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Author: Subject: Best solvent to disolve Beeswax?
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[*] posted on 3-10-2017 at 15:56
Best solvent to disolve Beeswax?


I purchased a solvent labeled paraffin, and tried to dissolve some beeswax in it. Not much happened.

What I am after is a safe(ish) solvent that will dissolve beeswax, i use a plaster material called herculite II. Its a really good quality fine plaster used for ornaments etc, its main downside is it needs waterproofing. if you dont water proof it and it gets wet then it starts to fall apart after a while.

The Herculite is fairly dense especially as i give it a quick blast in the vac chamber when casting. So i am wanting to dissolve some wax so it is absorbed into the plaster once it has dried, its to act as a waterproof/ resistant barrier.

Its nothing major, just i have started making soap dishes to go with the soap i make, I though a beeswax coating might make the dish last longer.

Rubbing wax into the plaster on its own, dosnt seem to help that much. So any ideas on a good solvent to use, one that would evaporate to leave a thin wax coating just under the surface?
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Corrosive Joeseph
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[*] posted on 3-10-2017 at 16:11


Beeswax is soluble in ether, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride and vegetable oils,it is sparingly soluble in benzene and carbon disulfide when cold but insoluble in water and mineral oil. (Ref. 0014)

Source - http://lipidbank.jp/cgi-bin/detail.cgi?id=WWA2101


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[*] posted on 3-10-2017 at 16:26


Why not just soak your plaster pieces in molten beeswax? You could even use your vac chamber for better penetration. Afterwards you could use a hairdryer or hot air gun to remove excess wax.



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[*] posted on 3-10-2017 at 17:19


Molten beeswax dosnt seem to penetrate very much. I was not aware vegetable oil would dissolve it... This is great news because of the end use. many thanks for this information, i am much happier using oil considering the end use.

Herculite II seems to go very dense once dry, i dont want much of a layer of the wax, hence why i thought of dissolving it. Again thax for the heads up on oil, this is ideal :D, i really appreciate the information, especially as I sell some the soap in the dishes.
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[*] posted on 3-10-2017 at 18:24


Of course, the vegetable oil won't evaporate after you're done (you said you wanted the solvent to evaporate in your original post, but this might not be needed in the case of vegetable oil).

You could also try using a "drying oil" like linseed oil to form a crosslinked varnish that would add extra protection.




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[*] posted on 3-10-2017 at 19:25


Turpentine is a solvent for beeswax, especially when warm. 50/50 beeswax and caranuba wax dissolved in turpentine makes a hard water-resistant polish for wood....

[Edited on 4-10-2017 by bobm4360]
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[*] posted on 3-10-2017 at 20:45


What about an epoxy clear coat? I have some that is a 2 part 1:1 that is glossy and satin smooth after drying on a solid surface, it absorbs into surfaces like particle board or flake board and leaves the surface looking basically the same, but has a slight gloss and it water proof - a second coat on the porous material will give a gloss finish.

Have you tried heating the plaster along with the bees wax? The plaster may need a small imperfection (crack/hole) in the plaster to allow for a penetration point for the wax or it may need to be put in the vacuum chamber while both are hot.
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[*] posted on 6-10-2017 at 17:31


Acetone is the solvent that they use to extract paraffin from tar. But since it'll dissolve paraffin wax for sure, there's a good chance of it working on beeswax. Failing that, MEK would be worth a try if you have any to test with. Also, n-heptane would seem to be a good bet. If you're distilling ether from starting fluid, n-heptane is the fraction that comes over at around 90C. Its properties seem to be exactly what you need otherwise.

[Edited on 10/7/17 by Melgar]




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[*] posted on 7-10-2017 at 00:24


Most organic solvents will mix with molten beeswax.
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[*] posted on 7-10-2017 at 09:46


bobm4360 is certainly right about turpentine.
It was widely used for dissolving the materials to make beeswax based ointments in the 19th century, (at least according the the USA published formularies I have seen.)

However I wonder if beeswax would have long term stability in that situation, or if it might emulsify or dissolve partly in the soap residues it will be exposed to. You don't want some weird sludge forming on your soap dishes and alarming the customers, even if it is harmless. And you don't want the beeswax leeching out of the pores and leaving your work vulnerable to moisture.

I think the drying oil suggestion posted above might be worth considering too. It would certainly be easy to coat them with some tung oil dissolved in paint thinner. After it polymerizes the coating will have actual chemical bonds holding it together instead of the intramolecular bonds in beeswax. That should really make it stay put.

Those drying oils are pretty tough once they have cured too. I use them to control rust on wrought iron outdoors, and it lasts pretty well.

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[*] posted on 7-10-2017 at 12:09


tung oil and veg oil look the best candidates so far, i will try out most the recommendations. The soap is sold, so it is covered by rules and regs, part of which include having the method approved. ANYTHING that taints or reacts with the soap will give me problems.

Simple solution is use another plaster, however the Herculite II ticks every box apart from not handling moisture well, but its cheap enough to make customized dishes in one offs and yet gives a superb finish. I tried molten beeswax on its own, for some reason even with alot of polishing off, it didnt perform too well.

Veg oil I like because I can simply use one the oils in the soap recipe, that gets past a number of the regulation problems. yes I could buy soap dishes, but the point of it is so the customer can have it customized.

i appreciate the ideas and suggestions given, it will take a couple of weeks to try them all out and see how they perform over a couple of weeks.

Thank you again
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