Posts tagged ‘zippo’

Replacing a Zippo Wick

There are basic instructions that comes with a new Zippo and are availble online as to how to replace a Zippo wick. The instructions are clear, but it’s much easier to see how it’s done when someone else is showing you how to do it.

With that in mind, I came across a great video on YouTube showing you just that. Hope you find this helpful!

What Is a Zippo Pipe Lighter?

I’ve discussed Zippos a number of times in this blog, but forgot to actually show you a Zippo Pipe Lighter.

A Zippo Pipe Lighter is just a standard Zippo case with a special insert. There are cases specifically with a pipe theme, but the insert can be moved between any standard Zippo case, so you can always have your favorite lighter turned into a pipe lighter.

Click on any image to see a larger version…

080927 Zippo 1This is my lighter. It may not look like much, but I bought the original in 1983. That dirty, grimy insert is the actual pipe lighter insert. It’s just grubby because I use it.  You can see that the sides are different than a normal Zippo insert. There are two large holes in the sides, so you can lay the Zippo on your pipe rim, and draw. Since the hole is on both sides, you can use it left-handed, of course.

080927 Zippo 2The top of the chimney is also different. There’s a cap on it, with a small hole. The cap constrains the flame so it burns better horizontally than vertically. You can still use it as a cigarette lighter, but it won’t flame up as much vertically. That cap is not welded on, so it is possible to accidentally pop it off. If you do, all you have to do is bend the tabs back out so the cap will stay in place, or if you lose the cap, you can always send it back to Zippo for repair.

080927 Zippo 3Okay, I just thought this was a cool angle to shoot the Zippo from, as I was playing with the macro settings of my camera (which I did eventually figure out). The picture doesn’t really show you anything you haven’t seen, but I hate to waste a pic. 🙂

080927 Zippo 4Finally, this is the pipe lighter turned the way it’s normally used. As you draw from the bottom, it pulls the flame down into your bowl.

Since I’m retarded at filling butane lighters, I stick with wick based pipe lighters, but there’s not that many out there.  I have been playing with some Nimrod lighters, but I’ll describe that in detail at a later time. I’m also bidding on a couple of Beattie Jet pipe lighters. Both of these lighters are no longer manufactured or available, but you can generally find them on eBay. I also have a Pygmy Pipe Lighter, from the UK, but I couldn’t tell you a damned thing about it.

I once read on a forum, that if you have a standard Zippo insert, and would prefer a pipe insert, you can send it to Zippo with a note, and they’ll exchange them for you. I can’t verify this, nor can I find mention of this on the Zippo site, but you can always email them. I’ve also picked up a pipe insert on eBay, but the inserts aren’t sold by any brick-and-mortar store I know of. If you’re wondering, eBay was where I found my insert.

Know a non-butane pipe-specific lighter other than the Zippo? Let me know!

Best Zippo Accessory Ever

Zippo Fuel Cannister

The worst thing about a Zippo is that it runs out of fuel eventually or the flint self-destructs, and you’re no where near your lighter supplies. You could carry them in your car glove compartment, but that’s not terribly safe, and there’s times where you’re nowhere near your car. You could carry a spare butane disposable or box of matches, but that just adds to the amount of crap in your pocket.

I had seen fuel canister years ago, but didn’t think I would ever need it. When I smoked cigarettes, I could always borrow someone else’s lighter. But smoking a pipe is different. Using a standard butane lighter will probably singe your bowl, and still make it difficult to light it.

I bought one of these a few years ago, and it’s been one of the best lighter accessories I’ve ever bought. It comes with the fuel canister, of course, which holds enough fluid to fill up your Zippo without overfilling it. A special sleeve can hold up to two spare flints. And there’s a gizmo to tighten or loosen the screw holding your flints in. Finally, it clips to your keychain. It’s pretty bulky, but it’s worth the space.

If you’re frustrated with running out of fuel or flints at all the wrong times, this is definitely worth the money.

