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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    South Hamilton, MA
    Posts
    32

    Default Wax dipping, wood polarity, and hardening oils

    I don't have enough space, or a large enough operation, for wax dipping. I learned about it because it seems efficient. Internet people have told me that wax bleeds out of wood, and additives are added to the wax to try to prevent this bleeding.

    I then thought that perhaps the wax bleeds out because wood is polar (hydrophilic). Perhaps the additives are amphiphiles (allow polar and non-polar molecules to mix, like soap does).

    I did some internet research on wood.
    main molecules: lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose
    I looked at molecular diagrams of these molecules and an electronegativity periodic table and determined that they all look polar. I've decided to assume that wood is polar.

    I then thought about hardening oils. The two I know of are linseed oil and tung oil. The advantage of tung oil is that it has more of the primary hardening molecule, and the disadvantage is that it is expensive. These oils penetrate into wood, and harden. This involves oxidation and polymerization (molecules linking together).

    Has anybody painted/dipped their wooden ware in tung or linseed oil, allowed it to cure, and then dipped the hives in pure wax? Did the wax penetrate more quickly than with conventional dipping? If my theory is correct, you cold paint your hives with tung/linseed oil, wait 1 year, wax dip them, and then after that you would dip them in pure wax when they get a bit weathered. I would like to know how often you would have to dip them. My guess is once every 10 years.
    USDA hardiness zone 6b

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,048

    Default Re: Wax dipping, wood polarity, and hardening oils

    dip them, then paint them.... problem solved. The issue is more with the wax being used. You need to get the mixture correct so it stays solidified and doesn't melt on a 100 degree day.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Santa barbara, CA
    Posts
    185

    Default Re: Wax dipping, wood polarity, and hardening oils

    Cucumber-
    Have the seen the youtube videos of people waxing their hives? It looks like they're boiling out the moisture and air from the wood and when they cool I imagine the wax is absorbed into the wood not just coating the outside. It seems to me that oiling prior to waxing would prevent the wax from penetrating. See YouTube link below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7N14X01xw8
    If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
    Abraham Maslow

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    790

    Default Re: Wax dipping, wood polarity, and hardening oils

    I have used bees wax on some of my turninings (on a Lathe). Put leather to it until the wood gets hot enough to melt the wax right into the wood. You can see the wax go into the bowl. As soon as the bowl gets wet you see all of the water marks. I have used tung oil on apple press and scratter that get hard abuse (and I leave it under the eves) the finish looks good but after a good cleaning and use I refresh it. Food safe finish and holds up well, although expensive. I have used oils and different varnishes and shellac for decks and chairs that I have made and even the marine varnish only lasts for a couple of years. I love wood and the look of wood but paint all my hives, I would love an alternative that would last as long. Bottom line I think the wax is pretty far down the list of things that perform well in my wet marine area.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,572

    Default Re: Wax dipping, wood polarity, and hardening oils

    Boxes are normally treated with a very hot mixture of beeswax and rosin (the stuff used on violin bows and by gymnasts). The wax makes it very water repellent, and the rosin makes it hard. Should last decades, and it can be painted too for added life.

    Tung oil hardens well, but deteriorates in UV light and turns to dust. It is not particularly waterproof, and is expensive. Linseed oil works fine, but is even more subject to deterioration by UV. Works very well as a first coat as it penetrates and hardens, and will become part of a coat of alkyd primer, making the primer adhere better to the wood. Primer is not UV resistant, so it needs a finish coat thick enough to protect it from the sun.

    Longest lived boxes are still those either wax and rosin treated or those treated with very good primer and painted. If you keep the paint on them, they will last longer than you want to keep bees. Let wood get exposed to the exterior, or water in the joints, and they will rot away in a couple years. Wrong place to save money.

    Peter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    980

    Default Re: Wax dipping, wood polarity, and hardening oils

    It's worth noting that that rosin is cured tree pitch.
    Wood apparently has an affinity for wood sap.

    Btw the heat and the melted pitch, it does in fact go deep into the wood when boiled at an appropriate temperature to boil
    water out of the wood.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,263

    Default Re: Wax dipping, wood polarity, and hardening oils

    any moisture is displaced and the wax is sucked into the wood. must be done outdoors unless you have good fire insurance. after treating all insulating quality of wood is gone. not good for wintering up north.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    bridgewater , nova scotia
    Posts
    785

    Default Re: Wax dipping, wood polarity, and hardening oils

    Why would it lose insulating factor ? There are all kinds of beekeepers wintering outdoors with waxed hive bodies and no one seems to complain about it. Only reason I ask is because I am going to start dipping my pallets and boxes ect..
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,623

    Default Re: Wax dipping, wood polarity, and hardening oils

    Lots of R value in 7/8 inch of wood?? Makes zero difference unless your comparing it to a steel box

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    bridgewater , nova scotia
    Posts
    785

    Default Re: Wax dipping, wood polarity, and hardening oils

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Lots of R value in 7/8 inch of wood?? Makes zero difference unless your comparing it to a steel box
    Exactly what I thought, I am going to wax dip anyways but I have seen someone write this before and wanted to know why exactly, how could it damage the woods insulation factor ? Even though wood is porous and it gets filled with wax, I still can't understand the heat loss reason. Someone may be able to shed light on this .
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,263

    Default Re: Wax dipping, wood polarity, and hardening oils

    If you pick up a dipped super it is heavier than normal. the wax that goes into the wood displaces air which reduces the r factor. think about it. wood does breathe. It may not be a large factor but it reduced the r factor. a solid piece of plastic would be about the same as a dipped super.
    they do last forever. I have had both and a ny fla beekeeper named art brew talked me out of going 100% to dipping.

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