I normally take all my capping and other collected wax and throw them into a very large pot and boil them with some water. Upon cooling I would scrape the bottom crap off the wax block and store. When needed I would fill the pot with water again, and melt the wax. I would then turn off the heat, and once the wax settled on top, I would skim off the wax and pour into wax molds (Not candle molds). So far that has been my wax ability.
In now attempting to make candles, I am doing the same steps except straining the wax through some cloth before filling the candle molds. The wax seems clean enough.But here is the problem. The candles seem to pop every other second. And I am not sure why. So I ask...
Could this be from any minimal(trace) water in the wax since I reboil it in water as the last step, even though I let it sit for awhile to let the wax settle on the top?
I am using 2/0 wick off a large spool. One of my books mentions "priming" the wick, but does not say how. What would that be, and if I'm using "dry" wicking from the bee mags, could this be a source of the popping. Air in the wick? Moisture collecting from the process in the wick? And if this is from the water, can this "dry" itself out by letting the candles sit for a certain amount of time before burning?
I am certain dirt or objects in the wax is not a source, as I do not see any dirt at the based of the lighted candle even with a magnifying glass. But is more filtering of the wax, in light of how I am processing it, needed or standard?
I can see little bubbles of either water or air at the base of the flame. I am not sure if this is the popping source. Could this be eliminated, or is this just normal. I do not have alot of time spent looking at candle flames until now. Is this something to do with "primimg" the wick I mentioned?
As a side note, the prepared wicks with the metal base work like crap. The flame is small and goes out eventually. The 2/0 wick I'm using seems to burn great for tapers and votives, I just need to stop the popping.
Thank you for any advice.
Popping of candles is a sign that impurties are incuded in the wax. This can be water or pollen or propolis or honey. It is difficult to remove propolis from wax but if you use a different method of melting the wax you probably avoid all problems. I do not think that priming of the wick is a problem. I assume that priming is the process of dipping the wick in hot wax and use it this way after it has cooled down. There is no need for such priming. If the wick has moisture in it the candle will not burn.
I never use water to process my wax.
I use solar heat in the summer and obtain clean wax suitable for candlemaking after it comes out of this melter. The secret of this melter is that impurities in the wax will settle on the bottom of the pan in which you put your cappings.Even with the cleanest cappings there is still a large amount of honey. This honey will settle below the wax and can be poured in a container once you let the pan cool down, like in the morning. Once there is a sufficient amount of molten wax in this pan, the wax will overflow through a nipple mounted in the pan. This gives me clean wax directly out the solar melter. What we do with this wax I will discuss later.
Now in case we have to melt wax when there is no or not enough sun. I use stainless steel 2 gallon pots used in the food industry. I have always two in use. On top of one of the pots I put a colander with about two or three layers of bounty paper. On top of this I put the wax to be melted and about 1 ft above this I mount an infrared light. The result is that the wax will melt very gently and drip through the paper(as soon as the wax is at melting temperature it will flow down and thus never overheat). I keep the pot below the colander warm by putting it on a small electric heater (my last wax processing was done in my kitchen using a glass stove top with the two small burners set at minimum). What impurities go through the paper will settle at the bottom of the pot as the heat is kept just above the melting point. Once the pot is full I stop adding wax and give the light some time to melt all the remaining wax. Then I remove the filtering material and put the colander with new sheets of "bounty" kitchen paper on the second pot. I then pour the wax of the first pot into the second pot with the fresh layer of papers. You can do this ten times and let the impurities in the wax settle for a while, you will still find impurities, be it propolis (which shows up as a heavy liquid substance), pollen grains or just dust particles floating in the air.
Anyhow after you have poured the wax in the second pot you will now have wax ready for candle making, two filterings should be enough. I keep using the infrared light even after removing the colander. This keeps the top of the wax in the pot nice and warm and a shade higher in temperature then the wax at the bottom of the pot. This avoids having to heat the wax too much in order to keep the
top warm at the right temperature.
When I process the wax blocks coming out of the solar melter I use the same two step method for remeltng the wax as the wax may have a dead bee in it or may have picked up some dirt in handling these blocks. Overheating of the wax is not good and when the wax in the pot is too hot, particles will be more in suspension instead of settling on the bottom.
About the wick: There are many kinds of wick. Wick is in generally chemically treated so that the wick when it burns, does not leave any ash residue. Also realize that most wick available in the bee catalogs is sized for parafine. It requires a larger wick to be used with bees wax. It is important that you test-burn one candle before marketing your candles.
Needless to say that you should be careful with processing hot wax as last week another wax factory has gone up in flames. Also avoid using the kitchen to do your wax works as there will always some minute spilling.
Without the infrared light I will not do candles. This infrared light serves five distint purposes. This and the above is the subject of a video I intend to make about candle making.
yep, I agree the popping is impurities in the wax. Just because you can't see them doesn't mean they are not there. Either smoke or popping means impurities. Honest.
You need another step if you are going to make candles. The second time you melt the wax, put a small strainer over a pyrex measuring device (as large as possible, say one that will take 4 cups of liquid), line it one layer thick with Bounty paper towels (only this brand seems to work well), and pour the wax on top. 95% of the wax will go through the paper towel/strainer, and you will be amazed at the dirt remaining!
If you wish, you can pour directly from the pyrex container into your candle mold.
Small stuff makes the difference!
The popping is from water in the wax. There is a small amount of water that gets trapped in the wax as the water vapor bubbles up, so don't use water when making candles. Any solids (impurities) in the wax won't pop, but they will plug up the wick if there is enough impurities.
I agree with Jan that a solar melter is the way to go making candles. In one pass thru a coffee filter, it's ready to pour as a candle with no impurities.
I use 2/0 square braid with hexagon jars. Priming the wick means to pour a little wax over the entire length of wick as your pouring... even the 1/4" sticking out. It really does help get the candle burning much better, it just doesn't look as professional.
Thanks everyone. Alot of good info.
Curry hit it on the head. It was the moisture.
I took the wax after the second boil, and let it dry a day. Then I placed it into several commercial style bread pans and baked it back to a slow melt. I then filtered it thru the same cloth as before. And no popping was the result. After letting the excess cool overnight in the pans, I released it as a block, and was amazed to find a few small drops of water on the bottom of the pans.
I have since allowed the wax to dry longer, and then melt it more slowly in the oven. It seems to bake off any extra moisture in the wax.I think this is the method for me as I do not have the time to mess with my wax melter in the summer. And there seems to be a limit on the amount it can handle, etc. And I love just boiling it into blocks and throwing them off to the side.
Beeswax, even when strained, can be full of impurities. They often do show up until the candle is half consumed. Pollen is especially bad. If present it will eventually foul the wick, especially in larger diameter candles.
Wax from my solar melter, although appearing clean enough would contain too much pollen and foul a wick. Any orangish tinges in the molten candle wax will indicate pollen is present. And it doesn't take very much over time to foul a wick.
I've found it necessary to filter all my wax through a paper filter. The best choice is a grease filter obtained from a kitchen supply. Four about $8 you can get 50 of these heavy duty filters. They will take out water, pollen, etc. Once you try them nothing else compares.