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How To Make A Gasera (Kerosene Lamp)

Updated on September 18, 2012

As I ponder on what to hub about, some thoughts got into me. A memory of my childhood living in the province where only few people have television and most houses in the neighborhood uses kerosene lamp, or what is known in the Philippines as gasera.

Back then we are using about 2 or 3 kerosene lamps, or gasera at home. One goes in the kitchen, on the little living room and one hangs on the room. We usually just leave the other one in the room lit all night as I can't sleep in a total darkness. Now as I travel back in those times, I feel like I could go back there, life is simple in the farm, with those crickets and frogs lulling me to sleep at night. It's just relaxing.

And with the lamp, it is such a help, and we could always make another one in case we need more as it is that easy on how to make the kerosene lamp.

What is a gasera?

I was searching for the meaning online but I can't find any information, or the information I want. So, what is a gasera?

A gasera is simply a kerosene lamp and gasera is the Philippine or Tagalog word for it. It can be seen used on provinces or rural areas where electricity isn't available or can't be afford. If you live in any Philippine province where there is not much electricity, you will need a kerosene lamp. Or let's say your household has an electricity, but there would always brownouts, sometimes for a long period of time and more than twice a day. So making a kerosene lamp or gasera may not be your cup of tea but you are going to need it. And eventhough you have flashlights and candles, having a gasera would still come in handy.

Things needed for making gasera

Making the gasera lamp is simple and easy and I'd say most or all of the items I used in making the lamp was all available at home. All I have to buy from the store is the kerosene and after that, the gasera is all ready to be use. So, how to make a gasera or kerosene lamp?

With an empty glass bottle, a cigarette foil, and a clean piece of cloth I would make a gasera and frankly I had fun with it. If you are planning on making one yourself, just use a piece of cloth made of cotton, and cut about 1 foot in length of the cloth, or enough that would reach the bottom of the bottle.

Alright, let's list all three items:

1. Cotton, about 1 foot in length (or depends on the size of bottle to be use.)

2. Cigarette foil, ( aluminum foil might just work as well.)

3. Empty glass bottle.

Empty bottle, piece of cloth and cigarette foil. (The one here at the photo was an aluminum foil since there's no palara or cigarette foil available around.)
Empty bottle, piece of cloth and cigarette foil. (The one here at the photo was an aluminum foil since there's no palara or cigarette foil available around.) | Source
Rolling the cloth, making it to be the wick.
Rolling the cloth, making it to be the wick. | Source

Making the gasera

First, make sure that the empty glass bottle was clean. This could be any glass bottle, an empty beer bottle, soy sauce,even those empty jam jars would do. They were smaller thou so if you used those jars, your cloth which is serving as the wick should be shorter, just right for the size of the jar. Wash the bottle you are going to use and either dry it out in the sun or wipe it dry if you are in a hurry to make the gasera.

1. Roll the cloth, just like the way I did on the photo.

2. Put kerosene on the empty bottle and damp the rolled end of the cloth into the kerosene.

3. Now wrap the rolled end tightly with the foil with about half an inch or 1 inch of the wick extending out of the foil. This is the part you are going to lit.

A finished gasera. With this, I would be ready for the night if I was still living in the Philippine province.
A finished gasera. With this, I would be ready for the night if I was still living in the Philippine province. | Source

4. Insert the wick on the bottle and adjust the wick if it doesn't fit well. Add more foil if it is loose or redo the wick and cut some part of it if it was too big. Lit the gasera to see how well it works. Make more adjustments if necessary.

If using the jam jars, use the cover with your gasera as without the cover, the opening would be too wide for your wick. With these jars, it would be more work for you since you have to make a hole through the cover for the wick to go through.

If a piece of tube is available, it can be used instead of the foil, just insert the rolled cloth (wick) into the tube hole and you're all set.

And just like with candles around, be extra careful with a lit gasera specially with pets or children around. You know what I mean, right?

Have you seen or made a gasera lamp?

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    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 5 years ago from USA

      @ Dragonflyfla : That's great! Have fun doing it ^.^' Have a great weekend!

      @ jpcmc: Yup. Writing this hub brought me back memories too. And you're right about those fumes, and the light amused me. I'm either watching the moths hovering around the gasera or watching my parents preparing ingredients for the desserts they are going to sell the following day :)

      @ Peter Geekie: Thanks for reading and commenting :) I didn't know about that way of cooking on billy can with sands ^.^' That's something interesting for me. But somehow it reminds of some program I had watched on tv about people cooking on the woodlands using bamboo trees where they stuffed the bamboo with rice and veges and cooked it.

    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 5 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Excellent - during my military training where we had to live off the land we made a similar lamp and also a desert stove using a billy can full of sand with about half pint of petrol poured in and lit - they all worked surprisingly well.

      Kind regards Peter

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      There was a time when we had lots of power interruptions. We used gasera when the lights when out. It’s a fire hazard so we discontinued using it. Plus the fumes can be dangerous. But this hub brings back memories. We used to huddle around the gasera and shared ghost stories. I miss those days – minus the toxic fumes. ? Thanks for the memory trip.

    • dragonflyfla profile image

      dragonflyfla 5 years ago from South Florida

      I could see doing this with a wine bottle! Thanks for the info.