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  1. #1
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    Default Help me please! My beeswax smells AWEFUL!

    I'm an art student who recently came into possession of an entire head (almost life sized) sculpted out of beeswax. It was given to me to re-use the beeswax in a project, but when I started to peel it down and melt the wax in a crockpot, I received a nasty surprise. There was a large part on the inside of the wax head that smelled just terrible (think fermented smell) and a few tablespoons of liquid seeped out. Also part of the wax is black and very hard. I really want to use the wax, is there any way to salvage it? Seriously guys the smell is headache inducing.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Help me please! My beeswax smells AWEFUL!

    "SULPHURIC ACID FOR CLEANSING DIRTY WAX.
    "Opinions differ as to whether it is advisable or not to use sulphuric acid in cleansing wax; the A. I. Root Company uses it and recommends its use. On the other hand, C. Dadant says “Don’t use any acids as it takes the smell of the bees out of the wax.” The two firms are the largest makers of comb-foundation in the world, so should be good authorities—it seems to be a case of “When doctors differ, etc.” The Root Company say there is no satisfactory way of cleansing dirty wax than by treating it with acid.

    "A suitable boiler half filled with water is placed over a fire; when the water boils put in the cakes of dirty wax. When all is melted, add the sulphuric acid, then let the fire gradually die down. When the dirt has time to settle the clean wax may be dipped off the top, taking care not to disturb the dirty water underneath. The proportion of acid to use is a half pint to 125 lbs. of wax.

    "Doolittle recommends one pint of strong vinegar in one quart of water to each 10 lbs of wax—the acid is far cheaper."--Isaac Hopkins, The Australasian Bee Manual 1911 edition Chapter IV

    http://www.bushfarms.com/xstar.htm#A...20Bee%20Manual
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Help me please! My beeswax smells AWEFUL!

    I'm guessing that what you have is Tallow.

    http://www.culinart.net/PrintCatalog...sculptures.pdf

    Beeswax alone doesn't carve as well

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Help me please! My beeswax smells AWEFUL!

    You can test it. Here's an excerpt from The Australasian Bee Manual by Isaac Hopkins:

    "ADULTERATED BEESWAX, AND HOW TO DETECT IT.

    "With the growing scarcity of beeswax during the past twenty years and the consequent increase in price, came the opportunity for the adulterator. At first the adulteration was carried on in a very clumsy style and easily detected, tallow and resin being chiefly used. But of late years the fraudulent imitation of the pure article has been so cleverly made that except by experts or by direct tests it could not be detected.
    The usual adulterants nowadays, and which are so difficult to detect by the uninitiated, are the ordinary commercial paraffins and ceresins, and for these the simplest way of detecting them is by the alcohol test. Too much reliance, however, must not be placed in it as it is quite possible that something else might be added to make the test unreliable.

    "Into a clear glass bottle pour a little clean water, then drop in a small piece of beeswax of known purity; the wax being lighter than the water, will float. Now pour in gradually pure alcohol till the wax slowly sinks to and touches the bottom, but no more. Then drop in a piece of the suspected article: if it does not sink slowly like the wax there will be every reason for believing it to be adulterated. When there is more than 5 per cent, of either of the two adulterants present the stuff will float, while the pure beeswax lies at the bottom of the liquid. "
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Help me please! My beeswax smells AWEFUL!

    Thank you for all the quick replies, I guess my best bet would be to test out the "beeswax" and see what it is if it is beeswax or tallow, then do that acid process to clean it.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Help me please! My beeswax smells AWEFUL!

    My suggestion is to throw it out.
    In my experience carving tallow that was made improperly was never worth the hassle of tryin to salvage. I'll look and see if I can find a recipe. Are you going to carve it? Mold it? Does it have to have bees wax?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Help me please! My beeswax smells AWEFUL!

    It doesn't have to be beeswax, I was just using wax for other projects and this became available. The bees wax doesn't affect the concept. I would feel so horrible throwing it out though since it was a gift. I'm planning on layering it over a plaster form to shape it, like painting it on while it's melted.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Help me please! My beeswax smells AWEFUL!

    This book is the bible of Garde Manger which includes the carving and casting of tallow.
    I couldn't find my copy but gave you a quick link.
    In the link they mention bakers shortening use Sweetex it has the correct texture and melt point.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=tk2...ed=0CDMQ6AEwBA

    This site may help

    http://www.culinart.net/tallow.html

    It's a very old school chef skill

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Help me please! My beeswax smells AWEFUL!

    Tallow seems very interesting, especially as an art medium. However after contacting the professor that gave me the beeswax she told me she had gotten it straight from the hive 20 years ago :/ I don't know what that means for what I have right now, but hopefully it's salvageable

  10. #10
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    Outagamie County, Wisconsin USA
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    Default Re: Help me please! My beeswax smells AWEFUL!

    Did the old beeswax have a frosty bloom on the outside? Should be beeswax then.

  11. #11
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    Nov 2013
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    Hollywood, Florida
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    Default Re: Help me please! My beeswax smells AWEFUL!

    It did, it was inside that lurked that noxious liquid and black powdery mold looking substance. I'm in the process of trying the vinegar cleaner since I can't get a hold of the acid

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