How to Re-Wick Bristol Kerosene Lamps

How to Re-Wick Bristol Kerosene Lamps
Bristol kerosene lamps use special fabric mesh wicks to "wick" the liquid fuel and burn effectively in a partial vacuum and oxygen regulated glass mantle. Without the wick, the fuel would burn in an intense flame, with no filtering of the light. Wicks break down and eventually turn to ash after repeated use, necessitating the need to replace them. Bristol kerosene lamp wicks are replaced without any fancy tools or equipment.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Replacement wick
Step 1
Remove the glass mantle off the top of the Bristol Kerosene lamp by gently pulling upwards until the small metal clips yield and allow the mantle to slide easily off. Set the glass mantle in a safe place where it won't fall or break.
Step 2
Grab the old wick with your forefinger and thumb and pull down. Be prepared for the wick to turn to ash in your fingers as it will be brittle and dry. With your forefinger, clean the circular attachment point where the old wick was attached. Feel for the small metal circle surrounding the actual wick holder and push it upward and let it rest, off center, on the wick and fuel hose arm.
Step 3
Bring the new wick up into the wick attachment point where the old wick was just removed. Pull the new wick up and onto it much like you pull a sock onto your foot. Pull the new wick onto the attachment arm until 1/8 inch of the wick is over the arm.
Step 4
Push the holder circle down from its resting place above the new wick and gently slide it over the new wick and onto the 1/8-inch overlap on the attachment arm. Gently push the holding circle into position and feel for a slight click as it locks the new wick into place.
Step 5
Replace the glass mantle by slowly bringing it over the mantle holders and fixing the metal clips into position.

Tips & Warnings

Always check the old wick is truly out by turning off the fuel flow on the lantern's fuel-flow knob.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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