The Wick and the Stove

There is a great deal to the wick. It seems such a simple device and yet it is ingenious and well engineered.

Wick Components

The wick is made of cotton or wool near the base and of carbon fibers (30%) and a special kind of fiberglass (60%) near the top. The idea is that the wool or cotton absorbs the fuel and transports it up the wick. Then, near the top, the fuel evaporates. What you are actually burning are the vapors. That is how the wick can work for so long and not burn up.

Cleaning the Wick

If the wick becomes too dirty, you should raise it up all the way and turn the stove or heater on high for about an hour to an hour and a half. The carbon or tar deposits will then get a chance to burn off. These hard deposits inhibit fuel flow and make the device not work as well. If the burning off isn't completely successful, you can take some pliers and gently squeeze the end of the wick to try and break off the black deposits. If that doesn't seem to work, as a last resort, you can use scissors, to cut the end of the wick off. If you do this too many times, the wick will be ruined, so please be careful to not cut off too much.

Keeping the Wick Clean

There are several things that make a wick build up tar and carbon much faster than necessary. The first rule is to wait at least twenty or thirty minutes, after you fill the tank, to light the wick. If you light the wick, right away, you are asking for trouble. Sometimes overexcited owners light the wick way too soon and it builds up tar. The wick needs twenty or thirty minutes to completely be ready for the capillary action.

Using bad fuel is also a way to make the wick get buildup. You can't mix fuels. Some people think that it isn't bad, to add other petroleum products. This is a sure sign to give you trouble. You should only use completely pure K-1.

Too much wind or an overly low wick can also cause buildup. The wick should be positioned in the proper place. It does matter where the wick is. If the wick is too close to the kerosene, it can cause leakage and buildup.