Ah! Knowing you're a chemist, I can offer a few recommendations that
might help. In hobby candlemaking, you'll absolutely need to
experiment. It's rare that the ideal combination of elements will be
chosen at random, or even beginner's luck. The combination that works
for me (wax brand, composition, fragrance, additives, color, pouring
temperature, mold) may not produce identical results for you. In the
small quantities of the hobby candlemaker the variables affect each
candle more radically. Though it is likely a very difficult leap of
faith for a chemist, for a year or so, halve all of your experimental
values (changes) when in the discovery phase. Doing so will allow you
to pick up the nuances that are so important. Also, because candles
are an holistic "system" more than a precise combination of disparate
elements, you'll need to experiment with only one element each time.
It sounds very likely that some experimentation with wicking will
solve the present dilemma with the formulations you have concocted.
But beware any changes in those formulas. Even small alternations can
have quite an influence.
The best (admitedly subjective) advice online is offered by a
(nameless) About.com Guide to Candle and Soap Making, an article on
the Candle As A System. I've quoted an excerpt below, and highly
recommend the full article. Turn on your pop-up blocker. :)
"There is no candle fairy who can wave her wand and make your candles
come out good. There are no magic formulas. There is a virtually
unlimited number of ways in which candle materials may be combined,
and many will produce a good candle with a bit of experimentation."
"Working With The System: When dealing with candles never lose sight
of the fact that every ingredient affects every other ingredient.
Using more or less of a hardener will almost certainly necessitate a
wick change. Using more, less, or a different scent may also affect
burning and may require a change of wick. Increasing the amount of
scent, may require the use of Vybar to prevent oil mottling. Changing
suppliers of any ingredients will often require adjusting the wick
size or formula. Any change to the base formula should be tested.
Usually any adjustments needed for proper burning can be made by
adjusting wick size."
The Candle System
Troubleshooting: What To Do About Dripping Candles
Wax Melt Point
Wax Pouring Temperature: An Explanation
Pillar/Molded Candle Basics (A Checklist)
Candlemaking: All About Candle Wicks
Candlewic.com - Wick Information
Select the More Info link under "Spools of Wicking"
As somewhat of a perfectionist myself, I do understand your
frustration with candles that don't perform as you'd like them to. It
actually sounds as if you've gotten very close to perfection, already.
I can only pass along the wisdom from my initial teacher, an
80-something craftswoman, with a successful handcrafted candlemaking
business, that candlemaking is as much an art, as a science, a
difficult concept for us scientific types to swallow. Finding what
works specifically for your situation becomes the Grail.
I moved 20 miles last winter, have set up an identical candlemaking
arrangement, and still had to adjust formulas, wicks and pouring temps
for candles I'd made for years. It may have been simply a new batch of
the same old wax from the manufacturer, or an environmental
difference, elevation or humidity, perhaps, but whatever the cause, my
hand dipped and container candles had to be reformulated, and the wick
size dropped down a notch.
The Science of the Wick
"When you take a look at the candle's flame you will notice that the
flame is nearly invisible near the wick and a yellow luminous zone
surrounds it. It is near the wick that the wax vapors are breaking
down releasing hydrogen and as a result, long unsaturated carbon
chains are formed. These carbon chains are actually tiny particles of
soot. It is these tiny soot particles that burn and release the yellow
light of the candles' flames. If there is enough oxygen and not too
much wax vapor being created at the wick, the soot particles are
completely burned up in the flame and the candle releases only heat,
light, water and carbon dioxide."
The Science of the Candle Wick
Choosing the Right Wick
I hope you find this information helpful. Should you have any
questions about the information or links provided, please, feel free
to ask for clarification.
Google Search Terms:
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