Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
To wick, or not to wick...
Display Avatars Sort By:
Cameron Reed
(cameronjreed) - F
To wick, or not to wick... on 01/06/2007 20:12:22 MST Print View

I have built many alcohol stoves. I have tried with and without fiberglass insulation as a wick. I usually make low pressure top burners or high pressure top burners.
Does anyone have any data or info that shows that adding wick is more effecient or adds to the stove (besides weight.)

Just curious.

Jason Klass
(jasonklass) - F

Locale: Parker, CO
Re: To wick, or not to wick... on 01/07/2007 09:12:37 MST Print View

Hi Cameron,
The wick doesn't really contribute to the efficiency of the stove--it just makes it prime faster. This could prevent wasting the main fuel supply so it that sense, it might make it more efficient but it doesn't help the stove burn better.

For example, I've had some stoves that took as long as 30 sec. without the wick and primed in as little a 3 sec. with the wick. Whatever weight is added is worth the faster prime to me.

Here's an example of a stove that primes almost instantly with the wick and takes forever without one:

Edited by jasonklass on 01/07/2007 09:16:07 MST.

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Re: Re: To wick, or not to wick... on 01/07/2007 10:51:34 MST Print View

That is my exact experience as well. I build a wick into all my double-wall stoves for this reason. I also think it improves the cold weather performance somewhat, but I don't use this stove style in cold weather anymore. The wick for sure made the stove less finicky to operate.

I do not use a wick for my pressurized side burner stoves, the design I basically settled into ages ago. I make them out of Red Bull cans. I can (in the kitchen) reliably get 2 cups of water to come to a rolling boil using an aluminum pot with rounded edges with .5 oz of fuel. I have never tried this stove with a wick, in fact, since it worked so well without one. It's not a "special" design but it is the one that finally made it into my kit.

I have started using tea lights with my Fosters Can stove. Isn't is strange on simpler often works better?

These stoves will work just find WITHOUT the wick as many people will tell you (quite forcefully if you get the right forum).

There is a cold spot on the roof of my house near the attic door... where I pull insulation out to make stoves. :)

Edited by jjpitts on 01/07/2007 10:52:31 MST.

Jason Klass
(jasonklass) - F

Locale: Parker, CO
Re: Re: Re: To wick, or not to wick... on 01/07/2007 11:26:45 MST Print View

Ahh, I think I misunderstood the original post. I was talking about adding round wick to the outside of the stove but now I see he's talking about adding housing insulation to the inside of the stove. Is this correct? Sorry for the confusion.

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Re: Re: Re: Re: To wick, or not to wick... on 01/07/2007 11:32:31 MST Print View

Having a wick on the outside of the can works REALLY well for priming a stove. If used properly it eliminates the need for a "priming disk" with many stoves, although the weight savings here is nonexistent... a tin foil disk (or a metal foil muffin tin) is might lighter than a length of wick wrapped around a stove. Still, it's totally convenient and super cool.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: To wick, or not to wick... on 02/26/2010 22:37:10 MST Print View

The advice to use a wick sounds good. I'll bump this thread and share a couple links.

Here's a page talking about how to set up the wick:

Here's where I bought my cord. Their shipping is very affordable if you're not in a rush.

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
fiberglass insulation in a stove on 02/27/2010 18:14:23 MST Print View

This is about stuffing insulation inside the stove.

Using fiberglass insulation inside a stove prevents a possibly dangerous flaming spill. The insulation retains the alcohol.

The insulation when used as a wick in a simple open container such as a tealight or the bottom of a soda can does result in a hotter flame (it uses more fuel too). This simple container/wick design has a useful flame instantaneously which gets bigger when the stove warms up.