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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
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    1,914

    Question

    Ok, comb crushing is mentioned a lot and it sounds so easy. But when I tried to do it, I'm sure I chose the hardest, least productive way. How do you guys do it?

    Waya
    WayaCoyote

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    I use a double bucket strainer. If I have some help, it goes well to have one person cut combs out while the other crushes. I just wad the combs up and squeeze the wax into balls and drop them in the top bucket. With one person, if you want to leave a nice starter row of comb on the top bar, it works well to cut it to leave the starter row and when there is a pile of it in the bucket, I start doing as above, squashing it. But then I have to clean my hands up to cut another batch of comb. I suppose I should use a tub to just cut into and then move it to the bucket, but then I always seem to spill so much on the floor. It's always messy even if you're extracting it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Worthington, Pennsylvania USA
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    1,848

    Post

    Hi Wayacoyote--just did a batch because we sold too much honey. Did not have a lot of comb to crush so just used a potatoe smasher in a big stainless pot, when crushed it looked like a Pennsylvania pothole full of slush. Placed the big pot into the oven with just the light on to provide a low heat source overnight and in the morning the slush was warm. Poured the slush into a bucket with I/2 holes drilled in the bottom and the bucket was lined with a pair of pantyhose first. The holey bucket was sittin on a cut out lid placed upon a solid bottom bucket to catch the drippings of honey--since it was warmed it drained pretty quick. We only got five quarts of honey from this small batch but when you are out of honey five quarts is a lot.
    Rinsed the pantyhose with clear water and will throw the pantyhose and wax into the solar melter next year. Hope this helps!
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Posts
    2,837

    Post

    wayacoyote . . .

    I scrape-n-drain [img]smile.gif[/img]

    I use a Stainless steel fine-wire strainer designed to fit inside a kitchen sink, about 8"w x 12"l x 4" deep. It has "holder" bars that extent from each end to sink edge for support. Mine fits exactly inside a large cook-pot. I place a "frame rest" stick across the middle of strainer, and balance a frame of capped honey on stick. Using a tablespoon, I scrape from top-to-bottom, turn frame around, scrape other side. The foundation REMAINS in frame, ready to go back onto hive for "cleaning" and "drying" .

    After I fill the strainer (about 10 shallows), I cover and let "crushed" comb drain overnight, maybe 48 hrs, bottle next day.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
    Posts
    1,914

    Post

    Thanks everyone,
    Potato masher, eh? I used some of those kitchen strainers/ colanders. The ones I have fit nice over a 5 gallon bucket which I used for settling. You're right, hands get messy, but I guess what I did wasn't any worse than your systems, only I was using very mature comb, so it was stiff.

    Napper, how much comb did it take to get 5 quarts?

    Waya
    WayaCoyote

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Palestine, Tx. 75801
    Posts
    485

    Post

    I took a scrap 2 X 4 piece of wood, about 18-20 inchs long. I cut the bottom half edges off with a band saw to make a handle. Made a great smasher, but the potato smasher sounds good to.
    jrhelliott@gmail.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Skull Valley, Az
    Posts
    285

    Post

    Am I doing this wrong? I haven't had much luck dripping---what with the cold. So I use a double boiler to gently warm it all. Then allow
    it to cool.
    The wax separates out and forms a top layer, easy to remove. The honey is usually ready to bottle without further filtering and the wax disk can go into solar melter.
    BBZZZZZ

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Posts
    2,837

    Post

    buz . . .

    DO NOT heat honey AND wax to the point that wax MELTS. The wax WILL NOT separate from the honey.

    If you are crushing-n-draining in cold weather, the draining part will be difficult. Its best to do it when its hot weather. Warming the "crushed comb" will help, but DO NOT melt the wax!

    After draining is complete (24-48hrs in warm weather) THEN melt wax (w/ any remaining honey) in water in a double-boiler, let cool, and wax will form a "cake" on top of the water/honey mixture.

    Why are you "extracting" now (this time of year)?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,142

    Post

    >DO NOT heat honey AND wax to the point that wax MELTS. The wax WILL NOT separate from the honey.

    It will eventually separate, but the honey won't be very good by the time it does. The honey will be dark and lose a lot of the light floral flavor. I only do this after draining and then I only use that honey for baking and cooking or selling for baking or coooking.

    If you stir it too much or don't wait long enough the wax and honey will form a sort of grainy sludge and they won't separate.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    San Jose CA
    Posts
    164

    Post

    Straining comb is possible any time of year there is sunshine (easier said than done in some parts of the country).

