Well, if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve seen this already:
I was having no end of trouble with the brand of St. Jude candles I was buying: the wicks would sizzle, snapcracklepop, and then drown halfway through the burn despite all my best efforts. (Only one store in town stocks them at all, as far as I know, so I’m not aware that I had any other options.) Finally, recalling something I had seen on the Wisdom Products website (yes, it’s good old Indio), I decided to melt the wax and stick a taper into the middle of it – the easiest way to insert a new wick, right?
So far so good, right? As you can see at the left.
Only trouble is, you have to choose the right wick for your wax. A dense, fairly hard wax, such as you find in a taper, needs a thicker wick.
Soft wax, such as you use for container candles like vigil lights, needs a thinner wick. Or else this happens:
Yes, it burned all the way down in two days. It only took a day to get this far down. And it was black as pitch all the way down.
The original problem – drowning at the halfway mark – was caused simply by the manufacturer’s use of crappy wax. When I melted the original candles in the glass jars, there was half an inch of dirty water at the bottom! I was able to pour off the now-purified wax. It’s just the oversized wick that made all the rest of the trouble.
So, upshot: I’m not going to buy that brand of candle any more, even if they do make the only St. Jude candles sold in this town. I can just as well buy a better candle – plain – and use my own St. Jude picture.
I did learn one useful thing, though: how to get vigil lights in colors they don’t stock locally – cheaply and relatively quickly. Buy plain white ones, remelt right in the glass, dye, and re-pour. I can even add a pinch of herbs right into the wax. With a hot glue gun and a straw, I can even re-use the wick.