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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Starkville,Ms,USA
    Posts
    516

    Default What is working with a hand extractor like?

    I was wondering how labor intensive a hand extractor would be. How long would it take to extract a certain number of frames and how tiring is it for the average person?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Madison Heights VA
    Posts
    396

    Default

    I have an electric one and leave it on for about 20 minutes, if that is any help. I have never used a hand operated one. Looks to me that a lot of honey would be left in the comb.
    Curtis

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,323

    Default

    I have one, it holds two frames at a time. I used it twice, back when I only had about a half-dozen 10-frame supers to extract. It was quite wearing, especially on my right arm and shoulder (I'm right handed). Now that I have more than twenty supers to process, I am crushing and straining. After harvesting I plan to solar melt the wax, then prepare the frames for reuse so the bees will build new comb in the foundationless frames. And only use the old wax for purposes other than returning to use inside a beehive. I may not use the hand cranked extractor again, unless I motorize it.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Western Illinois
    Posts
    111

    Default

    When I was just beginning to learn about bees a friend had us over for a "hand cranking" party. There's a reason for that. Cranking is a lot of work if you have a lot of frames.

    We have a big motorized one and love it! If you can afford the additional cost I'd go for motorized. We fill it up and spin for about 5-10 minutes. The frames are almost dry!

    Chris

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Jenison, MI
    Posts
    1,514

    Default

    I've got a 2 frame manual extractor. It does take a while to do. I do pay my kids to spin it, that helps immensely. It would take half the time if I had a motorized one, that is on my wish list, but for now it isn't worth the couple of afternoons that it would gain me. Sure, some honey is left behind, but then the bees will clean and consolidate that for the next time I extract.

    It takes me pretty much 8 hours to extract 10-15 supers, but that is uncapping with a serrated knife and includes pulling supers, blowing bees, filtering, futzing, lunch, cool drinks, cleaning, etc.

    If you have the $$$ and opportunity, get a bigger motorized at least.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Oxford, Kansas
    Posts
    1,988

    Default

    hand crank extractors are a lot of fun to watch someone else crank. The kids thought it was fun to until they figured out the new extractor game I brought home wasnt so much fun afterall. At that point I bought a motorized extractor.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Inver Grove, MN
    Posts
    1,462

    Default

    I've got two extractors -- one motorized, the other hand cranked. Both are four frame machines. I tend to use the hand crank one more. I can control the speed better and I think I get a better extraction. Once you have it spinning, it only takes a little effort to keep it going. I can actually hand spin it faster than the motorized one operates, so the combs are drier. The problem is that cranking by hand takes time that you may not have available. If you have a lot of honey, hand extracting probably takes too much time and may be too wearing on your arm. With a motorized machine, you can uncap the next batch of frames while the extractor is running.

    I would say motorized starts making a lot of sense if you are up to 6 or 8 hives.
    Linux - World domination through world cooperation

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Hillsboro,Ohio
    Posts
    193

    Default

    We have a 4 frame extractor and it is a work out!! It is a good thing, if you only have a few supers to extract. As we continue to expand out operation, I forsee a bigger motorized machine in the future. It does a good job and cleans out the frames but after 10 supers my arms were about to fall off. It is hard to pay the difference for the motorized outfits but they have to be worth it!
    life is like a box of chocolates,you never know what you are gonna get

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    England
    Posts
    37

    Default

    I have a manual tangential 4 frame extractor - having opened the cells with a uncapping fork it takes less than a minuite of spinning each side to extract the contents. I turn the frames twice.
    It takes longer to remove the cappings.
    I start slowly and spin progressively faster with my foot on the rim to hold it down - eventually spinning as fast as possible - it certainly is a work out.
    They are pretty much empty after this.
    Gordon.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,025

    Default

    I use a borrowed hand extractor and find it quite easy to use for the few supers I have. As GB said, I find uncapping to be more work than spinning the extractor.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Posts
    261

    Default

    I started out with a 9 frame hand crank. The positives include the following:

    - cost half as much as a similar motorized unit so if you test the waters at a lower cost
    - easy to find used since most upgrade if they add hives
    - lightweight and easy to store (also could be a negative)
    - kids like to spin them

    The negatives I came across were:

    - easy to outgrow if your time is one of your main resources. i think some supply houses recommend 25 hives or less for a 9 frame hand crank. i think i would recommend 8 or less but then again your time resources influence your opinion. i know my wife would like for me to get it all done in a day so it reduces the chance of honey getting tracked into the house.
    - lightweight...you have to go to extra measures to make sure the extractor does not hop around when its spinning.
    - from what i have seen a lot of beekeepers don't keep a hand crank long and upgrade to a motorized unit so the investment is not as much a bang for buck as it seems.

    That being said, I used the 9 frame hand crank for one year then replaced it with a Maxant motorized 20 frame and really glad I made the investment. I sold 7 hives to pay for it. Of course now my bottleneck is uncapping but I am still cranking out more honey per hour.
    Hughes Honey Apiary
    http://www.hugheshoney.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,030

    Default

    I've used a two-frame tang for a few years now and am in the market for a 9-frame radial, but still hand-cranked. Mainly due to cost and weight (no dedicated honey house). I don't mind the hand-spinning. And I don't think it would be terribly difficult to motorize one yourself with a modicum of DIY; I've seen a lot of creatively (and safely and effectively) motorized malt mills in homebrewing circles. Used washing machine motors are cheap and widely available for example.

    If I end up motorizing, I've been working on designs for using a bicycle on a trainer stand to power it; the bike provides the clutch and I can tap some of my exercise-freak friends .
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default

    I started out with a 2-frame tangential and added a 4-frame tangential to work when the 2-frame was draining. Both required reversing. Then I used the 2-frame while the 4-frame was draining. This worked well up through 60 colonies. But my shoulder was beginning to feel the strain.

    Then I bumped up to a 20-frame motorized radial. I bought it used for $700

    I think the actual time spent spinning is about equal. The tangential will shoot honey out of the frame faster, due to the angle of the cell with respect to the centrifigal force. But that time saved is lost by reversing, and customarily, I spin lightly on the first side, then reverse. I spin the second side harder, then reverse back to the first side and give it a final spin. This saves blow-outs on wax/wired frames.

    There was, in my mind, a master plan to load my motorized 20-frame, then uncap while it ran. I think my current bottleneck is when I have to stop to unload one set of frames to load the next set.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lee\'s Summit, MO
    Posts
    1,300

    Default

    I've got a Kelly 2 frame reversable hand crank. I've been extracting for 2 years and it works great. I used it this weekend on 12 supers and 1 deep. We were done extracting in 2 hours. I put nine frames in 10 frame supers so they are easier to uncap. I also use a heated knife I got from Bjorn off of Ebay. It's a 3 person process but we all have fun.

    As a kid in TX a few of the neighbors would get together after deer season and make sausage together. You got to catch up with everyone while you worked together. Before you knew it you were done and you had strengthened the family bonds and actually had fun with what could be considered a chore.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Randolph County, Indiana
    Posts
    694

    Default

    I have 33 hives, and a two frame manual extractor. If you have the money, and more than six hives, for God's sake, get a motorized extractor. You will thank yourself later.

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