Introduction: Reflinting and Rewicking a Zippo Lighter.

Picture of Reflinting and Rewicking a Zippo Lighter.
I know it may seem simple to some people but not everyone is confident about how to properly reflint and rewick a Zippo, hell I've had people come in to my shop and ask how to put gas (butane rather than petrol) into one...

Anyway lets continue.

You can also learn a few basic Zippo tricks in my new instructable, Basic Zippo Tricks

Once you're finished with them you can learn more with the second round of tricks.
If you're too lazy to read here 's a video: 

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

You'll need:

- A pair of tweezers or very fine tipped pliers
- A stiff nylon or wire brush
- A small flathead screwdriver
- A simple poking device

- A zippos in need of a wick or flint
- A zippo wick, other brands can be too tight in the chimney or too loose
- Lighter fuel, as in petrol
- Flints, some swear by zippo ones, personally swan extra longs do me nicely, don't take them from disposable lighters, especially not Bics.

Step 2: Take Out the Inner Workings

Picture of Take Out the Inner Workings

Dead easy, open the top of your lighter, grasp the flameholder and pull the inner piece out.

If it's stiff just pull hard, once it's out that can be addressed.

Step 3: Taking the Flint Out and Replacing It.

Picture of Taking the Flint Out and Replacing It.

On the bottom of the inner lighter you should see a brass flathead screw, this is the bottom of the flint tube, unscrew the screw and take out the screw, there will be a spring attached to it.

Tap the bottom of the lighter inner on your desk or whatever and watch to see if any flint falls out, make sure there isn't any chunks of old flint in the tube.

If the lighter has been out of action for a long time then the flint may have expanded inside the tube, you can tell if this happens by putting a new flint in and screwing the screw on, if you screw it in and it wont screw in any further than a few turns and still wont spark then that's the likely problem.

To fix this you'll need a dremel or other similar hobby drill and a bit just a little smaller than the flint tube diameter, put the bit in to the tube, spin the drill up and slowly go up with small gentle movements, sparks will some spiralling out the bottom of the tube, be gentle and don't damage the flintwheel. Tap the lighter inner on the desk again to make sure all the bits are out and test the flint again.

If you're using the likes of swan extra length flints there's a little trick to getting the screw all the way in and the wheel turning easily, in quarter turn increments after the screw is about 2/3 of the way in turn the screw 1/4 turn and turn the wheel to spark three times, continue until the screw is all the way in, thought some of the length is compromised in this ( a tiny fraction) it means the wheel will spin well and the spark will be very powerful, and will last a good long time.

If you're rewicking aswell leave the flint out for now and leave the screw and spring to one side.

Step 4: Taking Out the Cotton and Cover.

Picture of Taking Out the Cotton and Cover.

First lift the little felt cover at the bottom, you may need a toothpick or needle to get it lifted up.

Set that to one side, start taking out the packing using tweezers, get it all out.

Pull the old wick down through the chimney.

Step 5: A Perfect Chance for Some Cleaning.

Picture of A Perfect Chance for Some Cleaning.

Now is the perfect time to give inside the chimney and casing a clean, an old toothbrush and a little lighter fluid do the job pretty well, avoid cotton buds etc. as the fibers get caught everywhere.

Drop a little lighter fluid on the brush and brush inside the chmney and out, inside the cap and base of the casing. take a small wire brush and brush the wheel, making sure to go all the way round it, this will help with striking.

Also have a quick go over the whole thing and consider any polishing of the casing or visible parts you want to do while the lighter's in bits.

Step 6: Putting the New Wick In.

Picture of Putting the New Wick In.

Take your new wick out and from the top of the lighter push it into the chimney, it will go in a wee bit but you'll need tweezers or fine pliers to pull it through...

Pull the wick right down to where you know it's at a good flame height...

Step 7: Replace the Packing.

Picture of Replace the Packing.

This is very easy but should be done properly to make your zippo run properly, if you just throw the stuff in then the fule wont get to the wick that well, the trick to it is actually illustrate on zippo wick packets.

You want to weave the wick side to side while packing over with the cotton, use a poking tool to jam the cotton in tight and don't forget about behind the flint tube.

Step 8: Replace the Felt

Picture of Replace the Felt

Ok finish packing down the cotton and place the felt backing piece back down, use the tool to poke it right down then let it pop up again, repat until it sits level with the case.

Step 9: Fuel 'er Up and Go...

Picture of Fuel 'er Up and Go...

So fill the fuel into the lighter through the little hole, make sure it's well filled...

