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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Rockford, Illinois
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    26

    Post

    I'm a new beekeeper who tried a capping scratcher only to find that it didn't open all the cells well, and it seemed to tear up the comb.
    (1) How much 'tearing up the comb' will bees tolerate?
    (2) What's the 'proper' way to use a capping scratcher?
    Thanks!
    Kishwaukee Goldminer

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Worthington, Pennsylvania USA
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    1,848

    Post

    Hi KG, welcome to the forum, the cappings scratcher does sort of rip n tear at the cappings especially if the honey has started to granulate. We just drag it across the comb cappings over a container with the frame balanced on its side--some use a board with the pointed nail sticking up to rotate and balance the frame on. Hope that helps
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,212

    Post

    >(1) How much 'tearing up the comb' will bees tolerate?

    They will fix it. Obviously the less it's torn up the less work they have to do.

    >(2) What's the 'proper' way to use a capping scratcher?

    Slip the points UNDER the caps and lift the caps off of the comb.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,212

    Post

    If you're trying to stay away from a hot knife, maybe you should just try a bread knife or a Hackler Honey Punch.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5

    Post

    I did not know there was gold in that river unless you mean liquid gold from your bees. I would just scrape it across the tops. you want to use very light pressure on a angle to just get the cappings off. Call me if you want more you have my number.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Andover, Massachusetts
    Posts
    143

    Post

    Betterbee sells a cold knife that has a serrated edge. Very nice. Very sharp. I peeled off some of my frame with the cappings when I extracted

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Chubbuck, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Capping scratcher: how to use properly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kishwaukee Goldminer View Post
    I'm a new beekeeper who tried a capping scratcher only to find that it didn't open all the cells well, and it seemed to tear up the comb.
    (1) How much 'tearing up the comb' will bees tolerate?
    (2) What's the 'proper' way to use a capping scratcher?
    Thanks!
    We just finished over 300 frames by pointing the tines toward the cappings and dragging them across, perforating every cap. We scratched the long way first, standing the frame on end, then back across the frame to be sure to scratch every cell cap. This is way preferable to the wasting of wax using our jiggle knife, and keeps the honey away from any heated metal. We probably have two cups of cappings left over, so the bees will not have to replace any cell sides. You can do it!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,147

    Default Re: Capping scratcher: how to use properly?

    Last 2 years we used the cheaper scratcher, & where disappointed. This year I ordered the more expensive one, the needles are sharper & it did a better job.
    Also as you're comb gets older it won't damage as easily as new comb.
    Dan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,898

    Default Re: Capping scratcher: how to use properly?

    [QUOTE=Michael Bush;192434 What's the 'proper' way to use a capping scratcher?
    Slip the points UNDER the caps and lift the caps off of the comb.[/QUOTE]

    Its a CAPPINGS SCRATCHER, not a capping lifter.
    Michael you give a lot of funky advice, bit this is inexcusable. How much honey do you extract every year? I can't believe very much. If I "lifted" the cappings off of every lowspot I would never finish.

    SCRATCH, rip, tear, gouge and dig. The bees repair it. It's a honey comb, not brood.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,212

    Default Re: Capping scratcher: how to use properly?

    >Its a CAPPINGS SCRATCHER, not a capping lifter.
    Michael you give a lot of funky advice, bit this is inexcusable. How much honey do you extract every year? I can't believe very much. If I "lifted" the cappings off of every lowspot I would never finish.

    I don't use one anymore, it's easier to just learn to use the tip or the butt of the hot knife and you don't have to switch tools. But IF you want to use one lifting them tears up the comb a lot less. Have you ever tried it? Now I only use it for pulling some drone now and then to see how the mites are doing.

    You do realize this thread is six years old? I had a lot less hives six years ago...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,200

    Default Re: Capping scratcher: how to use properly?

    Throw away your scratchers. Youy already own a hive tool, don't you? You can use that to scratch cappings off of comb.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Dallas, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Capping scratcher: how to use properly?

    I saw a you-tube video yesterday, a German beekeeper was teaching some students about extracting honey. He used a cappings scratcher to lift the caps off. To me it sure looked a lot cleaner than scratching the tops off.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Bermuda
    Posts
    129

    Smile Re: Capping scratcher: how to use properly?

