Tag Archives: DIY

Simple Life Hack – How to Combine Candles And/Or Add a Candle Wick

My dad raised honey bees when I was growing up so we had a lot of wax.  One year, my mom and dad bought some molds and we cast candles.  For wicks, we used heavy cotton string.  When you put string in hot liquid wax, capillary action occurs and the wax is “wicked” into the string.  The candle then cools and away you go.  Now I had pretty much forgotten about this for about 20 years until I saw our growing collection of almost empty candles or candles in glass bottles that had burned the way around wick but left a ton of wax on the jar walls.  It was one of those “Gee, I bet I can fix that” moments.

Here are some supplies and tools to gather up: #36 cotton twine (it has to be cotton and not a synthetic), a washer to serve as weight, gloves to handle the hot containers, needlenose piers, a screw driver, cutters and a piece of cardboard to protect the table in case I spilled wax.

Also, your work area should be near the microwave.  The counter I used was about eight feet away.  Make sure there are no trip/fall hazards between the microwave and work area and that you have a drop cloth, piece of card board, newspaper or something to deal with spatters and spills.  You do not need to be in a rush – indeed, take your time!!  It takes wax a while to cool off.  I just want the work center close by to reduce the chances of dropping the hot wax.

So, step by step if you just want to melt the wax down into the bottom and add a new wick:

  1. Use a cloth to firmly rub the glass rim and remove any waxy soot (the black junk on the glass).  It will come off.
  2. If the current metal weight/anchor is exposed, remove it with your needlenose pliers.  If you don’t, you’ll see arching in your microwave and potentially hurt the microwave.  Seriously, this is not a joke – you can ruin your microwave my putting exposed metal in it.
  3. Microwave the candle in the glass jar until it all melts.  The time to melt will depend on the formulation of the wax, how strong your microwave is and how much wax there is.  On one candle it took about 5-6 minutes and on another it was much longer.  Go for a minute, check, go for a minute, check, over and over – don’t try and do it all at once.  You don’t want molten wax bubbling all over inside your microwave as it will be a HUGE mess to clean.  Have you ever heated water too much in a microwave and had it bubble over everywhere?  This is the same thing but when the wax cools it is a bear to get off.  So, be careful and go slow.  Don’t heat it any more than you need to.
  4. Tie a weight to the end of the string so it will sink to the bottom – I used an old washer I had laying on my bench
  5. Take the candle out wearing gloves.  The glass can be very hot so you don’t want to get burned or drop the molten wax as it will be a bear to clean up.  Just be careful and have a good grip.  I wear lined work gloves.  You only need to hold the container long enough to get it from the microwave to your work area that should be close by.
  6. If you haven’t done so already, use your pliers and remove the old wick.
  7. lower the weighted end of the string into the center of the candle.  When the string bends, it has reached the bottom so lift up slightly until the string is straight
  8. Lay your screw driver or something else across the mouth of the jar and make sure the string is still centered.  Put something on the ball of string / extra string so it stays in position.  I found I could move the ball around and the weight of the ball was usually enough.  Another time I put a pair of pliers across the string so the weight of the pliers would hold the string in place.

Now if you want to consolidate candles, do the above to the first candle, let it cool (if you want), and then heat the next candle and poor it into the first one.  Don’t forget to remove the old wick and weight.  Take your time, be safe, the wax will not cool fast.  So here is the second candle.  The wick weight is buried under the wax so I will remove it once the wax is molten.  If it were exposed or close to the surface, I would dig it out.

Here is is after I melted it, removed the anchor and poured it into the first candle.

After a little over an hour, the candle has cooled enough that I could cut the wick.  The wick will burn down to whatever height the wax can reach and burn so don’t worry about it being too long.  You do need to be patient and let it cool or you will make a big mess while trying to cut it (I made that mistake with another candle where it looked solid but was still way too soft and I made a mess).  You just need to be patient and let it cool all the way is the bottom line.

That’s it.  I like this kind of stuff.  It’s a great distraction from the normal work.  You can combine waxes, try different thicknesses of cotton string, etc.  Have fun!


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Note, go to Ace or your local hardware store for the cotton string.  It should be $4-6 for a ball that will last you a long time considering you are using maybe 6″ at a time.

