Recently got a 250gm block of wax that happened to come in a square shape, not the long rectangle that I'm more used to. At that that size I was finding it awkward to work with, so I decided to cut it in half. Put the block on a piece of waxed paper on a board. Found a big ol' cleaver, heated it up a bit and pressed down (using a pot-holder) to cut the thing in half. Did not work out as planned. I suppose I didn't get the metal hot enough, because I ended up with three big pieces and a bunch of shards, of precisely the kind you get if you try to cut a big block of cooking chocolate with a cold knife. I haven't found a good way to use the shards, and am thinking that I'd really like to just melt them back into a block again. Is there anything wrong with this idea, and how would you do that if you were me? I'm assuming maybe I'd just put them in an old pan on low heat on the stove (or maybe on an upside-down waxing iron?) and try to monitor temperature so as not to overheat? Then pour into ... something? Maybe a paper cup that I could tear off afterward?
Wax Shard Misadventure
If you're intent on making a single block, the best way to moderate the temperature while melting it is probably a double boiler. You can make your own by setting a mixing bowl on top of a pot of water with its bottom suspended above the water's surface. Start with cold or slightly warm water, depending on the wax's melting temp, turn the heat on medium, and wait for it to melt, which I assume will be before the water boils.
For a mold, use a waxed paper cup or silicon cupcake pan, or make a mold out of waxed or parchment paper, or line a cup with plastic wrap if a drop of wax doesn't melt it. An iron sounds messy, and I don't know if you'd risk changing the wax's properties if you got it too hot.
I got the same results splitting a 12 ounce block. I'm not particular, though, so I used the small shards and crumbs with dripped wax for hot waxing, and the rest are being used the same as usual--touch and smear or drip, depending on the mood. I just had to watch my fingers with the smaller pieces.
Edited by litterbug - 12/24/13 at 11:16am
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LOL. If you were a regular on the "What are you Drinking Right Now" [and eating right now] thread, you'd be able to infer with pretty high confidence that I know what a double boiler is. And own one. I guess I would have assumed that 100 deg. C. would not be hot enough. Swix recommends a 110 iron temp for their softest HC wax, and I have a medium-hard wax to deal with here. Is this something you tried and it worked? If so, sounds like a great idea.
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Edited by raytseng - 12/24/13 at 11:02am
For future ref. I found the best way to split is to perforate the block. Use an awl or nail or other pointy thing and poke holes all the way through along your split line. Then if you have at it with your cleaver or a chisel/screwdriver or just a prying action (if needed) and it'll split along the line of holes you made