Wooden Wicks 101

Wooden wicks are wicked cool but can also be wicked sensitive.


In our signature glass jar candles we use a traditional braided cotton wick, made from untreated, organic cotton. We love them for their simple and classic aesthetic, but mostly because they are pretty easy for candle parents to care for. Over the years we have also introduced the somewhat trendy, wooden wick in some of our favorite and new products like our gold tins, and our designer vessels made by Michelle Barrett Ceramics. 


Wooden wicks have gained popularity for a few reasons, the crackling sound you hear as the wood burns and the wide teardrop-shaped flame, provide a fun and unique burning experience. We also love that ours are made in the United States of wood from Forest Stewardship Council approved mills, which aligns with our values around producing clean burning and sustainable products. With all their coolness, wooden wicks also come with some tricky characteristics, which makes caring for the wick super important to ensure it burns correctly and you get the most out of your candles. 

The key to candle success lies in the process. 


All candles require care, but the wooden wicked variety can be especially tricky to handle. Thankfully, the most common issues you may experience are easy to avoid and overcome. We’re here to help you keep that wooden wick cracklin’. 


Read on for some tips and tricks for burning wooden wick candles.

Problem #1: Tunneling

Symptoms: there is an indent, hole, or cavity around the wick is and the wax is not melting all the way to the edges of the container. 

Cause:
  • A wick works by conducting enough heat to begin melting the wax immediately around it, that liquid is then "wicked" up through the wood (or cotton) and then acts as an accelerant to the flame. As the wax heats up, it melts more and more wax in a perfect circle around the wick called a melt pool. Eventually that process creates a full melt pool across the entire surface of the candle and as the candle continues to burn the wax is depleted and the wick burns down as well. When you blow the candle out the wax solidifies evenly across the surface of the candle and is then ready for you to light it yet again.

    Solution:
  • If the flame’s heat doesn’t melt the entire surface of the candle, the wax near the walls of the vessel will remain unmelted, while the middle part burns normally. The heat from the wick can no longer create a full melt pool and continues to burn in the "track" that was created by the previous burn. Therefore you should never extinguish your candle before there is a full melt pool across the top, that can take 1-2 hours especially the first time you light your candle.
  • We extensively test our products to ensure you get the perfect burn and prevent tunneling by conducting several tests to ensure we use the correct wick for each of our products. If you experience this problem it likely means you need to let your candle burn longer in each session.

Problem #2: Self-Extinguishing

Symptoms: you have successfully burned the candle before, but now it won't stay lit for more than 30 minutes at a time. 

Cause:

  • When a candle has burned for too long, your wick will have a lot of excess carbon built up on the wick that prevents it from burning correctly in the future. When this happens the wood cannot wick the accelerant through to feed the flame and it will not stay lit. 

    Solution:
  • To prevent this, and as a general safety precaution, we recommend burning candles for no more than 4 hours at a time. Even if you have not exceeded the recommended burn time you still may see that the wick has a blackened and splintered tip which needs to be removed. Simply trim the wick or remove residue by pinching and breaking off the burnt area. Do this only when the wax has cooled and there is no active flame. Never let any foreign body, including pieces of charred wick, to remain in the wax. 

Problem #3: No FLame

Symptoms: a brand new candle won't light at all, or only for a moment.

Cause:

  • Sometimes a brand new candle comes with a wick that has slightly too much wood exposed from the wax. When that happens, the wood is unable to wick accelerant to the flame and will not stay lit.

    Solution:
  • All you need to do is trim down the wick, just grab some strong scissors. We recommend trimming the wick to no more than ¼ inch maximum, and ideally around 1/8 inch high, when it's new and before every burn.


Now you should have everything you need to troubleshoot your wooden wick candle. Success? Still having trouble? Let us know! Send us a message at hello@notedcandles.com or start a chat with us using the button in the lower right corner of the screen.


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