Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 25
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Neodesha, Ks
    Posts
    623

    Default Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    Anyone using a heat gun to uncap their Honey? Tell us your results and which you prefer, plain knife, Hot Knife, or Heat Gun.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    992

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ View Post
    Anyone using a heat gun to uncap their Honey? Tell us your results and which you prefer, plain knife, Hot Knife, or Heat Gun.
    We used a heat gun for the first time on our last harvest. Worked fine. The heat gun was really nice on frames that were not real thick. Having never used a hot knife, I can't offer any insight there. All things considered, we plan on using the heat gun at next harvest.

    HTH,

    Shane

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Strafford, NH, USA
    Posts
    410

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    I wasn't real excited about the heat gun. I had lots of missed, or melted and re-sealed cappings in areas I know I had gone over.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    989

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    This was suggested on Forum so I tried it. I didn't think it worked well, as the cappings tended to melt and reseal quickly. I ended up having to cut or scratch the heat gun areas anyway after the gun usage. The melt wax on top of the cells tends to make the honey heavy with capping wax. Heating enough to prevent recapping ended up melting the cell walls down (or excessively softening areas of the frame).

    I have stacked up suppers in a "Bushkill bee-vac" design and used a hair dryer/heat gun on the lower vac hole to heat the entire stack to >95 F. The warm comb cuts quickly with any knife (electric fillet, electric capping, serrated bread knife). Preheating the stack is a great approach.

    If your honey is near crystallization, the heat from the gun might help it empty, in many cases I think you oversoften a section of the hive as the heat is way above melt temp of wax.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,477

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    I had the same results as JW. The wax cools before it drips off the comb and reseals. I think if heat guns worked well, everyone would be using them.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    houston, tx
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    Ditto JW's experience. Never again.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,638

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    Ditto, could never get the heat, distance, temp correct. Gave up. I may try again next year. I think the key is to have the supers warm, ie 90-100F and to move quickly.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    longton, kansas USA
    Posts
    606

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    tried a heat gun on half a frame and went right back to the hot knife. had the same experience as everyone else. we also load 9 frames in 10 frame supers so we have no problems cutting the wide cappings off and leaves a nicer frame for putting back on the hive

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,124

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    It can do a quick job on frames with dry cappings; wet cappings no. It does tend to float a thin film of wax over the honey that may rupture and extract OK but I gave a few quick swipes with the capping scratcher. This year I have a new heated knife and like the way it leaves a level comb surface. Things get much easier after the frames have been drawn and extracted a few times and are full thickness. I didn't find the heat gun to be a silver bullet.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    Put the hot knife away this year and went back to a decapping fork. With fork, one gets very little honey with cappings. Heated knife is messy and need to drain the cappings.

    Then use a serated saw blade to trim the empty comb down to width of frame.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    I had good success with a heat gun. But I've read where older comb is harder to work with. I was a terrible gouger with a knife. But I may go back to the knife if the heat gun quits working.
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,638

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    I use a sharpened chefs knife dipped in near boiling hot water between frames. Makes very quick work of frames. Cappings fall into a catch pan with strainer, basically a small table with a recess in the middle. If warm enough most of the cappings are strained by the time im down extracting. Then just a little squeeze in a nylon bag. Not very much work at all

    To avoid tearing keep the cutting edge clean of wax. I may tear 1 out of 10 frames. Frames look nearly perfect after spinning.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Auburn, NY
    Posts
    500

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    The heat gun thread.. Comes up now and again. I use it successfully and found there area few key things and it works quite well. You need a good heat gun. I have a wagner 2 power settings, with a dial of 0-9 temps settings. I happen to have this laying around. Starting at the top of the frame and having the gun fairly close to the frame, move in a left to right or right left SLOWLY then down slightly the next pass. Any wax that has dripped and resealed will be gone over the next pass. A good extrator will extract most of the honey, even if its partially capped off still. The wax continues to move down the frame to the bottom. You end up with melted wax on whatever surface you are melting on. Not a big deal but take note. Works very well, little mess, frames intact, and some leftover honey on the frames. Its also very very quick. In the spring when its time to super, my opinion, it draws the bees up into the frames and gets them going quicker. Less for them to fix, as mostly only the cappings are damaged. I will continue this method until comb becomes tough and difficult, if that does happen. No cutting the cappings and placing in a container and letting drain. Simply heat and extract.

