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Pillar makers - wick your mold or use wickpins?


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Which method do you prefer and why?

I used to wick my molds, but recently I've been using wickpins. Wick pins make it easier to keep the wick centeredand eliminate sealing your mold every single candle. But if your wick is raw or isn't in a base, I feel they lean over too much when you get toward the end of the candle.

Using wick pins leaves a gap between the hole of the wick and the wick before lighting the first time. Not sure how I feel about that. Do people notice this, or care?

And it is better to only use primed wicking when using wick pins too?

Also is it better to use the metal bases with pillars or not?

I'm not sure which is my preference, so I thought it would be good to hear from others :)

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Luci - do you prime your wick before you put it in place? Or do you buy wicks already waxed and tabbed?

Stella- I switched to pins for testing purposes, now I'm trying to decided whether or not to keep using them. So outside of testing, when you sell your candles, you use pins still, right?

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The purpose of wick pins is to make cheaper candles. Wicking the mold makes a more upscale product versus having a hole in the candle with a wick stuck through it.

Nothing is straighter than a taught wick. Wicks pins aren't always perfectly straight and they can be bent, in which case they will never be straight again. I also don't agree that they are easier to center, unless you have something at the top of the mold to keep them in position. Otherwise the wick will probably not be consistently centered at the bottom of the candle.

No matter what you do, pillars made with pins have wicks that are easily removed. To me that's a quality issue.

Finally, metal bases are intended for containers and are dangerous in a free-standing candle. It enables the candle to burn to the bitter end, until you have a wick and base sitting on whatever surface the candle was on, still burning until it sucks up all the wax beneath it.

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The purpose of wick pins is to make cheaper candles. Wicking the mold makes a more upscale product versus having a hole in the candle with a wick stuck through it.

Nothing is straighter than a taught wick. Wicks pins aren't always perfectly straight and they can be bent, in which case they will never be straight again. I also don't agree that they are easier to center, unless you have something at the top of the mold to keep them in position. Otherwise the wick will probably not be consistently centered at the bottom of the candle.

No matter what you do, pillars made with pins have wicks that are easily removed. To me that's a quality issue.

Finally, metal bases are intended for containers and are dangerous in a free-standing candle. It enables the candle to burn to the bitter end, until you have a wick and base sitting on whatever surface the candle was on, still burning until it sucks up all the wax beneath it.

I have to agree with everything Top said.

I never get a centered wick with pins, so now I use them only if I'm making some testers for scent throw.

I don't like pins at all, they bend and leave too much of a large hole, that screams "cheap" to me.

Once you get your technique down wicking molds is easier and faste than trying to center that damned pins!!:grin2:

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Top is right on. I've wicked my pillars from day 1, but use pins in votives. It's easy to get an uncentered pin in a votive, and a longer pin in a pillar could be worse.

I have my own method of sealing pillars that doesn't use putty or tape, and always get a centered, straight wick.

Fredron

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The purpose of wick pins is to make cheaper candles. Wicking the mold makes a more upscale product versus having a hole in the candle with a wick stuck through it.

Nothing is straighter than a taught wick. Wicks pins aren't always perfectly straight and they can be bent, in which case they will never be straight again. I also don't agree that they are easier to center, unless you have something at the top of the mold to keep them in position. Otherwise the wick will probably not be consistently centered at the bottom of the candle.

No matter what you do, pillars made with pins have wicks that are easily removed. To me that's a quality issue.

Finally, metal bases are intended for containers and are dangerous in a free-standing candle. It enables the candle to burn to the bitter end, until you have a wick and base sitting on whatever surface the candle was on, still burning until it sucks up all the wax beneath it.

I totally agree. All our countries imports from china have wicks stuck through them and very often they come out in the shops. I have to agree that wicking a mould is the best with no "cheap" look to them, and I might add that I find the pins are not centre and they sometimes get stuck in the candle!! Handcrafted candles always look better with preset wicks.

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Well, I use pins and like using them. After the product is out of the mold, I use a stir stick to "fill in the gap around the wick with my left over wax" Then I smooth it out with my finger before it gets hard. Looks just fine and takes care of the gap. As for the gap further down the candle, that will be filled in with melted wax as soon as the candle is burned the first time. I also use wick tabs with the longest neck available. This extinquishes the flame before they can burn it down to nothing.

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Another wick pin user here. I also use a centering piece at the top of the wick pin to keep the pin centered so my wick will be centered.

There is a trick to filling the 'hole' left around the wick area. I wick my candle and level the bottom on my heating plate. The wax heats up and fills in the wick area securing the wick to the candles and filling the little space. Works perfect.

I don't use metal tabs. Too dangerous to have a customer try and burn a candle to the bottom. The untabbed wick takes care of that problem.

And I used treated wicking. Much easier to wick with a stiffer wick than an untreated one.

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I used to use wick pins, but they're too time consuming for me. When I make pillars, I'm usually making 50-75 at a time and the extra steps involved in removing the pin, priming the wick, inserting the wick, top off, level...it's just quicker to wick the mold.

Plus, like Top mentioned, when I used the pins, the wick would often pull out of the pillar and that is unacceptable to me.

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Ok so I guess I will go back to wicking the mold.

It seems like many of you have discovered how to hide the hole from the wick pin, but that seems like a lot of extra work.

