Friday, May 21, 2010

Ink Blot #10: New Wax Seal Lighter

I've been hunting around for the best kind of lighter for doing wax seals, as I've been doing a LOT of them lately. I've tried matches, candles, butane camping lighters, cigarette lighters, and in a moment of desperation, even a propane torch. Though they all kiiiiiinda work, the butate lighter was the best. However, after burning through several of my wife's butane candle lighters, I wanted to find something more ideal specifically for the intention of doing wax seals.

I found this lighter at Home Depot for $6, and it works the fastest of anything I've seen. I can heat up the wax in about 5 seconds, and be done and sealed in about 10 seconds total. It's a wind-proof flexible neck, refillable butane lighter, with a butane window and a built in LED (why?). It even came with extra butane to refill it.

Check out the vid to see the lighter in action. Pretty wild! It melts the wax fast, so it takes a little getting used to (as you see from my first seal!), but if you're working to do a bunch of seals in a row like I often do, this thing is pretty handy.

Link to YouTube for iPhones and full-screen viewing!

9 comments:

  1. More impressive than the lighter you use is your technique! It makes so much sense now how you get such consistent wax seal results. I've been dripping my wax onto the paper, and it was a revelation when I saw you actually put the stick to the paper and smudge it. Thanks!

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  2. Why thank you ;) I have had a bit of practice...since I've posted my first blog of the wax stamps I've done somewhere around 300 seals! It's a blast and I plan to do them for a loooong time! The smudging thing definitely helps with consistency, you see the wax stick itself is very hot, and depending on how long you leave it touching the paper will determine how much wax goes on the page....it's much more predictable than dripping alone, though inevitably there will be some dripping that's nearly unavoidable.

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  3. I bought that same lighter for my grill. The LED light would come in handy for lighting the grill in the dark, but it isn't really needed (the benefits of cheap electronics). The only problem I had was that I couldn't refill it. It wouldn't take the fuel that came with it or a Ronson butane refill.

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  4. A cigar torch lighter would do the trick, and they are refillable, of course price range is higher than a $6.00 lighter, but you can find torch lighters in twenty dollar range if you search around.

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  5. A cigar torch lighter would do the trick, and they are refillable, of course price range is higher than a $6.00 lighter, but you can find torch lighters in twenty dollar range if you search around.

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  6. Why thank you ;) I have had a bit of practice...since I've posted my first blog of the wax stamps I've done somewhere around 300 seals! It's a blast and I plan to do them for a loooong time! The smudging thing definitely helps with consistency, you see the wax stick itself is very hot, and depending on how long you leave it touching the paper will determine how much wax goes on the page....it's much more predictable than dripping alone, though inevitably there will be some dripping that's nearly unavoidable.

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  7. Interesting - I don't think of sealing as something that says "speed". Just like writing with a fountain pen it is all about taking time, putting thought into what you are doing and stepping away from the high speed internet world and slowing down. I also wouldn't want my children going near a torch like that! I guess if you have a need to make a seal in seconds this works! Do remember to keep your seal on the wax until it has cooled (not completely, but to the touch) - this keeps the impression crisp and clear.

    I think melting in wax spoons is much more in the spirit of wax sealing - be it over a tea light, spirit lamp, open fire, woodburning stove or Aga - it does take a minute, but it feels right and my children can safely use wax seals, learning from me just as I did from my parents and grandparents.

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  8. I appreciate your feedback here. I wasn't raised doing wax seals so I figured out the lighter trick all on my own. At the time I made this video (nearly a year ago), I was doing about 10-15 wax seals at a sitting, so speed was an important factor to me. I agree the lighter probably does take away some of the tradition of the wax seals. The spoon method of doing a wax seal vs. the lighter method is probably equivalent to using a fountain pen vs. a dip pen....both are 'antiquated', but enjoyable in their own form.

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