    Target (and others) sell a strainer/collander which is slightly smaller than the diameter of a 2-gal/5-gal bucket. The wire stand is held in place at the rim with a twist on the end of the wire. Remove the wire legs and you have a large strainer with holes in suitable places at the rim.

    Take a 2-gal bucket and drill into the side of a 2-gal bucket for machine screws (preferably SS) so that the strainer is level a few inches below the top. Cut around the bucket about an inch or so lower than the bottom of the strainer. You now have a stubby bucket that can stand on its own but the bottom is completely open.

    - Sit the stubby bucket in top of another 2-gal or 5-gal bucket.
    - Fill the strainer with comb. Break up the comb as you go and pile it up.
    - Put the lid on the stubby bucket
    - Carry the two out to a confined space with glass (the back of a station wagon is ideal).
    - Alternatively, you can put them in any closed space where temperatures rise above 75 degrees.
    - A few days in a warm environment and the wax will be almost dry of honey.

    The lid sealed to the stubby bucket will prevent ants and other insects getting access to the comb and the buckets close together tightly at the 'girdle' that all food quality buckets have.

    Food buckets are readily available from the bakery section of most major supermarkets. Strike up a conversation and offer to trade honey for empty buckets.

    Warning: Do not use handles on the stubby bucket, it is way too tempting to lift (don't ask me how I know). An extended length handle for the bottom bucket which reaches over the top of the stubby makes carrying the pair easy.

    Cleanup is trivial, the stubby bucket will fit in the bottom of the dishwasher (if your wife is not looking). The strainer usually winds up with holes sealed with wax but a toothbruh can take care of that.

    Luxury version: the lower bucket has a honey spigot so it's just like emptying an extractor.

    In general, two strainers can be drained into a 2-gal lower bucket, and four or five strainers into a 5-gal lower bucket. This depends on how high you pile the strainer, because the lower the strainer fits in the lower bucket the less height there is for honey. You do not want to have the bottom of the stubby bucket sitting in drained honey, it is way too messy. If done well, the process is not sticky.

    The station wagon works most any time of year for those of us who live in southern climes, because the sun raisess the interior temperatures even when outside temperatures are low.

    There is almost always some spot in a house which had high temperatures, such as the heater closet. It's even likely that wrapping a heating pad around the stubby would work.

    JP

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
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    Post

    Michael Bush . . .

    Are you saying that once wax is melted into honey, the wax can be separated? I understand how some wax might congeal, but isnt wax still IN the adulterated honey?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,142

    Post

    >Are you saying that once wax is melted into honey, the wax can be separated?

    Absolutely.

    >I understand how some wax might congeal, but isnt wax still IN the adulterated honey?

    No. If you let it heat gently in a double boiler and don't stir it the wax will rise to the top and the honey will sink to the bottom. It's true, if you stir it, it will turn into a grainy congealed mess of wax and honey mixed together, but if you let it, it will seperate very nicely. I melt my cappings (after they have drained a couple of days) until they seperate nicely and then I pour them through cheesecloth into a tub. After it hardens, I pull the wax off the top and wash it and keep the melted cappings honey seperate for "second" grade honey for baking and cooking, since it's dark and not nearly as good as fresh.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
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    Post

    Michael Bush . . .

    Here is a quote from the 1990 edition of "The ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture", page 65. This is what I "remembered":

    "It is well to remember that honey can be dissolved in beeswax and vise versa to the detriment of both; however, honey may be separated from a solid block of beeswax by remelting, while removing beeswax from honey is not possible."

    Being the skeptic that I am, after reading your claim, I went to my shop and melted about 1 tablespoon of wax and 1 tablespoon of honey in a 1/2 cup container. As soon as the wax melted (became clear) I removed from the heat and allow it to cool. After about 30 minutes in the freezer, the WAX HAD FORMED A CAKE ON TOP OF THE HONEY.

    I was wrong. I owe you an apology.

    Your friend? [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Dave W

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,142

    Post

    You don't owe me an apology for questioning something. You did the right thing and found out for yourself.

    But what I'm saying is I've seen both. When stirring a lot I've seen wax mixed with honey and one could conclude from that that thwy eon't seperate. I've also seen that same mixture reheated and separated. So it's all in the details. If you stir it too much or if you're gentle and let it set is what makes the difference.

    So I wouldn't be surprised to find people who have come to both conclusions. That you CAN separate it and that it will mix.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
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    Post

    MrBee . . .

    Thank you.

    Guess I need to stop reading books and just ask YOU [img]smile.gif[/img]

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,142

    Post

    Or just try it yourself. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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