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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Delhi, La.
    Posts
    33

    Default Cleaning Beeswax

    How do you go about cleaning beeswax to send it and have it made into foundation? I have about five pounds of wax but it still has a little honey in it. I don't have an extractor yet so I had to crush and strain the honey out of it. Never done the wax before. Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Austin, Texas, USA
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    Just add the wax to a pot of water (make sure it is a totally disposable pot because it will never be the same) bring the water to a boil and scoop out any crud that floats to the surface once the wax melts. After the wax is all melted and the impurites removed turn off the heat and let the pot cool. The wax will float to the top and solidify. Turn over the pot over the sink. The wax should pop out easily since it contracts as it cools and the water below it acts like a lubricant. You can repeat this process over and over with fresh water to remove more and more sugars and lighten the color of the wax. When the desired purity is achieved melt the wax, without water in the pot, (to drive off any water that may have become emulsified in the wax) and pour into molds or use to coat equipment. I will often use a wire window screen cone with a papertowel laid inside to strain smaller particles from the molten wax. Or you can just let that stuff settle to the bottom and carefully pour off the clean wax. I believe they call that "decanting" in alchemy terms.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,652

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    Beeswax reacts with iron, and possibly aluminum. I would advise only using a Stainless steel pot. I prefer to melt my wax outside, away from the house. For the final melt, use a double boiler. NEVER put a pan of wax on direct heat, always have enough water present.

    Roland

    P.S. Most foundation trade in wax is not checked over real closely. Scrape the layer of dirt off the bottom of the cake. If they don't like it, they will deduct a pound or so. AS for color. anything shade of yellow seems OK.
    Last edited by Roland; 12-10-2010 at 11:33 AM. Reason: it needed it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,067

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    Never leave the room!

    Remember, bees wax burns if it get too hot.
    When you are ready to directly welt the wax:
    Consider an ele. fryer with a thermostat you can control. Start low and move it up. Much safer because a drip or spill can't hit the burner and start burning.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    717

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    Two methods. Wrap your wax in cheesecloth. Weigh it down with a brick or other heavy object in a large pan of water. Heat the water and the wax will surface through the cheesecloth. Remove from heat and wax will solidify. If you have a very large crock pot you could do the same without the cheesecloth and less energy used to heat but add a little water so that the debris will go to the bottom of the crock pot. OMTCW

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    ALWAYS melt your wax in a double boiler set up, and never directly over the heat. It is also much safer to use electric heat, rather than gas.
    You can also filter it through an old t-shirt.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Dothan, Alabama
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    How do you filter with the tshirt? Do you pour the molten wax through the tshirt into something? I always melt mine in water then pour through window screen (water and all) to filter larger particles. The wax never seems to come out very light, always has a dark tint to it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    I place my rinsed wax into a paper towel but I beleive a t-shirt will do. This is placed and wired onto the top of a stanless pot. I place this inside a chilli-bin that is spray-painted black on the inside. Simple sheet of glass over the top, a few hours of sunshine and its done! Cloth or paper towel soaks up impurities. Once its all melted through I take off the filter and pour into a suitable container/mould. Helps to trim off the excess filter material around the pot otherwise the wax can wick and drip outside of the collector pot.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Bradenton,florida. usa
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    I use a crock pot from thrift store $ 5 works fine if you add a little water. Strain with cheese cloth if you want nice looking wax use an old shirt.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Ohio
    Posts
    860

    Thumbs Up Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    If you do it right you can save the melter honey too. If you do it in water you lose all that honey. Which you would be suprised in how much honey is still in the cappings or combs. For small scale I would use like StevenG said. A double boiler will not burn the honey to bad. For foundation it don't need to be the cleanest. Filtering makes a mess, it's best to skimed the stuff that flows and let the pot cool into block.
    I do it in a little bit bigger scale for we produce over 3000 lbs a year. Our tank has a honey drain to keep honey drained.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    900

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    After I drained my wax cappings as well as is possible I place them in a 20 litre bucket with lots of 6 mm ( 1/4 inch) holes in the bottom. This bucket is now placed in a similar bucket without any holes. Both buckets are put in my car which is parked in the sun.
    After a sunny day most of the honey has drained away ( into the bucket without holes!) and there is no change in colour or taste. It workes for me and I find it easier then washing cappings.
    These near dry cappings I place in a large SS tub ( it is actually an old sing with the rim cut out) and this tub is placed inside an even larger SS tub ( another old sink)

    I fill both with water and heat the water above a wood fire.

    I'm amazed by how clean the wax comes out. I don't mix " clean" cappings with dirty old foundations. The lump of wax I get out of this process will have some dirt at the base which needs to be scrapped off. I send the rest to be processed into new foundations and the processor told me that I'm to fussy - meaning the wax does not have to be this clean.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    900

