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I swear by using coconut oil. Not only does it help with frosting and smooth tops, it helps with scent throw (reduces cure time). At least for me it does. I've heard people using anywhere from 1/2 tsp to 1 tbsp per lb of wax. I use 1 tsp. HTH

Rebecca

ditto I use 1/4 to 1/2 tsp I add it into the pour pot when I add the FO. Love it and when I "forget" to add it I can really tell the differance with the tops and scent throw

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How much coconut oil should be used per pound of wax. Does the type of wax matter?

Tasha, the brand of soy wax DOES matter - some are more prone to frosting than others. Coconut oil is added to reduce frosting. As far as I know, it is not used with any other type of wax other than soy. HTH :)

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Ok, I got the coconut oil last night. The type of wax I am using is GB 444 and Enchanted lite soy/veg. I have seen some frosting with the GB 444 on the few testers that I have made but not a whole lot. I am going to redo them with coconut oil.....

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Ok, I got the coconut oil last night. The type of wax I am using is GB 444 and Enchanted lite soy/veg. I have seen some frosting with the GB 444 on the few testers that I have made but not a whole lot. I am going to redo them with coconut oil.....

444 is what I was using it with. It really did make a difference with the look of the finished candle.

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I've used various amounts of CO with C-3 and also with Ecosoya PB & Advanced. It didn' help one bit. In fact it seems to have made things worse. My votives frosted so bad and looked so ugly I remelted and made them into small tarts instead. The C-3 jars with CO are pathetic! I tried CO with Ecosoya advanced and it made the wax look uneven and wavy. Keep in mind that these were all dyed from dark to light. The only thing that came out looking OK with the CO was the ones that were dye free. I also noticed the CO made the wax harder and therefore did crack on occasion. Even some of the jars had some cracking on the top. I added various amounts of the CO. From 1 tsp. to a whole tbs. per pound. I don't plan to use the CO anymore.

In fact I am getting tired of the whole soy thing. I'm considering going back to J223 for containers, and try IGI 4794 for tarts and votives.

Kim

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I've been reading all the stuff people have been saying about their coconut oil tests. The reported results seem pretty variable. Maybe about as variable as the results people always report with soy. Sorry to play devil's advocate here, but I've found in candlemaking it's easier to come to a conclusion than to discover a real fact. Is there really anything to this coconut oil thing beyond an epidemic of wishful thinking?

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Top, I think that the tempering thing has a great deal to do with it. If soy wax develops the wrong type (or phase) of crystals in the melting pot, all the coconut oil in the world will not help. I messed up a pour pot of soy tonight while testing coconut oil and beeswax and didn't temper it well. I used a dye that is legendary for causing us problems with frosting and guess what? It's frosting like a snowman around zero and it ain't even 6 hours old yet!!!! :rolleyes2 So, when I saw what was happening, I retempered the same batch and the other candles are lookin' good, Hollywood! Just wish I understood more about these crystals (or "phases") and the temperatures at which the crystals develop and melt in soy wax...:confused: I know I am looking for beta prime, but I wouldn't know a beta prime crystal from a Kansas City aged prime! :embarasse

I say we nab an oleochemist, duct tape 'im and throw 'im in da trunk and keep him until he answers ALL our questions about soy wax. We'll feed him only stuff like dream whip and soyburgers and aerosol cheese and off-the-shelf pudding until he sings like a bird. :laugh2::laugh2::laugh2:

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Well I imagine the temperatures you're looking for are generally going to be in the range that Jason gave us. You can maybe refine that using a good thermometer and a means of heating very gently. I've noticed when you hit the lower end of the range, the temp stops falling and can even rebound a bit. When you warm it up again the temp goes up steadily until the crystals start to melt, then the temperature curve flattens out. I imagine getting really good results can be a skill you develop with experience, based not only on monitoring the temperature but the appearance and consistency of the wax.

The problem is the economics of it. If you do all that manually you'd better be making an upscale product and selling it for a lot of money -- otherwise you're working for peanuts. Equipment specifically designed for this purpose is expensive. I looked at some of the small scale stuff and there was a machine that had manual temperature settings (necessary to customize it for soy wax) and would handle up to a 10 lb batch. It cost $1500. Then you probably also need temperature control after the candles are poured.

Or of course you can add some paraffin and all your crystallization problems disappear. :)

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There have been times I've considered some of these "tempering" machines that were intended for chocolate but I've never ponied up the cash. Between getting the temperature curve correct AND compensating for humidity and the ambient temperature during the cooling process, I've pretty much said :P to curing the frosting problem completely ;)

For any of you that use GW464 specifically, I will share a bit. I've had better than average results getting rid of frosting by following these steps:

1) Heat raw wax in Presto Pot to around 150F. This is the "R" in "Warm" setting on the Presto Pot dial. How's that for precise ;)

2) draw off the needed amount of wax for your batch into your pour/mixing pot and place it on a heat source. I use a special lab device called a Hotplate/Stirrer that heats and stirs my wax all by itself.

