Friday’s experiment with tallow candles was the most successful yet!
On my previous experiments, I’ve been pleased to learn that the tallow does not smoke, and it has almost no odor. The problem I was running into though was that pure tallow has a very low melting point, and so the candles are soft, fragile, and the grease drips away from the flame much faster than it burns.
I used stearic acid before to try to harden the candles up, and it did help. The problem I had was that the final candle needed to be about 20% stearic acid and 80% tallow to get a decent wax out of it. Stearic acid is extracted from palm kernel, and I’m happy to use it, but I don’t happen to have any palm trees growing on my place. For the expense of it, I might as well buy candles instead of making them.
Which made me think of my beehives. I have my own (limited) supply of wax now, and mixing tallow with it seemed like a good way to harden the grease and stretch my beeswax into enough candles to matter. So yesterday I gave it a try, and made a small pot of wax out of 2 parts tallow and 1 part beeswax.
The result was beautifully successful! My process was a bit rushed, and the two candles I did came out lumpy and crooked, but burned wonderfully. The result was strong enough to treat as normal candles, and they didn’t drip. The flame was bright–not too tall and not too dim, with only a very small amount of “bloom” forming on the end of the wick after almost 2 hours of burning.
I’ll do a larger production later this spring and see if I can keep up with this home’s need of about 4 candles/month.
I love it when things work out!
A friend writes:
I tried this little experiment with lamb tallow and beeswax, since I was too lazy to dip! Seems to be a success at first lighting. I will report further later….just wanted to share the joy!
My little light made me so happy!
Thanks and blessings,