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Name: Howard S.
Status: educator
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2001 - 2002


Question:
We have a Hanukia (candelabrum for Hanukkah), with several layers of glass glued or fused, in some way, together; very modern item. The wax leaked to the second layer, from the top, by way of the holes where the candles are placed. The wax dripped through the candle holes into the "space" (really an incredibly small space) ... somehow there between the top layers of glass which, again, have been fused together just about completely.

So the question is how to break up these little "puddles" of solidified wax which have appeared under each hole for the candles. I cannot really see what freezing or heating the Hanukia would do; ultimately the wax would remain there under the holes where the candles would sit ... and remain there not broken up.

Is there some kind of fluid, acid, not harmful chemical which could break up these little "pockets" of solidified wax under the holes where the candles are placed. The fluid or chemical could be poured into these small candle holes and then the solution could be broken up because the fluid or chemical would "exit" the holes and end up where the wax has ended up ... between the two plates of glass that are fused ... and then break up the wax. In short, how can we remove wax build-up from candles on a candelabra that has gotten between two pieces of glass and where, therefore, you cannot rub it or scrape it off - or heat it off or apply cold/ice to? Is there a chemical? an acid? some other liquid-based removal process that can just, in a sense, "dissolve" the wax that has built up in a spot that one cannot get to with one's fingers or any kind of blade?


Replies:
I believe jet fuel (kerosene) will work pretty well. :) However, you probably do not want to use that. I am under the assumption that this piece of glass is fairly mobile. If it is mobile, put it in the dishwasher. The hot water will melt the wax away. If it is mobile, but too big to fit in the dishwasher use hot water to melt the wax away. Or better yet, draw a bathtub full of HOT water (the hottest setting) place the piece in there and slowly agitate with some sort of object that allows you to keep your hands out of the scalding hot water. The wax should melt away and rise to the top (since most waxes have densities around 90% that of water). Next, wait for the bath water to cool off. Preferably, wait for it to get COLD. Skimming the frozen wax off the top layer of the water will be a trivial matter.

I hope I answered the right question.

-Darin Wagner


I am not sure I have a clear picture of the geometry here, but I have some ideas:

1. DON'T USE ANY ACID. IT WILL NOT WORK AND MAY WELL DO DAMAGE.

2. Freezing will make the wax more brittle and will help you physically remove any wax that you can reach.

3. There are commercial products for removing waxy materials. One I am familiar with is called "Goo Gone". It is very effective in removing wax, chewing gum, etc. Of course, try it out on a spot to make sure you will not damage the Hanukia.

4. "Mineral Spirits", which you can find in any paint or hardware store will also work.

5. If you need a more active solvent, you can try xylene, also available in hardware and paint stores.

In all these cases check to make sure the solvent(s) do not attack the "glue" you mentioned. You may have to repeat the process several times, so be patient.

Happy Hanukkah,

Vince Calder


Howard,

Paraffin (candle) wax is soluble in any kind of hydrocarbon-based paint thinner -- mineral spirits. Though it may take a while to do the job, because the space is so small, I think it might work quite nicely in your application.

Regards,
ProfHoff 383



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