Being in Ca, you will probably save on shipping by buying here.
Will let you know how it all turns out!
I used 2 parts beeswax and 1 part rosin (66% wax and 33% rosin) and cooked them a minium of 10 minutes (that's bubbling nicely at somewhere around 250 to 280 F). I had no problems with clumping. The wood is hot and the wax and rosin run off quickly.
I don't know why I got such bad clumping - perhaps I did not wait long enough 'at temperature' for the rosin to dissolve - it was a sticky, clumpy mess kind of like melted sugar/caramel in the bottom of a glass of milk or ice cream. I also did not have my vat filled - I only had enough wax and rosin to fill up about 3 inches of a total vat that is 18 inches tall and suppsed to be filled to about 12 inches. I had to rotate the sides through to dip my boxes.
I'm getting a lot more wax and rosin in this weekend and will try again with a full vat and waiting much longer for the rosin to dissolve in the wax. I am still interested, though, to find out how little rosin is needed to pick up most of the benefits. Do you know where the 25%/75% (or 33%/67%) recipe comes from?
I used high melt-point 'hurricane wax' which has a 160 degrees F melt point. The vat was full and the rosin seemed to form a gummy residue on the bottom. Dipped boxes had occasional 'wisps' or raised 'spots' of dark-brown rosin but they flake off very easily and leave a much better and more uniform appearance than my previous effort at 25% rosin concentration.
I don't know where the original recipe for 25% gum rosin came from, but from my point of view the ration can easily be reduced to 10% / 90% with equally good (or even superior) results.
A further update on my experiements with wax dipping and gum rosin concentration.
I have dipped a few hive bodies in a gum-rosin concentration as low as 8.3% (a third of the recommended 25% concentration) and these hives came out nice and 'natural wood' light (close to the same color as before dipping) with no 'sticky' feel but a feeling of touching a wax surface which is just barely perceptible. From my point of view, 8.3% gum rosin is the lower limit on the concentrstion of gum rosin to add to the wax mixture to get an acceptable outcome.
I have also increased the amount of gum rosin to 12.5% (half of the recommended 25% concentration) and the difference is suprisingly dramatic. The wood still has a nice 'natural wood' finish but is noticaby darker than before dipping and essentiall appears to be the color of wood after it has been varnished (light brown/tan). There is no perception of touching a wax surface at all and instead, there is more of a hard and powdery feeling due to the particles of gum rosin on the surface (which can br scraped off without too much effort). At 12.5%, the color is still much lighter than when I tried dipping at 25% and there is much less clumping of gum rosin and the resulting dark spots than when I dipped at 25%. From my poin of view, 12.5% gum rosin is the upper limit on the concentrstion of gum rosin to add to the wax mixture to get an acceptable outcome.
So once again, I do not know where the original 25% gum-rosin concentration recipe originally came from, but from my experience and experiments I am convinced that 10% gum-rosin is a much more effective concentration with a target range of keeping the gum-rosin concentration between 8.3% to 12.5%.
>Thanks Michael. Why do you use a higher ratio of Rosin? Have you ever tried a lower ratio?
Since my "ratio" is as much by eye as anything I've had it vary a lot. But all in all, I like more rosin. I wouldn't mind 50/50. But 1:2 works ok.
>I don't know why I got such bad clumping - perhaps I did not wait long enough 'at temperature' for the rosin to dissolve - it was a sticky, clumpy mess kind of like melted sugar/caramel in the bottom of a glass of milk or ice cream. I also did not have my vat filled - I only had enough wax and rosin to fill up about 3 inches of a total vat that is 18 inches tall and suppsed to be filled to about 12 inches. I had to rotate the sides through to dip my boxes.
The temperature should be around 230 to 250 F and the boxes should cook for 10 minutes at that temperature. If the rosin is not melted, then the wax is not up to temperature. When it is there is no rosin that is not liquid.
>I'm getting a lot more wax and rosin in this weekend and will try again with a full vat and waiting much longer for the rosin to dissolve in the wax.
I just get it hot. I don't wait for it to dissolve. That would just get it hotter. There is the issue of it getting too hot and the boxes are what moderate the temperature as the water in them boils to cool things down.
> I am still interested, though, to find out how little rosin is needed to pick up most of the benefits. Do you know where the 25%/75% (or 33%/67%) recipe comes from?
I'd go for 50:50. I think you're going the wrong direction. But it probably doesn't matter. I just think the rosin is more durable than the wax.
There is some rosin dissolving into the molten wax mixture in my vat, because as I add more rosin, I get a darker brown color, but I definetly have a thick sludge of rosin coating the bottom of the vat. In fact, I've added a roasting rack to the bottom of the vat to lift the dipped wood off of the bottom of the vat so that the bottom of a box that has been dipped will not come out with the bottom edge coated with a layer of thick gummy rosin.
Would appreciate any feedback to understand if my rosin appears to be behaving very differntly than it should...
Last edited by fafrd; 05-07-2010 at 11:43 PM. Reason: fixed typo
>My vat is now full of wax and I am heating it up to 250 degrees F for at least 15 minutes before dipping. Even at my reduced rosin concentration of 10%, I still have a thick 'sludge' on the bottom of the vat that appears to be almost all rosin. Have you ever run a long board along the bottom of your vat, Michael?
> If so, does it come out with a clump of melted brown rosin dripping off the end, or is your vat mixture a uniform liquid without any sludge on the bottom?
No sludge. But then I have beewax and rosin.. perhaps it mixes better?
I do stir it with a stick when I add rosin or wax or both to get it mixed...
No one else has ever had the 'sludge' effect with gum rosin, huh? Any advice appreciated...
I dipped hives for the first time today.
Had similar problems as you first and second dip, until the temperatures got high enough. I've added rosin too early, so it fell to the bottom and i had to stir for it to dissolve.
When everything worked temperatures were 145-155 °C.
I may try heating higher to 280 degrees or so and mixing in the hope that this will help disolve my sludge.
If that doesn't work, sounds like I may need to scrape it all out with a piece of scrap wood and start over with some fresh gum rosin.
I don't want to paint as I like the natural wood finish, and I think a bit of rosin helps avoid a waxy finish and smells nice. From what I've seen, 25% rosin ratio in the mix is just too much.
350-375 degrees F seems quite a bit hotter than most of the recipes I have seen - why do you run it so hot and how long do you fry it at such a high temperature? I think I read somewhere that the flash point of parrafin is in the low 300's - aren't you worried about the safety issue at those high temperatures?
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I do not think the rosin does anything in this application but I used it because of the suggestions from Mann Lake. As I added more wax and it diluted down it seemed to improve the quality of the final product.
I also noticed some sludge at the bottom at all temp ranges. Just dipping in wax will give you a great preserved box that you will not have to worry about for decades. By then you will not care.
I found that it worked best between 230 and 250 F. Below 230 it doesn't cook very well. Over 250 F would be risky, in my opinion due to boil overs and fire hazard. This is 110 to 122 C.
How is everyone handling the boxes... how to you hook them out of the parrafin/rosin fryer? Does handling them hot, say with welding gloves or somesuch, leave marks?
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