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May 23, 2016

Getting Optimal Candle Performance: Wick Placement

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May 2016
Getting Optimal Candle Performance: Wick Placement
The official start of summer is only days away, and, before you know it, the holiday season will again be upon us. A key question is:  What will you be doing this summer to help grow your business? There are several obvious tasks, such as participating in craft shows that happen all over the country or pouring your fall candles in the coming months.

One suggestion that can help drive repeat customers is to make sure that your candles perform optimally. Everyone focuses on giving their candles the best fragrance throw and ensuring that the colors are right. But one might argue that the wick is the most important factor in a candle performing optimally. We recently were working with one of our wick vendors, WEDO, and the company was kind enough to share an excellent article its staff developed on the importance of proper wick placement. The company granted us permission to share it with our audience.

Thank you, WEDO.

Even if you are sure that you have chosen the correct wick with the correct chemical treatment for the candle material and container in question, you may sometimes still find that the burning results are poor and inconsistent – some wicks fall over, some wicks form carbon deposits at their tips, etc. All this can happen even though you are using candle material from the same batch and the same candle wick in each container!

Very often, the poor burn results are due to the wicks having been inserted into the container wrong. It is very important that the wick is centered and completely vertical in the container. A wick will always have a natural tendency to curve in a certain direction. If the wick is vertical, it can assume the correct wick stance [Fig. A]. If the wick is not vertical, then any number of uncontrolled scenarios can happen [Figs. B, C, D, and E].
This is the perfect container candle. The wick is centered and has been put under just enough tension when the candle was poured (ideally by fixing it in place at the top of the container), to ensure that it is completely straight and vertical. The wick can assume the correct stance, and a perfect burn is the result.
Here the wick may well have been fixed at the top of the container to ensure that it was straight, but it was not centered. However, just by looking at the top of the container, it appeared to be. Under the surface of the candle material, the wick is diagonal in the container. The wick is bending in the direction of its natural curve, but the diagonal stance is pushing it over too far. Often the burn in such a candle is lopsided.
As with container B, the wick may well have been fixed at the top of the container to ensure that it was straight, but it was not centered. Again, just by looking at the top of the container, it appeared to be. Under the surface of the candle material, the wick is diagonal in the container. This time, the wick is bending against the direction of its natural curve. The wick cannot curve properly and stands too straight. Often carbon deposits form at the tip of wicks in such candles.
Here the wick has been centered – but not fixed at the top of the container to allow the wick to stand vertically. Even when using pre-waxed assemblies, it is recommended to fix the wick in such a manner – or at least to pull the wick manually into a vertical position before the candle material congeals. Again, the wick is being pushed too far in the direction of the natural curve.
  Sometimes the wick tip dips back into the candle material, causing a very large flame. Often the burn in such a candle is lopsided. Sometimes inserting the pre-waxed assembly with a tube can help solve this problem. (See diagrams below.)
As with container D, the wick has been centered – but not fixed at the top of the container to allow the wick to stand vertically. The wick is being pushed too far against the direction of the natural curve. The wick cannot curve properly and stands too straight. Often, carbon deposits form at the tip of wicks in such candles.
 
For pre-waxed assemblies, ensure that a good quality wick wax is used. Furthermore, it is important to use good quality sustainers that have a flat and even base and are at least 15mm in diameter to make sure that the wick stance is vertical and stable.
Do not allow the wick to protrude from the bottom of the sustainer; otherwise, the wick will not be able to stand straight.
The hammer setting, which punches the sustainer barrel to clasp the wick, must be adjusted correctly. If set too hard, the wax layer will be completely broken and the wick crushed – the wick will then not be able to stand vertically. Similarly, if the setting is too loose, allowing only the wax to be held by the barrel, the wick may become loose when the wax is poured into the container. It may even come out of the sustainer if the wicks are centered manually just before the candle material congeals.
FAST FACT
New to candle making and not sure what you may need or where to start? If so, a kit is the perfect way to give candle making a try. In addition, with many of our kits, you now can choose the combination of fragrances you wish to use. Pick from our summer 2016 collection, fall, baked goods, or one of our other available fragrance combinations. You pick the kit you want and then the fragrance combo pack to go with it, and then you are ready to go.
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CHANDLER'S CORNER
How do I determine the burn time of my candle?
Hi. I'm Chandler.One of the important elements when marketing a candle (besides the candle itself) is the burn time. Each candle company has different burning rates depending on the waxes used and the size of the wick. To properly determine the burn time of a candle, use the following procedure: Light the candle and let it burn for four hours. At the conclusion of this time, blow out the candle. Wait one hour. Then trim the wick and relight for four additional hours. Repeat this procedure until the candle is consumed. Record how many hours you burned the candle. This will give you a standard burn time at which you can market the candle. Many times, consumers will let the candle burn continuously. This will not allow the candle to obtain the maximum burn time. Read more about burn time.
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