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Candle making in the PAW.

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by WestPointMAG, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. WestPointMAG

    WestPointMAG Monkey++

    This is not something that we have talked a lot about but I think we should spend some time on it.
    How to make them
    How to make wicks
    Holders and lamps
    I have been searching the web for information and am sad to say that there is not a lot of information out there that would be useful in the PAW.
    For instance according to the web the wicks have to be treated so that they will not burn as fast but I have as of yet to find out how that is done. The diameter of the candle determines the diameter of the wick that should be used but have not found a chart or other information about it. The price of molds is outrageous and the price of taper molds are the worst. If I could find some patterns I could make them or have them made for less then I could buy them. How is soy wax made? There are ways to treat the wicks that will give a colored or brighter flame but can not find any info on that. How do you make tallow?
    If a prepper can make there own candles I think that would help them survive in the PAW. In the PAW ready made supplies may not be readily available so we should know how to make our own.

  2. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    Good thread!

    I used to make lots of candles - beeswax and paraffin. I've never made tallow candles but the principles are the same.

    Beeswax is either melted and poured into a form or simply rolled around the wick from a small think sheet of wax.

    As a general rule, the bigger the candle, the bigger the wick. I used cotton wicks which perform okay.

    Any container can be used as a form. I've used everything from soup cans to commercially purchased forms. I've also poured into wide mouth glass jars but these were more for scented types, less practical for lighting.

    For pillar candles:
    First, dip the wick into melted wax, forming a thin layer of wax on the wick. Take a small amount of solid wax, roll it in your palms to warm it and make a small plug to attach the wick to the bottom of the form. then, hold the wick taut and wrap it around a small stick layed across the top of the form. This keeps the wick straight.

    Slowly pour the melted wax into the form being careful not to get too many air bubbles. Pour a small amount, cool slightly, pour more, cool slightly, etc. building up the height of the candle.

    Cool completely and remove from the form. You can dip the form in hot water to loosen it from the sides of the form.

    Taper Candles
    For tapers, simply dip the wicks, cool, dip again, cool, dip again, cool, slowly building up the layers of wax on the wick. They should be hung to cool between dipping. For the best results, take your time to completely cool between dipping.

    If you find a candle isn't burning properly, melt it down and start again with a new wick.

    While I have never made tallow candles, I do know that only the purest tallow should be used for the best results.

    These are the most simple instructions because the process is not difficult. The object is not an art candle but a practical product for light. I have never used soy which is produced from hydrogenated soybean oil as it was not available when I was making candles. Soy wax didn't hit the market until the mid 1990's. I believe it is used exactly like beeswax but it is cheaper and burns better. I think it would be easier to find natural beeswax than would be to make soy wax without retail sources. Since I've never made soy wax, I can't be certain of that. It would seem that in a primitive situation, it would be easier to make tallow or find beeswax in nature.
  3. WestPointMAG

    WestPointMAG Monkey++

    Did you use ready made wicks or did you make your own? I have saving all of the pure cotton string and cord that I find some of it burns slow and then the flam goes out and it smolders others go up in a ball of flame as soon as I light it. All of the web site that talked about wicks said that they had to fire proofed but none of them told how to do it.
  4. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    I usually used commercial wicks but I have tried simple cotton cord with varying results. I had the best results when I braided very thin cotton cord, dipped it in hot wax and then cooled it. I let it sit for a couple days before using it. It was a lot of trial and error to get the best results.

    Here is a little information about wicks.
    Candle wicking is braided cotton, with or without a metal core. Cord or twine or string is bonded, made from plies of fiber twisted around each other. Bonds unravel as they burn, while a braid maintains its shape in fire. Of all fibers, cotton best absorbs molten wax. Wick treatments– ”soak eight hours in a solution of table salt and boric acid”, for instance – are popular, but unnecessary.
    As a candle burns – wax melts, is sucked up the wick, vaporizes and burns. Wick is locus and channel of flame. It does not burn, except incidentally as the candle consumes itself and the exposed wick exceeds the height to which capillary action can raise the molten wax. This self-trimming sometimes misses and the excess wick must be clipped by hand for the candle to burn well.

    The hole burned down a candle is wide or narrow as the wick is thick or thin. Too small a wick burns too small a hole, loses itself inside the candle, and suffocates or drowns. Too large a wick smolders, can’t absorb wax fast enough, makes a smoky, sputtery cotton fire. Experiment teaches the correct size. Manufacturer’s instructions – ”for a 2 inch diameter candle” – help; but the sort of wax, the additives and the shape of the candle vary the burning. Whether the candles should burn down flat or leave an exterior shell is a matter of taste. Wicking with a metal wire core has a rigidity useful for some purposes. The metal may clump at wick top and need to be removed by hand.

    Always dip wicks in wax before pouring your candle. The first lighting is easier; your wick won’t burn to a stump and need surgical rescue. Wax-stiffened wicks also are easier to work with. A 10 second step.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  5. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    For wicks you can crush stinging nettle stock and take the inner fibers and braid it. Fat candles can be made be making a depression in a rock or a small clay pot. Pour the hot fat in it and put the wick in it before it cools. Want more light make a bigger wick, want it to last longer make a smaller wick.

  6. WestPointMAG

    WestPointMAG Monkey++

    I found some taper molds today. The are molds as such but are meant to be decorative and not to be as actual molds. First the tubs are spot welded along the seam and not soldered. They do not have holes in the bottom for the wicks. The tubes are spot welded to the bottom. The tubes do not extend through the bottom. When they are filled with water the leak. The good thing is that they were only $15.00 for the set and the cheapest that I have found taper molds was $60.00 for a 6 taper mold. Since I have a metal shop at home I can use them as a pattern and by drilling the bottoms of the molds and soldering all of the joints I should be able to make them work. Hopefully when I get done with my remodel of my shop I will be able to reproduce them. I have included photo of them. The antique and whatnot shop I was in was full of preps and the prices were not out of line I should have two more Gov checks coming and when they do I am going to hit the shop hard.
    candlespaw 001. candlespaw 002. candlespaw 003. candlespaw 007.
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