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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki tiki torch alternative fuel ideas
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tiki torch alternative fuel ideas
captnkirk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 06, 2002
Posts: 322
From: Hockessin, Delaware
Posted: 2012-11-08 06:45 am   Permalink

I have a friend who makes large amounts of bio-diesel from waste oil at home. He started out making small batches in 2 liter soda bottles for his garden tractor, using a formula that is everywhere on the internet (search: 2 liter bio-diesel). You could use this to make torch fuel from vegetable oil too. You add oil, methanol and Lye (sodium hydroxide) to a soda bottle and shake it up, then allow it to separate a few days and then pour off the fuel from a thick sludge in the bottle bottom composed mostly of glycerine that is a byproduct of turning waste oil into fuel.

P.S. It does smell like fries only because fries smell like burning vegetable oil. Which is much better than that stuck behind a bus smell perfuming your tiki bar.


 
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carlsharp
Member

Joined: Nov 12, 2012
Posts: 9
Posted: 2012-11-12 4:42 pm   Permalink

Hello! My name is Carl and I joined this forum just to post this pic. Frankly you may be the only people on the planet that care

On the left, store bought tiki fuel, about $10/gal
In the middle, paint thinner, about $8/gal
On the right, diesel fuel, about $4/gal or free from work




All the wicks were trimmed and set to a measured length. Notice the smoke is virtually identical. Yes, the diesel had a smaller flame. No noticeably different odor. One could add citronella oil, about $2/oz.

Anybody want to compare the MPG (minutes per gal) for each?

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CS
Chino Hills, CA

[ This Message was edited by: carlsharp 2012-11-12 18:15 ]


 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7363
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2012-11-12 5:35 pm   Permalink

Welcome Carl, I noticed you didn't try gasoline
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carlsharp
Member

Joined: Nov 12, 2012
Posts: 9
Posted: 2012-11-12 6:14 pm   Permalink

Gasoline is way to volatile for the application. How fun would that be when the torch is almost empty. The wick becomes a fuse.
Before engines gasoline was a waste product that had to be discarded, and this was in a world lit by wick lamps. I considered Coleman Camp Fuel but at $13/gal it was out of the running.

[ This Message was edited by: carlsharp 2012-11-12 18:18 ]


 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 999
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2012-11-13 06:42 am   Permalink


First, BRAVO and THANKS to you, Carl, for conducting tests and sharing here!

Second, I can share that I also looked around at fuel alternatives last summer and then tried using kerosene because Tiki Torch brand fuel is relatively expensive and kerosene is inexpensive and readily available all over the place here in Florida. It worked very well, I don't think the flame was any different than with other fuels. I need to do a side-by-side test with kerosene, Tiki fuel, and now diesel too.

I do A LOT of fire pit nights here with cocktails, and I like to use flames from torches for subtle area lighting. After I successfully tested the kerosene in tiki torches I ended up finding "railroad-style" kerosene lanterns at Wally World in the camping section of the store for less than $5 each (choice of blue or red, heh...) and bought three. They have a nice wind-shielding glass which is removable and washable, and they generate quite a bit of light. Not tropical or tiki at all, but definitely practical, and you COULD remove the glass and metal upper structure for a minimalist-sort-of open flame. And replacement wicks are *cheap* and readily available at Wally World.

I found that kerosene is very inexpensive and safe, and I found that it is also an excellent fire starter for my fire pit with low volatility. I use plastic pint bottles (with the pointy "squirt spouts" from local beauty supply stores) to re-fuel my torches and lanterns, and also to gently light my fire pit. Kerosene does not light quickly -- no "whoosh" and burned hair if you know what I mean -- it's my gentle fire-starting friend.

There's nothing like the light from flickering flames, wide-open night skies, good friends, and cocktails.


 
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carlsharp
Member

Joined: Nov 12, 2012
Posts: 9
Posted: 2012-11-13 10:55 am   Permalink

I thought of Kerosene but did not have any on hand. Also, here on the left coast it's about $11/gal at the hardware store, with no easily found bulk source.
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Chino Hills, CA


 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 999
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2012-11-13 11:26 am   Permalink

Yikes, $11/gallon for kerosene? Out here it's about the same price as a gallon of gas. People use it for utility heating in workshops, garages, barns, etc. when it gets super cold. About 1 in 10 gas stations has a gas pump set off to the side that's used for nothing but bulk kerosene purchases.

 
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jimsflies
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 02, 2010
Posts: 235
From: Michigan
Posted: 2013-08-21 09:55 am   Permalink

I'm considering trying kerosene or diesel. But I'm wondering how much citronella should be added per gallon?



 
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Limbo Lizard
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 24, 2006
Posts: 694
From: Aboard the 'Leaky Tiki', Dallas
Posted: 2013-08-21 5:54 pm   Permalink

I wouldn't worry about citronella - that is only to repel mosquitoes, which it doesn't do especially well, except when dead calm. Use another more effective way to deal with skeeters, if necessary. I'd just go with plain kerosene or low-sulfur diesel. Oh, and do NOT use Coleman fuel for tiki lamps. Not only is it expensive, it's white gasoline, so... BOOM!
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TikiHardBop
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 21, 2009
Posts: 422
From: Rockledge, FL
Posted: 2013-08-21 7:30 pm   Permalink

The best way to deal with mosquitoes is with a large area fan. Doesn't have to be fast, just enough to cover a large area. Mosquitoes are not strong flyers.
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