Here’s a couple of tips that they don’t tell you. First, when you open the canister, there’s a small hole above the spout. Make sure this is at the top when you’re pouring it into your lighter. This allows the fuel to flow freely out of the container, otherwise you’ll have to shake out the fluid a few drops at a time. Second, I’d suggest just sticking a single flint in the holder. It makes it easier to get out than the two flints that are possible to stick in the thing.

Here’s the link. And here’s the official description…

Fuel Canister – 121503
Item#: 121503

Zippo Aluminum Fuel Canister


Take along an extra refill of Zippo premium lighter fluid. Reusable personal-sized aluminum canister holds enough fuel to fill one Zippo lighter. Includes swivel snap fastener, split ring for keys, disk to tighten and loosen flint screw, and rubber storage sleeve for two extra Zippo flints.”

Oops, I Overfilled My Zippo!

I get this query from time to time, so I thought I’d take a minute to address it.

If you’ve ever owned, own, or will own a Zippo, at some point, you will probably overfill it (or have already). You can tell you’ve overfilled it when a small puddle of lighter fluid will remain on top of the rayon batt (bet you didn’t know that cotton ball stuff under the felt flap was called that.) You’ve really overfilled it when there’s lighter fluid leaking out of the top. Mind you that I’m talking about this when your lighter is still upside down.

Okay, first you need some zinc tubing, a power drill and…wait, wait, I’m just kidding. You’re going to need two things. A washcloth and a faucet. Turn your lighter insert right side up, with the felt pulled out of the way and try to drain some of the excess out. If nothing comes out, that’s not unusual. If lighter fluid does pour out, you’ve really overfilled it. At that point, I’d suggest leaving the lighter insert out somewhere for the fuel to evaporate for a couple of days.

Presuming lighter fluid doesn’t come pouring out of the bottom of your Zippo, the rest is pretty easy. Put the insert back into the lighter. Run some water, close the lid to your Zippo, and put the closed lighter cap-side up under the water for just a few seconds, maybe 10. While doing this, make sure to get your hands damp. I’ll explain that later.

Now we want to evaporate the excess fuel. Hold the lighter right side up over the sink and strike it like normal. If something really awful happens, you can always just drop it into the sink. Again, I’ll explain that later, and it explains why you want your hands damp. Damp, not dripping wet.

That Zippo will burn like a torch. The flame will jump into the cap. Let it burn for a half minute or so, and close the lid. You’ll want to do this several times, until the flame level drops to about what you want it to be. You close the lid because, as I said, flame will jump into the cap, making it really hot. If it does get too hot to handle, let it cool a little before continuing.

Once you’ve got the flame down where you want it, and the inside of the cap isn’t catching on fire, close the lighter, rinse off your hands, wipe your hands, and wipe the lighter, and lay the Zippo on it for a while. Now go wash your hands properly.

The longer you leave the Zippo on the washcloth, the better. If you can leave it there overnight, that’s the best. I always use this method to fill my Zippo anyway, so I can throw it in a pocket the next day. I’d still suggest throwing it in a coat pocket or somewhere other than your pants pocket for a day. If you’ve ever had a naptha burn, you’ll know how painful it is, and how much you want to avoid it.

Remember when I said to keep your hands damp before lighting your Zippo to evaporate the excess fluid? The damp water will protect your hands. Let’s say you really, really, really overfilled it, as I have before. There will be fluid around the top of the chimney, and it may get on your fingers. When you light the Zippo, the flames could jump to your fingertips, and you end up, literally, with your fingertips on fire. Don’t panic (hah!). Close the lighter, and rinse your hands under the running water. Again, the fact that hands are damp will have protected them.

Now, since it’s damn near impossible to not panic with your fingertips on fire, even though it doesn’t hurt, make sure that in your panic, you drop the lighter into the sink before screaming like a little girl and running around in circles. Well, okay, I screamed like a little girl, but I did manage to close my Zippo before doing it, and didn’t run too far.

