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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Marquette, MI, USA

    Default Wax Processing questions

    I have been saving my wax cappings and burr comb I scraped off. Finally getting to the point where I can do something with it.
    I am planning on building a solar wax melter soon.

    - How do you remove the residual honey/impurities/particles that are in the wax?

    - Do you combine darker color wax with the white wax? I have white, yellow, darker yellow, and near-brown wax (more propolis I presume).

    Year 2 Beekeeper

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Madison, WI, USA

    Default Re: Wax Processing questions


    Here is what I do that seems to work, I am still working out ways to make this more efficient:

    I use a big pot on the stove instead of a solar melter (a "canning" pot, enamelware, used only for wax).

    Three-step procedure:

    1. Melt the wax cappings etc just as they are, remove from heat and let the wax harden overnight. It will shrink away from the sides of the pot.

    2. Remove the solid wax disc, rinse the residual honey off in water. Re-melt the wax this time with water in the pot. Again let it harden overnight.

    3. The wax will now be much cleaner than when you started. Remove the wax disc and melt one more time, this time just the wax in the pot. While still melted, pour the wax through a strainer (I just use a kitchen strainer that I use just for wax) into an empty plastic container (like a cottage cheese container). Let it harden and it is ready to use for whatever you want to do next.
    life is finite while knowledge is infinite. - Zhuang Zi

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Fort Wayne, IN

    Default Re: Wax Processing questions

    CAUTION! If you heat it using a gas stove wax is extremely flamable!!!!

    Also if you want really clean wax, in your last step line the strainer with a paper towel and run the wax through that. Even the dark wax will come out nice and yellow.

    I use an old crock pot to do the heating, you just have to keep an eye on the temperature until you learn how it works. You can pick them up real cheap at yard sales or re-useit type thrift stores.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Cupertino, CA, USA

    Default Re: Wax Processing questions

    I use a homemade solar wax melter. I use a square tin with window screen basket on top with cloth on top of that, and put the wax in that. Melted wax and residual honey go through the cloth into the tin with the honey on the bottom and a layer of clean wax on top. If the wax was from crush and strain, I pour the honey out through the side cracks in the cooled wax and save it. Then wash the wax and it is ready to remelt and pour into molds. My cheap wax melter from aluminized insulation board

  5. #5

    Default Re: Wax Processing questions

    I like solar melters. There’s no risk of overheating and discoloring your wax. I keep four going at any given time. I only harvest cappings wax. I would advise you not to mix your cappings wax with any dark wax. You will likely ruin the good stuff. I rinse my cappings wax in cold water and drain overnight. Melt in the melter. Scrape the gunk off the bottom and any on the top of the resulting block. Wrap in clean, white cotton and melt again. It is a lot of work but produces beautiful, fragrant blocks of wax.
    Good luck.
    Here are a couple of blocks from this spring. The photo doesn’t do them justice…the lighting was poor.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Warrior, Alabama

    Default Re: Wax Processing questions

    Melting bees wax in your house is beging for disaster.

    Use a solar melter. If you want lighter wax run it through several times.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA

    Default Re: Wax Processing questions

    Quote Originally Posted by jrbbees View Post
    Melting bees wax in your house is beging for disaster.
    Yeah definitely do it outside. Run it through coffee filters or paper towels or paint strainers to clean it, but do it outside if only for safety reasons. I have a 10 gallon aquarium that is turned upside down on top of a piece of plywood cut to fit the top. It gets the wax flowing quickly.
    Zone 5a @ 4700 ft. High Desert
    Beekeeping Facebook Page

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Clackamas Oregon

    Default Re: Wax Processing questions

    I took my bur comb, all nasty and black with a bunch of larvae in it (we are talking nasty here more bees and propilis than wax) in a big wok, added a gallon of water, tbl. of vinegar, boiled rapidly. I then dump it into a pan through a nylon that was stretched over the pan. Let cool. When it cools the wax is the pretest white over the top of the water that you would believe. As you melt it the second time the vinegar smell melts off. Since it is boiling in the water the fire is not an issue that I am aware of.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Santa Monica, CA, USA

    Default Re: Wax Processing questions

    My method is similar to above, but a little bit easier (to me). It is described in details here:
    Briefly - I collect all wax into mesh plastic bag with some weight to keep it under the water. Place it into suitable pot with water and heat. Do not boil! Wax will exit the bag and form a layer on the top. Trash will stay in the bag and will be used as fertilizer later. When cool-down - you have nice cake of wax. I find it is pure enough for my purpose.

    Note: we had quite long discussion on beesource regarding pesticides in the recycled wax. One of the useful fruit, which comes out of the discussion was that some pesticides are sensitive to UV light. So, solar melter with plastic window (not glass!) could help to reduce a little bit the amount of pesticides in the melted wax.
    Last edited by cerezha; 07-27-2012 at 06:37 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Crenshaw County, Alabama

    Default Re: Wax Processing questions

    Here's a few of shots of some wax I melted using paper towel filters with the liquid wax dripping into an inch of water. Really cleaned the wax up.

    These first two photos are of some cappings wax. This was before I found out to let the wax cool down as slow as possible...I hurried it up by taking it out of the melter into an air-conditioned room. Nice color.

    These last two photos are of some comb wax that had pollen, propolis and some cocoons in cleaned up nicely, too, though a bit darker than the cappings wax. This wax was allowed to cool slowly in my very simple "Rinky Dink Styrofoam Wax Melter" and the result was a solid piece of wax with no big cracks.

    The photos of the bottoms in both sets of pictures show the wax as it came out of the scraping or cleaning was done to any of the wax after it cooled.

    Worked good for me.

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