 

How to do Home Manganese Parkerizing

 

The Following is a Basic Do-it-yourself Manganese Parkerizing Formula

A couple of friends online, Elkaholic and Ding, got me interested in parkerizing years ago and gave me a home brew formula and process steps they use.  I have been tuning that formula for a few years and thought I would share it as I use it both for blades and firearms.  It works great as either the base for a top finish, such as Molyresin or as a finish all by itself.  You may be wondering “why not just buy a premade formula such as the great parkerizing solution from Brownell’s” – the short answer is because tinkering can be fun and more rewarding.  I like to experiment and try different things.   So, with that said, here is the recipe:

Ingredients

– 2 gallons of distilled water  (it gives more consistent results because impurities have been removed)
– 2 “biscuits” of clean 0000 steel wool (thinner steel wool dissolves faster hence the use of 0000 grade)
– 1 cup of Klean Strip brand Phosphoric Prep & Etch (or other phosphoric acid etching solution around 35-45% concentrate per the Prep & Etch MSDS sheet)
– 6 rounded tablespoons of manganese dioxide (available at pottery supply stores or Amazon)

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Do this outside – never in your house or shop (unless you have a great vent hood).  If you do it indoors, you will likely make stuff rust fast!

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As you can see, I use a camp stove.  For the first couple of years I just used a Coleman stove but that was always a balancing act with my 48″ long stainless pakerizing tank that I used for barreled actions.  I found the above great Camp Chef stove at Amazon and it is fantastic.

Also, be sure to use stainless steel for your tanks.  I watch for sales or buy stuff off eBay.  The big cooker above is from Walmart and the rectangular pan shown below is from Amazon and is normally the water pan for buffet lines.

For tongs to move stuff around, use solid stainless.  I tried the plastic ones and they can leave a plastic residue on blasted surfaces and mess up your finish.

Just like baking, if you want more of the solution, take the recipe and multiply it by two, four or however many multiples you want. Just be sure you have a place to store it when done.  I use 5 gallon jugs and label them.

Steps to Follow

  1. Add acid to water in a stainless pan/pot and heat to 190F – don’t boil and waste it.  I use a baking thermometer clipped to the side of the pan.
  2. Spray each wool biscuit with brake cleaner to remove oils and allow each time to dry
  3. As the solution warms shred the steel wool into the liquid and add the manganese dioxide
  4. Let the mix simmer and dissolve the steel wool before adding parts
  5. I always blast my parts before I parkerize them – I’ve heard guys tell about using a wire brush on a buffer or drill press as well but I’ve not tried that.  Blasting removes the oxides and exposes the bare steel.
  6. Make sure your parts are very, very clean and degreased — only handle with rubber gloves after they are cleaned or oils from your skin can mess things up
  7. You can suspend your parts in the liquid with stainless wire.  Leave them until the fizzing stops or about 30-40 minutes.  The time varies.DSC_0027
  8. Rinse the parts with boiling water thoroughly to remove the acid.
  9. Spray parts with WD40 to get the water away from the steel
  10. Wipe down with oil or apply whatever secondary finish you want – don’t do both 🙂  If you are going to apply a finish on top of the parkerized surface, use acetone or brake cleaner to remove any oils and then follow their instructions.

Cleaning Up

When you are done, let your mixture cool and strain the liquid through a coffee filter into a plastic can for future use. I use a blue kerosene 5 gallon container because it is a different color from all my other 5 gallon containers plus I label it.  Point being, you do not want to get confused and pour this stuff in when you meant to use a fuel, etc.

The precipitate, the stuff on the bottom, should be scooped onto a shallow pan, allowed to dry and be disposed of as a hazardous waste.  For example, where ever your community collects old paints, batteries, etc.

Equipment and Supplies

Amazon just makes it so easy to buy from them.  I pay for Amazon Prime because I live in a rural area and it is way easier to have stuff delivered than to go hunting for items.  Yes, it costs $99/year but I save that in shipping in just a couple of months because of all the supplies I buy through them plus the free shipping is two days.  I’d say their two day delivery service makes it in two business days to overwhelming majority of the time plus they are very good about handling returns and providing great customer service.

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Camp Chef EX60LW Explorer 2 Burner Outdoor Camping Modular Cooking Stove (Lawn & Patio)

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Being one of Camp Chef’s 14” cooking systems, the Explorer is very versatile and can be equipped with many different Camp Chef accessories, from the Professional Grill Box to the Italia Artisan Pizza Oven. This is also a perfect stove for emergency preparedness because of its portability and can provide for 15 hours of cooking time on one 20 lb propane tank (not included).

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– Cooking Area: 448 sq. in.
– Cooking Height: 29″
– Total Output: 60,000 BTU
– Weight: 36 lbs.


Features:

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