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Make A Tallow Lamp

Category: Fire / Difficulty Level: 2
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A quick and easy lamp to make with tallow (rendered fat), cordage wick, and an mollusk shell. Burning tallow lamps is quite useful for extra light , however since it is burning fat it may give off an odor that may be unpleasant.

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Relevant Keywords: velvet leaf, cordage, light, lamp
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Make A Tallow Lamp

I used an oyster shell and velvet-leaf cordage for the wick. This lasts about and hour or so.

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How To: Tallow Lamp

1). Here's how you can make a simple lamp using tallow, rendered animal fat.

You will need tallow, a wick, and a holder. Here, I have a mussel shell from a local grocery store, and a piece of cordage from velvet-leaf fibers I have twisted for a wick.

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2). Snip the wick to the right size...View full-size image
3). about 2" should sit comforatably in this size shell.View full-size image
4). Next, add warm, melted tallow to the shell. Mussel shells tend to be a little shallow so just add a little bit. An eyedropper may be a good tool to add the tallow without making a mess. Be careful.View full-size image
5). Dip the wick into the melted tallow to saturate it for better burning.

Next bend the wick into a slight "U" or "C" shape so that the lighting end sticks up slightly from the oil.

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6). Now place the wick in the tallow in the shell holder. Allow the tallow to solidify, about 10-30mins.View full-size image
7). Here, we have the same materials to make another lamp, but using a much thicker shell of oyster; mussel shells tend to be shallow and thin. So be mindful of where you set your lamp if you do not want to burn down your environment or mar the surface your lamp is sitting on once lit.View full-size image
8). Add the tallow and wick. Allow the tallow to solidify, about 10-30mins.View full-size image
9). Here are both styles of lamps with the tallow solidified. Once the tallow is hard you can now shape your wick upwards so that it is easy to light.View full-size image
10). Let there be light!

With approximately 2" wicks, and about a tablespoon and a half of tallow, these lamps lasted for about and hour (actually, 45mins of usable light).

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