Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Candle wax for pickup potting?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by LutherBurger, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013
    NYC
    I've never tried this before, but I would like to pot an annoyingly microphonic bridge pickup with paraffin wax. I have everything I need in my kitchen... except the wax.

    None of my local grocery or hardware stores sell paraffin. I can, however, get a box of plain white Shabbat (Jewish sabbath) candles -- which I assume are paraffin -- inexpensively at the grocery store. I'm considering melting some of these candles down, removing the wicks from the liquid wax, and dunking the pickup.

    Have you potted a pickup with candle wax? Can you offer advice or other recommendations? Do you think a divine hand will guide me through the process, or will it smite me upside the head?

    Thanks for your help.
     
    troy2003 likes this.

  2. milocj

    milocj Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Aug 21, 2005
    Michigan
    Is it a Tele bridge pickup with the plate on the bottom? If it is you may be able to get away with a couple of small bits of beeswax (available at a craft store like Michael's) and then heating it with a blow dryer until the wax melts under the plate.

    I think most potting is done with a mix of beeswax and paraffin.
     
    LutherBurger likes this.

  3. Snook

    Snook Tele-Meister

    277
    Sep 17, 2015
    Ohio
    I've seen melted colored candles cause corrosion on brass candlesticks.... Plain parrafin should be ok I think.... used to find it at hardware stores that carried canning supplies (like Ball jars and such).... and years ago you could find it at filling stations (we made candles in Boy Scouts and I think that's where we bought it, since one of the petroleum companies made it?).
     
    LutherBurger likes this.

  4. Bortyeast

    Bortyeast Tele-Holic

    617
    Dec 9, 2012
    Televille
    Yes Snook, that was Gulf Oil Co.

    I've potted with candles before. Worked ok. I've also used melted crayons. Did the job just fine. Looked odd, and I brushed the crayon wax rather than dip. 4 or 5 coats if I remember right.
     
    LutherBurger likes this.

  5. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013
    NYC
    Thanks for the reply. Yes, it is a Tele bridge pickup with a metal baseplate, but I'd prefer to go all the way with the potting.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.

  6. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Tele-Holic

    925
    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
    telemnemonics and LutherBurger like this.

  7. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013
    NYC
    Thank you.

    Just melt them in a jar and then remove the wicks, correct? Or is there something my plan is missing?
     

  8. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Tele-Holic

    925
    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
    You may ruin a ton of candles doing this. Why not go to the grocery store and look for paraffin wax in the baking section? I believe its used for canning and other things. Gulf Wax is I think the most common product.
     
    LutherBurger likes this.

  9. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013
    NYC
    A ton of these candles only costs about $3. I've looked and asked in every grocery, hardware, and drug store in the neighborhood, and paraffin just ain't there. Kinda makes me wonder whether it's been banned in NYC, which wouldn't surprise me.
     
    Zepfan likes this.

  10. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Holic

    740
    May 29, 2016
    Kansas
    From what I've heard (but thankfully never experienced) parrafin wax is highly flammable at high temperatures or over direct heat. So you want to be careful how you melt it. Double boiler. Then if you get the wax too hot you can ruin your pickups. So you have to keep it below 140 degrees which is tough on a stove.
     
    LutherBurger likes this.

  11. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013
    NYC
    Yeah, I've read up on how to do it, and I already have all the necessary equipment. All that's missing is the wax.
     

  12. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    Mar 3, 2003
    NJ via TX
    use gulf wax (paraffin), online for cheap, about $4 for a pound.

    [​IMG]
     

  13. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 14, 2005
    Nueces Strip
    I recently repotted a humbucker that had been left in my vehicle in the summer, in Texas.
    Anyway, after reading a few articles, apparently desirable to be able to pull a vacuum on the process.
    I used a Ball jar and a few electrical and plumbing fittings to tightly connect the jar to a 1" shop vac hose.
    I left the pickup in the jar filled with cLear lacquer for 1-2 hours as recommended.
    The is supposed to pull all the air bubbles from the windings.
    Seems to work very well.
    I'd post a picture but can't from my phone.
    Heck, if you have a shop vac with a 1"hose I'll send you the whole contraption for the cost of shipping.
    I won't need it anymore because I've learned my lesson about leaving pickups in the sun, in a car, in Texas, in the summer.
     
    Alamo, LutherBurger and Staypuft1652 like this.

  14. Amby

    Amby Tele-Holic

    I really admire Rob DiStefano for the way he constantly offers advice to anyone here who has a query regarding the building of pickups. Well done Rob.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017

  15. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013
    NYC
    Thank you for the offer, but I've already formulated a plan for creating a vacuum jar, if I choose to go that route. My wife doesn't know about it, but her beloved Dyson Stick will be joining the party. I'll just have to wait until she's not home. :)
     
    Staypuft1652 likes this.

  16. jvin248

    jvin248 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    You'll want vacuum. If you're doing it.

    large mouth pickle jar, fitting for a hose on the top of the lid, put the wax in the open topped jar inside a pan of water (double boiler). Don't leave it unattended. My neighbor when I was a kid burned the kitchen off the back of his house making candles, didn't use a double boiler and it got away from him.

    I use a $5 football pump with the valve reversed (you have to take it apart) and a $2 fish tank air check valve. You can get an autoparts store hand vacuum test pump for '$15' that is probably the next up. Get rubber vacuum hose when you're there as it will take some heat where vinyl will melt or get soft and collapse under vacuum.

    I used paraffin and then paraffin mixed with beeswax 80/20 and I found the mix had more shrink in the jar after cooling than the paraffin alone so I'm not sure the usefulness of the beeswax (I expected the mix to have less shrink in the jar as it cooled, not more). Shrink could crack/pull away and potentially be less effective if doing a lot of pickups.

    Some of the large diameter candle store candles are made with wax beads pressed into form and then coated in liquid wax on the outside to use less wax. You don't know it unless you cut one apart as burning (it goes faster) melts everything on the way down.

    Vacuum potting is a good fix. Regular wax dipping helps but doesn't gig-harden pickups.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
    LutherBurger likes this.

  17. RoyBGood

    RoyBGood Poster Extraordinaire

    I used melted candle wax about 30 years ago on my 1976 Yamaha SG45 with no problems. I read instructions in a recent issue of Guitarist magazine for using clear silicone in a cartridge gun. Sounded ok to me and no heat issues to worry about.
     
    LutherBurger likes this.

  18. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013
    NYC
    If I choose to execute it, my plan will include a mason jar with a two-piece lid, a valve from an old, punctured "space bag", and the wife's Dyson.
     

  19. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    Mar 3, 2003
    NJ via TX
    for a simple but extremely effective vacuum wax potter for pickup coils, the mason jar works well - you can monitor the air bubbles through the glass. a 5/16" x 1" (or so) bolt gets a 1/16" hole drilled through it. drill the jar's lid for the bolt, nut the bolt to the lid with the bolt head inside the jar and use slow set epoxy to seal. put one end of a 16" (or so) length latex tubing over the bolt threads and the other end to an automobile engine hand vacuum pump tester. fully saturates and pots a pickup in less than a minute.
     

  20. ndcaster

    ndcaster Friend of Leo's

    Nov 14, 2013
    Indiana
    Rob's potting is very tidy, by the way. No goop!
     

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