Priming Wick Made from Household Materials
An alternative to using a priming pan or a fibreglass wick wrap on your drinks can stove.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
You will need...
Needle-nose pliers with wire cutters (or Leatherman)
1 bolt, 5 or 6mm diameter (I used M6)
Thin, bendable wire like snare wire
A tent peg or bicycle spoke is handy too!
Step 2: Make the Outer Wire Coil
Wind the wire around the bolt to make a coil or spring.
Keep the wire exactly in the threads of the bolt.
You will need around 50-60 turns, nice and even and fairly tight.
You can used pliers, vice grips or two nuts to hold the end of the wire, to get you started.
When you have wound enough, snip off the excess, leaving about 3cm spare on each end.
Step 3: Stretch to Size
Unscrew the bolt from the coil.
Stretch out the coil to length - as evenly as possible.
The length should be half the circumference of your stove.
Step 4: Pack With Loft Insulation
Twist up small, tight wads of loft insulation, and screw them clockwise into the wire coil.
Use the tent peg (or similar poking tool) to compact the insulation.
Pack the wick firmly and evenly.
What do you mean it looks a mess?
Step 5: Neaten
Roll the wick with your flat hand, on something like an old towel.
It's like rolling a "snake" out of modelling clay!
Also roll it between your palms.
This will even out the wick filling, and smooth out all the stray fibres.
Compact the ends again with the tent peg.
There, much neater!
(The wick will get even neater after a couple of burns.)
Step 6: Finish the Ends
Bend the wire ends as shown, to keep the insulation in and to create hooks for the handle.
It is best if the ends are under the coil as shown, or they will glow red hot when the wick is alight.
is to tuck the ends down inside the wick, leaving loops to attach the handle.
Step 7: Add the Handle
The handle is a length of wire with small hooked ends to hold the wick.
The grip is a double loop made around a marker pen or similar, with 2 or 3 twists to secure it.
The wick has tension like a spring;
make the handle length to hold the wick just tight enough, so that it does not slide down the stove.
The grip is also useful for adjusting the position of a burning stove under a pot.
It does not get fully hot, so you should not burn your fingers!
Step 8: How to Use
Fill your stove with the required amount of alcohol fuel ...
Stretch the wick over the stove.
Soak the wick with alcohol fuel.
You know that the wick will boil and vaporize the stove fuel, then ignite the jets, before burning itself out.
I put 2-3ml onto the wick with a syringe; this seems to be the perfect amount.
You could always dip the wick into the fuel before stretching it over the stove.
It is still safer and less messy than using a priming pan.
The wick does not need to be all the way around the stove, or much thicker than this.
It holds plenty of fuel to get your average drinks can stove up and running!
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Here, the whole setup is shown with priming wick, pot stand - and UK penny!
The pot stand is made of 2 bicycle spokes, bent to hold the pot 30mm above the highest jets of the stove.
The pot stand clamp is a clamp from a bicycle mudguard (fender) support;
basically a bolt with a hole drilled through it.
I added 2 washers and a wing-nut. You could just drill a hole through a bolt and add a nut.
It is much firmer than the usual way of wrapping with wire.