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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

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    I tried that, but hundreds got stuck in the extractor and died. The mess was worse.

    Not to mention all the bees in the air. I live in a near zero lot line community, and my neighbors are not really pleased about my beekeeping endeavors.

    PS - My bees are not in my yard.
    Troy

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lee\'s Summit, MO
    Posts
    1,300

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    I've got 5 producing hives and I use a manual reversable 2 frame Kelly extractor. It works just fine for me. My son and I harvested just over 1,000 pounds this year. The real bottleneck that I've also found is the uncapping. I use an electric uncapping knife and although faster and easier than a serated bread knife I find that if I try to move too fast I end up crushing some of the very comb I'm trying to save for them to refill. I use 9 frames in a 10 frame super and that helps a whole lot. It's when they are drawing out fresh comb on new foundation that they sometimes have shallow comb that takes time to upcap with a cappings scratcher.
    Last edited by D Coates; 09-11-2008 at 12:31 PM.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  3. #23
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Hillsboro, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    1,672

    Default

    I currently have 20 hives, and I modified my four frame extractor to electric motor recently - I'd wear out my arm spinning manually based on honey production this year, as I get tennis elbow (extractor elbow) easily. This winter, I'm going to modify it to radial to get it to 10 frames, so I can maybe keep the extractor a couple more years, I've posted this before, this is how I converted to electric (thanks tecumseh for ideas!):

    This year I converted my hand crank model to motor-driven. I have a Dadant Little Wonder extractor which no longer wanted to grip the shaft with the silly little slip-clutch handle and tapered bearing which they provide. For replacement parts (a little bearing), they wanted $25, and since the unit was practically new when I bought it, I thought that the bearing would give out as soon as I replaced it. They wanted big buck$ for the motor kit - in the hundreds, so I went to a salvage store in the area and found a 24-volt DC wheelchair motor. The shaft on the extractor is 5/8", the wheelchair motor has a geared-down offset shaft at 7/8". I welded a few pulleys together to get to those shaft diameters, attached the pulleys to the shafts, and mounted the motor onto a board which mounts in the two holes on the Little Wonder top.

    For power, I hooked up a car battery charger to the motor. Since the motor is a 24 volt DC unit, the charger works fine - actually the extractor rotates at the correct rpm using the 12 volt charger. The nice thing about it is with the battery charger, I actually have three speeds, as the charger has three settings: a trickle charge 1.5amp, medium amperage charge 10amp, and a start engine setting 30amp. I start out slowly at the trickle setting, and then for maximum extraction top it off at 30amp. When I'm done with extraction, I can use the battery charger for its intended purpose - charging batteries.

    Total cost is $15 for the motor, $7 for the pulleys, and a slightly worn belt and scrap marine plywood which I already had lying around gathering dust. Put it together in a little over an hour, including the welding. Works better than I anticipated - no blow outs on comb, and no sore arms!

    I run the range from low, gradually increasing to the high speed for about 5-6 minutes each side. A half dozen supers the other day had such thick honey (Purple Loosestrife and goldenrod - bright yellow combs) that I had to run for 8-9 minutes each side, but that isn't typical.

    MM

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

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    troy writes:
    Others have suggested bigger is better

    tecumseh: well yea... it must be a guy thingee?

    but really troy I have pretty much dertermined if I need more extracting capacity I will just add a second small capacity extractor. two should be almost twice as fast.... right?

    mapman writes:
    thanks tecumseh for ideas!):

    tecumeh: you are most welcome.. I am glad the description or pictures gave you some inspiration.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
    Posts
    2,069

    Default

    One of the main things to consider is... uncapping speed....

    To have an efficient flow you will need to find an extractor (or two depending on the number of hives) that can match or be close to your uncapping speed.

    If you are working alone and uncapping by hand.... you don't need a big extractor... you can only work so fast anyway. If you have a motorized unit.... you can continue to uncap while the first batch is spinning. If its a hand-crank unit... then obviously you can only do one of those functions at a time... (unless you have help)

    I harvested around 3200lbs this year and my bottleneck is the extractor. I have an older cowen uncapper and an old Kelley 12/21 frame radial extractor. The uncapper works fast and I'm left waiting for the frames to be done. Next year I plan on getting a second extractor so that even if one is spinning I can be loading the other.

    I think often people try to pick an extractor without thinking about how they plan to uncap. If you only have a few hives then it doesn't matter. The more hives you have the more efficiency you MUST build into the process or you end up with alot of idle time.

    These comments are more directed at someone looking at it from a business perspective (sideline etc). Time is money. Look at the entire process and plan ahead for potential growth before making a decision.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Randolph County, Indiana
    Posts
    694

    Default

    I have almost forty hives, and a 2 frame hand crank extractor. I need something larger, and motorized.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Pilot Hill, Northern CA.
    Posts
    811

    Default

    > Now if you are extracting in 40F temps, or if this is a new excersize plan (spinning??!!), then that is a different story...

