Tips for the use of tea wax
The manufacturing of candles consists of three steps: preparation of the wicking, preparation of the wax base, and continuous molding or extrusion of the finished candles.
Making the wick
- 1 The cotton or linen wicks are braided and then treated with chemicals or inorganic salt solutions so that they bend at a 90 degree angle when burning. This angle allows the end to remain in the outer mantle of the flame and causes it to be shortened naturally. If the wick is not treated, it will burn too quickly and the flame will be extinguished by the melted wax. However, if the wick burns too slowly, then the amount of exposed wick increases and the candle becomes dangerous.
Preparing the wax base
- 2 First, the wax is heated and melted into a clear, near-liquid state in huge metal kettles. Wax melted by direct flame can become dark-colored or can contain small pieces of carbon char. Next, the molten wax must be carefully filtered to remove impurities that may interfere with the burning process. Any desired perfumes and dyes are added at this time. Although most wax arriving at the manufacturer conforms to strict purity standards, many companies still filter their wax to be sure of a high-quality finished product.
Molding the candle
- 3 Since the invention of Morgan’s first candle makingmachine, the construction of candles has been performed mainly by continuous molding machines, although manual machines are still used by some companies. Continuous molding machines are designed to make candles in groups ranging anywhere from 50 to 500 per load. The entire process takes almost 30 minutes per load.
- 4 Prior to the pouring of the wax, the wick is pulled through the tip of the mold. This tip has a hole in it through which the wick passes from a spool located beneath the entire molding machine. The molds, which are made of tin, have polished interior surfaces and are slightly tapered for easier ejection of the finished candle.
- 5 The wax is cooled to slightly above its melting point and poured into a molding table located above the molds. The wax then works its way into each mold; the molds are pre-heated so the wax will flow evenly into them. After the wax is poured, a jacket around each mold is filled with cold water to speed up the solidification process. Once the wax has solidified, the finished candles are pulled upwards out of the molds, allowing the wicks to again thread through the molds in preparation for the next load of candles. The wicks are snipped, and the process begins again. Excess wax is trimmed, collected and re-used. The continuous molding process is used to make cylindrical, tapered or fluted candles as long as they can be easily ejected from the mold.
- 6 An alternate method uses extrusion, a process in which crushed paraffin wax is forced through a heated steel die under extreme pressure. At the same time, the wax is consolidated around the wick. Unlike molding machines, extrusion machines produce a continuous length of candle, which is then cut into specific sizes. Next, the tips of the candles are formed by rotation cutters, and the candles are sent to an automated packing machine.