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The Candle Burning Guide - Taper Candles

Question: Why did the box of taper candles that I bought say they were dripless and smokeless, yet they dripped, and smoked?

Ahhhh, yes!  The old dripless and smokeless question!   First, let's get some basics down right now.

1) A taper candle is designed to be burned in a taper candle holder.  If a taper candle is not almost perfectly  STRAIGHT in the holder, you can expect it to drip.  No matter what the box or packaging says!

2) A taper candle must be kept away from drafts.  A taper candle is designed to burn wax almost as fast as it melts it.  Thus, there is a very small reservoir of wax that you may notice at the tip of the candle as it burns.   This reservoir is contained by a thin wax wall directly around the base of the flame (or the tip of the candle).  If the flame is caused to jump around or flicker, this wax wall will heat, and melt, and the wax will exit out of the reservoir.  This will in turn cause the flame to melt more wax, and increase the size of the flame due to the larger amount of wicking now available to the flame (There was a portion of wicking that wasn't burning at the base of the flame, the portion that was soaked in the wax!)   The larger flame will only cause the candle to drip faster and faster, leaving behind a very short burn time, and a gigantic mess.

3) While I hesitate to say this, try to avoid overly inexpensive candles.  This isn't to say that candles bought for a remarkable price will drip or smoke; it simply isn't so.  What I am trying to say is if the candle seems damaged, or incredibly inexpensive, test burn one before stocking up.  See for yourself, and if you are able to find an inexpensive candle that provides you with long, lovely, serene, evenings, then by all means stock up!!

4) Candle produces black smoke when it burns?  On a taper, the only real attempt at correcting this is to trim the wick.  REMEMBER!   Only a little at a time, and light it between each trimming!

Question: Why doesn't my candle fit in the holder?   They say they are standard and the clerk at the store said it too!?

This question can go on and on, and in the end, people will still have this problem.  Simply stated, a taper candle to be considered "standard" needs to be 7/8" of an inch, at it's widest, on the portion consisting of it's bottom inch.  Meaning, if a taper candle is 12" tall, the bottom inch (the base inch) must not consist of an area greater than 7/8"  This base can have a slight taper.  But MUST achieve precisely 7/8" at some point along that bottom inch.

The problem arises in three steps.

First, the candle manufacturer, for lack of a better explanation, is unable to utilize a measuring ruler.

Second, the candle holder manufacturer missed school on the day the teacher went over the use of the measuring ruler as well!

Third, they don't talk to each other!

GREAT!  But how can I get my candles to stand straight in the holders anyway?  I went to school and I know how to use a ruler!  I love my holders and I want candles in them!

OK!  Click here and look for the "Sticky Wax"!

Question: How can I keep my candles standing straight?

I'll keep this one short.

NO!  Don't drip the wax from the tip of the candle. (They will drip!)

NO! Don't use materials that you wedge in the base; these can fall out, dry out, or catch fire!

If possible use candles that fit the receptacle well.  I realize this can be next to impossible. 

In any event, the best material available for maintaining your candles in a straight, elegant, drip-free environment is stick wax.


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