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Old 06-17-2011, 08:04 AM   #1
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Default Recycle candles?

I've been making emergency stoves and fire starters. But it's rather expensive buying parafin at the store.

If I see candles at yard sales, Goodwill, etc. is it alright to melt them and reuse them?

Are parafin and candle wax the same thing?

Does one burn better than the other?

Thanks in advance!

Barb

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Old 06-17-2011, 09:30 AM   #2
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The only thing I can tell you from experience is that it is totally possible to melt and reuse candles. You'd have to buy new wicks though. Ken and I did that years and years ago when I got a zillion candles from work.

Hopefully our candle-making members are still around and can/will answer your other questions.
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:41 AM   #3
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I think parafin is a "purer" wax but I'm not sure. I do know that I use old candles and old broken crayons (minus the paper wrappers) to make firestarters and buddy burners. We never bought wax for that since we always had old candle stubs and broken crayons. It was fun picking which color crayon we wanted to add to the wax. It was interesting too, because when we used crayons to make new candles (in paper cups) the wax would settle - the top of the candle would be almost clear and the color would darken as it went down towards the bottom of the candle. The very bottom of the candle had a layer of sediment that was a great crayon - all the color particles had settled to the bottom.
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:13 PM   #4
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That sounds neat. I hadn't thought about using crayons, thanks!

Do you use toilet paper tubes to make the fire starters?

Barb
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:35 PM   #5
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Nope. I use the mini muffin cups and fill them with sawdust from my chainsaw. Then pour melted wax over them. They don't need a wick since the edge of the paper muffin cup catches easily. They can be filled with sawdust or dryer lint or a cotton ball or a wadded piece of paper or a pinecone or ... basically anything easily flammable.
I taught a fire-making class at a cub scout day camp. They each put together a fire starting kit and made there own fire starters. They got to build a fire from scratch (with no matches) and let it burn for a bit. Then they got to put it out safely. Then they moved over to the main fire and melted the wax. While the wax was melting, they filled their muffin cups with sawdust and put them on the tray, then poured the melted wax over them. The kids loved it and the parents were all quite impressed.

Oh - forgot to tell you. The wax from around the snack cheeses (like the Babybel cheese) works great also. It is a softer wax, but if you are mixing candles and crayons, it works too.

Here are some of the pics from the class...
Attached Thumbnails
Recycle candles?-cub-scout-day-camp-july-18-2009-042b.jpg   Recycle candles?-cub-scout-day-camp-july-18-2009-044.jpg   Recycle candles?-cub-scout-day-camp-july-18-2009-045.jpg   Recycle candles?-cub-scout-day-camp-july-18-2009-039.jpg  
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Old 06-18-2011, 02:07 AM   #6
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what an amazing thread! i've never even heard of fire starters before! ok, so they're useful for camping, and i suppose they'd be good for fireplaces too, right? of course, i live in the desert so i really can't imagine ME using one, but if we ever move to a colder climate, this would be very useful info! (and since right now, there is a tremendous demand for truckers in montana, and i'm trying to get my husband to consider applying,, moving north IS a possibility.)
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:57 AM   #7
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Thanks Gremlin! I love the idea of using a cupcake pan. With the toilet paper holder, the wax wants to run out the bottom. That's not too bad if there's parchment paper underneath, but it still takes an awful long time. And then you can't be sure the center is filled with wax.

How fun that must have been for those boys. Thanks for posting the pics!

EarthPsalts, I'm not sure if you'd want to use one in a fireplace. Maybe the wax would be hard to clean up? Or does the wax burn off, gremlin?

Barb
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:22 AM   #8
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The wax burns off. I've used mine in our fireplace. I usually make sure that it is sitting on one of the logs with smaller wood around and over it - that way any of the wax that melts off before it burns is on the wood and helps the wood catch fire better. They are wonderful for camping - they also work to start a charcoal grill, without having to use lighter fluid. I hate the smell/taste of lighter fluid. It taints the charcoal and adds an off flavor to the food cooking over the fire.

EarthPsalts - I, too, live in a desert. It does get cool in the winters, and we use our fireplace as our only source of heat for our home, so we have a fire almost constantly all winter long. I usually use a piece of newspaper to help the fire get started - it works just as well as the firestarters, and it's easier to grab. I use the firestarters if the wood is wet (after a rainstorm) since it burns longer than the paper. That way it helps to dry out the wood a bit so it can catch.

The kids had a blast. The fire class was the #1 favorite - even over the pirates that came and taught sword fighting. Each boy got to take home his fire kit. I used the plastic soap boxes (for traveling) as the container. Each kit had a pocketknife, a fire starter (a block of magnesium with a flint insert), a couple of the firestarters that the kids made, and a cotton ball. I have a video of me starting a fire somewhere...I'll have to find it and post it here.

Yes - I am a fire bug.
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Old 06-18-2011, 01:27 PM   #9
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LOL, we never use our fireplace. it's a gas one, although i hear it can burn wood too... but the key to light the gas pilot was missing when we moved in. what i need to do is have the gas company come out and make sure it's in working order, and a chimney sweep (do they call them that these days?) come out and check it for safety, and then maybe use it occasionally during the winter. at least at christmas for ambiance! but so far, we've been here 2 winters and have done nothing other than trying to keep the cats out of it!
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Old 06-18-2011, 02:24 PM   #10
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There's nothing like a real wood fire. It warms you body and soul. I like our fireplace since it is closed in wood burning stove. We can burn on "no-burn" days because of the type of fireplace it is. It mixes fresh air with the gases and re-burns them. Once the fire is going well, you see very little (if any) smoke coming from the chimney - it is all being burnt.

Here are some pics of the fireplace and how I lay up a fire.

Then here is the link for starting a fire using flint and steel - yes those are my hands. My sister is holding the camera. If you look close right at the beginning of the video, you will see part of a cotton ball wrapped around the knife blade. I use a bit of cotton right under the knife to catch the spark coming off the flint. That way I can get the fire started with just one strike.

http://youtu.be/bD1a7VnZhJY
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