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Section 5.    WICKING


Section 5.  WICKING

Ideally, your gel candle should burn with a petite and steady flame.  Zinc core wicks are most commonly used and are easy to work with.  Gelwick is specially designed for use with Penreco's gel, and will burn well in containers up to 2.5" diameter.  Many people use standard zinc core wicks of various sizes depending on the container's diameter.  Many people are also using various other types of wicks such as paper core and coreless cotton wicks.  Gel burns slower and longer than paraffin wax, and does not produce as large of a melt pool as paraffin candles do.  Because of this, many people use a size larger than the standard wick charts recommend.  Sometimes in very large containers, you may find it tempting to use multiple wicks to achieve a large melt pool, but be aware that multiple wicks means multiple flames, and the more flame, the hotter the melt pool.  You don't want to get your melt pool temperature hot enough to come close to your flash point!  I would advise using a core container or inner glass in large containers instead of multi wicking.  In some containers this may not be possible, but as long as your gel candle burns sufficiently with one wick and does not drown out, then it's doing it's job.  I realize it's desirable to produce candles that melt fully to the edges and consume all of the gel, but when it comes right down to it, safety is more important.  If some of your candles leave leftover gel around the edges, it's not the end of the world.  Suggest to people to try scraping out the leftover gel and using it in their potpourri warmers!

Another thing to remember about wicking is the wax coating on most pre-tabbed wicks.  Many times this can melt off during pouring, and cause cloudy spots in your gel.  Some wicks may come impregnated with wax instead of coated, which will greatly reduce the chance of clouding.  Many times you can buy raw wicking by the foot which has not been waxed at all.  You will need to tab these yourself, but the advantage is that you can cut them to any custom length you need for your various containers.  When tabbing your own wicks, it is strongly recommended that you use a long neck wick tab, such as a 6mm or 10mm.  The longer the neck (or stem) the better, because it stops the candle flame from getting too close to the bottom of the container.  Many people have a bad habit of not reading caution labels and burning candles to the very bottom.  The problem with this is the flame gets so close to the glass and also makes the metal tab extremely hot, and can cause some glass containers to crack or shatter!  This is why it is so important to use caution labels on your candles, and educate your customers about proper candle burning and inform them of what could happen if they don't follow the instructions!




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