Making Candles

I use beeswax for many purposes; as a base for wood polish, waterproofing leather, soap, & etc.  After a longish power-outage this summer, I realized my candle stock has been depleted over the last few years.  I foolishly bought some paraffin candles for cheap, but they have a horrific chemical scent.  Beeswax candles give off a nice light, smell good, and don’t seem like they are poisoning us while they burn.  Granted, beeswax is ridiculously expensive to light with, so for serious lighting, a few Deitz Lanterns will light up your nights for pennies-per-hour (even with ultra-pure oil).  In the past, we have made dip candles but it is time for me to move up to the 18th century.

This weekend, we made candles using our new candle mold from Jas. Townsend & Son.  I have loved their products for many years and don’t feel at all bad buying stuff from the actual people who make it.  We decided to buy their candle making kit as it is a great starter set including everything needed to make, in our case, about 14 candles.

I think there is an Instructable in our future on candle making as it isn’t quite as straight-forward as it may seem.  It isn’t brain surgery however, and I think just about anybody can do this.  Besides the minor risk of burning yourself on hot wax, you have little to lose and much to gain.  My daughter and I have been making candles together since she was about six or seven and it has been a great opportunity to teach about personal safety and working carefully with hot stuff.

Coming soon: a new lantern from a very old design:

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About George Crawford

archaeologist, archer, primitive technologist, and wannabee fiddler...mostly
This entry was posted in candle making, DIY, primitive technology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Making Candles

  1. Oldfool says:

    I’ve made a lot of candles but never could find or, when found, afford beeswax. I have a few candles around here but seldom use them in summer. Use them in winter just to see the flame but not for light. These old eyes need a lot of bright white light.

  2. David Veale says:

    We’ve made solid beeswax candles ourselves, but found them to be quite fast-burning, dripping more wax than they burned.. Could’ve purchased (or made, in theory) some stearic acid to harden them. Shannon Hayes has a new book out which suggests a 50/50 mix of tallow and beeswax. We tried it and found that it works very well. The candles are much longer burning without the severe dripping issues, and smell just fine while burning (we used venison tallow, though I believe she used beef; sheep should also work).

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