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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Knoxville, TN, USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Processing and Storing Wax

    This is a very elementary question, but I'm a newbee

    We extracted honey five days ago and I have a bunch of wax sitting in a strainer. I've collected what honey dripped out and would like to process and store the wax to keep for use at a later time (maybe for candles).

    Is there a best way to process the wax to separate out what honey is left on it. Should I use a double boiler? Also, is it best to just put it in a glass jar (properly tapered) then remove it and store it in a cool, dry area?

    Thank you!
    beekeepers wife

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lake county, Indiana 46408-4109
    Posts
    3,540

    Default

    First welcome to beesource

    I melt mine strain & filter it and pour it into a plastic bucket to harden for later use.

    There are several ways to melt it do a search and see differant ways one ways is an old crock pot.

    Have fun!!!!!!
    Ed, KA9CTT profanity is IGNORANCE made audible
    you can`t fix stupid not even with duct tape

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    546

    Default

    After I strain all of the honey I can get out, I place it out in the yard for the bees to feed off of. Than, it goes in the solar wax melter. Do a search for Tillie (Linda) here and visit her web blog, she has a great simple solar wax melter article, or even here at BeeSource in the plans section.
    Find A Beekeeper - Swarm List
    "There's nothing wrong with me, it's the rest of the world that has a problem"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

    Default

    I had some new comb the bees built that I cut off. It was very white anyway, but I left it out in the yard for them to rob the honey off of for a week or two.

    By the time I got back to that yard it was the whitest wax i have ever seen.

    I kept it separate and melted it in my makeshift solar wax melter. I just set a small bucket with a bit of water in there with the wax floating on top.

    When I came home that evening I had some of the most beautiful white wax, but included within it is some gray/brown goo.

    I guess this is the same slumgum I see on regular wax too, but where did it come from? On regular cappings wax I assumed I was clipping a little of the brood comb on some of the frames and that's what was causing this slumgum as the cappings are otherwise pure and new wax.

    Did it get too hot in the solar wax melter? Was there some material hidden within that pure white comb?
    Troy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    mt. airy, surry county, nc
    Posts
    217

    Default

    hey bw. about the double boiler method. that's what i use. i guess i like the way i can control it, but i also "reprocess" it a few time, to try and separate scrap out. each time it is melted the wax will settle in layers. i use a tall/narrow can, use something you don't mind trowing away or using for just that purpose. if you strian it with a cheese cloth, you should wet the cloth. i remember the first time, i was cleaning wax wax from all over the kitchen. the book "beekeeping for dummy's", has a few suggestions. john vivan's "beekeeping", tells about processing wax more. he even has info on making your own foundation press.
    "Any fool can learn, the trick is to understand - Einstein"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

    Default

    You mentioned a foundation press.............

    I actually have made my own starter strips and they work fine.

    I read about it in use in Africa where they don't have access to foundation. They were making whole sheets of wax, but I just made strips.

    I picked up an old glass top side table that was on the curb one day and kept the sheet of glass. This kind of glass is tempered. I ran hot water over it to pre-heat it, then rubbed soapy water over it so it is really slippery. Then while holding it at an angle just ladle some wax across the top. It will sheet down and solidify.

    While it is still warm you cut it into strips with a razor blade and after it cools you rinse off the soap.

    The bees love it. Fresh melted wax is irresistible to them. Now if I could just convince them not to draw half of it as drone comb, I'd be much happier.
    Troy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Arde, Ontario , Canada
    Posts
    18

    Default Cleaning Beeswax

    Once you have removed the honey , leave it out in the yard for
    the bees to feed on it. Once that is done rinse out the remaining
    honey with warm water. A simple double boiler set up can then be
    used to separate and clean the wax. Keep the heat down.
    For more detailed instructions visit www.busybeecandlesupply.ca
    they have a booklet for candle makers that has a section on wax handling.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Default Question: filtering hot wax with slumgum, dead bees, and the like

    Hi, I find it easiest to take all my cappings and melt down
    in the double boiler, then filter into another container to let
    the honey and wax separate.

    However, now that I'm melting more wax, I'm finding the filter
    method I use (T-shirt material full of molten wax held over a
    container) is not working well with larger amounts of wax. The
    wax will begin to dry and clog the filter before it all goes through.

    What setups might others use to filter the molten wax to remove
    the MAJORITY of slum gum and such, I'm not worried about
    little stuff at this point, I just want to get stuff melted down in
    blocks to store, without excessive slum gum and dead bees in the
    blocks.

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Arde, Ontario , Canada
    Posts
    18

    Default cleaning beeswax

    If you are using a double boiler set up for your initial melting stage make sure you have some water in with the wax . Once all is melted try runnin' the
    whole mess through a piece of strainer cloth supported over a honey pail by
    a metal strainer. Most of the slum gum and debris will be caught by the honey
    strainer cloth and the wax and water will pass through into the pail. The wax and water will separate in the pail and once hard you can scrape the dirt off
    the bottom of the block. The honey strainer cloth works well 'cuz the holes
    are big enough to let all the wax and water through quickly so it doesn't
    clog up with cooled wax, and it is re-usable. After you clean off the gunk
    the cooled wax will just crumble off when you work the cloth a bit, by
    pulling on the corners.

