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August 17, 2015

Cranking the Heat Inside While it's Hot Outside.

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"The En-Light-ener"
Candle Making Newsletter

Cranking the Heat Inside While it's Hot Outside.

September is rapidly approaching and things are starting to heat up in the candle industry. As the busy holidays begin to consume every waking minute of our candle making time, it is important to think about how we are going to get all that wax, soy and soap melted for the approaching season. The answer is to purchase the correct melter that meets your needs. The following article will explain the basics on melters and attempt to cover every possible piece of information you need to know when purchasing one.

Where do I Start?

Water Jacketed Wax HeaterThe first step is determining how large of a melter you will need for the task. Think about things such as optimal batch sizes, the types of wax/soap most needed last year, or that large account you might have given a bid to. If you are just starting out and making only a few candles of each scent, you can melt a large batch in the melter and simply stir your recipe into a pouring pot individually until your business grows large enough to fill the entire melter with just one scent per batch. We found that an enthusiast or hobbyist gets the best results with a 70-lb or a 100-lb melter. If you are in a business or want to start a business, a 150-lb melter (water jacket) is a great starting point.

If you already have a melter, you can purchase a larger melter to feed into your existing setup to increase melt times. For example, if you have a 100-lb melter, you can purchase a 200-lb, a 300-lb, a 500-lb, or a 1,000-lb melter to feed into it. This way, you pull 100 lbs off the large vat and can put fresh wax into the already melted wax to start melting while you pour the 100 lbs off.

The good thing about a wax melter is that no matter what size tank you purchase, you will always find a use for the unit. Generally, most companies' biggest concern is that they don't have enough capacity to take on an unusually larger order, but very rarely will someone in the small and medium sized company complain that they have too much capacity.

Currently, many people are having the most success with the water jacket tank. You might be asking, “What is a water jacketed tank?” The main difference between a melter and water jacketed tank is that the direct-heat melter uses wire elements within the walls of the unit, while the water jacket simulates a double boiler method by using an element to heat water in the walls of the unit. Both units work very well and can boost candle making production for both commercial business applications (1,000-lb melter) and busy candle enthusiasts (70-lb melter).

Water Jacket

Water Jacketed Wax HeaterThe water jacket heater comes in many sizes, ranging from 70 lbs. to as large as 1,000 lbs. These heaters are used by operations of all sizes. They are made from 16-gauge stainless steel and are not insulated, which means all parts of the unit get hot. This is usually not a problem, since the busy season is when the colder seasons approach. Water jackets can really warm tight work spaces in facilities with no central heating (such as garages, barns, sheds, or small warehouses). They are thick gauge stainless steel inside, so they can take a beating. These are workhorses suitable for an industrial environment. A clamp-on stirrer can be easily attached to the sides. There is one temperature knob. Water jacket units require no special outlet other than a standard 3-prong outlet. Many people insulate them to help get more efficiency from the heater. These heaters use the same technology that is used in home water heating and have a long, reliable lifetime. The water level on water jacket heaters must be monitored daily. The elements are easily replaced. Units with a capacity of 100 lb or more include a thermometer and a water sight gauge. Water jackets are not suitable for gel wax.

Power Supply

The water jacket heaters use one 1,500-watt element in smaller models and two elements in larger models. They require a 30-amp outlet and plug into a standard 3-prong outlet. A 220-volt option is available for all sizes of water jacket heaters with additional charge, but you will need an electrician to hardwire the unit for you.

Safety and Maintenance

Little care and maintenance is needed to achieve many years of reliable performance from your melter. After a batch is made and a new batch is ready to go, the heater can easily be wiped clean if deemed appropriate by the candle maker. The insides of the melter are extremely hot, so wear a protective oven mitt with a long sleeve. If you plan correctly, you can do lighter scents first and move to darker or heavier scents without wiping the melter. For instance, you can run a vanilla first, followed by cinnamon, and finish off with hot apple pie without cleaning the melter. If you are using a water jacket style melter and you have hard water, you might want to consider using distilled water to extend the life of the element. Dedicate an entire wall outlet to a single melter for maximum efficiency/safety and do not plug other appliances into a melter's outlet. Have an experienced electrician look at your facility if you do not know your electrical capacity. Whenever you are not in your production area you should have the unit turned off.

Tips for all Melters

Be sure to place your heater at a comfortable height that helps reduce back fatigue. It's important to place it on a solid platform to ensure safety. Due to changes in the type and melting point of material, the ambient temperature, and the amount of product being melted, the temperature knob might not always be exact and should be used merely for reference.

Shipping

We can ship the WHC-70 or WHC-95 through UPS. You will have to pay a little extra for insurance, because there is a slight possibility of the unit getting dented in the shipping process. It's not common to get a dent, and the heater will still work fine, but nobody likes the first imperfection. All the other units we sell ship via common carrier truck (18-wheeler). If you do not have a commercial residence, the trucking companies may charge you an extra fee depending on where you live, and if you require a phone call prior to delivery, they might charge a fee as well, both of which are out of our control unfortunately. When ordering a heater, you might as well ship your wax order on the same pallet all at once. You can usually get up to 35 or 40 cases of wax on a pallet with a heater. Call our customer service department for a quote. If you work for or know somebody who's employer has a loading dock, you can trade them candles in exchange for receiving a pallet for you. Be sure to have a way to unload your order (whether it be by fork lift or by hand unloading), because the driver is only responsible for getting it to the back of the truck, and may or may not help (once again in exchange for candles). One person can lift a 35 to 50 pound heater and two people can lift up to a 200-lb melter.