I have the device that centers the pin on the top of the mold like some of you do too, not the kind that sit inside the mold, like a votive wick pin. I can thread the wick through the device too, so I can still keep it centered like the pin.

My biggest complaint about wicking the mold is sealing it. I put mold sealer on the wick, then metal tape over it. Sometimes the sealer gets in the mold. And sometimes the mold will leak with or without the sealer.

One thing I don't understand is how using the metal bases encourages people to burn the pillar to "the bitter end" (haha- I like that) more than not having the base. Seems like having a long neck on the base would actually keep someone from burning down too far.

I don't care for the bases if the candle is going on a sconce. Some of them have the prongs to hold the candles in place and the metal base gets in the way.

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I find that using wick pins is quicker for me. I have one of the wick centering tools that has a really small rod so there is no wiggle room for the wick.

However, most of the pretabbed wicks don't come long enough for some of my molds so I have to wick the mold. IMO having to run the wick up through holes on all of the molds, twisting the wick and taping is a PITA and very time consuming.

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One thing I don't understand is how using the metal bases encourages people to burn the pillar to "the bitter end" (haha- I like that) more than not having the base. Seems like having a long neck on the base would actually keep someone from burning down too far.

It's not that it encourages people, but it can be dangerous if they're not paying attention. The wax melts down to the surface the candle is sitting on and then feeds the flame through the hole in the sustainer base. That can keep the flame lit until there's nothing but a film of wax left. When I experimented with making pillars using pins and wick assemblies, it happened every time I tested burning the candle all the way down.

One person mentioned that she uses the bases that have an extra long neck - I guess that would be 9mm? Seems like it could be worth testing. Whether it's reliable depends on how deep the melt pool gets with the wax you're using.

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  • 1 year later...

I just wanted to thank you guys for your input. I've been messing around with soy wax pillars for years now - adding beeswax and para just lately and thinking of starting palm cuz I obviously up for a challenge! :P I am still flustered with wicking and well I'm stubborn and not going to give up. I have always used wickpins but now I think I will try wicking the molds themselves. I have metal tape and plumber's putty (any homeowner's secret weapon besides duct tape!) so I'm set.

The only question I have though is on occasion I have let the pillar burn to "the bitter end" as Topp put so eloquently put it and I FREAKED out!! I had like a mini fire in there cuz the bottom burnt out and I was burning the whole wick that was left floatin in the MP that was directly on the plate I was burning and OMG - I just freaked! lol How do you trim the wick on the bottom so this doesn't happen. I know I want no tail candles but how do you get that close to the wax without damaging the wax?? Is there some special tool that I don't have in my arsenal?? It feels like a dumb question to me but I'm just used to doing containers and this isn't a worry with those...

TIA

Tish

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I use neither. I cast the pillar without a pin or wick and drill the finished candle. I have just started back into making pillars when a doctor gave me the remains of a huge scented pillar he burned as far down as he could. I recast it into 3 smaller pillars.

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Stella- I switched to pins for testing purposes, now I'm trying to decided whether or not to keep using them. So outside of testing, when you sell your candles, you use pins still, right?
Yes. Unlike others, I do not feel that a wickpin is a sign of a poorly made candle. My wicks don't *rattle around* in the hole - they actually fit snugly. Once lit, it's a moot point. I make sure my wickpins are straight (common sense). I don't have a long drill bit or drill press, otherwise I might drill mine like Garf does. :)
I had like a mini fire in there cuz the bottom burnt out and I was burning the whole wick that was left floatin in the MP that was directly on the plate I was burning and OMG - I just freaked! lol How do you trim the wick on the bottom so this doesn't happen
I use wicks with wicktabs that are embedded about 1/4-1/2" into the bottom of the candle, depending upon the size. They self-extinguish with no problem; however, bad things CAN happen at the end of ANY candle, which is why pillars should be burned on flat, inflammable plates or bowls, not burned down to the bitter end, and never left unattended. Personally, I burn mine in hurricanes with sand in the bottom as an extra safety precaution, but that's just me. I also am burning palm wax pillars which may be different from paraffin or soy in the way they burn toward the end.

People do not agree on the *right* way to wick a pillar. All methods have their drawbacks and people are entitled to their personal preferences. There are pros & cons to all methods...

...previous heated discussion on this topic...

http://www.craftserver.com/forums/showthread.php?t=87672&page=2

Edited by Stella1952
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We have this guy who comes on the board every couple of years, posts manically for a week or two, then disappears. After his most recent visit, it sounds like Stella has adopted his entombed wick tab technique, which I've never understood. If the wick stops 1/4 to 1/2 inch short of the bottom of the pillar, what's the point of also having a tab in there? Wick tabs buried in pillars is kind of a weird design.

Wick tabs were invented for container candles, pure and simple. They are designed to keep the wick from falling over. If the candle doesn't burn in glass, there shouldn't be a tab at the base because in many designs it will keep the wick burning even after the wax melts through the bottom of the candle.

Not to be misquoted, I never said that pillars made with wick tabs were of poor quality. They might look great, smell great and burn great, which are all major quality factors.

If you've gone to all the trouble of accomplishing that, there's no good reason to craft the final product like a cheap Chinese import with a hole through the center and a removable wick. Have some pride and craft it like an expensive candle with a wick properly molded into it. You can do that just as fast and have it even straighter and better centered.

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