    Michael Bush has the right idea if you’re looking not to mess up the comb. Push under the caps and lift. When you get real good at it depending on what type of scratcher you have you will be able to basically scoop from one end of the frame to the other while still gliding on the top, watch your fingers though when you reach the other side . We used to do about 3000 frames like that.
    I now use a Maxant plane with their 9 frame extractor speed control which I still think is the best way by far when it comes to not messing up the cells or cutting too much of the comb away while still being 3 to 4 time faster then lifting. As a matter a fact because my dad is stuck in his ways and so crazy about not messing up the wax he still uses the lifting method. Even though I proved that the plane is better by weighing all the capping and from two almost identical frames, from the same box, one using his lift method the other the hot plane then showing him the difference out of the extract O well you know what they say about leading a horse to water.
    The bees will repair even blown frames out of the extractor it is just more work for them. How much honey does it take a bee to produce an equivalent amount of wax? If your gonna scratch or gouge into the comb with a hive tool or scratcher you might as well buy a grape press instead of an extractor. That being said I don’t know if you’re using a tangential extractor but I’m sure they’ll make an impression into the comb also.
    “The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory.”

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Capping scratcher: how to use properly?

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamB View Post
    To me it sure looked a lot cleaner than scratching the tops off.
    Do you want to get the job done or what? Holding the fork in your right hand, turn the tines towards the frame and scratch the cappings off of the comb surface. This will do little damage to the comb.

    Besides, I thought it had been well established that even completely replacing combs doesn't take very much out of the bees. So what's the big deal if one scratches a little deeper than necassary?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Westchester NY
    Posts
    238

    Default Re: Capping scratcher: how to use properly?

    This helped me when I saw it I could not believe how much better the uncapping fork works when used like this rather than just raking the comb.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    Default Re: Capping scratcher: how to use properly?

    It is my thought that a cappings SCRATCHER was to be used to primarily uncap low spots in the comb missed by what is commonly used for rapid uncapping, that being a power uncapper, hot knife or plane. I would think that lifting cappings on complete combs would only be used by someone unable to afford one of the above mentioned UNCAPPERS, or someone who thinks that slight damage to comb walls is a problem. Even then, scratching full combs would be much faster than lifting, and would not be noticed by the bees. Foundationless beekeeping is proof that bees can easily repair combs, but also can construct them from nothing at all. I use a hot knife for small batches, a power uncapper for large batches, and a SCRATCHER to scratch off any spots missed by these time savings appliances. I have SCRATCHED my combs annually, many of which are 30 and 40 years in service, and can only laugh at anyone suggesting that cappings lifting is the proper way to use a cappings SCRATCHER.
    Last edited by Barry; 09-11-2011 at 11:02 AM. Reason: language

  17. #17
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    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    Default Re: Capping scratcher: how to use properly?


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Capping scratcher: how to use properly?

    Quote Originally Posted by xcugat View Post
    This helped me when I saw it I could not believe how much better the uncapping fork works when used like this rather than just raking the comb.
    I guess some folks have more time than others. Me, I scrape comb caps from one end to the other and get those suckers into the extractor. I bet if you were paying someone $10.00/hr, you'd want them to work more efficiently too. Bees have no problem dealing w/ comb that has had it's cappings scraped off by a hive tool. The hooked end.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,395

    Default Re: Capping scratcher: how to use properly?

    Proper use of capping scratcher
    A. Hold capping scratcher firmly in right hand (If left handed proceed directly to 1A)
    1A. Hold capping scratcher firmly in left hand
    B. Scratch off cappings with moderate forehand pressure *
    C. Inspect for any intact cappings that might survive step B..
    D. If some cappings remain repeat step B until no more cappings remain

    Addendum: Don't attempt to shoo off or swat at any bees, flies or anything else on you or any co-worker at any time after you have initiated this process.

    * Copywrited post #14 09/08/2011 Mark Berninghausen Brasher Falls, NY
    Last edited by jim lyon; 09-11-2011 at 03:42 PM. Reason: Attributing proper credit to avoid potential plagiarism
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    27,200

    Default Re: Capping scratcher: how to use properly?

    As written in Post #14.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

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