This idea started when I found this small oil lamp in our landlords storage shed. I have been working on bikes for a while now and I remembered that I had this old incandescent bullet light knocking around. This thing was pretty useless; it wasn't very bright and the batteries were not held in place very well, making the light cut in and out as you rode. I had been thinking about doing an LED conversion on it because I liked the style of the light so much, but the idea just seemed a little boring. Enter the bike lantern.
Note: I apologize for any confusion it may cause, but you will notice work being done on two different versions of this. The first was with the found pewter lamp and the second is with the brass one ordered from the internet. I have them mixed in the steps but the brass one is the final product that I have used for three months now.
*Actually I would still keep the commercial light as the candle-power of this project is pretty easy to quantify; It's one. Also check your local laws for bike regulations. We get pulled over pretty regularly here in Berkeley for light violations and I have yet to get a ticket, although I can't wait to see what happens when I do get pulled over!
Step 1: Materials
A mini Lantern either homemade or store bought. The closest thing I could find to the 5" pewter version I originally used for this project can be purchased here http://www.vermontlanterns.com/content/wedding-lantern-brass-mini-5 (this is the model you see used in the final version).
Something to house and affix your lantern to your bike. I used the steel housing from an old bullet light because it already had the mounting bracket for a bike and it looks cool. These can be found with a quick Google search however I think it might look equally cool if someone made their own housing out of a soup can or similar for that "Mad-Max" dystopian feel. If you do decide to order a bullet light pay close attention to the dimensions as these come in a number of sizes and it is crucial that the flame has some space to breathe. My light measures about 4"x 5". Also, it should go without saying that plastic lenses would be a bad idea.
Lamp oil. You can get super pure paraffin oil at most hardware stores or craft shops. While it may not be the brightest burning, it produces less smoke than a dirtier fuel like kerosene and is less likely to combust... I assume.
Drill and Dremel