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Thread: Wax processing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    2,758

    Default Wax processing

    I do my best to keep my wife into my beekeeping hobby. This means she gets all the honey she wants to give to friends and relatives, as well as come up with great cooking recipes. I've told her that I can save the wax for her to use in lip balms, candles, and soaps, and she got super excited.

    So I've been saving combs, mainly burr comb and old black combs that I cycle out, for her to use. I freeze it all for 48 hours and then put it in a big tub. Some of it is white, some yellow, most of it is brown or black.

    I havn't seen much about wax processing other than the cappings. Can I still use the darker brood combs?

    What's the best, and cheapest, way to process wax without buying expensive tools? (Id love a solar wax melter, but it isn't in the budget at the moment).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Outagamie County, Wisconsin USA
    Posts
    924

    Default Re: Wax processing

    A solar wax melter can be made cheaply using an old window and making a wood frame to set it on. Caulk up the gaps on the sides and also you could use a thin foam type insulation stapled to the top of the boards where the window frame meets the base. I read where it needs to be 79 degrees F. outside as well as sunny for it to work so use is limited to summer-like weather.

    Some people use crock pots for cleaning wax. You might want to check the "Products of the Hive" area on this site which there are many discussions on cleaning wax.

    I don't think there is much wax left in dark brood comb and I doubt that is food grade or cosmetic grade wax.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Westford, MA, USA
    Posts
    479

    Default Re: Wax processing

    I use an old cooler that I found on the side of the road on garbage day. Tossed the lid, painted the inside black, made a v shaped run off out of some left over aluminum flashing set that at an angle with the bottom end draining into an old metal bowl, covered the run off sheet with some hardware cloth,put the comb on top of the hardware cloth, covered the whole thing with an old storm window and left it outside in the sun. Works fine, be careful when you take the glass of, all the metal inside is hot enough to burn you.
    May have to cut the bottom off the hardened wax and pass it again to get rid of all the legs etc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,758

    Default Re: Wax processing

    So is the dark brood comb useless?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,068

    Default Re: Wax processing

    The dark comb still has wax in it and it is fine. Just run it through the solar melter.
    The black will stay where you place the comb.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon City, Oregon
    Posts
    991

    Default Re: Wax processing

    Just be aware that using old black comb you will not end up with beautiful yellow wax as in capping wax no matter how much you try....
    Honeydew

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,658

    Default Re: Wax processing

    I process the capping and clean burr comb seperate from the old dark brood comb. Use the light stuff for cosmetics and the dark for candles.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,758

    Default Re: Wax processing

    So when you process the dark wax in a solar wax melter, does it leave any of the color in the melter?

    I don't want to process some dark comb only to have my white comb end up "darker."

    I'll have to find the metal to line the solar wax melter with. Everything else I have.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,758

    Default Re: Wax processing

    Lol, odd thought, but what if I lined an old observation hive with tin foil, leaving only one of the windows exposed to the sunlight. Would that work?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Port Orange, Florida, USA
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: Wax processing

    I've been using a solar wax melter I made out of a styofoam cooler. All I did was take a plastic tray that fits in the bottom of the cooler and put a piece of hardware screen across it. Then I cut a piece of window screen and put it over the hardware screen, took a paper towel and placed it on top of the window screen and piled the wax up on it. There is no metal melting pan, just the wax sitting on the paper towel which is supported by the screen. The top of the melter is the top of the cooler with a hole cut in it and a piece of plexiglass glued to it with liquid nails. So far I have run about 35 lbs of wax through the melter and have not noticed any difference in the color of the wax from old comb or older caps. The only real difference in the wax color is if you get some real fresh caps during a flow which gives almost a white wax or if you get Goldenrod cappings which gives a bright yellow wax. All the gunk in the wax gets strained out by the paper towel and if you make the melter big enough you can toss frames in it to clean off old wax. It's cheap and easy to make, very low tech and you can run the wax through the melter as many times as you want.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,758

    Default Re: Wax processing

    Beeboy - do you have any pics you can share?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,938

    Default Re: Wax processing

    I melt all of my old combs in the solar melter. It gets out a lot of wax, darker than cappings but a nice tan yellow color. I go in the late afternoon and bang the cocoons off of the frame and wires into a nursery bucket. The frames are then ready for a hot pressure washer cleanup. I devised a method (after almost 40 years of melting) to run the wax through a nylon filter as it melts. The melter has an expanded steel basket, and I wrap this in filter cloth. This has given me a much cleaner product. I did about 60 gallons of cappings and 50+ old frames this summer, even in a cool year. I had nothing left to melt in August. The melting season started late due to a very overcast spring, last year 9/9 was the last day I got a good melt.


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