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Hey There,

I've been keeping bees for a couple years now and have collected quite a few gallon bags of combs that I want to melt down. The couple of times I've tried, it's been a miserable failure. I don't have a solar melter, so I'd like to produce moderately clean wax without any specialized equipment. I've heard about soaking the crushed combs first, but I don't want to waste anymore on something that might not work. So, how do you folks process small amounts of wax?
 

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sparky5982:
A solar wax melter is the way to go; in fact, it's the ONLY thing I use as the materials were free and it doesn't cost me a cent to run!!! Also has the added benefit that if I want to get a lighter grade of wax, that I return it to the melter and let is run thru again and let it "sit" for a time.......this greatly assists in bleaching the wax further and again.....no further costs other than time. I've got wax that went in as old darkened black brood comb and the resulting wax has been nearly white when finished. :banana02:

A solar wax melter is also easy to build; basically a box with metal pan with diverter to hold the scrap comb on the high side and draining to a lower side to collect finished wax. A framed glass top over this; essentially a cold frame but on a smaller scale.
 

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put them in a pot with water do not fill pot more than 70% about 50/50
water and bur comb or cappings bring to a very slow boil be very very carefull
spilling wax and water on a hot fire is almost explosive. wax heated to the
flame or smoking point and then has water poured on it does explode.

when you have a nice slow boil going for a few minutes turn of heat source and let cool junk will settle to the bottom higest concentrations of wax at
the top. just scrape the junk of the bottom and repeat the process as many
times as needed.

you will end up with a good slab of wax.
you may also like to scoop out slum gum with a small hand sive while it is boiling this will quicken the process and give you some nice little fire starters when the "mini cow turds" dry out
 

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I'm a big fan of the double boiler system at this time of year when the solar melter just won't work with the suns rays.

Keep in mind that any pot or kettle that you use when rendering wax is not much good for any thing else after wards. You just can't seem to get all that waxy film out of them.

I went to the Goodwill store and bought a 10 quart pot. I found a 6 quart one that fits inside of it nicely. I needed to know how much water to put in the 10 quart one and not over flow it with the full 6 quart one setting inside it. Once I found that level I marked it with a round punch.

We heat the house with wood so I set the 10 quart pot on the wood burner fill to the mark with water. Fill the 6 quart pot full of the wax I want to melt and place in the 10 quart pot.
Once the wax is all melted I pour it thru window screen into a small plastic pail. That takes out the big chunks of junk. I then remelt it and pour it thru a paper towel laying on the screen so it is filtered even more. The paper towel filter makes a good fire starter. In fact I sell them to my hunting friends who carry them in their emergency packs for a dollar a full sheet.

:D Al
 

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Ok, this has been a confusing thing for me the bees work off of the foundations and build there own wax combs right?:confused:
How long can you let them use the same wax combs ? Or do you remove them every year? Even if you dont have to remove them could you for the wax or would that just set the girls to far back the next year, imagine its allot of work building them combs.
Rachel:viking:
 

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Ok, this has been a confusing thing for me the bees work off of the foundations and build there own wax combs right?:confused:
How long can you let them use the same wax combs ? Or do you remove them every year? Even if you dont have to remove them could you for the wax or would that just set the girls to far back the next year, imagine its allot of work building them combs.
Rachel:viking:
it is a lot of work for them and most comercial operations will not do it
but i think the replacement of comb on a regular basis is very good for the
colonies. back in australia i used to replace about 30% of combs each year
this seemed to keep my hives in a very healthy state without any chems
at all.also i believe that while i did not make as much honey in theory
the honey was of a better quality because there was not as much old
stuff in the combs come extraction time.

my process was to strip the hives of all old honey in late spring and replace
with brand new combs which they would build out and fill with fresh summer
honey.

old frames after extraction were dipped in a half 44 gallon drum of boiling water and then the "slum gum" was boiled again normally in an old potato
sack weighted to the bottom of a complete 44 gallon drum so that all the
wax would float up through the burlap sack and settle on the top.
after it cooled and solidified it was ready to take to the buyer or store.

only use it for wax frames no plastic the theory is that You will make more honey by not doing this on a regular basis because the the bees need 10
pounds of honey to make one pound of wax plus it takes a long time uses
lots of fuel and can be a fire/burn hazard

the guy at the bottom is "dipping" the frames to remove the wax, steralise
and clean the frame














 
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