If you are ready to get serious about making candles, a wax melter is a must. Either of these units will increase your production and definitely make life easier in candle making.

CHANDLER'S CORNER

Hi! I'm Chandler!
I can help you
learn how to make candles.

Make Sense of Your Scents

Hi, folks! I get a lot of questions about scent load, especially with terms like double or triple scented candles floating around the industry. The whole scent philosophy is sort of nebulous and vague for many reasons, making it hard to figure out for everybody-whether you're a beginner or seasoned pro.

For one thing, there is no standard placed on the industry. There are infinite amounts of scents and strengths in the marketplace. I use a gas station as a good analogy. Every time you put gas in your car, you know exactly what strength you are using and how much it costs. They all work for different people, regardless of which strength you purchase. Fragrances are a little different in that some fragrances, such as cinnamon or balsam, are extremely strong regardless of how much you use. Then, you get to the florals and they are not quite as strong. Then, you use fragrances in soy and just don't get the same fragrance boost that you would with paraffin. The key is always testing the fragrances to find what specific load will work for you. In general, most candle makers will use the guideline of 5-10% fragrance, which is about 1-2 ounces of fragrance per pound of wax.

Remember that too much of a good thing is not always wise, and fragrance has a point of diminishing returns. Your wax can only hold so much fragrance (like a sponge). Additives can be used to help hold more fragrance in, or you can purchase pre-blended waxes with additives already inside. Once you start going too heavy, you risk a poor burning or poor looking candle, adding too much cost, using more additives, or even making the candle smell too pungent.

Over the decades, we have established many long-term relationships with quality vendors based on customer feedback. It would be a little unrealistic to assume that any one manufacturer can be an expert on all fragrances, so we use multiple vendors who are particularly good at specific fragrances, making our selection pretty close to perfect. Send us your comments and we'll use your feedback to influence our purchasing patterns

Fast Fact

Candlewic offers a large selection of natural products for all of your candle making needs. These include, but aren't limited to, palm waxes, soy waxes, essential oils, wicks and beeswax.


August 2015


 


Featured Project:
What To Do With Extra Wax

With the current price of wax, it is important that you reduce all waste and use your extra wax, no matter how small a quantity is left over! Below are some creative uses.

Decorative Floaters

Tray Mold - Duck Floater (Polycarbonate)

Candlewic offers an extensive line of floaters that include some exciting shapes such as hearts, fish, maple leaves, stars and suns. These can be made with a wick or even as a decorative piece. These shapes also make for great tart shapes as well.

Hint: Many companies will use this as a unique shape to show potential customers how their fragrances will smell in the wax.

Tarts

Floater/Tart - Tin Mold

Tarts are always a favorite of candle buyers. They are a great way to test a fragrance from your company, and with all of the new styles of tart warmers, it is great way to use your excess wax.

Tea Lights

Floater/Tart - Tin Mold

One of the growing trends in candles is scented tea lights. With the advent of the plastic tea light cup, the tea light has become very popular to scent and color. Tea light cups are also available in metal.

The first way to make a tea light would be to take the wax and carefully pour directly into the tea light cup, then insert the wick. The candle should be ready to ship within minutes! The nice thing about pouring into the cup is that you can pour at any temperature.

The other way to pour tea lights is to purchase the mini Tea Light Mat (M-58), which will make 15 tea lights at a time. You simply pour the wax onto the mat and the wax fills into each of the cavities. Each cavity has a pin, and when the candle is completely set up, pull each of the pins to release the candles from the mold. Simply insert a prewick assembly through the candle and slide it into the tea light cup.

When using the plastic tea light cups, it is imperative that you test burn your wicks to ensure they are not too large. Only cotton core wicks should be used with plastic tea light cups.

Clam Shell Melts

Floater/Tart - Tin Mold

Without a doubt, the clamshell is now one of the most popular uses, not only for your “extra wax,” but as a finished project as well.

When your wax reaches the desired temperatures, add your dye. With soy it will be easier to use liquid dyes because they will not have to melt like the color blocks. Add your fragrance. In most instances, since you want to deliver great fragrance throw with a small cube, you should be closer to 7-9% fragrance, which works out to about 1.25-1.85 ounces per pound of wax. A reason to use the CBL-129 is that it will hold that much fragrance. Lay out the clam shells and slowly pour your wax to the desired level. When your wax is hard, simply close and apply a label. You can custom design your own label for the front by going to Avery.com

Learn more about expanding your line of products.

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We hope you enjoyed this issue of the En-Light-ener.
Thank you for your continued interest and support.
Our goal is to make this newsletter as entertaining and educational as possible.
Let us know if you have any ideas on how we can improve.

Candlewic Company
3765 Old Easton Road
Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901
800-368-3352
 

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