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Fingernails - BAD


Henryk
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I think I got Carmen's pic beat. Heating the wax to 240 for 30 minutes (twice) did nothing but bust them up into more numerous smaller ones. Wax is 1218 and I'm trying to make transluscent pillars. (There are no additives in the wax at all - its straight 1218 with color diamonds).

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Am I missing something? Do you have embeds in your candle, or is it mottling that way????

That is what's known as "fingernailing" ;) There have been many different discussions on exactly what the spots are, what causes them and how to avoid them.

http://www.candletech.com/cgi-local/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=Discussions;action=display;num=1108011486

http://www.candletech.com/cgi-local/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=Discussions;action=display;num=1059705537

I can definitely feel your pain Henry! I've not been able to make candles for nearly 2 months because of this. Oh, I've made one here and there, but they all have fingernailing/diseased bubbles(depending on the technique). I have tried EVERYTHING to get rid of them. I heated the wax to 250F for 30 mins to rid the wax of any possible water and disperse any gas/air. I even went so far at heating it to 300F for 10 mins, watching it very closely of course! Nada! I put more additives, less additives, different additives... nada! The only candles I've made in the last month that didn't have this problem was with the straight 1343. The fingernailing has even invaded my containers. Any wax that is preblended. :mad: The last one I made a couple weeks ago still had a minimal amount but nothing compared to what I had in July/August. My work area is in the garage and not insulated or temp controlled. I honestly believe mine are/were caused by the heat and humidity. If anyone ever finds a way to prevent this, (short of closing in and insulating my garage) I'd be ever so grateful to hear about it! :yay:

This was one of the very few candles I've made this summer...

fingernail.jpg

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Henry I've had that happen and I just ended up trashing the wax because the fingernailing got worse. I even tried using some UA and it got worse. Hoping someone else has a solution on this, because it would be interesting to note. I did burn one just to see what would happen and occasionally it would hiss and there would be popping sounds.

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mine have burned fine and some people even want to buy them. it's just something that is uncontrollable and usually unwanted. there doesn't seem to be a way to get rid of them and it tends to "infect" a whole box of wax. it's just disappointing, like when you want wax to mottle and it won't no matter what you do.

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I am still using the same cases of wax. Actually whats in the pot still is some from the same batch that made that green one. And the air problem is lessening at the weather changes. I'm not sure how, but I think somehow the humidity/temp affects the melted wax as you pour it. Ohh, as I wrote that, I had an idea! Be right back....

Ok, I just confirmed my idea :)

I went and looked in my cold pots in the garage. Keep in mind I don't have a spigot on my presto, so I ladel the wax(through the air) into the pour pots. This picture is the SAME pot of wax. The pour pot on the left has wax that was exposed to air while moving. The only other difference is that I added FO to the pour pot. Nothing else. Hopefully it will show up in the pic. There is NO fingernailing in the presto, but the pour pot is riddled with it, so much so that the top actually has raised bumps from the air/gas/whatever....

wax.jpg

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This is very interesting. I've actually seen candles for sale that have lots of fingernailing (I think I saw them at Michaels). Before seeing topics on fingernailing on this board, I thought it was just another technique that I wanted to learn because I thought they looked so good. Wonder how they would burn?

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I'm wondering if the wax in the presto stayed the way it did because it cooled slower than what is the bottom of the pour pot? (I don't even lattle mine - I just pour into the pot :rolleyes: but its not that I'm rough with it - guess I'll have to baby it more - I doubt this is going to help this problem though.)

Even my 1343 is doing this but on a lesser scale (no additives). I'm wondering if this is much more prevalent than it seems - people just aren't noticing it because of all the additives that are added to these straight paraffins that make it opaque. I sure haven't noticed it in my rustics made from the same waxes and I sure haven't noticed it in the 1343 pillars with vybar added. :)

The Astorlite article on this said that sometimes these candles are indeed sold as "seconds", in other words the "flaw" is looked upon as a "feature" (kind of like bugs in software). When you are trying to make uniform transluscent pillars however, this is definately a destraction.

I have nothing left to loose (I have micros on order) so I'm going to redo one again and just try c-15 (don't want to use any vybar or stearic) to see what happens and how bad the translucency will be affected. Too bad, the 1218 wax in small pillars (3x3) just all "lights up" when the wick is lit.

I only have 2 slabs of the 1343 and 1 of the 1218 (not much left of either anymore) - so it will be interesting to see if my next slabs purchased have the same "feature".

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there doesn't seem to be a way to get rid of them and it tends to "infect" a whole box of wax.

