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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Greenbrier County, West Virginia, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Best for Faster Uncapping?

    I have twelve beehives. I used a serrated uncapping knife last year and my wrists are still aching from the experience (not really, but it was a lot harder to uncap that many frames with an uncapping knife than I thought it would be). Now I am looking for a better way to uncap frames. Any thoughts or opinions on any of the following options:

    1. Uncapping Plane: this looks like a reasonable option at a reasonable price. Does it work well? Is it fast? Is it easier on the wrists as the catalogs usually claim? Are they durable? Do they scorch honey or cause any other problems that I might need to be aware of?

    2. Vibrating Knife: Specifically, I found one in the Kelley online catalog for $385.00. It is pricier than an uncapping plane, but is it better? That is, is it faster? Is it easier to use? Is it durable? Does it scorch honey or cause any other problems that I might need to be aware of? (OK, I only have twelve hives, but I plan to add several more, so I may as well be ready to grow. Does this work better than an uncapping plane?)

    3. Hand-cranked Uncapper: OK, I don't know what it is called, but it is available from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm. Basically, it is a horizontal, hand-cranked device that cuts the cappings from the frame. I think it is supposed to be the manual version of a chain uncapper, but is it any faster than either of the options listed above? It can't scorch honey (no heated parts, apparently), but I don't know if it presents any other problems. Here's the catch: price. I think the website lists it for $1,195. Kinda steep. Is it worth it?

    I think I just need to find something that works as I grow and until I can find a reasonably priced used chain uncapper. So, any thoughts on any of the preceding options?

    greenbrier

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,741

    Default

    I have an antique knife that works great after heating in water. I also have a newer hot knife that works fine. Had a chance to use a plane last fall when I helped out at a local club. It worked great....lot's easier than the knife but not so much that I'm going to buy one. No experience on the vibrating knife although it sounds like one of those electric knives that we used to have for carving meat. If they were sharp, they cut very nicely. Can't imagine that they wouldn't work great for uncapping frames. The various uncappers out there are too pricey for me at this time. My best decision last year was to invite an interested neighbor. I stacked supers...she uncapped and I fed the extractor. Don't take this the wrong way, but she was cheaper than more equipment! If I were making the decision based on the options you presented, I'd be looking at a plane. Hope this helps. Welcome aboard!!!!!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Sparta, Tennessee
    Posts
    2,131

    Default

    I have an uncapping knife and like it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,361

    Default

    We run a chain uncapper now. I really liked my Maxant uncapping plane, it was fast, much more ergonomic than the hot knife and easy to clean. I did get burned at least once a year on it. I uncapped 100 hives of honey with it for 3 years. The chain uncapper is super fast but a Nightmare on Elm St. to clean.

    I would likely not buy anything that had the words hand crank and $1195 dollars on the same page.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Hays, Kansas, USA
    Posts
    1,080

    Default

    I second the Maxant plane. 50+ hives, no stress on the arms or wrist. Still use the Pierce knife at times, but I prefer the plane.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    wampum pa.
    Posts
    1

    Default faster uncapping

    why not just use a uncaping scratchier?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Mason, MI, USA
    Posts
    1,015

    Default

    I use the uncapping plane and have a capping scratcher near by.
    I prefer the plane as it is easier on the hands. I now have 15 hives but when I did the business with 500 + hives I used the chain uncapper to support 2 60 frame extractors.
    Clint
    Clinton Bemrose<br />just South of Lansing Michigan<br />Beekeeping since 1964

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Greenbrier County, West Virginia, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Thank You

    Ravenseye has the best sense of economics, but I couldn't find a "cheap woman" in any of the beekeeping catalogs. I read everyone else's comments and it looks like the consensus opinion leans strongly toward the plane. I'll put that on my order list this year. Thanks for the information.

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