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Flame different on 2nd burn


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Ok, for a long time now, I have noticed the flame size will be different from the first time I light my container candles than on the second and rest of the candle's life.

On the first light the flame can be a normal to a small flame, 3/4"- 1" tall, throughout the burn, then on the second lighting it could be as large as 1 1/2" tall. Sometimes it will settle, and sometimes it doesn't. If I wick down a size the flame on the first burn can be too small.

If I am trimming the wicks on both burns to 1/4" why am I getting different results? I even messure the trimmed wick before I light it to make sure they are always 1/4".

This happens for me on most of the waxes, scents, and wick types I've used.

I have tried leaving the wicks longer for the first light, but this really hasn't helped either.

Anyone else have this happen? Anyone know why this is happening, or can suggest what to do about it?

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Yes this happens and is quite common. It's why most chandlers will not make wicking decisions based on the first burn alone. I've had some that look like they are anemic on that first burn but once it hits the second burn all is well and good.

Why does this happen? Well, it's late and I'm off to bed, so this explanation could be total whack, but I tend to think it's because whatever wax my wick is primed with isn't the same as the wax I use in my candles, that it takes that first burn to burn that off and get a good foothold (and priming) from my wax.

that's not a very good explanation, is it. :embarasse Someone rescue me from my own delusions! :laugh2:

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I had the same thing happening with a new wax I am testing. First burn, the flame height is just right...subsequent burns, the flames get too tall for comfort and I can see puffs of soot from some fo's. This is the first wax I've tested that did that, so I thought wicking down was my answer...not so...still got tall flames and no where near the pool diameter I was looking for.

Out of frustration, I tried wicking up and low and behold...flame ht and melt pool were better on subsequent burns...go figure!

This is my theory on it (at least with this wax). Wicks that were too small were not melting enough wax fast enough to surround the wick and keep the flame ht. manageable. The larger wicks melt the wax faster, keeping the pool deeper and less of the wick sticking out...thus the lower flame height.

I know that sounds contrary to what you might think to do and it took me a lot of testing to reach that conclusion, but that is what's working for me with this wax. I do have to be careful with amount of fo and really test each one, but so far each time I've had tall flames and wicked up it helped.

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Spacegirl, If you have the anemic burn the first burn, what do you tell your customers? I could only imagine myself telling them don't worry how skimpy the first burn goes, cuz the next will be much better. Just like everything else the first light with a candle will make the most impression.

I know this is a common issue, like you said. I was really hoping more people would post about how they deal with this.

Ah-soy, what type of wicks are you using?

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Ahhhhh good question. It depends. If it's anemic to the point that even I expect it to drown out, then I pull that wick and re-test with something different. I won't sell it like that. If it's just a little smaller than I would normally like, I let that go as long as it rebounds on subsequent burns. My tolerance for a larger flame seems to be higher than most people's, so I've learned that what I consider small (and a little anemic) is viewed as more normal by others.

From what you're describing, I'm not sure there is anything you can do about it... maybe it's not something worth worrying about?

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I agree - this is WHY we test... I don't want a candle with a really tall flame - and don't need that to get a nice, slow, complete burn. The height of the flame you mentioned depends also on the diameter of the container! Sure wouldn't want a flame that high in a small candle! It'd be helpful to know what wax you are using, what wick type and size and what FO and dyes... ALL of those things and different combinations of the above can have a bearing on the burn. Without knowing specifics, we're shootin' in the dark...

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