    Right. Extracting times vary with ambient temperature. Can't talk about one without including the other. Sometimes I extract with a hand cranker in a 100 degree shed. About 1 or two minutes at that temp.
    Once you see the bandwagon, it's too late.
    www.goldfinch-acres.com

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,217

    Default

    A lot depends on how much money you have to spare and what kind of deal you can find on an extractor. In general I'll agree with Richard Taylor:

    "A comb honey beekeeper really needs, in addition to his bees and the usual apiary equipment and tools, only one other thing, and that is a pocket knife. The day you go into producing extracted honey, on the other hand, you must begin to think not only of an extractor, which is a costly machine used only a relatively minute part of the year, but also of uncapping equipment, strainers, settling tanks, wax melters, bottle filling equipment, pails and utensils galore and endless things. Besides this you must have a place to store supers of combs, subject to damage by moths and rodents and, given the nature of beeswax, very subject to destruction by fire. And still more: You must begin to think in terms of a whole new building, namely, a honey house, suitably constructed, supplied with power, and equipped....

    "All this seems obvious enough, and yet time after time I have seen novice beekeepers, as soon as they had built their apiaries up to a half dozen or so hives, begin to look around for an extractor. It is as if one were to establish a small garden by the kitchen door, and then at once begin looking for a tractor to till it with. Unless then, you have, or plan eventually to have, perhaps fifty or more colonies of bees, you should try to resist looking in bee catalogs at the extractors and other enchanting and tempting tools that are offered and instead look with renewed fondness at your little pocket knife, so symbolic of the simplicity that is the mark of every truly good life."

    Basically I'd say you can do fine without an extractor for up to eight hives or more. And then, if I were buying new, I would not buy anything less than a 9/18 motorized. Extracting two frames or even four frames at a time is far to frustrating for me and a four frame extractor is usually not half the price of an 18 frame.

    I held out for a 9/18 motorized. That was 2000 and I had been keeping bees for 26 years by then. But I stayed between 2 and 7 hives during that time.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Ohio
    Posts
    851

    Cool Re: Extractor Size for number of hives.

    Remembering back when I was a kid earlier today when talking to another beekeeper about this subject. I was show him an 80 frame Hubbard my Dad and Mom bought to replace the 4 frame crank extractor we used as a kid. Then showing the extractor we use now at days in replacement of the 80 frame Hubbard. The last year we used the 4 frame crank, we did just over 5 tons of honey. The big question is HOW HARD DO YOU WANT TO WORK????

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Carbondale, IL
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Extractor Size for number of hives.

    Originally Posted by riverrat

    buying an extractor is like building a garage. It doesnt matter how big you build or buy it still wont be big enough
    Quote Originally Posted by wbell View Post
    Or a workshop.
    Does anyone really keep a car in their garage?
    Last edited by Hamp54; 03-07-2013 at 03:13 AM.
    Where are we and what's with this hand basket?

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: Extractor Size for number of hives.

    In our third house, my wife finally parks in the garage. we have a 2-car garage attached to the house, so she finally has a spot for her car, and the other is for a couple of motorcycles and the kids power wheels and wagons. On any given day there is about a 3% chance of fitting a car into my shop...even though it is two story and could fit about 4 cars. projects take up space, and i always have projects. I do mostly metal work from forging tools and custom hunting knives to fabrications and one-off items. I was suprised to see how rapidly metal dust and welding fumes were replaced my sawdust and hundreds of langstroth parts.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Carbondale, IL
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Extractor Size for number of hives.

    I'm divorced so I don't have anyone to please other than my dogs. I've made great strides toward cleaning out my garage but at this point even a motorcycle would be out of the question.

    Concerning the original post…

    I'm slowly starting over in beekeeping after an 18 year hiatus and the only equipment I can lay hands on is an ancient hive tool and a bee brush. Back in the day I kept about 20 colonies and had what I considered a wonderful processing setup. It consisted of a 4 foot uncapping tank, a hot knife, a 20 frame radial Root extractor, a small unheated sump with wax baffles, a pump, a stainless straining box with a nylon mesh bag and a Kelley 40 gallon bottling tank controlled by a foot pedal. I wish I could have the whole thing back but such is life.
    Where are we and what's with this hand basket?

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,677

    Default Re: Extractor Size for number of hives.

    If you are just starting out I would advise most folks to try and rent borrow, or go to a friends house to extract. Most clubs have extractors they rent and most bee keepers are happy to have newbies come over and extract the same day they do their own honey. After a year or two you will know weather or not you are going to continue to keep bees and you will have a better idea of how many hives you may want to keep. Then you will have a better idea of what actually goes into extracting honey and which extractor will suit your needs. A 6 or 9 frame radial with motor will do a good job for most hobbyist beekeepers.

    If you buy a small two frame extractor and stick with beekeeping more than a few years you are likely going to out grow it pretty fast. The one good thing about extractors is that they pretty much hold their value and can quickly be sold.

