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John T

Question How to prevent molten wax from splitting/cracking?

Question

I have been melting wax and putting them into moulds or pots but unfortunately when the wax sets, it splits or cracks at the surface. See the pic below. How do I prevent this from happening? I'd like to have a smooth top surface.

I note in the "Practical Bee..." book it says that if 'wax cools rapidly the blocks will crack.'  I have been doing this on warm/hot days so not sure what the solution is, apart from a warm-turned-off oven which I don't think is ideal.

Thanks.

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i havn't tried it, but if its a cooling issue then a warm oven or insulation. 

 

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Possibly wax is also too hot when poured. I've made a few candles and if the wax is too hot they crack.

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I melt all my wax in a solar melter which gets seriously hot and my wax blocks never crack . 

The trick ? I melt it into water which is probably hot and may cool slowly . 

Possibly not that helpful in your situation though 

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Dave Cushmans webpage has a good section on wax- including one on how to make a good block of wax for competition. Hope your definitive answer is there. I do the same as @M4tt and dont get cracks unless its a very deep block and I take it out of the melter while still liquid.  Cool slower I guess.

http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/hiveproducts.html

 

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The hotter your wax is the more it will shrink as it cools. It will cool quicker on the outside of a mould than the inside too. If you warm your mould first that will help. A warm water bath will help it cool more evenly too 

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We tried to seal preserves but the wax pulled away from glass edge whether the contents were cool warm or hot. Failed experiment. 0P0

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When pouring wax for candles or blocks it should be just above melting point and ideally just starting to form a skin on top.

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I'm making beeswax/coconut oil candles (in glass containers) and having the same issue. I'm going to try cooling them in a warm water bath. But this will not stop them from cracking after the have been lit and then blown out - customers are not going to put them in a water bath every time they blow them out. So I am currently stumped as both beeswax and coconut oil are known to crack as they cool. 

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@John T did you end up solving your problem? 

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10 minutes ago, Fitzie said:

@John T did you end up solving your problem? 

 

Apologies, I keep meaning to give an update. Yes, I followed the advice given above - I let the wax cool, until a skin formed on the surface. No more cracks on the surface.

However, one minor issue is that with the wax starting to cool some wax remained in the pot - ie it wasn't fluid enough to pour it all out. But that's not a biggie, as it it can be re-melted again. I guess it's just a matter of melting more wax than you need, to allow for this.

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2 minutes ago, John T said:

 

Apologies, I keep meaning to give an update. Yes, I followed the advice given above - I let the wax cool, until a skin formed on the surface. No more cracks on the surface.

However, one minor issue is that with the wax starting to cool some wax remained in the pot - ie it wasn't fluid enough to pour it all out. But that's not a biggie, as it it can be re-melted again. I guess it's just a matter of melting more wax than you need, to allow for this.


Ah I see! So you didn't attempt to control the temperature as the wax in the mold cooled? i.e. letting them cool near a heater or something? Glad it worked out :) 

 

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No, I didn't control the temperature. I just waited and watched...It was a bit of a cool day so that may have helped.

 

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