3) Add FO, UV, 1/2tbsp CO, and colorant while the wax is still around 150F. The FO will cool it off a bit at first but that's not a big deal since we're gonna heat it back up :)

4) Heat the wax up to 180F, stirring constantly. I use the Color Crystals so coming up to this temp helps get those fully incorporated. This level of heat also helps break down any existing crystals present in the wax.

5) Turn off the heat but continue stirring while it cools down to 120F

6) Heat back up to ~145F, stirring constantly, and then pour.

Following this procedure, I've totally eliminated frosting in some batches, reduced it greatly in others. Sadly I have no way to control humidity in my workshop so that messes things up once in a while, depending on the weather around here. Certain FO's respond better to this procedure than others do as well, so your mileage may vary.

No clue how these steps would work with other soy waxes but it might be a starting point. Having my Hotplate/Stirrer has helped me tremendously, as have a digital clip-on thermometer that stays in the wax constantly showing me the temperature. I would love to have on of those instant-read infra-red pistol thermometers but having to stop what I'm doing (wicking other jars, etc) and take a reading every so often would be distracting. With these thermometers I can just glance up from my wicking station and see where I am in the temperature range.

Hope this helps someone. I'm trying to avoid going with blending paraffin into my recipes but never say never, right? :)

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The problem is the economics of it. If you do all that manually you'd better be making an upscale product and selling it for a lot of money -- otherwise you're working for peanuts.

You ain't wrong there, Top. I think once one gets the hang of it, it goes a lot quicker, but hitting the "sweet spot" and becoming able to do this methodically is a BIG time waster! Jeeze I hate learning curves!:rolleyes2 It is also a skill that if not practiced regularly, it fades away and the Soy Wax gods (or trolls, as the case may be) take the magic away from yer wand. Because of domestic crises, I have not poured any soy since June and, MAN, am I rusty!! :embarasse At least I did a good job on the candle I made for Meridith's "Wick a BIG'Un" show & tell!! :rolleyes2

Ronnie, I ain't no chocolateering expert, but once you've got that mixture back up to 145 isn't it completely clear and melted? I would think all your temper is kaput by that point.

That's the strange thing that I FORGOT yesterday... no matter how smooooth the tempered stuff looks (this is where chocolate and soy wax wave bye-bye to one another), ya gotta get the temp back up to where it *just* clears or bad things happen...

Thanks for postin' your routine, Ronnie, and thanks, Top for reminding me (again) about Jason's post - I will review both to find the error of my ways yesterday. :) Y'all should just see the frosting growing in the burgundy dyed candles I made yesterday - looks like ferny frost growing on a window! I am SOOOO throwin' that dye OUT. It is not the same brand I normally use and it not only stinks, it downright sux. Have a great weekend! :)

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I think top is right. Nobody will ever be able to embrace it scientifically without the proper equipment. It's technique and using your senses. Yes tempering does play a part in it. Yes, it is similar to chocolate in that sense. Tempering is when a key fat in that formula is heated up and crystallizes. When chocolate or Soy wax is heated and left to cool on its own. It forms crystallization, but the crystals form far and few in between each other which causes that dull appearance. When it is heated and consistently stirred or agitated until it is brought down to cooling temperature. It forms crystals However they are far more dense and closer to each other forming clusters. Which causes a shinier appearance in the wax as the same with chocolate. Without technology we cannot monitor crystallization up close. So that is where our instincts and the use of a good thermometer come in.

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Unfortunately, veggie-only soy wax puts candles squarely in the same category as fat-based food products, adding a whole new dimension of crystallization problems. The food industry deals with that all the time, but the more I look into their issues the less hope I have for small candle producers. Beanpod seems to cope with some success, but they've clearly invested a lot of capital in R&D and equipment to optimize the formulation, pouring and curing of their candles.

There are countless things here that make it impractical to just learn a simple technique that will improve results in all cases. I revisited this tempering thing this past week and I got the best results with straight 415. It was a bit grainy (beta crystals) but looked halfway decent. An emulsifier (Panalite) seemed to suppress the beta crystals when cooled down relatively quickly from a high temperature (hence the ability to pour hotter), but they came back if I tried to "temper" the mixture by warming it up and letting it cool again. The poured candle started off uglier right off the bat and then frosted over like a mofo.

Getting beta-prime crystals isn't even the big trick. That's what you have pretty much anytime a candle comes out really good. I used to get perfect candles most of the time with CB-135, which I think is a soy/cottonseed type of wax. But then the issue is what you'll have a few weeks or months later. We know that, again, emulsifiers inhibit the polymorphic crystal changes but they're only semi-effective. We don't really know how to "lock down" the crystallinity.