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    An alternative to the above posting:
    The wax from the bucket ( nearly dry) is placed in plastic ice cream containers. The containers are put into a polystyrene box. A sheet of glass covers the box ( you have now one or two containers with wax inside the polystyrene box)
    I place the glass covered box in the full sun. By about mid-day ( on a hot day) the wax will start to bubble. I pour 1 liter ( 1/3 US gallon) or so of hot water on top.
    Dirt will sink in the water.
    On the next day I take out a ( still warm) block of near perfect wax with some honey below ( I don't use it) and some dirt which can be washed off.
    It is very easy and during hot weather I have generall two boxes on the go.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam View Post
    How do you filter with the tshirt? Do you pour the molten wax through the tshirt into something? I always melt mine in water then pour through window screen (water and all) to filter larger particles. The wax never seems to come out very light, always has a dark tint to it.
    I use a solar wax melter to process my wax. Old frames, comb, etc etc. I'll take a single layer of old t shirt, lay it over the wire mesh in the solar wax melter, then put the comb and junk in, and let the sun do the work. The cake of wax comes out real nice, and all the junk is left behind. Downside is the t shirt fabric does absorb and hold wax. Some folks have said they then roll the t shirt up, cut it into pieces, use those pieces as fire starters in the winter. I kinda wish I had an old wax press to press the wax out. Cappings I don't have to filter thru a t shirt.

    If I cut the large solar melter cakes up for melting as candles or for blocks to sell, if there's debris in the wax for some reason, I take a piece of t shirt, lay it in a kitchen strainer. I'll melt the wax in a double boiler, then pour the molten wax thru the t shirt strainer into the molds I'm using. Gives real nice clean wax.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
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    2,310

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    I highly recommend using nylon strainer cloth. The 128 thread count from Dadant works well and almost no wax is lost. In fact, usually the little bit of wax that dries to the cloth comes off as a flake and can be remelted. I reuse the cloth. The cloth can be boiled if you want to clean it for reuse, but pouring hot wax on a used filter, simply remelts the wax left over from the previous time without any problems.
    I have found that a bungee cord can be used to affix the cloth to a 5 gallon bucket for straining. It is usually a good idea to make certain that some hot water remains under the wax so the slum gum is easier to remove and the wax block falls out better after cooling.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    2,280

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    HVH, sounds like an excellent idea! Thanks! (though my old t shirts are free, I do hate losing that wax...)
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
    Posts
    2,310

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    Free is nice but I am too lazy to do anything the hard way if it is avoidable. Old nylons work and can usually be had free of charge, but a few yards of white nylon cloth has so many uses that it just makes sense to keep some handy. I use the nylon cloth for filtering soup stock, making cheese, and just about anything else that requires filtering - not to mention honey.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    I've stuffed cappings into my wife's (just wanted it clear they weren't mine!) old nylons, but it doesn't seem to be woven as tight as the nylon filter you've mentioned, and I've used for honey.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    1,398

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    First I give my cappings back to the bees. If in a 5 gallon bucket, I fill it no more than 1/2. But I like using those large plastic containers that you can get anywhere (Dollar General, Wal-Mart, Lowe's). They come with a plastic top and are about 6 inches deep and probably 20" by 32". These I fill up 1/2 way or a little more.

    The bees go through the cappings until nothing is left. I will occasionally stir it up to move around the honey that is still at the bottom. But when doing so I often find bees already down there under a couple inches of wax cappings. I leave these containers outside but under cover so that the cappings don't get soaked and bees drown. When finished there is just dry wax.

    Use a home made solar melter in the summer. Wooden box, glass, paint cans (used plastic ones are okay when cleaned), and either cloth, paper towels, or those industrial blue paper towels that are super strong. Put water in the can(s), tie the cloth/towel around the can with it sinking some into the can. Add the wax and let it go. Have the most beautiful yellow to yellow/orange wax in the cans. Just don't stick you hand in the water to retrieve the wax. You will sometimes scald yourself the water is so hot. Wait till nightfall or flush out with fresh water.

    This winter I am taking cappings and comb from frames that have been destroyed by WMs and SHBs and melting it down in an old crockpot. This crockpot is rectangular. metal. has a glass cover and sits on top of an adjustable heating plate.

    I have put the cappings/comb in it many times on the lowest setting and left it there overnight. The next day I turn it up a couple of numbers and let it get completely liquid. I usually am doing something else and when I remember I go back several hours later and check on the wax. I will have liquid wax, "sludge", leaves, etc. The wax is usually at the bottom. It there is a lot of sludge I skim much of it off. I then pour the liquid wax out of the metal crockpot into a paint can as described above. Just leave it alone and over several hours the wax gradually goes into the water leaving behind what I don't want. I have done this recently when the highs were in the 40's and it still worked fine.
    De Colores,
    Ken

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC
    Posts
    1,106

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    Brushy Mtn sells plastic filters that fit inside 5 gallons buckets that I use to strain honey. Any reason these would not work to filter wax?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Lovell, WY, USA
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Cleaning Beeswax

    Here is my set up-

    Put a bunch of dirty wax in a pot of water and heat until all the was has melted and all the gunk floats to the top. Scoop off the gunk and let the whole thing cool- the wax will solidify on top. The wax will still not be completely cleaned but the honey ends up dissolved in the water.

    I then filter the wax by filling a bowl half full with water, place paper towel across the top and hold it in place with large rubber band around the rim of the bowl. Place the bowl in a crock pot (one that you will never use for cooking) and break up some of the wax from above onto the paper towel. Put the lid on the crock pot and turn it on to its lowest setting (keep warm on ours). Wait a few hours and the wax will melt, filter through the paper towel, and float on the water below. Remove the bowl form the crock pot and let it cool- you are left with nice clean wax.

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