View Full Version : Dipping: Paraffin vs. rosin/paraffin mix?

Ben Brewcat
03-13-2010, 02:40 PM
In the final analysis, how much durability does the rosin add (I assume that's the benefit)? Since it's so costly, and I've seen folks who use paraffin only, how'd it turn out?

03-14-2010, 09:40 AM
I would guess that the rosin add a hardness to the finish. I have hopes and plans on building my own dipping tank this year.

Ben Brewcat
03-14-2010, 11:29 AM
That's another question: if I ask a local welder/fabricator to make a tank, what do I need to let them know (what metal/weld type)? Or do I just say "leakproof, square and these dimensions"? I have burners.

Oh, P.S. can you "refurbish" equipment in need of repainting in the tank without stripping?

03-15-2010, 07:09 AM
That's another question: if I ask a local welder/fabricator to make a tank, what do I need to let them know (what metal/weld type)? Or do I just say "leakproof, square and these dimensions"? I have burners.

Any good welder/fabricator will ask you what material. Nothing too specific... but they'll want to know carbon steel, stainless steel, or aluminium.

Aluminium is expensive... skip

Carbon Steel (mild steel) is cheap, but will potentially rust out quickly, and the addition of heat may cause a reaction with the wax+rosin and contaminate stuff.

Stainless (304) is probably the best choice. Any decent fab shop will know how to work with it, and it isn't too expensive. (ok, it's more than mild steel... but it's not outragious). Remember, thicker is better. Might want to see if they can do something upto 1/16" thick. Not because you'll burn through, but it'll be stronger.

03-15-2010, 08:23 AM
I planned on making mine out of somethings that I owned. 1/4? for the bottom plate 1/6+ for the sides. It helps when you know someone that owns a fab shop the welding I planned on doing.

03-15-2010, 01:33 PM
"...Oh, P.S. can you "refurbish" equipment in need of repainting in the tank without stripping?"

The paint blisters in the rosin/paraffin(or beeswax) tank.

I stuck a yellow painted one in the tank one night by accident - didn't realize it was painted. It blistered like crazy, however, it has been out there for years and seems to be holding up nicely.

Also, the rosin costs me about the same price as paraffin, therefore, I just buy it and use it. If they both cost about the same, and I need to fill the tank anyway, there's no reason for me not to use the rosin.

03-15-2010, 02:48 PM
That's another question: if I ask a local welder/fabricator to make a tank, what do I need to let them know (what metal/weld type)? Or do I just say "leakproof, square and these dimensions"? I have burners.

1/4" thick COR-TEN would be my choice of steel to use. It's less expensive, and much easier to weld, than stainless and will last a life time, even if left outside. Make sure it's seal welded inside and out.

03-15-2010, 10:52 PM
I just finished dipping 200 deeps and 100 tops and bottoms in my new tank(three days). I used 10 gauge plate for the sides and 1/4" for the bottom. the sides extend 6 inches down below the bottom and this greatly aids in heat transfer to the tank, it also keeps the hot wax that boils over away from the flames. Just wipe some of the inevitable boilover on the outsides with a paper towel and she ain't ever going to rust. the lid flips over and becomes the drip / drain tray. an expanded screen rack pushes the floating wood down and some wire in the bottom stopped the scorching of the wood that was pressed against the very hot tank bottom. The tank size I used is 18 x 24 x 30 deep. this allows me to dip 3 deeps, 10 covers or 7 of my cleated bases at one time, I would not change it in any way. I bought 300pounds of wax and will need to add more for the next run. Only had 1 very bad boil over/ fire (THIS MUST BE DONE OUTSIDE). I had to enlarge the gas port slightly on my turkey fryer so as to maintain the proper heat. I will never paint again.

03-16-2010, 06:20 AM
So, inquiring minds want to know... what does the parafin/resin do that wax alone will not? How essential is the resin? What exactly is its role in the whole world of hive preservation in hot wax dipping? Somehow this discussion flew from those questions to what metal should be used for the dip tanks. Excellent discussion on metals and such, but anybody got legitimate answers for the original question?

03-16-2010, 08:28 AM
Where did you pick up your rosin?

bend or
03-16-2010, 01:46 PM
Has anyone ever used this process before assembling the hive boxes? Or does the process work better on the finished product?

03-16-2010, 10:45 PM
I asked the board recently about the purpose of the rosin and was told "because that is how it's done", and "it changes the wax to something the bees like better" . I have also been told that some boxes are stickey after dipping. I opted not to use any rosin and dip in palm wax at 325 degrees. Ask me if this works in about 5 years and I will have a better idea.


03-17-2010, 12:42 AM
Where did you pick up your rosin?

I know of two places:
Mann Lake: The price on the website is just listed as a number ($2.59), which they informed me was the per lb. price for less than 500 lbs..http://www.mannlakeltd.com/ProductDetail.asp?idproduct=HD-910

Swans Candle Supply (Lakewood, WA): Don't be scared off by their website price at $7.95 per pound. That's their prepackaged bags of small pieces for adding scent to candles. If you call and ask what the bulk price is they'll sell 50 lbs. or more for $2.00/lb.. Pretty good deal. I live in western Washington and was driving by this weekend and picked up 50 lbs., but they do ship worldwide. Here's a link to the main page. Just search for 'rosin'. Linking to searched items doesn't seem to work on this site.


03-17-2010, 03:04 AM
Gum Resin or pine tar is the waste product remaining after turpentine is distilled from long leaf pine stumps and timber waste. Pine knots, aka fat pine, the source of gum resin, can in the absence of forest fire remain on the ground for a century after the sap wood has rotted. Pine resin is perhaps nature's best wood preservative. During the days of wooden ships, pine tar was called “navel stores,” and smeared over ships’ rigging, mast, spars, and sails. I suspect that between gum resin and paraffin wax the better part of wood preservation gained from dipping woodenware; is the protection gum resin imparts, and that the melted paraffin, besides being a water repellant, acts as a carrier to impregnate the wood with resin.

Be warned, fat pine burns with the ferocity of kerosene. It isn’t as easy to ignite as say gasoline, but it burns with a brilliant, roaring flame. This is way wooden navies feared fire. Be careful, remember the warning to conduct this operation OUTSIDE, and have a tight fitting hinged lid on your tank that will quickly smother any fire. Water will only serve to burn you badly by flashing to steam in the dipping tank and blowing flaming napalm over everything. Finally, we all agree the honeybee evolved to live in hollow trees, well gun resin is the distilled essence of trees and very similar to the bees’ own propolis