If you like mediocre soy products, you've probably bought margarine. Through a lof of R&D, the food industry has developed that product and learned to make it behave as expected. However, it will only maintain the appearance and texture it's supposed to have under a limited range of conditions and for a certain period of time. That's the nature of the product and there's nothing they can do about that.

Many of you say you want your candle to be made as much out of straight vegetable shortening as possible, then you struggle in your kitchens and basements and workshops to iron out the inherent problems that all the resources of the food industry cannot cure. If there was a solution it would already be reflected in the wax, since of course they'd love if it was a better material and they could sell more of it. But at least they have something that some people will buy because it's trendy at the moment even if it doesn't make a great end product.

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I certainly don't know doddly squat about soy, played with it some and got decent candles. Greenleaf has something they call the sticky stuff that I have seen where a lot of their probably 70/30 users use with good results. Just thought I would throw this in that someone could check out and see how it works.

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If there was a solution it would already be reflected in the wax, since of course they'd love if it was a better material and they could sell more of it. But at least they have something that some people will buy because it's trendy at the moment even if it doesn't make a great end product.

This is the wisest thing I've ever heard you say (and you've said alot lol!!). I really do think you're right. But, the people ask for veggie only and the customer must be right or business fizzles out. I continue to offer (sometimes but not always) frosty soy candles, just like they ask for. BUT I refuse to stoop to scaring people about *dangers* of paraffin and other nonsense. I will confirm that my candles are indeed soy/veggie, but that's it. And with soy, nothing will always work... the nature of the beast.

-Kristi

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In response to Topofmurrayhill:

I'm really curious to know if Beanpod's candles are in fact pure soy candles as they advertise. I did a trade show in September at America's Mart and a potential and now customer of mine had a Beanpod candle and she wanted to know what was the difference in their candle compared to mine.

Of course, this caught me off guard but I immediately felt the top of Beanpod's candle and it was rock hard! Now, with my 10+ years experience in working with paraffin, gel and soy it's hard for me to imagine they're candles being all soy. There has to be some other additives to their candles. Out of all the soy candles I have tested for other companies and the soy candles I make I have never touched a soy candle that was rock hard. Just my personal opinion. Here's the company that manufactures Beanpod: www.soybasics.com.

This term 'stabilized' seems to be another marketing tactic.

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I surfed Beanpod's site for a few minutes and they are snubbing candles made with any paraffin or petroleum based products. They also repeat everywhere that they are 100% stabilized soy. First, I'd love to know how they stabilized soy- sounds like they're bragging that they're the only ones who have reliably tamed the beast lol...., but anyway, I doubt that they have any non veggie blending going on (although apparently they have some secret weapon additive).

-Kristi

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I'm really curious to know if Beanpod's candles are in fact pure soy candles as they advertise. I did a trade show in September at America's Mart and a potential and now customer of mine had a Beanpod candle and she wanted to know what was the difference in their candle compared to mine.

I don't know anything for a fact when it comes to Beanpod candles. I'm just going with the "consensus of hearsay" that suggests they are essentially veggie-only candles (free of petroleum products at least).

Even if most every company under the sun won't touch that with a ten foot pole, it leaves a bit of a market niche for a determined company to specialize in. When they say stabilized, they're making a direct reference to the main problem with veggie-only soy waxes and I think they are, as logcabinmomma suggests, claiming to have "tamed the beast". Given enough R&D and a sophisticated production process, I don't find that implausible. What I'm not sure about is whether we can do what they do, or at least whether it's practical and worthwhile.

You know from trying different waxes and additives that the candle formulation can have a big impact on results. That would be one area that they would focus on and I don't doubt there's an additive or two involved. Whether soy-derived or not, there are a lot of potential additives that are fatty acid compounds of one kind or another and that I'd say are "in the spirit" of a veggie-only soy candle.

They also tout this "tempacure" process and that makes perfect sense. Just looking at the apparently random variations in your own results, day to day or depending on the weather and the seasons, makes it clear there are variables we haven't got a handle on. The crystallinity of soy wax is very sensitive to the temperature changes it's put through, how fast the temperature changes happen, the amount of agitation going on at various points, and whatever. You can potentially study and get control of all those variables to optimize production.

Anyway, they're in Iowa, one of the centers of soy thought control. That's where the farmers are that you're supposed to be supporting. Not the ones that grow real food, just the ones that grow the crummy semi-edible beans that are sold to feed the factories of the giant corporations that produce mediocre substitutes for real food. Such a shame we can't make candles out of milk and butter and lettuce and tomatoes, or maybe strawberries or avocados. Then we could support more interesting farmers.

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