March 01, 2012

The Whole Ball of Wax

The Whole Ball of Wax

These days there is so much to choose from on the television that you would think some of the simpler things would go overlooked. But based on the number of shows on the Discovery Network, Science and other local networks, people are extremely intrigued by how things are made, and I am no exception.

It is always amazing to see how candy bars, American flags, locomotives and even clothes pins are made. The process from start to finish - no matter what the product is - can be amazing to watch. Since many of our new employees are intrigued by the process, we thought our customers who use the end products would be even MORE interested in the process. To test this theory, we recently started putting some of our own videos on Facebook and received very positive feedback. Granted, these are very amateur videos, but it seems people like them, so we wanted to introduce them to our entire customer base. We have also started exploring improvements to these videos when the reception is positive.

For those that are unfamiliar with Candlewic, we are very different than our competitors in that many of the products we sell are actually made and/or processed at our Doylestown, PA facility.

One of the most common products shipped from our facility is the 10 pound slab of paraffin wax, commonly packed 5 to a case. What many people do not know is that the slab goes through a series of transformations, starting as liquid at the refinery and then transported to our facility in tankers as liquid. These tankers are then emptied into our tanks and kept at a minimum of 150°F until they are ready to be processed. The tanks are designated by melt point and type of wax.

When ready, the liquid wax is pumped into a holding tank where applicable additives can be introduced or the temperature of the wax is raised or lowered if needed. When it is ready in the holding tank, it is pumped into the slabber. This process can best be described like a very large ice cube tray with cold water running through all of the cavities. Liquid wax will be poured into the slabber until it is completely filled.

The wax flows from the pipe into each cavity to create a 10 pound slab. Click here to watch the process. The cold water is then pumped through all of the plates, thereby accelerating the cooling process for each slab. The melting point of the wax will change how long it takes to cool the slab, but it generally takes about 2 hours to cool more than 2,100 pounds of wax. When the wax is completely hard, the slabber is opened like an accordion and each slab is carefully removed from the equipment. It is then packed in the carton and ready to be shipped to our customer.

These slabbers are given a workout each and every day and rugged construction of them is designed to handle significant volumes of wax.

In addition to putting the wax into slabs, Candlewic also has the ability to turn wax into granulated or bead form. Granulated wax, commonly called wax art or wax beads, is also made at our Doylestown facility.

The granulated wax is made by taking liquid wax and spraying it up into the air and as the wax hits the cold air, it will bead. When the beads fall, they land on a drum that is continually rotating and moving the wax on to a vibrating belt. The vibrating belt helps cool the wax and move the wax into the box. Watch how granulated wax is made.

The granulator is great because any color can be made and in the past have even done fragrances. The granulated wax has many uses and when used as a straight paraffin melts very easily and is easy to measure.

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CHANDLER'S CORNER

One of the first questions that I got asked ever since one-pours were introduced, is "Why would I want a wax that needs to be topped off?"

Many candle makers use low shrink or one-pours, but there are other options available. All paraffin waxes shrink, so one-pours have additives such as petrolatum and soy to help reduce the shrinkage. These make very nice candles, but creating different looks is not possible with these waxes. You can't make mottled candles, achieve vibrant colors, and, in some instances, you do not get the scent throw you may get with a paraffin-based wax. While the low shrinkage waxes are good to use, be sure you at least look at some of the other paraffin based products.

Is there such thing as a one-pour pillar wax?

Unfortunately there is not a paraffin wax that can be used that will not need topping off when making pillars. Over the years people have used the 5560 for votives with some success. However, Palm wax and beeswax can be used as low shrink or no shrink pillar waxes. However because some of these experience so little shrinkage they can at times be difficult to get out of the mold.

 

 


March 2012

Featured Project:

Rose Candle

With upon us the flower candles and scents will soon be what every one is asking for. The Rose Floater is a nice addition to any outside party or inside party filling your bath tub.

This candle can be made very easily using the M-22 Rose Floater (this is a very popular mold right now so give yourself some extra time). Start by sliding unwaxed wick material through the bottom of the mold.

You will need a "long pointed" object to force the wick through the hole. Once the wick is passed through the bottom of the mold, secure it on top of the mold with a wick bar. If you don't have a wick bar, a popsicle stick will work.

Helpful Hint

Leave extra lengths of wick at the bottom of the mold so when you remove your candle from the mold, it will be automatically wicked for your next pour.

You then secure the mold together with rubber bands. Take your paraffin wax, CBL-141, which can be scented and/or colored and pour at around 180-185 degrees F. Top off the candle. When the candle has properly solidified, remove it from the mold. This floating candle will add a nice accent to any party.

Extra Touch

Pour a number of these roses in red. After about four or five pours, pour one in white. The dye, which can accumulate on the mold, will "bleed" into the white wax and create a lovely pink color.

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