 AM »
I trim mine to be rounded, or 45' cut the corners a bit in my No 2 Blizzard. For whatever reason it seems to prefer that as a wick shape. If I flat cut in that one, it always burns with a "W" shaped flame.

That is interesting and if it works, great. I had to light up my flat cut Blizzard to see how it burned and it gave me a flame at any height that was round, matched the shape of the cone.

Some of my lanterns give a "U" shaped flame with the outside edges higher than the center. I'm going to have to check the burner vents screen in these. I always clean off the surface but never have cleaned out each vent hole.

Try, when the burner is cool, to clean the vent holes in the metal that surrounds the top of the wick chute. Use a small round file to clean out all of the holes and see if that makes a difference. Seems the air flow in your burner is stronger in the center.

I tipped the globe back when lit to see how the flame changed and it immediately turned into a single pointed flame with a lot of soot so the air mixing chamber using air only from below the burner is what makes the flame burn correctly. Without the globe plate down around the cone, the flat wick just turned into a candle wick.

Here's my Blizzard flame.
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Offline dsk

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Re: Trimming flat wicks...
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2017, 11:07:16 AM »
we did always trim as flat as possible using a pair of scissors. Have never tough about other possibilities. The Aladdin lamps, and heaters comes with a metal or plastic tool to trim the circular wick.

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Offline 19and41

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Re: Trimming flat wicks...
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2017, 12:39:03 PM »
I trim them just flat.  Here is the tool I use.  They will also cut the outer shells of the childproof caps, cut a prescription bottle into a parts cup, cut open the shells on crab legs when the meat sticks to them, and most any other tough scissors jobs.  Cleanly cuts rope too.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ONE-LARGE-RING-LISTER-BANDAGE-SCISSOR-8-SURGICAL-INSTRUMENTS-/322025465355

?epid=1160296645&hash=item4afa36a60b:g:LVYAAOSw9OFZInvL
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 12:53:56 PM by TelePlay »
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Re: Trimming flat wicks...
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2017, 01:06:23 PM »
One of the benefits of my last job was the availability of hemostats and scissors and other useful surgical stainless steel instruments with very hard and sharp cutting edges that were being thrown out for some defect. Beat buying them. Even got a couple of wire cable cutters which work great on plastic wire ties.

Never had a chance to pick one of those up out of the garbage but makes sense in that cutting bandages is just like cutting a wick. Good tool for wick trimming. Got to get one of those. Bad part of that listing is the box has a good chance of shipping through OPA LOCKA.

Problem with wicks is that while they are thick and hard to cut, they are also woven in such a way that a cheap or dull scissors does not, can not make a clean cut most of the time.

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Offline 19and41

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Re: Trimming flat wicks...
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2017, 01:47:22 PM »
Just do a general search for 8 inch lister scissors.  Get the one large ring type.  they are easier to do the tough stuff with.
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Re: Trimming flat wicks...
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2017, 02:16:10 PM »
I ordered the 8" one in the link you provided.

Also noticed a listing for a 7" Metzenbaum Dental Surgical Scissors, just like the one I have. I find the curved cutting blade extremely useful for cutting anything that is not straight, circular. I've been using this to cut my wicks since it is very sharp but am offering the link here should anyone need a sharp scissors to cut circular gaskets. Great control and very sharp.

     http://www.ebay.com/itm/T-C-O-R-GRADE-METZENBAUM-SCISSORS-7-CURVED-TIP-SURGICAL-INSTRUMENTS/120729943356

They also work great for trimming a small piece off of anything by using the outside of the curve to clip just a small area, such as the corner of a wick to get rid of the fuzz.
            John . . .

              

Offline AL_as_needed

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Re: Trimming flat wicks...
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2017, 05:32:24 PM »
Try, when the burner is cool, to clean the vent holes in the metal that surrounds the top of the wick chute. Use a small round file to clean out all of the holes and see if that makes a difference. Seems the air flow in your burner is stronger in the center.