I disagree. I've used several cases of 1343 and haven gotten only small batches out of the same box that have done this from time to time. It's that wax I end up pitching when four or five remelts won't get rid of the fingernailing, not the whole box.

Curious, Henry, how many relief holes are you poking? I know the fingernailing is more like a trapped gas. You cut open the candle and you can see the thin air pockets in there. Just wondering if more relief holes might help prevent this. Heck of a catch 22, since also poking relief holes tends to let air in.

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When people say soy is tricky ... soy has NOTHING on this. I'm ready to just throw a pile of vybar in what I have left and do some dreaded candy-corn layers and be done with it!

Well here's my thought. Don't heat up the wax to those extremes. You could try two tests, one with steric and one without if you wanted or same on vybar, but vybar hasn't been an all-telling prevention method for me either. But what about pouring at 170-175ish and not letting the wax get above 190 or so. I get these fingernail things on occasion, and seems to happen moreso when I let the wax get too hot. With the 1343, I've been having better luck with steric as an additive than anything else. Course I haven't been able to try the experiments that Eugenia or Dana did with the Fisher Trop since they were out when I last placed an order with candlewic and I really am not a fan of placing an order for one thing from a company.

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You know, I was wondering if I destroyed this batch of wax or not. I actually did let this get up to 240 by accicent (not for long - say about 5 minutes) when I first used it off the slab. I was thinking it was a bad thing to do, got the fingernailing, then read that its a GOOD thing to do - and to do it for 20 or 30 minutes no less! So thats what I did.

I'm going to try again with wax from the same slab, closely monitoring the temp and see what happens. Worth a shot ... thanks.

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I posted a fugly in the gallery once that had a lot of this. It was the first time I encountered it so I didn't know what it was. I eventually ended up chucking the slab it came from.

It's not hard to get moisture in your wax and sometimes it's shipped to you that way. The ability to raise the temperature of the wax above the boiling point of water can really be a godsend sometimes. Moist wax will sound like rice crispies when you heat it to 220 but within 30 to 60 minutes the water will be driven off.

The only downside I know of is oxidation of wax and certain additives like stearic, which will cause yellowing. This happens to some extent even at room temperature and certainly in a double boiler, but it happens faster the higher the temperature. It's probably good that Prestos have the non-stick coating because certain metals will catalyze the reaction. According to the literature, if for some reason you melted your wax in a copper pot you could very well see the effect. Aluminum isn't so good either.

Actually I'm thinking of picking up some BHT crystals from Genwax to use in addition to UV. This anti-oxidant has been used in candlemaking for decades but they seem to be the only people selling it.

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I guess that I have just been lucky because I always melt my wax in my electric Weck canners. I turn it all the way up and that is 220......so my wax has had this treatment all along and I didn't know that it could really help. I do sometimes hear the water but not often. By the time I take out the wax and put it into a pouring pitcher, add color and/or FO it has cooled down quite a lot. I do pour my hurricanes around 200 anyway...I didn't understand the "fingernailing" when I first joined this board....guess this might be one of the reasons. I have noticed differences from wax companies.....very noticable ones......I just couldn't get the bubbles out of my canes no matter what I did until I switched companies. Donita

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I'm currently testing out the Gloss Poly (C-15 I believe) in my OK6228 to see if it stops the fingernailing. I only get the fingernailing occasionally and have no idea what causes it. I made two batches of candles yesterday w/o Gloss poly - one has no fingernailing, the other has the marks all in them (both came out of the same batch of melted wax, just added different FO's and coloring).

So....I made 16 pillars today in 4 different scents and about 8 different colors and added the Gloss poly with a little vybar 103. If any of them fingernail then I'll know that the gloss poly isn't the answer.

And you know, years ago I never had any fingernailing at all -ever. I wish I knew what I changed or what happened that causes it now. I've tried all the 'raise the wax temp" and all that stuff; doesn't seem to make much difference.

Doesn't matter though - the ones that fingernail I just turn into a grubby - LOL!

DanaE

P.S. I thought perhaps dipping the candles into wax to create another layer (same color) on top might hide the fingernailing, but it doesn't. So that pillar will be one I get to burn.

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Most of the fingernailing probably burns just fine, but the hissing and the sigh of air that comes out of them doesn't make me confident they're great for sale. I've not noticed wet wax or moisture when melting. There are no snap, crackle and pops when I melt my wax, but most of the time I don't get them when using only steric and not sizzling the wax at high temps for extended periods of time.

When they do show up, which I think in part can be caused by hot hitting cool too fast, I think air will tend to get trapped. I've zapped them on tops of votives with heat guns and cut through them to see what I can see and it's nothing but the thinnest of a shell. I personally find them ugly and not a cool or unique technique.

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