Every time I burn a candle, I have a bit of wax left over. If I saved the left over wax, I could soon have enough to make a new candle. This got me to thinking about candlewicks. So a quick internet search revealed that candlewicks are very available and inexpensive. You can buy 300 or 400 hundred feet for well under twenty dollars.
There are many types of wicks on the market, so it gets a little confusing as to which to buy. But consider the following. Large diameter wicks typically result in a larger flame, a larger pool of melted wax, and the candle burning faster. Small wicks burn slower, but give less light. Candlewicks are normally made out of braided cotton, and may contain a stiff core. Zinc is often used for this core, since lead has been banned. Other core stiffeners are paper and synthetic fibers.
Most candlewicks are impregnated or coated with wax to provide the initial fuel source when the candle is lit. As the wick is consumed during the process of burning a candle, the real fuel for the flame is the melted wax.
Some wicks are braided flat, so that they curl back into the flame as they burn, thus making them self-consuming. Many wicks require regular trimming with scissors (or a specialized wick trimmer), usually to about one-quarter inch this promotes slower, steady burning, and also prevents smoking. Our ancestors had special scissors that were used to trim the excess wick without extinguishing the flame. .
Candles can be made of paraffin, beeswax (this makes the finest candles), gel (a mixture of resin and mineral oil), some plant waxes (generally palm, carnauba, bayberry, or soybean wax), and tallow. Tallow candles were one of the earliest types, but are very smoky and don’t burn clean.
The good thing about having stocked candlewick is that it can be used for many different types of homemade lights, from tallow candles to vegetable oil lamps. I will write a post on how to make your own wicks, but as cheap as they are, I recommend you buy some now.