Now dribble fuel on to the wick, just enough to saturate it, light the lighter and let it run for a few seconds, if the wick starts to black put it out.

This gets a little heat in and also speeds the drawing up action in the wick, shortening the 'sitting time' before you have your zippo back to use.

Step 10: Final Thoughts and Some Stuff About Zippo Lighters.

Picture of Final Thoughts and Some Stuff About Zippo Lighters.

Well I always liked zippos, they have alot going for them and are pretty timeless, aswell as being classy looking to people but still being an everyman's lighter.

You can legally bring a zippo lighter on a plane, not sure how they feel about it being on you, they didn't mind for me, this is something I really love for day trips over to the likes of england and scotland..

They are cheaper to run than buying disposable lighters, not to mention more reliable, a can of gas lasts me for a very long time, a disposable lighter lasts about two months, a bic is 99p a can of lighter fluid is 99p and you could get a year out of it...

They can be repaired for nothing by sending them back to zippo, I have a friend who does this every tiem it doesn't light in three strikes, I did it when I broke the lid mechanism...

There's an infinite repertoire of tricks for zippos out there.

They're tough and are pretty windproof...

They're zippos...

Thanks for reading this instructable, if anyone ever says why not use a disposable here's a canned argument you are free to use:

Well disposables tend to be pretty crappy, they wet themselves at the first thought of wind, they're actually a waste of money *allude to the gas vs. disposable argument*, they're also very bad for the environment, making plastic waste and wasting energy in manufacturing disposable items... Oh and zippos are damn cool


ChinaMike (author)2017-01-12

I found an old metal file card box with a bunch of old lighters in
it! Some look quite old as you can see from the photo. I am going to try
to fix a few of simple ones first, and hopefully I can work up to
fixing the MaruMan-Baroque, the Prince Gardner, and the Ronson Triumph.

whiteboyninja (author)2011-12-27

What's wrong with bic flints? hope nothing too major, I just put one in my zippo. The only problem I've found is its best to take the flint from a used bic. Otherwise, the flint's too long. But I probably dont know what im talking about... I just bought my first zippo a few days ago and haven't put fuel in it yet. I've only practiced tricks with it so far.

pekberg (author)2011-08-03

I would not recommend carrying your zippo while in transit through Germany. I landed in Frankfurt and they stripped my zippo of all organic material. I was not allowed to have a working lighter on a plane departing from Germany. Since I was unable to find a supplier of zippo wick, felt or flint, it was useless for three weeks... I will NEVER transit via Germany again!

MSCRCEI7 (author)2011-04-06

Thanks for the instructable, got my zippo fixed. +karma.

struckbyanarrow (author)2008-08-22

where can i get a zippo as a 12 year old?

Depends on the guy working there. Its not illegal, but some people don't want to sell them to kids. If they ask, say its a prop in the school play or something.

a prop in a junior high play? hahaha my excuse is " i don't smoke or anything i just want one for doin sweet tricks with it!" it dont work with women that work there but guys know what your talking about!

for me, it would be true.

find a store where your friend works and have him check out your items or buy one from

ethanbkr (author)crazypyro2009-07-07

just take a parent along and they will see that you obviously have parental consent(if ur an orphan just give em like 5 bucks to sell u one)

chi chi chippy (author)crazypyro2009-06-22

I think were I live it is illegal to sell a cig lighter to a minor but a minor can buy matches and candle lighters

you just have be friends with stoners. i got mine (technically not a zippo) from a friend that's a wicked pothead.

I dont know about california, but in Illinois I can get a zippo anywhere, i just cant buy lighter fluid.

jeffconnelly (author)Wolf Seril2008-08-26

how about in canada?

fire bat (author)jeffconnelly2009-09-14

you most certainly can, i just bought a fresh can o zippo fluid this morning

Wolf Seril (author)jeffconnelly2008-08-29

no idea, sorry. Your best bet is to walk into a store that sells them and just ask if you need to be a certain age. You cant be arrested for asking (at least I hope not...).

jeffconnelly (author)Wolf Seril2008-09-10


loppy96 (author)struckbyanarrow2009-07-28

ill send u one message me ur address

what state do you live in? because i live in california. i got a zippo as well as 3 of my friends in the san fransisco china town. all you need is a person over 18 with you.

ethanbkr (author)tubbychick3n2009-07-07

ya i just had my mom tag along and got mine at walgreens( ill post an ible on where and how to buy them)

sharlston (author)ethanbkr2009-07-26

please do post an ible!!!! :}

im in calif not sf though, yet i have no 18 year old friends that would let me get a zippo

walk up to someone that looks cool and offer to pay them if they buy you a zippo

hmm. i guess you can try to order one online, but other than that; i can't really help you.

