A great way to stay warm during the colder months is to create an elegant solution to provide tangible heat. There are many ideas out there, but a few of the most enduring are candles and oil lamps.
In this post I will cover my candle fueled model. You can check out my newest design, the Radiant Heat Oil Lamp, here.
My first ceramic heater design was based on the Kandle Heeter. Although I didn’t think 30 dollars was an unreasonable amount for the a ready-made model, the shipping from California to Pennsylvania most certainly would be. So I threw a similar custom design together from parts and pieces laying about my abode.
You can see the simple construction. The ceramic radiator that sits above the heat source is made of two clay pots, with a metal core connecting them. An inner clay pot is important because it regulates the outer temperature, and acts as a soot collector. The metal core acts as the primary thermal mass, capturing most of the candle’s heat and distributing it throughout to radiator assembly. A clay ‘cap’ sits on top, protecting the user from the hot metal. This cap can also be removed and carried for mobile warmth.
More clay pots or metal can be used, but adding parts does not increase efficiency. Two pots and a small metal core will capture transmit the same amount of heat as a heavier, more massive radiator assembly.
Another great aspect of the ceramic candle lamp is the ability to personally decorate the radiator and base portions. You can see the clay tops are interchangeable. My lovely girlfriend painted the appealing winter scene below.
As far as the base is concerned, I just used a scrap of wood. You could use a more decorative cut, or I’ve even an inverted clay pot to serve as a heavy base. A low center of gravity is what I strive for.
For fuel I’ve been using the candles everybody has but nobody burns. When I get sick of the flowery fragrances of scented candles, I searched out a value pack of unscented votive candles, from Michael’s arts and crafts (be sure to use a 40% off coupon). These have served very well, and burn energetically and evenly. With a good flame from a good candle, the ceramic radiator is too hot to touch! But the cap is always a pleasant temperature.
I also am able to use leftover wax scraps with home-made cotton wicks to ensure every once of wax is converted into heat energy!