I think the main "issue" with my Blizzard is that the burn cone and the base plate that the globe sits on, do not fully seat down around the burner to create a draft seal. The tubes are a tad bent from the tank, so one side has a small gap at the burner plate/cone.
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Re: Trimming flat wicks...
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2017, 06:38:13 PM »
Yes, and the shape of the flame when the wick is trimmed straight across points out where the plate air leaks are on your lantern.

There are two types of burner cones, those that wing lock the burner onto the top of the fuel tank



and those that are attached to the globe plate so only the burner wing locks onto the fuel tank and the cone rests on the burner by way of the globe plate and any pressure placed on the plate from the weight of the globe and the chimney spring.



If you have the latter, the one with the plate holding the cone, if the plate is bent and the cone is not sitting fully on the burner creating  good or complete seal, leaking air will produce a strange flame shape. I guess Dietz and other lantern manufacturers knew air flow was important to flame shape.

The type of burner set up where the cone covers the burner and locks the burner down is not affected by a bent and not quite flat globe plate. It's how the outer round ring of the burner fits into the cone that controls the air flow and if the cone is part of a bent plate, you have to straighten the plate of somehow create a high temp seal inside the cone to seal all air openings other than the burner screen meant to allow air to flow into the flame from the mixing chamber (where the air tubes feed air into the burner assembly).
            John . . .

              

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Re: Trimming flat wicks...
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2017, 02:21:11 PM »
I trim wicks straight across. However I do sometimes cut the corners off new wicks in an attempt to get them into the burner a bit easier.

As to how to trim them, I just use heavy duty scisors. But last week I went to an auction and in one of the lots was something described as a possible wick trimmer. It was basically a hand operated device with handles a bit like a pair of pliers. There were two curved blades at 8=90 degrees to the handle, held apart with a spring in a kind of frame. Squeezing the handles made the blades move one across the top of the other in a guillotine action. The inportant part about this is the blades were curved, so would have cut a wick in a curve.

Weather this actually was a wick trimmer I'm not sure. Unfortunately some of the other items in the lot sent the bids into silly money, so I didn't get it. I'll keep a lookout for another one though.
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Re: Trimming flat wicks...
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2017, 02:37:39 PM »
This is the Lanternnet recommended way to thread a new wick.

Once the tape is applied, it is very important to trim it as close to the side of the wick as possible.  I then take a large jaw pliers and cramp down on the tape at the top of the wick to compress the thickness and I then cut the pointed leader just catching the corner of the top of the wick as andy1702 said to clear the wick channel.

Once the tape is removed, cutting the top straight and clean will get rid of the corner cut. I use painters tape which removes easy without leaving residue.

I do trim off any wick that unravels at the corner of the wick caused when cutting it straight.
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Offline andy1702

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Re: Trimming flat wicks...
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2017, 01:21:41 PM »
This is the Lanternnet recommended way to thread a new wick.

Once the tape is applied, it is very important to trim it as close to the side of the wick as possible.  I then take a large jaw pliers and cramp down on the tape at the top of the wick to compress the thickness and I then cut the pointed leader just catching the corner of the top of the wick as andy1702 said to clear the wick channel.

Once the tape is removed, cutting the top straight and clean will get rid of the corner cut. I use painters tape which removes easy without leaving residue.

I do trim off any wick that unravels at the corner of the wick caused when cutting it straight.

That's a darn good idea for threading wicks. I never thought to use tape on the ends.

While I'm here I have a related question... I have quite a few old hurricane lamps where the wicks won't move up or down using the knob on the burner. Two things seem to happen. One is that the wick sticks to the inside of the burner when not used for a long time and the other is the spiked wheel chews a hole in the wick. Is there a way to prevent this? Is it better to store lamps with some fuel in and the wick in place, or should I empty them, take the wick out and dry it? Whenever I've taken a wick out it rarely seems to go back in again and work. Any advice would be much appreciated.
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