Having started the Norfolk Candle Company in January 1990 and having made candles for some period prior to that, we can now boast, that we have learnt our trade over a period more than 30 years and that we can pass on some of the knowledge gleaned in those years, so it is no suprise to see OUR information, images and products popping up on other candle material seller sites, we take this as a compliment that our site is used to inform these newly formed businesses, that are now popping up online.
When we take on new wicks, the first job is to test them , normally this is done in plain paraffin container wax blocks, whereby we insert a small length of wick into a drilled hole after priming the wick in molten wax, then trimming to 5mm, taking note of positions we add up to 6 wick sizes of the same wick type , giving each the approximate space we hope the melt pool will generate.
We then burn the wicks for at least 4 hours , extinguish and repeat the exercise the following day, which gives us a melt pool of approx 1cm deep which we can measure and record.
This measurement becomes the minimum advisory size we advertise the wick at, in a lot of cases this will vary from manufacturers data, as they will use a basic paraffin wax with added stearin, so their results may differ and why a wick which is advertised as 50mm wick may only produce a 35mm melt pool when placed in container wax with possibly dye and fragrance oil added.
For example some sites offer Wedo LX8 wick as a 50mm wick, but wedo in house tests put it at 40mm without any additives, so when used for say 20cl votive container candles, you most likely will end up with insufficient melt pool.
We use container wax because most wick is used to make container candles, so hopefully our estimates are closer to the end result required. Another reason we do this is because container waxes tend to be low melt and much softer, especially soy waxes, and whilst you would think this wax would create a bigger melt pool, the opposite can happen because the wick is flooded and therefore our tests are closer to reality.
Another thing to consider , is when you make container candles, the actual container plays a part in the melt pool size, eg a metal tin conducts much easier than pottery and will more readily adsorb heat from the flame and hot wax, thereby increasing the melt pool size, whilst a pillar candle has no material to hold and reflect heat, so a bigger or hotter wick may be required.
Last thing to consider is you cannot keep selecting bigger and bigger wick, as all you may get is a bigger smoky flame instead of a bigger melt pool, this would tend to burn up the fragrance oil more and actually reduce the scent throw, so choice of wicks is essential.
To help you with this you may find that specially woven tightly braided wicks made with small filaments, can be more effective for creating your melt pool size, but burn with a gentle flame that allows better appearance and more scent throw, which is desirable with a scented candle
Lastly there are some high profile sellers out there peddling cheap oils that are bulked up by alcohol or cut with other oils , with reduced FO concentration to increase margins and lower costs, so that cheap offer may look good but the results will tell the tale.
Good Luck with your testing
- Test burn a candle for a minimum of 3-4 hours each time.
- The candle should harden/rest 4-5 hours minimum between lightings.
- Repeat 4-5 times, or to the end of the candle, before deciding which wick is best.
- NOTE: Getting a candle to burn to the edge in the first 3-4 hours is not always the best way to judge how good a wick is. Too big a wick can lead to a poor burning candle that may smoke.
- Once the wick is narrowed down to the “right” size, several more candles should be produced under the same test conditions as before and then burned to their entirety.
- Be sure to test the chosen wick in several different colours and scents.
- Quite often, it may be necessary to chose more than one wick per candle type based on wax type, colour and fragrance content.