    The folks at www.busybeecandlesupply.ca have a booklet that explains all this stuff.
    Last edited by Candleman; 09-17-2008 at 12:33 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Default

    Thanks, I will try the honey filter instead. I guess the water helps it flow better too.
    I usually don't put water with the cappings because I like to recover the heated
    honey to use to make mead or to use for baking.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Arde, Ontario , Canada
    Posts
    18

    Default beeswax cleaning

    As a candle maker my focus is the beeswax. The water helps to remove
    the dirt and honey so it doesn't become bonded to the wax during the
    heating process. The water also helps to moderate the heat transfer
    which helps to keep the wax from darkening. Unfortunately the honey
    is lost with this process. I guess a person has to make the decision as
    to what is most important at this stage. Hopefully most of the honey has already been recovered. THe water also helps in the separation stage in
    the bucket/pail as it holds the heat ,allowing the slum and wax more time to separate more fully.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pickens, SC, USA
    Posts
    233

    Default

    I've heard people talking about problems with candles burning if they have "water" in the wax. As a beginner.... I'm wondering about adding water to the melting wax. I understand it will cool and seperate with the wax on the top and the trash and water on the bottom. However... if that is so.. how is someone getting water in the wax for the candle ? Would this be water dripping off the double boiler during the pouring into mold phase ?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Default

    Candleman, I tried water and the nylon honey filter, instead of
    a t-shirt, and that worked well. I came up with a quick filtering setup
    too. I took a 2 gallon bucket and cut out the bottom, then cut a
    hole in the lid. I took a nylon honey strainer and pushed that down into
    the bucket and then put on the lid. This made a 2 gallon filter held
    in place with the lid. I then put that on top of a 5 gallon bucket with a
    lid on it with a hole. Pouring the hot mix through this worked well.

    In the future I might try filtering the watery leftover to make
    mead with since you have to add water anyway. Not sure how
    well that will work. I didn't try that this time since hive beetles
    had moved into the cappings I had left. They filtered out of the wax fine.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Arde, Ontario , Canada
    Posts
    18

    Default beeswax cleaning

    That is great ! Now you have the first stage done. Save up
    enough wax blocks to fill your water jacketted melter , then go
    to the final stage to prepare the wax for candle quality. Put
    about 5" of water in the bottom of your tank and then add a little
    apple cider vinegar to prevent saponification from occuring. Add the
    beeswax blocks and turn the heat on at 165 degrees F. Let sit for
    24 - 48 hours. Ladle wax off the top into plastic tubs, being careful not to
    stir up the dirt in the bottom. When you get to within 1" of the barrier
    layer between water and wax stop ladling and turn off the heat. Let
    cool and when the wax is hard , take it out and scrape off the dirt.
    We use a milk filter disk to clean out the larger debris. Honey strainer cloth
    allows pieces of dirt through up to 80 microns , milk filter disks allow
    pieces of dirt through up to 50 microns in size. The other real small dirt
    should drop out into the water and hang around the wax / water line.
    This should produce wax clean enough to make the best candles ever.
    Last edited by Candleman; 10-13-2008 at 09:33 AM.

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Candleman View Post
    Let sit for 24 - 48 days.
    Do you mean hours?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Arde, Ontario , Canada
    Posts
    18

    Default cleaning beeswax

    Thanks for the correction , I type with one finger and sometimes my brain
    gets ahead of my typing finger. I musy have been thinkin' 2-3 days when
    I typed 24-48 . It should read 24 - 48 hours. I'll edit the change in the
    original post.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Default

    Candle man, or others
    The opportunity has arisen for me to buy at a decent price either the

    #1 Maxant Liquifier and wax melting tank
    Singel wall
    The one with the different valves for different layers
    Model 3900WPT
    http://www.maxantindustries.com/wax.html

    OR the

    #2 Maxant wax melting and holding tank.
    double wall
    The one with the water level sight glass on the side
    MODEL 600-2
    16 gallons
    http://www.maxantindustries.com/candle.html

    Would it be possible to use either of these units to both melt
    my cappings and use to melt wax blocks to make candles with?

    Would cappings melting mess up the wax melter (#2) to where candle wax would be dirty?

    Would the Liquifier (#1) melt wax blocks OK?

    I can't buy both.

    Should I buy something else?

    Operation has 50 hives, but I like the idea of buying more wax to make and sell candles.
    Last edited by MichaelW; 10-20-2008 at 11:53 AM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Arde, Ontario , Canada
    Posts
    18

    Default wax cleaning/processing equipment

    I originally bought the single walled 3900WT unit and was very dissappointed
    with it. Now I use it by putting a honey pail inside sitting on bricks. The only
    way to go is the double walled unit. It can be used for all steps in the
    process of cleaning wax. It is versatile and easy to clean between uses.
    The single walled unit does not isolate the heater from the wax so there
    are convection currents constant circulating the dirt. Not a good design.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Default

    Thanks Candleman. Once you have used it for all steps in
    cleaning the wax, is it easy to clean enough to still bottle honey
    from?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Arde, Ontario , Canada
    Posts
    18

    Default processing and storing wax

    oh yeah , no problemo. With the water jacket at temp any wax residue
    on the inside tank walls will just wipe clean.

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