Hello, i have seen many instructables on what you can do with zippos, but i have not seen a comp-lete guide where the author lists what you should and shouldn't do with a zippo lighter.

In this instructable I will tell you what you should and should not do with a zippo lighter.

please excuse the lack of pictures,but i will post them if i feel they are needed.

Step 1: The History of the Zippo Lighter

George G. Blaisdell invented the Zippo lighter in 1932, and got his idea after discovering a large and bulky Austrian made pocket lighter. Blaisdell was an oil engineer who saw a audience for a good looking lighter that would function even in windy conditions. He produced the first Zippo lighter in Bradford, Pennsylvania.he called it the ZIPPO because he liked the sound of the word "ZIPPER"

Zippos are classified as windproof lighters, and are are able to remain lighted in almost any wind situation. They were common in the United States armed forces, particularly in the second world war standard silver Zippo a military zippo lighter was standard gear for all men in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. During that period, all Zippo lighters produced went to the Allied war effort. In fact, during the conflict, since brass was needed for weapon systems, the interiors of zippos were primarily stainless steel. Following the war, Zippo reverted to the traditional brass design.

Additionally, Zippo lighters are known for the lifetime guaranty they carry: if a Zippo breaks down, no matter how old, the company will replace or repair the lighter for free.

Approx. 200,000 Zippo lighters were owned by U.S. military personnel in the Vietnam War. In one instance, a Zippo lighter transported in a shirt pocket blocked a bullet from going in a soldiers body.

these are the facts i have read from various websites. now while i did copy and paste,I ALSO READ THEM AS THOUROUGHLY(spelling?) as possible.I have confirmed their accuracy,but feel free to comment otherwise.

Step 2: Parts of the Zippo

look below in the pictures for the listed parts of a zippo lighter.

Step 3: What I Like/what I Don't

what i like about zippo lighters:
1.the reliability
2.they are refillable
3.they can use any type of lightr fluid,although zippo brand is recommened by zippo
4.they are rewickable
5.they are reflintable
6.cost effective(inexpensive)for most models
7.they last forever
7a.i have seen many models that were made in 1932,and they still work!!!!!!!

what i don't like:
1.the fact that zippo(this is more directed at the company) only suggest zippo brand fluid,while really any fluid can work just as much.this often confuses new buyers,and causes them to be picky about what type they buy

PLEASE note:there is only one thing i don't like,and now you can avoid that problem.

Step 4: Please Note:

i am neither bashing nor recomending any zippo related 'ible on this site.

i haven't viewed an 'ible yet that wasn't a good idea.

Step 5: Down to Buisness.....

i will list below some do's and some dont's.

1.ripping off flint from disposable lighters.......DO
but please note that you shoud have to cut it to zippo length flint pieces(i can usually get three pieces from one bic)

2.using alternative fuel........DON'T
let me explain.i mean only use lighter fluid,.and,in an emergency,axe.please look at my other instructable for further explanation

3.buying zippos from'T
they grossly overprice thier items.

4.buying zippos from
they grossly UNDER priced and sell genuine zippos.
(my zippo that is on order right now with 10 flints and 1 wick was the same price as just the zippo on the zippo site.) also shipping was 3 dollars less

Step 6: MORE Down to Buisness...

i have seen many people do this.....

1.replacing wick once section of wick is gone......DON'T
the wick in a zipo is about 4inches once you think you need a new wick,pull at it gently with some needle nose pliers.the wick should advance.pull it to about the height of the chimney(refer PARTS OF A ZIPPO .) and cut the wick where the fresh wick starts

2.replacing a flint because it a milimeter shorter than standard size......DON'T
just because the flint is a little shorter than a new flint DOES NOT mean you have to replace it.

3.replacing the rayon balls in the bottom with cotton balls.......DO
if you lose a rayon ball,is it definitly ok to replace them with cotton balls,just go a little slower when refilling

Step 7: Basics of Zippos

and now because i promised a complete guide to zippos,the basics.

&apos&apos&aposreflinting&apos&apos&apos gently pull on the chimney and the insert should come out pretty easily.there is a screw in the bottom of the insert.take it will shoot out of the tube it is placed in,so keep a tight hold on it.once the screw is out,you will notice that the screw is attached to the spring and a small brionze piec at the supposed to be that way the bronze piece is NOT the flint,dont pull on it.the flint will come out after the small piece,or if you were completely out of flint,nothing will come out.get a new piece of flint,and put it into the barrel either way,it does not matter.screw the screw back into the tube,and there you go.

&apos&apos&aposrefillling&apos&apos&apos to refill a zippo,you will have to remove the insert,pull back the felt pad on the bottom,and this is where you squeze the fluid into what is called RAYON BALLS there is five of them inside the insert,and they are slightly more absorbent than cotton balls.what i do it tip the can of fluid and let gravity do the rest,every second or so,i tip the can into the upright positon(not leaking) and let the rayon soak up the fluid then repeat until the rayon seems to not soak anymore fluid up.then wipe the insert with a paper towel,and imediatley WASH YOUR HANDS,so as not to catch yourself on is OK if the felt pad is damp,it just means you kinda sorta overfilled it,but dont worry about it.then put the insert back into the case,and attemp to light it.dont stop if it doesn't light on the first try,just keep trying to light it.soon enough,it will light every time.

&apos&apos&aposrewicking&apos&apos&apos go to step 8.please

Step 8: More Advanced

&apos&apos&aposrewicking:&apos&apos&aposto rewick a zippo,you will need to remove the insert,undo the screw in the bottom,remove the felt pad,and remove the rayon balls.then you pull on the wick and feed the new wick through the hole in the insert.make the new piece of wick about as high as the chimney.then continue to put the rayon balls back into the insert.try to "weave" the wick back and forth in between rayon balls.there should be five balls.