Bottom line: The lighter fluid will evaporate, even if you do nothing, if you leave the insert out a few days. You can accelerate the process by burning off the excess fluid, but take care to not hurt yourself.

And on hindsight, it was kinda cool seeing my fingertips on fire.

Zippo Lighter Repair

I’m always surprised when someone doesn’t know this, so I’ll point it out, and try to clarify some issues.

Your Zippo has a lifetime guarantee. Lifetime. At no charge! I’ve had my lighter around 30 years or so, and they still repaired it. Assuming your grandfather handed down a Zippo to you, and it stopped working, you could send it in, and they’d repair it.

090217 Zippo 2

Lighter insert

Here’s the part that a lot of people find confusing. Your case will NOT be replaced. You’ll still get back the same 30-year-old lighter that you sent in. Only the insert inside, the part with the flint wheel, chimney, and lighter fluid reservoir will be replaced. So if you have that beloved Vietnam Zippo and you send it in, the only part of the lighter that will be replaced is the “guts” of the lighter. Your original case will be returned. If you’re romantically attached to the insert, they’ll return the old insert as well as replace it with a new one.

090217 Zippo 4

Interior hinge assembly

Now, say your hinge breaks or is coming loose. Send the lighter in, and Zippo will repair the hinge and send the lighter back to you.

If you have an attached logo, say a 3D Harley-Davidson emblem on the case and it comes off, Zippo will re-attach it for you.

The one thing they will not fix is scratches. Painted Zippo’s almost always develop scratches, presuming they’re being used. So that cool looking black matte finish lighter will eventually look scraped and scuffed up.

So you’ve tried waving your Zippo around to clear vaporlock, and you’ve trimmed and replaced the wicks over and over, and none of that is keeping you from having to strike the lighter more than once, it’s time to send it in.

090217 Zippo 3

Top of pipe insert

Also, if you’ve switched from cigarette or cigar smoking, to pipe smoking exclusively, you can send in your Zippo and request a pipe lighter insert.

It’s good to send the whole lighter in to Zippo, as they can snug up the case onto the insert. I had sent my inserts back in a couple of times without it helping, and finally sent the whole lighter in for repair, and the insert fits snug now, and I haven’t had any additional problems.

The best way to send your Zippo in for repairs is to allow all the fluid to evaporate (I gave mine 3 days). Put it inside a padded envelope, and send it in the mail. Unless you have proof of cost, not worth, it’s not worth putting insurance on, but you can use Delivery Confirmation to track when it got there. If it’s a really valuable lighter, send it Registered Mail. Registered Mail is how diamonds and gold are mailed through the postal service. Each Registered package is transported under lock and key from the minute it enters the Post Office, to the moment it’s delivered.

If you enclose an email address, Zippo will also email you to tell you that the lighter has arrived. The whole process from start to finish takes around 10 days, depending on how you sent it. Registered Mail moves a little slower because of the hightened security involved. International repairs will take longer (and yes, overseas Zippo’s can be repaired).

Your Zippo is guaranteed for life, and it’s one of the best guarantees on anything. Don’t let a beloved Zippo lay around abandoned because it’s broken. Send that puppy in.

You’ll find complete repair information here (and follow the dang instructions): Windproof lighter FAQs

090217 Zippo 1

Bottom markings

On a non-repair related subject, check the bottom of your Zippo. You may see a series of slashes, dashes or similar marking. These may indicate the year the lighter was manufactured, or provide additonal information about the Zipp. Here’s the Collector’s Guide. It’s in PDF format.

Here’s an old Zippo ad. Did you know they had a theme song?

Here’s one for the kids. Encouraging smoking. I’m going to hell for posting this one.

And an example of the kind of tricks you can do with a Zippo. Unless you’re me, as I’d probably set myself on fire.