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Thread: Uncapper?

  1. #1
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    Default Uncapper?

    I have 5 hives now and would like to grow to 20 . What would you suggest for uncapping electric knife or hand plan?
    Thanks for the help

  2. #2
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    Apr 2012
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    I was told the hand plane sucks. get yourself a sharp serrated knife and heat it in boiling water, dry it off and start uncapping, once it cools , just reheat it. I found my electric heat knife gets too hot and I have to keep unplugging it or it will start to bubble and burn the honey.
    Plus an uncapping fork will work too if you have the time and patience to use only that.

    Good luck with your bees and honey harvest.
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  3. #3
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    Athens, OH
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    I just tried a plane for the first time and won't be using one again. It was fast, but got too hot really soon and there was melted wax flying around. Much harder to clean up. I'm back to the serrated bread knife in a pot of hot water.
    Go to Heaven for the climate, go to Hell for the company. -Mark Twain

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    I used to have a heated knife but like someone else said, it gets too hot with no adjustment and the honey bubbles and carmelizes on the blade. I don't like heating my honey over about 100 degrees anytime, so this won't work. I currently use nothing but cappings forks, I have a few of them with uncapping tubs, so I get a couple family members to help and it goes fast. If you use a fork continuously, you get faster and faster at it over time, I can do both sides of a medium frame in about 1 minute most.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    Spoke to someone yesterday who swears by passing a heat gun over the frame, then drags a capping fork over and extracts...they say it works great.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    I tried the knife in water method, that sucked, tried a fork for a few years, alright but just not the easiest, I guess I really didn't like the fine wax scratchings and the occasional finger poking incident.
    I had an older guy that gave me an uncapping plane from the 50's or 60's I would guess judging by the Bakelite plastic switch.... I know he said he had it before I was born and I was born in 71 - anyhow it works good if you turn it on, run it hard for a bit, shut it off and repeat, otherwise it heats the stuff on the blade pretty good if it isn't going pretty consistently. As I have a two frame hand crank extractor currently it doesn't exactly make sense to rush things, I can't get too far ahead of myself........
    But the plane works good, goes evenly and covers a shallow in one pass so it is hard to beat for ease of operation. It also does them very evenly and I like that, sometimes with the fork things would get kinda messed up if the wax was real warm.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    cade10, no the capping fork is not the easiest, its probably the hardest and most time consuming way to do it manually, but as I said if you force yourself to stick with it, you will get better and quicker over time. The idea is to just peel off the cappings and not go any deeper. Don't just drag the fork over the cappings to scuff them up, that's not the way to do it. And yes, you do have to be careful about stabbing the fork into your fingers when you get to the top, keep them out of the way, it is quite painful when that happens.

  8. #8
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    Knox, Pa. USA
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    for many years I used and liked a thermostatically controlled hot knife, set hot enough to take the wax off but not too hot. It will still sizzle a little honey but if used properly, and not held in one spot it does not damage the honey as it passes over it quickly. only that little bit that stays on the knife between frames gets burned I always have a damp towel on the bench one swipe of the hot knife across the towel seems to take care of that.
    Whatever works best for the individual is the best method. I now use a chain un-capper.

  9. #9
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    Jul 2013
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    cleveland, tn
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    I saw a video on youtube of a guy using a hairdryer to quickly melt the caps and then he put them right into the extractor. Very quick and easy. What do you all think of that method?

  10. #10
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    Feb 2013
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    Apopka, Florida
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    Quote Originally Posted by D A V E View Post
    I have 5 hives now and would like to grow to 20 . What would you suggest for uncapping electric knife or hand plan?
    Thanks for the help
    Havent tried knife and hot water, can only assume that is messy, slow and frustrating. I have the electric knife and I think its a waste of a $100. The uncapping fork is ok, another thing I tried that seems to work pretty good is a brand new round hairbrush. You can roll it over the comb, if you find one that is hollow you can hold one end and put your finger in the other end so it rolls easily.

    The hairdryer isnt an option for me as my extractor is too big.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Uncapper?

    I am still using a cold uncapping knife and it works great for me. It does crush new comb if you don't saw with it a little bit as you push through the comb, but other then that I like it. The best part is...it's cheap!!

  12. #12
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    Apr 2012
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    Perth Western Australia
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    I like a steam knife. Heat is always consistent. Use a pressure cooker for the steam source.

  13. #13
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    Sep 2007
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    Hudson, WI USA
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    I'm mechanically inept so I vote for the uncapping fork.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    I saw a device in the Mann Lake catalog...a little drum with spikes that I suppose you roll over the capped honey.

    Does that thing work or just make a mess?

  15. #15
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    Have you seen the price ? it is crazy expensive.

    http://www.mannlakeltd.com/beekeepin...ct/HH-226.html
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  16. #16
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    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    I think WBVC was talking about a small hand held roller, probably in the $40-$50 range. Not all that expensive. I do not think she was looking at the same item you were Ben.
    If I was to have only 20 hives, I would probably use a scratching fork and use it as such, scratch not try to lift wax off surface. Makes for a lot of wax flakes but they will float to the surface of the honey in the settling tank.
    I worked for a guy and used a hand planner. I liked it fine, got pretty good at it. It does overheat at times. A cloth to wipe off the burnt honey worked fine.

    Jean-Marc

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    If you use a steam knife it straightens up the comb so the bee space is maintained each time you return the frames to the hive.

    I prefer a steam knife as it does not burn the honey and the temperature is always constant. If you have good comb, it is very quick. Slower of old black brood comb which I discard after I extract.

    Geoff

  18. #18
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    Great Falls Montana
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    I find the electric knife best for my small needs. I too like to flatten out those fat combs and have a good start for next year. It keeps you going fast so the knife doesn't heat up too much. To keep it from scorching honey, I just plunge it deep into the cappings and that gives me time to scratch too thin comb or do other little things. After the extractor is loaded, yes, you must remember to unplug it. If I could find a steam heated knife like I used to have long ago, I would love it! Does anyone make them now?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Bend Or
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    22

    Default Re: Uncapper?

    I use a hot knife with a foot switch so I can adjust the temperature by turning it on and off with my foot. Works well for me, I also do not need to think about unplugging it between batches. The foot switch is only on if you are pressing on it. (Momentary not latching)

  20. #20
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    Indian River, Florida
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    Default Re: Uncapper?

    Don't sell the plane short on performance, it is awesome and if used properly it will not harm any honey by overheating. You can also adjust the depth of the cut which is a feature that will help eliminate gouging. I use my Silver Queen with steam operated blades, it works well but sometimes I will use the plane if I am running a few frames and have no need to start the Silver Queen up. Learn how to use the plane and you will be surprised at how good it really is.

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