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    190 Discussions


    6 weeks ago

    I'm looking at a 12 oz bottle of Ronsonol lighter fluid and it clearly states that it's a registered trademark of Zippo Manufacturing Company on the back of the bottle. Ronson was a competitor of Zippo I thought ??


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I'd like someone to please answer me this, how do I stop the lighter fluid from evaporating in zippo and peanut style lighters? I am not a smoker but I do believe in being prepared so recently I purchased and filled a few peanut and zippo lighters to keep in my car/go & get home bags. But after less than two weeks time they have all gone empty with absolutely no use. However the bic that I found on the ground and threw in my bag 5 years ago still lights every time. So could someone please tell me the point of carrying a high maintenance unreliable item for something as important as starting a fire? Or if I'm doing something wrong please advise.

    8 replies

    Reply 3 months ago

    Don't put fluid in it until you need it. Pretty simple solution. You can even buy a small fluid canister from Zippo to keep with your lighters.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Simply no fluid until you want to use it, if it didn't evaporate it wouldn't be flammable. Also I have never had a problem with non Zippo flints, just non-Zippo fluid. R-Sonic in a yellow can is by far the worst I have ever tried. Methanol from home distillation works a treat but unfortunately evaporates way to quickly.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Keep the lighter empty and keep a small can of fluid to fill it when you need it. Then you always got fuel to start a fire quickly & easily! I've done this for years..


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    A Zippo is NOT a good choice for an emergency lighter, for exactly the reason you stated.
    Whoever said that it was,...lied.
    They are very reliable on a daily basis and will last for years.
    But they are not an emergency lighter.

    Get a BIC.

    Anony MousPepelepeuu

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Get about a half inch to 2 inches of road-bicycle inner-tube and slip it over the Zippo, so it covers where the lid meets the body. Makes it very water-resistant too.

    Javin007Anony Mous

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Interesting. How long does the fuel last if you do this? I have probably 10 different zippos laying around the house (was a smoker for 20 years, and everyone thought they were a great gift). I would find myself running out of fuel so often, I just quit carrying them all together. Plus, when they are overfilled and leak into your pocket, that mild burning sensation directly next to your neithers is never fun.


    Reply 4 years ago

    I believe Zippo's are intended to be used daily. They're reliable because of their mechanical simplicity and serviceable design. If you're looking for occasional use a disposable sealed butane lighter like you spoke of would be better.


    If u need fire, go with Bic. Zippo is just a fancy item. You can always manage with toyota, but people still buys ferarri, right?

    You didn't do anything wrong. Its supposed to be like that.


    2 years ago

    Hi. The way I fill my zippo is: I lift the cotton, I gently squeeze the bottle counting to 5 while moving it back and forth, then put the cotton back down. Here is suggestion, put 2 or 3 flints under the cotton. This way you won't run out kf flints if you are out and about. Wayne.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 months ago

    You can do that 3x before you put the felt back down every time you refill it.


    1 year ago

    Dont forget about how Zippos burn the hell outta you reight after refueling and sticking inside your pocket.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 months ago

    No they don't. Especially if you pay attention to what your doing and don't soak the entire lighter with excess fluid from overfilling it.


    3 months ago on Introduction

    Why would Zippo recommending their own fluid bother you? Every company does that. Honda recommends their own linen of oil, Chevy recommends theirs, vacuum makers recommend their own bags and filters, etc. It's so common it'd probably be easier to name a company that doesn't recommend that you use their products to service other things they sell.

    Does that, all bother you, also? It doesn't cause confusion or anything else when dealing with other products. Why would this be any different?


    3 years ago on Introduction

    I recently bought a pack of 4 rhino lighers (which are useless due to it's plastic parts in my opinion) but am wondering if I can use the fluid from the practically brand new rhino lighters to fill up my old zippo?

    1 reply

    Reply 4 months ago

    No, rhino lighters are butane lighters Zippo brand and style lighters do not use butane as it boils away almost instantly at room temperature and consequently has to be kept under pressure in an airtight container of some kind. Many people mistakenly refer to Zippo brand lighter fluid (which now a days included Ronsonal as its made by zippo) and other similar fuels as butane. In reality they are almost all naphtha. Most are mixed in a proprietary blend with some sort of scent to give it patentability and a distinctive smell. If you are looking for a cheap and efficient fluid to refill your zippo with Coleman naphtha is cheap and readily available in gallon size containers


    My father has a zippo lighter from Vietnam and the bullet went right through the lighter killing a north Vietnamese solder dead in his tracks!! I'm looking at the lighter right now as we speak! This one did not stop the bullet! The guy that had this one in his shirt pocket is planted in the ground dead! It's a pretty nasty hole right through the center of the lighter and my father assured me the man that was carrying this particular lighter is dead as a door nail! Lol

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    I wouldn't keep that lighter if I were you. It belonged to someone that your father killed. When someone is killed under false pretenses (ex. war), the emotions run ramped and the soul is so strongly linked with emotions. That is to say, it is probably quite cursed and will bring you and your bloodline into horrible downfalls. I'm not instructing, I'm warning. Parts of the murdered man's rage could quite possibly be withheld in the lighter. Don't be so proud of something that was a prize for murder. It may already be too late for your soul; eternal hell and suffering may already be bestowed upon you. When you laugh at death, death's sinister grin awaits to be opened to devour your soul.


    Reply 2 years ago

    hahahahahahaha that's the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, religion is a lie and you believe it. Hahahahahahahahahaha