Olive oil vigil lamps

And you can just keep refilling lamps. Its cheaper, whereas candles need to be replaced completely.

This is probably a very stupid question, but can the oil catch on fire?

Excuse my ignorance, but how does a fiberglass wick burn?

We’ve done all that, and are awaiting our first icon lamp Sunday as a gift promised us from a parishioner. Up till now we have been using those flat ‘votive lamp’ candles. They burn for a very long time with a ‘passionless’ flame as the heat turns all the wax to liquid, so it all burns up.

We used a tip from a book we found on icon lamps, and bought a cotton mop-head. One just unties the twisted strands, and bingo, you have a cotton wick.Click to expand…Very handy tip that one. Ill keep it in mind for the future.

Okay… so what does it mean to trim the wick? And before anyone asks, yes, I really didnt know anything about vigil lamps until today, save for what they look like.

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Ummmm… wouldnt a candle be alot easier?

Okay… so what does it mean to trim the wick? And before anyone asks, yes, I really didnt know anything about vigil lamps until today, save for what they look like.

Yeah, I was just thinking by the way, isnt cork flammable?

This is what I have

If you do not have water in the bottom there is a possibility that the lamp will run dry and overheat, the oil acts as a coolant. If the wickholder gets hot enough the soaked cork can ignite into a faily large flame as the entire cork is now a wick. Bad Joo-Joo. I am not sure how water in a large votive would be dangerous. I would put perhaps 1/8-1/4 of water on the bottom for safety.

This, too, is probably a very stupid question, but how do you trim it?

Good question, Ive never used the three arm floats. I make my own Old Believer floats

I dont have the hang of trimming while the flame is live, though.

It sounds more complex than it is, and with practice you can make 4-5 holders in the time it took to describe this, especially with terminals as you can line up four or five in a vice and do all at once.

Good question, Ive never used the three arm floats. I make my own Old Believer floats

The trick with the fiberglass wick is to let it soak a minute or so before lighting, and to light it, rotate the wick holder until the wick is horizontal, and hold a flame under it for exactly one Jesus prayer. Works every time. The other trick is to trim using old fashioned wire cutter.

Excuse my ignorance, but how does a fiberglass wick burn?

Olive oil has a pretty high ignition temp and is much less volitile than say kerosene. Notice how much longer it takes to light an oil lamp as opposed to a kerosene lamp. Knock a kerosene lamp over and you have a problem; knock an olive oil lamp over and you have a mess.

Are you supposed to put water in the bottom of a votive-glass sized lamp? The guy at the store did that but Ive never heard of that before.

When the flame gets anemic looking and the wick starts to glow and/or a carbon head grows on the wick here is what I do. Blow out the flame, if it needs oil, pour oil on the wick to cool it, otherwise wait a minute for it to cool. Then gently pull the carbonized top of the wick off and drop it in the oil where it will sink to the bottom. Then pull a bit more wick out if necessary and relight. note: If you use non-floating wicks you must keep the oil fairly close to the flame or the cappillary action will not be enought to keep the flame lit. You can actually pull up a long wick with a fixed holder (as I described above) and cover the holder with just the wick above the oil 1/8 or so. This makes the wick self adjusting for a time. Dont worry, olive oil is not volatile enough to catch fire without a wick or other porous surface. Obviously this wont work with a float

Also, we use canola oil instead of olive oil. Its cheaper and burns better, I think. We got the idea from a wonderful ROCOR Priest, so even though we know your

Well… when it comes to lighting lamps and candles and such for ones prayers, a passionless flame is considered ideal. Candles tend to have jumpy flames. Vigil lamps are very tranquil.

And you can just keep refilling lamps. Its cheaper, whereas candles need to be replaced completely.

Now, how do I use the darn thing without blowing up my house???

(hows that for and engineers response)

Seeing as you use short replaceable wicks you dont need to trim, you just replace the wick each time. We use wicks made of thick cotton thread which is doubled over a few times until it is thick enough to fit in the float without slipping. Every so often you have to trim the carbon head that forms as described by Oblio and pull a bit more wick up.

Good question, Ive never used the three arm floats. I make my own Old Believer floatsClick to expand…How do you do it?? My attempt to make Old Believer floats by twisting a paper clip were a miserable failure…

Otherwise, just stick the wick in the float, put it in the oil, and burn away. It wont burn down the house cause if it gets tipped over the oil will extinguish the fire. This is especially important with four cats.

Are you supposed to put water in the bottom of a votive-glass sized lamp? The guy at the store did that but Ive never heard of that before.

Im really grateful for this thread, because the only lamps we have at church are the ones with the cork floating thingie, and the longstringwick…now I have learned a lot here! Maybe because my nick is Suzannah, I got the job of cleaning these lamps, and trimming the wicks, and filling them with oil…I buy the extra virgin oil from Italy or Greece at the grocers. I have found that if you strain the oil into a cup a few times, the oil is reusable. We also use a bit of water in the bottom.

The way I make my wick holders is to find either non-insulated electrical eye terminals (that look like a flat washer attached to a crimp terminal (you can use insulated but remove the insulation with a knife before construction)) or copper ground crimps that look like little short flared pieces of copper tubing (you could make these with a flare tool and tubing cutter but if can find them as I did at Lowes it saves a lot of time). You also need some small gauge safety or craft wire that is reasonably mallable and twists nicely without unravelling. The only other thing you need is a pair of wire cutters and pliers (if you have safety wire pliers you are in hog heaven) and perhaps a vise but that is not essential.

