Ok, the good news is I'm going to get some honey this year. Bad news, I don't have extracting equipment and moved away from the bee club that had it for members' use (new club doesn't).
I'm needing to keep costs down as much as possible since I was on a medical leave for 2 yrs after surgeries, and am now back working, but it will be a while before I'm really having income again. At the sByame time, I believe in getting the best quailty possible and not having to "rebuy" later.
So, just for instance, say I had $1000 for equipment. Is it best to put everything I can into a nice extractor with a larger capacity? Or to get less capacity and buy an electric knife, uncapping tank, etc. What all do I actually need? Has anyone rigged their own uncapping tank? I looked at the plans here on BeeSource, but that tank may be beyond me at the moment. I've never extracted before, so it's hard for me to know how to make a temporary version for this year of that type of thing, when I've never seen a version period of it and so don't know how they're put together or even what components you really need. I've heard I could make do with a bread knife for a year. Feasible? By next year I'll be able to buy the rest. I also thought about getting a hand crank that would later convert and give me flexibility on power or not, but the best deals seem to be on power units for the more quality machines. I'm hoping to get a Maxant. Brushy has a special on a 9 frame hand crank with all the rest of the gear, that I could later convert, but it's an Italian model and lacks features, so long term probably wouldn't be as good a deal. I thought of the Mann Lake 18/9, that gives a lot of frame capacity and doesn't cost much to convert, but have pretty much ruled that out now, because I read about people having issues with it not having enough power, and they didn't seem to stand behind it like I know Maxant does.
So, those of you who have been there, could I get away with not buying the uncapping stuff for now and get the Maxant 20 frame? Or get the 9 frame and a few of the other tools? Which tools are most important? Also, how hard are the units to move around by yourself? Is there a big difference in size (weight is not as big an issue)? Anything else I should keep in mind?