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Relief Holes


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I am new to candlemaking and while I have been reading and testing - I find soooo many differing techniques.

Keep in mind I am still using kits - wax 139 MP blended pillar wax (cierra) and use 1 lb wax with 3tlbs steric acid and 1/2 tsp vybar (wick 2.0 square braid)

Pillars - 3 x 6.5 to 3 x 4.5 either cave and I remelt and repour or I can see marks in well as candle burns where I poked relief holes.

3 x 6.5 round

When I experienced the cave in, I made my relief holes only 1 inch into the wax as indicated and repoured. I performed this process not once but three times and still had a hole in the middle of the candle.

So, I remelted and went to 3 x 4.5

I certainly paid more attention to relief holes and though I tried not to go beyond the recommended 1" I am sure I did somewhat. Again, I repoured three times and kept the holes open longer. Which was not indicated in the books I have read nor instructions I had for the project.

This time, I turned the candle over and burned from the bottom- it is burning well and am now 1/3 into the candle and can see the marks where I poked the relief holes, no caving and I have not cut the candle in half yet - but may have to as time goes on.

My question: technique listed on this site indicates to poke relief holes to within one inch of the overall depth of the candle. Which is it? I rechecked my project insturction and the books I have and no matter the depth of the candle the instruction is to poke only 1 inch.

What am I doing wrong? Perhaps on the second candle with the markings of the relief holes I should have poured hotter than the initial pour or in my case pours.

Votives -(different wax/additives and wick) I can make and not experience problems in making relief holes, and a completing a second pour to satisfaction.

Thanks any info. is appreciated and please recommend reading as well.

Oh, the Avatar - my dog, Hunter.

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I think the confusion here is between two different types of instructions.

A technique I've seen in older writings is to let the pillar cool undisturbed for 4 or 5 hours after pouring. During that time the shrinking wax forms a sinkhole down the middle and possibly voids beneath the sinkhole. The secondary pour is done while the candle is still warm, but first you poke into the center to expose any hidden voids so that they'll get filled with wax.

The technique you'll most often read about around here is to start poking into the cooling candle after just an hour or so. You make 3 or 4 good sized holes and poke them progressively deeper as the candle cools. Spreading out the tension of the shrinking wax makes a smaller sinkhole and prevents the hidden voids from forming in the first place.

The second technique is probably more generally reliable. There are even other ways of doing it. As long as you understand what you're trying to do, you can use any method that works well with your candle formula.

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As I understand it, the crooked wick problem is caused by solidifying wax so that I poke just deep enough so that I can see molten wax.

I poke a lot, maybe more than necessary, every time I see a skin on it I am reopening those holes.

One mistake I made in the beginning was to not poke my holes big enough so that the repour wasnt filling them--causing bubbles anyway.

Now I use a steak knife so that the top looks pretty ugly by the time I am done. I also pour only after the candle is completely cooled and only as high as my first pour.

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