When you get real good at this you hardly get your hands dirty

Actually we have two votive lamps, a small one in which we use short replaceable wicks and a large round bottomed one in which we use the multiple cotton thread wick.

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At the advice of an Orthodox bookstore attendant who used to maintain the lamps at a monastery, we finally gave up on the short wax wicks in cork floats, and went with fiberglass wicks held up in a contraption not unlike Oblios. I dont want to go back to wax mini-wicks and floats anymore.

We used a tip from a book we found on icon lamps, and bought a cotton mop-head. One just unties the twisted strands, and bingo, you have a cotton wick.

This, too, is probably a very stupid question, but how do you trim it?

*suzannah wanders away thinking that she has an appointment with the fire department for fire inspection of the church, and that she needs to find a place to hide these lamps! LOL

We brought home a flame from Pascha this year and are trying to keep it going in our house as long as possible. Its means constant wick-trimming, so Ill let you know if we figure out anything important.Click to expand…A lady at my church did this. She used a kerosene lantern. Well, she might not have been using kerosene, but you know what I mean.

At the advice of an Orthodox bookstore attendant who used to maintain the lamps at a monastery, we finally gave up on the short wax wicks in cork floats, and went with fiberglass wicks held up in a contraption not unlike Oblios. I dont want to go back to wax mini-wicks and floats anymore.

I read that using water in a small votive glass is okay, but using it in a big glass is dangerous.

I think I finally got the hang of this… I tried straight oil but after I saw your post I thought better of it and changed it. At first I had it either burning out suddenly (wick too short) or burning high (wick too long). I seem to have found a good length by trial-and-error since it hasnt burned out and isnt flaring.

I have had terrible arthritis in both hands for years. (They were both broken years ago.) I have found that doing this for the church, my hands immediately and always feel better….I can think of no reason other than that the oil is soaked with prayer…

I dont have a metal holder of any kind, I only have the glass itself for now.

We brought home a flame from Pascha this year and are trying to keep it going in our house as long as possible. Its means constant wick-trimming, so Ill let you know if we figure out anything important.

PS – I like the terminal model better because it is eaisier to trim and for some reason carbons up less.

Discussion inThe Ancient Way – Eastern Orthodoxstarted byMatronaMay 12, 2005.

This is a very informative thread. Thanks for everyone’s input.

Well… when it comes to lighting lamps and candles and such for ones prayers, a passionless flame is considered ideal. Candles tend to have jumpy flames. Vigil lamps are very tranquil.

The age of the Earth is 4.54 0.07 billion years

A little water at the bottom of the glass (just a couple drops) is great for preventing wax candles from getting stuck at the bottom, but Ive never used water in an oil lamp. I think the theory is that when the oil is burnt (burned?) up, the water will extinguish the candle. I suppose it cant hurt.

BTW, oil takes the gold guilding off the edges of prayer books

If you are using the copper crimp caps (or have made 1/4-1/2 pieces of tubing flared on one end) place the piece flare down over a drill bit held in a vise. Then cut a 10 or so piece of wire (this varies with the size of the votive and will be trimmed later so you can err on the large size), fold in half and place it around the crimp cap with equal parts of wire to either side. Now twist the wire with pliers tightly. Remove the assembly from the drill bit and using the pliers crimp the unflared end enough to keep the loop of wire from falling off and to provide enough friction to keep the wick in place. Trim ends wire as needed to fit votive after bending at a slight angle and thread wick. The flare end should be up.

If you are using electrical eye terminals, remove the insulation if you couldnt find non-insulated terminals. Clamp the eye in a vise and twist wire around terminal and trim as described above. I have found terminals that have a small groove in them that catches the wire but just make sure that the terminal will not slip off the wire after it is twisted tight. Thread the wick through the terminal eye and then up the core that usually holds electrical wire, the eye should be down. This provdes a friction lock on the wick.

Ummmm… wouldnt a candle be alot easier?

Another cool thing is that you can add a few drops of Holy Oil (mine was given to us from the vigil lamp from the reliquary of St. Nektarios in Greece by Iacobus) to your lamps

If you do not have water in the bottom there is a possibility that the lamp will run dry and overheat, the oil acts as a coolant. If the wickholder gets hot enough the soaked cork can ignite into a faily large flame as the entire cork is now a wick. Bad Joo-Joo. I am not sure how water in a large votive would be dangerous. I would put perhaps 1/8-1/4 of water on the bottom for safety.

We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

to use olive oil, we knew that a ROCOR Priest would not steer us into dangerous innovations

Otherwise, just stick the wick in the float, put it in the oil, and burn away. It wont burn down the house cause if it gets tipped over the oil will extinguish the fire.This is probably a very stupid question, but can the oil catch on fire?

I’ve read also that before one adds the oil, it should stand and ‘air’ a bit in an open bowl (With a net covering to keep out insects)

It doesnt. It is simply provides the means for the oil to defy gravity using surface tension

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A little water at the bottom of the glass (just a couple drops) is great for preventing wax candles from getting stuck at the bottom, but Ive never used water in an oil lamp. I think the theory is that when the oil is burnt (burned?) up, the water will extinguish the candle. I suppose it cant hurt.

/suzannah begins babbling and rambling…

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