As you know, I’m in the middle of one of my infamous multi-part series, this one on making candles, a hobby I picked up during Covid lockdown. And, shortly, I want to talk about melting the wax which you then put into candles, particularly “container candles.”
Before I go on, I want to take a moment to chat about safety. That’s because I’ve realized some of you out there might decide to give candle making a shot after seeing my columns on the subject. That’s good, because candle making is fun. But, it is also bad if you take my writings as a how-to guide rather than simply a more or less tongue-in-cheek attempt to describe my adventures in a humorous way.
You see, candle making…and particularly the wax-melting part…can be hazardous. Wax is a fuel, after all. That’s why it burns. And the unfortunate reality is that it can be a bit dangerous. If you’ve got a pan full of wax over a heat source, it can flash (burst into flames), and that is a serious problem, to say the least.
So, if you start making candles yourself, don’t follow my lead. Do a bit of research, watch a few YouTube videos, read a few postings on the web, and maybe even consider taking a class on the subject. You can find them at a lot of continuing ed programs and online.
Oh, and be sure to know how to put out a wax fire should one actually get started. That means having a fire extinguisher handy. Also, know that if you’ve got a pot full of wax and it suddenly bursts into flame, resist the temptation to try to put it out with water. It’s like a grease fire. Water can actually spread the fire around your workspace, or even cause an explosion.
So, instead, use your fire extinguisher and/or cover the pot with a handy lid or something to smother the flame.
In fact, here are some links on wax fires and what to do if you have one:
"KBTX anchor burned by exploding wax fire shares safety tips, reminders,” By Rusty Surette
Published: Oct. 30, 2017 at 11:20 PM CDT, KBTX, https://www.kbtx.com/content/news/KBTX-anchor-burned-by-exploding-wax-fire-shares-safety-tips-reminders-454204953.html
"Candle Safety, Burning & Clean-up Tips from The Candle Cauldron,” http://www.candlecauldron.com/safety.html
“Coping With A Wax Fire,” by Mel Cant, https://candlemakinghelp.com.au/index.php/easyblog/coping-with-a-wax-fire-without-panicking
“Wax Fire,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wax_fire
“What is the Flash Point of Paraffin Wax?,” Shamrock Candles, http://shamrockaffiliations.ws/Paraffin_Wax_Flash_Points.php#.YYXCmFNOnjA
And, finally, here's a video what can happen if you try to put out a wax fire with water. I believe this is a grease fire, but the effects are the same. And it is scary, believe me:
Be Really Careful!
Okay, that’s the safety message. Always remember, I’m a klutz at the best of times. So don’t do as I do. Use me as a sad example of What Must Not Be Done. Instead, do lots of research, and be really careful…
And then you’ll be prepared to have a good time and make some nifty candles.
Until next time…
Onward and Upward.
Copyright©2021 Michael Jay Tucker