I've finally graduated from the "melting wax in an old steel can in a pot of water" technique to a bona fide, honest-to-goodness double-boiler setup. Dipping the cheese directly in the wax is slightly trickier than brushing it on, but it produces a smoother "shell" around the wheel, gets more even coverage, and ends up looking just so much nicer. The outside is a smooth surface, rather than all those rough brush strokes.
A few points to remember:
- Don't run out of water! As I got low on wax, it started boiling. I lifted the top pot out and found the bottom had boiled off all the water. Whoops!
- Watch out for steam burns!
- Warm wax is slippery! Just be uber-careful not to drop the cheeese in the pot of hot wax, for obvious reasons...
- Wax Paper can indeed catch on fire! 'Nuff said on that topic.
- Wax vapors can ignite! So make sure you're working in a well-ventilated area.
- Remember to chill the cheese before waxing! I always forget this step, and it makes a huge difference in the workability of the whole thing. If the cheese is cold, the wax cools and hardens on it faster, making it a much easier process. I ended up having to put the wheels in the freezer for a few minutes between each coat.