i just went the the local poundshop or dollar store and got one and got my dad to get the fluid heres a pic:

bretend your buying it for ur dad for his birthday or somthing, also im 13 but i got 1 when i was 12 from the internet

get a friend to buy one for you

unominame (author)2010-06-29

what about those rogers flints, the ones that have a red coating. will those ones work theyre relitively cheap like 69 cents for six of them

They sound similar to a lot of softer flints but no harm in trying them out

skunkbait (author)2008-06-06

Good job on the ible. I've got a couple of old Zippos, (one gold plated engraved with my initials my wife gave me on our first anniversary), but my kids go through the fuel too fast. They are pyros.

A few uncommon things that I have fueled a zippo on: - Aftershave (Joop what about adam) Interesting flavour but it's a happy reminder for me, better times, silly I know... - Some crazy booze from the liquor cabinet (technically a cupboard above the fridge but pfftt) Just grabbed the highest proof item I could see, it's not absinthe, not whiskey and not vodka, it's like wiskey on crack with a combination of something almost spicy about it, makes a nice fuel flavouring... - Ethanol - Isopropyl alcohol - Ether - Something I found under the sink, most likely homemade glass cleaner... Yes despite being good about taking care of them I can be a bit silly in desperate times, I have a collection of disposables that I'm trying to make shrink... Let them play with white spirits or BBQ lighter, it's more of a challenge to get lit etc. however BBQ lighter fluid + paper tissues, shake until mushy, put a ball in and light, allow to become fire lake, throw in another bottle of BBQ lighter whole and capped, for a minute or two it becomes a fire fountain, that is two or three small streams of liquid fire majestically leak forth...

how did the ethanol and isoppropyl burn?

They like deisel and kerosene, but at least they steer clear of petrol after seeing a few of my more flammable misshaps. When they see me trying to rescue an old motorcycle they always get an extingusher, and put the fire department on speed-dial.

Mario1 (author)skunkbait2009-01-09

Diesel WON'T ignite with a match, or a lighter. The diesel ignites ONLY under compression! Greetings, Mario1.

struckbyanarrow (author)Mario12009-07-28

Unless mixed with ammonia..... (i did not say that)

skunkbait (author)Mario12009-01-09

Mario1, Although diesel is far more efficient under compression, I promise you, it'll light extremely well with a match. I've done it hundreds of times. The best way is to get it warm, or to spray it onto an existing fire. Even though you can toss a lit match into a bucket of deisel, and very often the match will go out, try tossing a match onto deisel soaked rags, paper, grass, etc. It's a very effective accelerant.

hippojoe (author)2008-06-21

Whats wrong with BIC flint.

killerjackalope (author)hippojoe2008-06-22

Its really soft so it flakes and wrecks the wick and makes a mess of the strike wheel

hippojoe (author)killerjackalope2008-06-23

Ohh Ok.

killerjackalope (author)hippojoe2008-06-24

As a quick fix for a day or two it's not good but better than nothing... I like swan extra long, they're hard but you can get a powerful strike like the softer flints because the extra length increases spring tension...

i just bought a zippo and got swan exra long flints came in a yellow pack of 9 are they the right ones?

Yeah, I used them for a long time, however since they went missing out of the shop I'm now using zippo flints because that's what I came across first...

hippojoe (author)killerjackalope2008-06-27

Where could I get one of those?

killerjackalope (author)hippojoe2008-06-28

Swan lighter flints, extra length, you get them in any shop really try a walmart or something...

hippojoe (author)killerjackalope2008-07-05

Well I just got back from scout camp so I bought some Lantern flints and they work great.

killerjackalope (author)hippojoe2008-07-05

Lantern flints are usually ok, they're resistant to expansion and are close enough on the hardness scale...

sharlston (author)2009-07-28

also when you put a new wick in spit on it and roll it with your fingers so its got a point on then it willl be easier to thread through

Meijer01 (author)2009-05-28

The only problem I ever had with putting petrol in my Zippo was that is takes a long time for the smell to fully disappear, and if you want to light something like a cigarette with it it tends to give the cigarette a petrol taste, whereas good Lighter Fluid does not!

MattandJora (author)2009-01-23

where do you send it to be repaired? my friend just got one and slammed it in his car door so it has a pretty good dent.

how do you slam a zippo in your car door?

About This Instructable




Bio: A Northern Ireland based maker with a propensity to cause trouble and freshly constructed family.
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