I'm hooked on making my own lamps from scratch, and the only thing I can't seem to source in bulk (at a good cost) is the coils. The zinc coated extension springs look like the real thing, but they don't seem to conduct heat like they should.
What should I get?
I have used the zinc coated steel springs (bought at Lowes) and had good luck with them. I have also used stainless steel mesh cloth too with fine success. The steel mesh cloth is easier to use in cylinder style globes however. A nice thing about metal mesh as the “coil” is that it can act as a filter for debris like burnt aging wax or lint, etc. Instead of an unsightly chunk flowing up and down the debris will end up getting caught under the mesh at some point and keeps it from continuing to flow about.
The coils in the lamps are not there to conduct heat per se, they are there to serve as an anchor point for the wax and also are necessary to break the surface of falling wax to help it readily re-join with the wax mass at the bottom.
Hope this helps you!
Innnnteresting on the wire mesh, is that just the stuff you use in a screen door??
I have even used Stainless Ball Bearings
I suppose it could be but I think much of what is available for screen doors now days is that vinyl stuff or maybe the cheap metal screen door stuff that can rust. I have only used Stainless Steel mesh cloth to keep it from causing rust problems. There is probably zinc coated stuff out there too. I know brass mesh is manufactured too but I have never tried it. There are various mesh grades made too, from larger weave sizes to tiny weave sizes. There is definitely a variety available to experiment with.
I have also made custom spring style coils with stainless steel wire. Just tightly wrap the wire around a pencil or dowel until you have the length you need and join the ends into a circle. The coil does not have to be a perfectly consistent spring shape like a machine manufactured coil spring would be.
I have also made a coil spring that incorporated a central section of stainless mesh cloth. The bit if mesh in the center definitely filtered the wax for me as it flowed.