    Not to derail this thread but, what happened to tecumeh? He use to post a lot right after I first joined the forum. When I saw him reply in this thread I knew it must be an old one.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lee\'s Summit, MO
    Posts
    1,300

    Default Re: Extractor Size for number of hives.

    Since my post back in '08 I've gotten up to 15 production hives and now have a refurbished electric 20 frame Dadant and a settling tank. I'll never go back to hand crank. Now I need an uncapping tank instead of the 2 uncapping tubs that I currently use. Emptying and cleaning them is not efficient, and you can't store many uncapped frames in them as the uncapper spins.
    Last edited by D Coates; 03-07-2013 at 08:43 AM.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,191

    Default Re: Extractor Size for number of hives.

    Quote Originally Posted by D Coates View Post
    Since my post back in '08
    WOW Same threat 5 years later

    I think I have out grown my 2 frame extractor and the funny thing is I havn't used it yet.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Lee County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: Extractor Size for number of hives.

    Quote Originally Posted by ScadsOBees View Post
    10 minutes per side?? Yikes!! Are you trying to get them completely dry?? That is 20 minutes for 2 frames, that would take an hour and a half to do one super! No, I don't agree with the timing!!!
    I agree with ScadsOBees. I have two hives & use a two-frame, hand-cranked extractor and spend a minute or so on each side of a frame. Usually takes most of an afternoon & evening working without a break. I don't get every drop but I let the bees clean the supers for a couple of days afterward. It's relaxing sitting in the back yard listening to the bees recoversome of their losses.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Perth Western Australia
    Posts
    184

    Default Re: Extractor Size for number of hives.

    I am a fan of tangential extractors. Have used a hand four frame and an electric 10 frame radial at the same time. Could process more frames with the 4 frame tangential per hour. Much less spinning time and cleaner frames.

    WARMING BOX
    I have also made a box to warm my frames. Uses the waste heat from my steam knife and steam from another pressure cooker. The box uses a radiator from an airconditioner, a ceiling fan to pull the air in and a ceiling fan (taped to reduce volume) on top of each of the three stacks of boxes. Have stacked up to four boxes high for the start of the day. best to only have 8 frames in a 10 frame box or 6 in a 8 frame box.

    Ceiling fans are in a frame so all air has to go through the fans.


    Makes uncapping and extraction easier.

    Geoff

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Seneca Falls, NY
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Extractor Size for number of hives.

    For me I wanted a larger extractor but didnt want to pay the big bucks so I compromised and got the Mann lake 18/9 radial hand cranked. It had free shipping so it was well worth it. At around $650 it was in my budget and I didnt see the need to buy it motorized for an additional $500. It only takes about 6 minutes to spin out the frames and its not like your constantly cranking it. It does quick work and is more than I need but I prefer to save time, which for me is more valuable than the $300 I would have saved by buying a smaller extractor.

    When I uncap all the combs I do it in a plastic box that is about 3 foot long and about 18 inches wide. Instead of wasting time cleaning up the box when I am done I take it outside and let the bees clean it up for me, and after a couple of days I go retrieve it and wash it out with warm water. I do the same thing with the extractor. I also take all the extracted frames and leave them outside for the bees in the sun uncovered.

    Basically the bees take all the honey from the combs, extractor and uncappings and store them in their hive. This leaves me clean equiptment and clean comb in the frames to put back on the hives or to store for later...

    I drain the honey from the extractor into a filter, and then a 5 gal bucket with a honey gate. when the bucket is full I put it on the edge of my bench and use it to botlle the honey.

    So total for me to buy equiptment to Process/bottle honey is around $750 bucks divide that by serveral years and it is very cost effective. The only thing I have to buy every year is bottles. Mann lake dosent have free shipping on BULK bottels so that is the only thing I buy from Betterbee because they have free shipping on bulk bottles (this year 2013)

    Last year (working the honey my self) I got 213 1 pound jars and 98 1-1/2 pound jars and it only took the weekend to do it, that included working the hives, uncapping, extracting, botteling, lebeling, and clean up (putting the supers away for winter).

    The larger extractor and letting the bees clean up the excess honey is a real time saver...
    Last edited by Greg755; 03-24-2013 at 01:14 PM. Reason: spelling

  19. #39

    Default Re: Extractor Size for number of hives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamp54 View Post
    Originally Posted by riverrat

    buying an extractor is like building a garage. It doesnt matter how big you build or buy it still wont be big enough

    Does anyone really keep a car in their garage?
    I ain't even got a garage, you can call home and ask my wife!



    (the older folks here will recognize that)
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,004

    Default Re: Extractor Size for number of hives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Modem View Post
    I ain't even got a garage, you can call home and ask my wife!



    (the older folks here will recognize that)
    Why would we believe you?

    You've gone as far as tearing Wallace stickers off of bumpers of cars!

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