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Making candles in bamboo

by Naomi Saville

Naomi Saville worked in Sierra Leone during 1994. She is currently in Nepal working on behalf of ODA at ICIMOD, Kathmandu.

In Sierra Leone we tried out the bamboo candle moulds described in B&D 14, we used threads hand spun from locally grown cotton as wicks. section of bamboo with inner diameter about 20 mm was used.

Two small slits are cut at each end for holding very thin splinter of bamboo on to which the wick is tied. The cotton string wick is tied from the bottom piece to the ton where the wick will intrude.

THE SIERRA LEONE GREEN PAWPAW BEESWAX MOULD

This was invented by Mr Abu Ansumana.

Take green pawpaw and hollow out the centre, removing the seeds. Try to make a smooth and even surface inside the pawpaw. If the mould will not stand on its own, cut the bottom flat, without spoiling the beeswax cup. 

Pour clean, molten beeswax into the mould and rest it in cool place for few hours until the wax has set hard. The mould can be easily split or the wax may just slip out.

The pawpaw mould could be used to make a candle, (use sufficiently large wick), as described above for bamboo moulds. Otherwise the pawpaw serves as usefully sized, clean container for making beeswax blocks of convenient size.

* Please see the original journal article to see some images showing the stages of making candles in bamboo