February 21, 2014

Further Adventures in Candleland

After a short delay to find a suitable vessel to serve as a melt pot in the double boiler, my adventures in candleland continued this week. As with any "scientific" experiment, it is best to limit the test variable to one. In this case, the wick size. As planned, I set out to test 4 progressively larger wick sizes in identically shaped and sized vessels. Alas, my tin can wax pot only held enough wax to pour 3 candles.

According to the wax manufacturer's instructions, the recommended pour temperature for vessels as small as mine is 130F. The manufacturer goes on to advise if frosting occurs (whatever that might be), lower the pour temperature in increments of 10F. If the candle tops have imperfections, raise the pour temperature in increments of 10F. But, you see, temperature is a test variable. Since this first test is for wick size performance, I poured all 3 candles at 130F. The first one poured and set-up perfectly. The next two poured well, but experienced slight concaving on top; a round crack roughly 3/4 inch from the edge of the glass ringed the central area that appeared to have settled lower than surrounding wax. After I find the proper wick size, I'll perform a second test with different pour temperatures.

After the candles set-up for 3 days (48 hrs is the recommended minimum time), I began the burn test. Each of the wicks burned cleanly and steadily, without smoke or soot. So, what exactly was I looking for? A quick visit to CandleScience.com revealed this:
In a properly wicked container candle:
  • The flame is approximately 1" tall, not flickering excessively
  • Wax melts across top of the container from edge to edge
  • The melt pool is 1/4 - 3/4" deep
  • Wax burns cleanly at the flame without smoke or soot
  • After candle has burned from top to bottom, wax is completely consumed leaving the sides clean.
So far all 3 wicks achieved goals 1, 3, and 4. However, none of the candles melted across the entire top of the container. Perhaps I need a bigger wick. But, as these containers are tapered, they might burn all the way to the edges the lower they burn. As such, the final goal remains to be seen after additional 4hr burning sessions.

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