Bayberry Candle Wax Update

I was just ordering a supply of bayberry wax (as we don't have the bushes to harvest from yet!) and came across someone on e-bay selling "PURE" bayberry wax

The ad has wrong information. It says bayberry wax can't burn by itself. Really? I guess all of those colonial people did it wrong, or just imagined the flame that came from the candles they made. Silly colonial and pioneer people!

The e-bay ad also said that since bayberry wax can't burn by itself, he "thinned" it with 30% "green candle wax". First, bayberry wax is naturally a light pine green (the top pic is the pic he had on his ad - obviously not green, even with his addition of "green candle wax" ... ... the second pic with this posting is real bayberry wax with the real natural light pine green color). Second, I've already pointed out that bayberry wax WILL burn by itself. Third, he has the wax listed as "pure" but pure is 100%, and therefore, he lied. Fourth, he said he thinned it with "green candle wax" ... uh, what kind of wax? Paraffin? Soybean? Beeswax? Stearic Acid? Geez. Again, she lied. She. He. Whatever. Mike Fleming is the seller.

Please be careful when buying candle wax. Don't trust sources who obviously don't know what they're talking about, and don't get sucked into lies. When in doubt, ask someone who makes LOTS of candles and has LOTS of experience.

I'll admit, that's not me. It's been years since I've made candles regularly, but I've kept up with info, and do my research.

We're making regular candles this weekend (from a candle-making kit using wax crystals). I'll try to remember to take pix.

Bayberry Candle Wax

Someone asked for info on how to harvest bayberries to make candle wax. (Pic of bayberry bush in Fall to the right.) Some basic info:

The berries of both American bayberry and English bog myrtle, when boiled in water, produce myrtle wax, which is composed of stearic, palmitic, myristic, and oleaic acids. This is used in making bayberry-scented soaps and bayberry candles, which are fragrant, more brittle than bees' wax candles, and are virtually smokeless. Four pounds of berries produce approximately one pound of wax. A briskly stimulating shaving cream was also made from this bayberry wax.

Updated Feb 2011: Understand the above pic is NOT bayberry, it's BARberry so I'm adding the following pic to this posting. Thanks Brighid!

The wax's modern medicinal uses were first discovered and came into use in 1722, and included the making of surgeon's soap plasters. The water that the berries were boiled in during wax extraction, when boiled down to an extract, has been used in the North Country of England and Scotland for centuries as a treatment for dysentery. Narcotic properties are also attributed to bayberry wax. Note: It can also cause miscarriages so be careful and completely research if you decide to take in bayberry.

Here are 2 good links about using bayberry for candles:

When making bayberry candles, be sure to keep the candle small, like the size of a tea-light or votive. OR dip a cotton wick in to make tapers. Making jar candles is really not a good idea, unless you have a LOT of practice! Bayberry wax can be a bit more brittle, and burns differently than most candles people are used to. Get samples of pre-made bayberry candles to get the gist.

Once we get our homestead found and bought, and us moved, we'll be planting lots of bayberry bushes. Can't wait!