pictures of uncapping equipment
Does anyone have pictures or better, videos of the cowen uncappers in action? This equipment is really expensive and the still pictures on the web do not show the proper use of the equipment. Also, how about the Kelley vibrating knife. This is more in my price range. How have you mounted it over the uncapping tank?
Thanks to all,
Tom in Michigan
Kelley vibrating knife
I have a Kelley vibrating electric knife mounted to the right end over the SS uncaping tray that holds 30 frames wating or have been uncaped. Under the uncaper is a slightly smaller SS tray with 3/8" perferations allowing capings to drain eventualy in to 5 gal. bucket below with screen over it. The uncaper works effortlessly on medium frames allowed to ride downward on the vibrating hot knife set at your preference of tempature, using the top and bottom bars as depth guides. Some scratching of capings may be required if combs are thin. Deep frames are a little slower to uncap due to the length of the knife, as you cannot move the deep comb back and forth as much as you can with the mediun depth comb. This back and forth motion shortens the time taken to uncap a frame. I run about 90 hives and have a 20 fr. radial.
Last edited by Walt McBride; 10-05-2007 at 12:57 AM.
I have ten hives and recently bought a hubbard 44.
I would like to expand next year to at least make enough money to pay for the equipment. The uncapper is somthing I would like to grow into so I do not have to buy a larger one later. The cowen minni uncappers seem to be hard to find. Kelley still makes theirs so I guess tht will be the answer. By the wy, putting 44 frames into the hubbard 44.. tight squeeze... will not fit if there is much burr comb or propolis. 24 fits really nice though.
what type of uncapping tank are you using? dimensons
Tom, 30 years ago I fabricated an uncaping tray (galvanized steel) that would hold about 20 frames and give me room to hand uncap. It was simple to build and cheap. When it was in use it sat on a plywood box that also supported the 4 frame extracterI was using. It soon grew too small and I was looking at the larger S.S. trays.
I had an offer made to me that I could not turn down on a motorized 20 fr. radial. Used once.
At that time I decided to again fabricate a new larger tray and buy a Kelley vibrating uncaper
knife. I did the layout of the cutting and braking lines of the tray on paper to the size that I wanted and found that the depth of the tray at the deep end was limited do to the width of the mill size of the S.S. sheet, 48". I quickly found that hand cuting of 22ga. was next to impossible and forget about hand braking (forming of corners).
After I did the cut out I took it to a sheet metal shop and let them do the brake work. Then I found a welder to weld the S.S. and weld the perforated S.S. basket that sets down inside the tray to catch capings.
The tray is 65"X18.25". The deep end under the knife is 13" the other end is 10". the deep end has a drain. I miss calculated the capping basket width and in some areas it will stick. It could have been a 1/4'' narrower than the width of the tray. The whole setup is supported by an angle iron stand that will support a good lot of weight. That was the easiest to fabricate. Un capping trays are available from the catalogs and they are good but being able to make your own equipment brings enjoyment, sometimes!
Thanks Walt, that paints a pretty good picture. How many hives are you running? What do you think about making it with a water jacket so it would melt the wax...would that spoil the honey? I know it would make it harder to manufacture the tank. Does the Kelley knife do a good job, it seems to be in my price range. The Cowen starts at a couple thousand. Thanks for all the good info.
Tom in Michigan
Tom, see my prior posts in this thread, your questions!
My self I would not want an heated uncaping tank. It would be too long wasting energy to heat the long tray. A capping melter like Kelley sells is more efficient. Capping melters will degrade the heated honey a little bit. The honey still is usabile though.