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Pig Fat Candles (and a small problem)  RSS feed

 
Andre Lasle
Posts: 67
Location: Mille Lacs, MN
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About 10 years ago when my wife and I were dating, we made candles- paraffin, melted crayons and some essential oils.
They were beautiful, but wouldn't burn probably, burned the wick down short and then would snuff themselves repeatedly.

We now have American Guinea Hogs and my biggest gripe is the high ratio of fat to muscle (at least 1:1, if not 1.5:1).....

Thankfully, Permaculture is always looking for solutions: Pig-fat candles!!!

We rendered 15 pounds of back fat, melted a bit of some old candles, some crayons for coloring, and a bit of essential oils....

Same problem! Burns for 5 minutes, wick gets short, then they burn out.

We made them in mason jars with commerical wicks.

See attached photos.....

My ratios of fat to old wax differed between candles (higher fat means a softer candle that isn't as stable at room temperature)....
All candles have the same problem.....

Any suggestions?
Candles.jpg
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Lard.jpg
[Thumbnail for Lard.jpg]
 
Mountain Krauss
Posts: 130
Location: Northern California
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Personally, I would just render the fat and cook with it. Lard is wonderful. And if you raised the pigs in a permaculture way, the fat should be very healthy for you. If you don't enjoy lard as I do, there should be a lot of people who do-- if not at farmers markets, then at restaurants.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5907
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
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we used to make candles from scrap wax...both dipped and poured. from what I remember, the size of the wick in proportion to the size of the candle made all of the difference in how they burned. Maybe try a smaller diametor candle if you don't have larger wick. i think, also, if the wick gets too big, then, they will smoke. at least, that is what I remember....good luck...sounds like fun
 
Leila Rich
steward
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I've only used beeswax, which smells like....waxy honey...
Do lard candles smell...porky?
I have this vision of me trying to read by the light of my pig fat candle,
with my nose going 'bacon, ham, roast, bacon, bacon'
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5907
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
365
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
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...on second thought after posting above....I see that your wick does look large, so maybe it is too big and is melting too large a pool of wax/lard, and then snuffing out the flame? or is the candle so soft the wick collapses and needs wired wick?
 
Joe Braxton
Posts: 320
Location: NC (northern piedmont)
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You could try a shallow bowl of melted lard with a few sweet gum balls in it for wicks. An old solution...

link
 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
Posts: 514
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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Do a search on lard lamps. They were very common up to the mid 1800's. They could be quite sophisticated, smoke-free, bright and efficient.
 
Andre Lasle
Posts: 67
Location: Mille Lacs, MN
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UPATE:

Thank you all for your input an suggestions.
I decided to do some "science" and set up some tests....

Since the last clutch of days have been "week"-days, I've only gotten (1) test done:

-Make a candle out of only soy-wax, with the same wicks and vessels (mason jars) i had been using. This will be the "control".

The "control" works, the flame stays lit and makes a nice small pool of melted wax around it.

See below photo, labeled "control".

I also attached a couple photos of the lard-wax candles and their poor-excuses for wicks....

(Next tests will be: Soy-wax with melted crayons, Soy-wax with scented oils and soy-wax with lard, to narrow down which of the 3 additives is the ugly culprit. THEN ON TO TWEAKING THE RECIPE!
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Andrew Parker
pollinator
Posts: 514
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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Review US Patents 3028 and 3030, also search for Argand, Archer, Cornelius, Solar and lard.

You may also appreciate this article:

http://americanenterprise.si.edu/2012/07/a-tour-through-storage-brings-an-innovator-to-light/

which mentions "prairie whales".
 
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