Candle Lantern From Camp Stove Fuel Bottle





Introduction: Candle Lantern From Camp Stove Fuel Bottle

About: If you read blogs, come vist mine: www.tristramshandy21st. where right now I am posting chapters of my humorous and philosophical nonfiction, "In Search of Tim Severin" among other things.

Why did I make it? -- I dropped the fuel bottle from my MSR stove and dented the threaded part. I worried about fuel safety after that, but hated to toss away the bottle; aluminum fuel bottles just invite imagination. The test performed this morning worked well.

Construction Method -- So I used a circle cutter on my electric drill to cut a large hole near the bottom (hold the bottle carefully!), and a spade drill to cut the smaller vent/light holes elsewhere, then drilled two holes at the top to insert a quickie copper wire handle. I painted the outside black to reject heat faster (though this makes it harder finding the lantern in the dark -- and you would be using this when the lights go out, so plan better than I did).

Test Results:

Heat sink behavior -- After a 25 minute heat-soak, the body and very top of the lantern was warm but could easily be wrapped around by both hands, making me think this is also good for a winter hand-warmer. The bottom was warm but cooler than the top; seems safe for placing on wooden surface.

Aerodynamic behavior -- I walked around swiftly with the lantern to test the aerodynamics, and I even swung the lantern around me very quickly in various attitudes. The candle does not go out when walking normally with the window facing forward -- offers a bit better flame-stability than when you walk around with just a candle in your hand. With the windows facing to the side or rearward of your walking vector, the flame is perfectly steady, even when I swung the lantern, making me think it would behave well in light winds (say, after a hurricane broke your windows). Of course, in vigorous motion when the lantern faces forward, you can easily put out the flame, but it stayed lit remarkably well through the first couple of swings even facing forward.

Lighting -- I went down into my darkened basement and enjoyed the aesthetic vent-hole effects on lighting as well as the practical lighting of the large window. By turning the lantern with the solid lantern-wall toward you, you can invesitage dark corners without much light spoiling your dark-adapted eyes.

Potential Improvements -- (1) I would plug the top with metal and drill a vent hole at top-forward, so that NO light would get in your eyes to spoil dark vision. (2) You could also choose a more creative vent-hole pattern, such as a dragon, by drilling many holes with a small drill bit, or using a Dremel tool. (3) Think out the handle better; this was a hasty solution. (4) I would polish out the paint over-spray inside with steel-wool and return the interior (or improve it) to a high sheen to reflect more light back out. (5) Finally, you can make the bottle more stable by screwing on a wider base (square to prevent rolling and spilling candle out).

Questions: How will the lantern work with a taller candle? A thicker candle? A simple medieval-style oil-lamp? How could we use other larger metal bottles for making variations of the lantern, or hyper-efficient portable wood-burning stoves?

Note -- In the photo, note that the bottle sits on a Pictish Chess board I inscribed during a reflective moment on my table. What is Pictish Chess? What are its pieces and rules? Is the game just another silly and negative medieval wargame or does it permit a more positive reflection on our life-roles as we play, not without a hint of agression or ambition which is, we must admit, part of the Human Game even in relatively nonwarlike, low-energy societies? These are all good questions for you to ask.



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    12 Discussions

    Rather than using a fuel bottle, if (For the European members at least, and I'm sure something similar could be found elsewhere) every now and then, Aldi and Lidls regularly have aluminium water bottles for around £2.99 which would be ideal for this project.

    Which? The lantern or Pictish Chess? ;-) I do have to get around to explaining Pictish Chess more, after I make the board and game pieces.

    i look forward to that game :) did you know chess is also a war game? deigned to keep the king busy

    Here is the simplest/best way to make a candle holder. Last year I spent a beautiful week at a campsite by the shores of Lake Windermere in England. One warm evening after drinking a fine canned beverage (made with hops and barley), I remembered a trick I saw years ago. So I flipped open my old No.12 Opinel knife and made an incision from top to bottom of the can whilst upright, and then two more slits top and bottom from half way round the can whilst on its side (Imagine the can hanging by its ring pull, which can be snipped in to a hook with a gerber/leatherman) with the entire front opened with two hinged shutters. The inside of cans are wonderfully reflective and increase the light output phenomenally as well as shielding the nightlights/candles from reasonably strong gusts of wind. The cans can also be layed down on their sides on the ground or table and they seem to be even more wind proof, also more than one candle can be placed inside this way. Anyway back to the campsite..Once a few "canlights"TM were made and washed the surrounding area with golden light, we saw a distant shadow shifting towards our haven. A stranger was approaching our camp. What was this beasts intentions? Were we to be the recipients of a murdering? No. He was a young teacher called Keith on his holidays with some work colleagues (who had gone to bed early). He asked for permission to enter our domain and offered us a whole case of aluminium amber nectar containers in return for sitting in the comforting glow. We accepted the gifts gratefully in the knowledge that they could add to the ranks of our "canlight"TM squadron who were dilligently guarding our dwelling. It seems that by creating a "canlight"TM, they draw more "canlights"TM towards themselves, like moths to a "canlight"TM. Of course we would have to remove the liquid from these vessels first... Incidentally I first saw this idea on eBay as some tube was trying to sell these.haha

    1 reply

    Well, who could argue with a candle lantern that attracts beer? Good work ;-)


    11 years ago

    Not having a clue as to what a MSR stove and associated fuel bottle where, I turned to google to enlighten me. Expensive enough to rule out purchasing one to duplicate your project. Anyway a good salvage, of an item you where concerned about using for it's intended use. s.

    1 reply

    Yes, this was a rather contingent instructable, contingent upon having a damaged fuel bottle. On the other hand, fuel bottles are not terribly expensive, and if traditional candle lanterns won't do you (and they can cost a little), buying a new fuel bottle to modify (and you can get smaller ones than the one shown) is simply a material-cost requirement.


    11 years ago

    Nice lantern, I'll have to try it. Now how about an instructable on Pictish Chess?

    1 reply

    Quick rules, but I'm not done with them: 5 pieces each side, left to right: hound, warrior, priestess, shaman, demon. Hound and demon move furthest, warrior moves almost furthest, shaman and priestess move once space at a time. Demon can move through other pieces. Shaman has a couple of surprise moves. Priestess can neither take nor be taken (and so she can interpose herself to shield other pieces). Middle square is sanctuary (you cannot take a piece there). Pieces are taken by moving to their square and then rolling a six-sided die. I invented some of these rules 20 years ago for, you guessed it, a Dungeons & Dragons games (our games got pretty sophisticated, and we often inveted and wrote our own manuals, societies, etc., and the games I ran often were like "fantasy ethnography." Any way, the Picts in my game were vaguely like the pseudo Picts in Robert E. Howard pulp fantasy novels (historical Picts are something else altogether!). I invented the game becauae some of my players got in a situation in which they had to play a Pictish chief in Pictish Chess, inorder to escape with their lives. It was a good game! I ought to find the rules, think about it some more, carve the pieces, and do an Instructable, yes, thanks for the idea. --WT

    I like this idea,i'll have to try it out. Those little candle lanterns you buy in the camp section aren't that great