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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Whidbey Island, WA, USA
    Posts
    182

    Post

    Just started this year with two hives but hope to build to around ten hives. I borrowed a forty year old electric uncapping knife from a friend this year but he hinted that I should buy my own. Any suggestions for the hobbiest?

  2. #2
    tzeiner5773 Guest

    Post

    My suggestion is the Walter Kelley Cat# 186 Electric knife with heat control for $62.00
    I have one without the control(paid more that $62 for mine) it tends to burn the wax.
    I built a switch for mine so it doesn't get that hot. Todd Zeiner

  3. #3
    jfischer Guest

    Post

    I don't trust the wimpy little heat adjustments
    built into uncapping knives. It is not
    that they "fail", it is just that they
    do not stabilize the temperature well.

    I've never asked how they work, but from
    the performance they give, they appear
    to cut power to the knife, so that it
    is heating up and cooling down all the
    time, when what you want is a nice steady
    temperature.

    Get an switch box, a 20-amp dimmer switch,
    and a cord from a broken hair dryer, or
    other "heavy duty" cord. Wire the knife
    to the dimmer, and the dimmer to a plug.

    Now you have a control knob that gives
    actual control, and can be marked where
    it works best, tweaked a bit while one
    is uncapping, and keeps the knife at
    a steady voltage all day long.

    If your knife has an adjustment screw,
    turn it all the way up, and forget it,
    but you may find knives that come without
    adjustment screws. I have no idea where
    to get one of these, I inherited both of
    mine from an ooooold beekeeper who sold
    me his gear and a few hives of bees when
    he decided he was getting to old for
    beekeeping. At 96, he had a point.

    Pay attention to amps and watts when
    selecting the "dimmer", as 1000 watts
    at 120 volts means 8.3 amps, 1500 watts
    at 120 volts means 12.5 amps, and so on
    Amps = Watts / Volts. When in doubt,
    get a 20 amp dimmer, and make sure you
    have it on a 20 amp breaker.

    If the dimmer gets hot, and the knife
    does not, check your wiring.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Whidbey Island, WA, USA
    Posts
    182

    Post

    Thanks for your input. I'll let Santa's elfs know.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Macon, GA USA
    Posts
    933

    Post

    That's exactly what I've found with the electric ones. If they sit out too long plugged in, they will get too hot and burn the honey and wax for the first little bit then they will cool off a bit as you use them. I used to give it a quick dunk in a bucket of water prior to use in order to avoid the burning. Another option might be to use two of the non-electric models and keep one in really hot water while you use the other and switch back and forth as they continuously cool off with use.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Post

    >I don't trust the wimpy little heat adjustments
    built into uncapping knives. It is not
    that they "fail", it is just that they
    do not stabilize the temperature well.

    I agree.

    >If your knife has an adjustment screw,
    turn it all the way up, and forget it

    I haven't messed with mine. Mine vacilates between way too hot and just right so turning it up doesn't seem like a good idea.

    >but you may find knives that come without
    adjustment screws. I have no idea where
    to get one of these

    Most of the suppliers seem to have both the internal and external controls. The ones with the external controls don't have the adjustement screw on the knife but they do have an external control already. From my experience with the internal control and what Jim is saying about the external control (and the fact that they are more expensive) I'm guessing the external one will work much better. Since I don't have one, I may try putting the light dimmer on as Jim suggests and see how that works.

    Of course the best is a steam knife. But I'm not big enough to be worth the expense of coming up with a steam generator for it.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,373

    Post

    Richard Taylor used a pressure cooker with a tire valve soldered onto it...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    tulsa, ok usa
    Posts
    2,267

    Post

    Does anyone here think that uncapping knifes are over-priced for what they are?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Milford, MI
    Posts
    328

    Post

    Hey Scout, since you asked for "any" opinions, here is mine. We uncapped about 15,000 frames this year, with uncapping forks. I find these to be the best thing, especially for a hobbiest to use. I personally do not like scorching the honey as is done using a hot knife, as miniscule as it might be, I believe it detracts from the taste of the honey. It may seem like a lot more work, but in all actuality it's quite efficient, with a lot more wax left on the cells. We are in the honey business, therefore the more wax left on the cell walls the less wax work is needed to repair those cells, the more honey we have to harvest next year.

    Some use hot knives, and have to set the knife down in order to grab the fork to scrape the low cells, then have to set the fork down and pick up the hot knife again. I find it quite time consuming to have to switch back and forth between tools, and have learned it's much more efficient to use the uncapping forks.

  10. #10
    jfischer Guest

    Post

    I said:

    >> If your knife has an adjustment screw,
    >> turn it all the way up, and forget it

    Mike said:

    > I haven't messed with mine. Mine vacilates
    > between way too hot and just right so turning
    > it up doesn't seem like a good idea.

    Let me be clear - ONLY "turn it all the way
    up" if you are wiring it to a rheostat!!!!
    That way, you will have only one control
    in control.

    >>>DO NOT "turn it all the way up" UNLESS
    you FIRST wire it to a rheostat!!!!!<<<<

    I would NOT "dunk it in water" either, as
    the same little adjustment is not water
    tight, and it carries 120 Volts. Dunking
    it into a bucket of water could mean
    either a blown fuse, a busted knife, or
    a dead beekeeper, depending upon the luck
    of the draw, and how far you dip it into
    the water.

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