    Also I did not find excessive wax in my honey. I have a strainer and it worked fine.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Fairfield, CA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    I've used a heat gun the last couple of years. What I've found is that it works really well on clean white cappings. With those, just enough heat melts the cappings and they get wicked back to the cell walls. With older, darker cappings it doesn't work so well. I have to melt more wax, but as Dan said above I just keep moving the heat gun down the frames so the wax moves to the bottom. Uncapped 80 frames over the weekend and had almost no wax cappings to process. Makes the job a lot nicer in my opinion.
    Last edited by vaughnm; 09-23-2013 at 11:47 AM. Reason: removed extraneous signature
    Mike

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Walker, LA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    Is there any reason I couldn't use the heat gun on a knife, then use the knife to do the uncapping?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    989

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    Quote Originally Posted by wombataholic View Post
    Is there any reason I couldn't use the heat gun on a knife, then use the knife to do the uncapping?
    No, but warming the knife with a canning pot of hot water is simpler and trouble free. It washes honey and wax off. If you have a couple of knives in the pot, one is always ready to go. Heating a knife would cook the propolis onto the knife, making it gummy and sticky. You want it clean and driping with a light film of hot water. Heating a knife with a 1000F heat gun is going ruin the temper.

    My prefs on uncapping in order is:
    Electric fillet knife
    old Carbon Steel butcher knife at fresh boiling water bath temp and honed on stone to razor sharpness.
    serrated bread knife
    Electric Uncapping knife ( I find them heavy, and awkward to use because of the offset in the handle)

    I cut the frames flush with the top bar-bottom bar plane. The bees have to repair a bit because this cuts deeper than absolutely necessary.,

    Not so much
    Uncapping fork
    heat gun
    Last edited by JWChesnut; 09-23-2013 at 03:46 PM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    DesAllemands, Lousiana
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    I use a fillet knife. The thin blade slices right through the cappings in one quick swipe. I extract a lot of honey and a fillet knife is my choice

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Neodesha, Ks
    Posts
    623

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    Vaughnm, Dan, NY &Slow Modem. What are the wattage, Temperature of the heat guns that you are using. I tried a heat gun over the weekend and it didn't work very good. Maybe I wasn't doing it right? It left quite a bit of honey in the frames. Maybe I need a heat gun with a higher wattage, temperature. I would like not having so much capping's to contend with.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Auburn, NY
    Posts
    500

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    Mine is a 1500 Watt (Maybe 1200 I dont recall) and I set it on the high power at the temp setting of 7-8. I tweak it a little if its not melting right I turn it up. Its hot enough if the air blows on your fingers, which it does some, it will burn them if you dont move them quickly. This gun is used to heat/melt old varnish off wood. It needs to be hot to do this as you can imagine.

    There is some honey left, dont get me wrong. Not every frame is bone dry. But I dont mind this and its not TONS left. I think its enough to give the girls a little boost next time you put the frames on. I dont have to worry much about feeders as I know I have something for them to get started with and draw them up into the box. I find this much less time consuming and worry free. Are you spinning by hand or electric? My guess is a good electrtic will spin better, in this situation.

    I actually happened to forget my heat gun once and used a hair dryer believe it or not. It didnt work so well, but it did get the job done ultimately. I had my handy salmon slayer (fillet knife) that day as well and worked a few frames with that. I found it was very easy to cut comb too deep and spill honey all over. I broke out an old working hair dryer and it was easier on the combs as well as easier in general. Not terribly efficient but still better than the fillet knife, for me anyways.

    Good luck to all. Hope this works out if someone tries it.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    989

    Default Re: Uncapping with a Heat Gun;

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan. NY View Post
    I had my handy salmon slayer (fillet knife) that day as well and worked a few frames with that. I found it was very easy to cut comb too deep and spill honey all over. .
    Uncap over a basin, drain the capping through a screen in the cleanup stage. I use a "warming pan" from a commercial buffet table, it has a perforated inner pan that strains the big stuff off. I have several and rotate these as they fill.

    Use a pivot point ( sharpened stainless bolt) to pierce and hold the frame ear, this allows you to hold the frame with one hand and pivot it securely to cut both sides.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads