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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    2,735

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Not trying to in any way be rude
    Not rude in anyway nor have you disrupted this thread - you're graciously sharing your experience. Thank you!

    The veteran I was working with really does have 40 years experience, but at a hobbyist/sideline level. Your comments suggest that despite his experience he was not very proficient with the tool. I will say that he was fiddling quite a bit with the temperature control on his knife, which really slowed him down. Could have been that I was kicking his butt so badly During this session, he let me try his hot knife and I was not totally taken with the experience and quickly returned to my cold knife. I realize that not all hot knives are of equal quality, and that you called out the "Master uncapping knife", but do you know of a current vendor that offers a high quality knife similar to what you are referencing?
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Keller, Tx
    Posts
    334

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Haraga View Post
    What about Kelly's electric vibrating knife. Would that work for you? Maybe someone on here has some experience with one.
    We just bought one and should be extracting our 1st large honey flow at the end of June. Let you know our 1st experiences.
    "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies." - Thomas Jefferson

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    534

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by lupester View Post
    We just bought one and should be extracting our 1st large honey flow at the end of June. Let you know our 1st experiences.
    Please post back to this thread when you have a result. It's impossible to follow all threads, and watch for new ones on various subjects. Uncapping isn't going to be a big issue for us this year, but it's going to start to be an issue by next summer. My thoughts differ from a lot of folks here, if I'm going to put money into uncapping, I'd rather have a capital asset with resale value, than pour similar dollars into a payroll, which ends up gone once the cheques are cashed.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    2,735

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by lupester View Post
    We just bought one and should be extracting our 1st large honey flow at the end of June. Let you know our 1st experiences.
    Great. Please post your impressions here. It would be awesome if you could take a video of your process and post it here!! There are a few videos out there, but it would be great to see one from an active beesource member.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    2,785

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    I can support Mr. Lyon. The modern uncapping knife is a joke compared to what was available in the 60's. I can remember one that had 2 heat ranges, and a "nesting" pad. When on the pad, it was on simmer, but when you picked it up, it was all business. Yes, it did alot better job than the uncapping machine, but was harder on the individual.

    Crazy Roland

  6. #26
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Castle Rock, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    269

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    The chain upcapper I saw in action was very functional. The gentleman had a very nice setup (direct mounted over a cappings spinner), and ran it that way for years.

    If I were to ever get back up to around 100 hives, mine would probably go into the loop. As soon as the basket got an initial layer of cappings, the spinner would start removing many of the fine wax particles which you were concerned about. ( I see that hand uncapping into the spinner).

    'Just didn't want my comments to be misconstrued as negative. I've almost always enjoyed hand upcapping. My chain uncapper came as part of a package deal, and I just never got large enough to want or need to use it. It would be one more piece of equipment to maintain, clean and sterilize each year. I should probably just sell mine, as I have no plans to ever get that big again.
    After 35 years, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    2,735

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    compared to what was available in the 60's.
    So nobody is making good quality knifes these days?
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    I am also looking for uncapping for 100 hives and have been looking for the Maxant Uncapper-Spinner combo unit. You can see it on this page:

    http://www.maxantindustries.com/uncapping.html

    It sounds like what Colobee has been talking about. The Silver Queen is about the same price, but then you still need an auger or something for the capping and a spinner to keep up.

    I know I could uncap by hand, but I work another full-time job, so my time is a very limited resource.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
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    2,735

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by zhiv9 View Post
    I work another full-time job, so my time is a very limited resource.
    Me too. I think Jim Lyon's perspective is that a good hot knife is as fast (possibly faster) than some types of automation, with much less equipment to deal with. I'm just not sure I could ever get that good at hand uncapping.... Seems to take for ever right now. Perhaps Jim will invite me to SD for the summer to learn the craft of hand uncapping?? I could see him starting me out with a set of chop sticks trying to catch bees by their wings, then move me to polishing the extractors (wax on, wax off) Just kidding Jim.

    Regarding prices, I think the Silver Queen is quite a bit more than the basic Maxant chain uncapper with spinner. The uncapper is about $2400 and the Junior Capping Spinner is about $1500. So, for about $3900 you could get the very basic system. Some sort of tanks to hold cappings and uncapped frames would be very helpful too. The Silver Queen alone is $6150, then you would need a heat source, capping spinner, plus other tanks, etc., which would likely drive it up near the $10k mark pretty quickly.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    Regarding prices, I think the Silver Queen is quite a bit more than the basic Maxant chain uncapper with spinner. The uncapper is about $2400 and the Junior Capping Spinner is about $1500. So, for about $3900 you could get the very basic system. Some sort of tanks to hold cappings and uncapped frames would be very helpful too. The Silver Queen alone is $6150, then you would need a heat source, capping spinner, plus other tanks, etc., which would likely drive it up near the $10k mark pretty quickly.
    Yeah, I was looking at the combo unit with the chain uncapper mounted on their larger spinner. It's ~$6000 list, but saves transferring the cappings from a tank under the uncapper to the spinner by hand.

    My other job is with an automation company that build's one-off manufacturing equipment for the automotive industry - this likely gives me an unfair bias towards automation, but also a good understanding of the importance of process flow and the folly of handling anything more times than you have to.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,572

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    Me too. I think Jim Lyon's perspective is that a good hot knife is as fast (possibly faster) than some types of automation, with much less equipment to deal with. I'm just not sure I could ever get that good at hand uncapping.... Seems to take for ever right now. Perhaps Jim will invite me to SD for the summer to learn the craft of hand uncapping?? I could see him starting me out with a set of chop sticks trying to catch bees by their wings, then move me to polishing the extractors (wax on, wax off) Just kidding Jim.

    Regarding prices, I think the Silver Queen is quite a bit more than the basic Maxant chain uncapper with spinner. The uncapper is about $2400 and the Junior Capping Spinner is about $1500. So, for about $3900 you could get the very basic system. Some sort of tanks to hold cappings and uncapped frames would be very helpful too. The Silver Queen alone is $6150, then you would need a heat source, capping spinner, plus other tanks, etc., which would likely drive it up near the $10k mark pretty quickly.
    Well your certainly welcome to stop in our extracting room, though you might get put to work, unlike the Cobra Ki we won't "sweep the leg". Actually we haven't hand uncapped since the 1970's, my skills have eroded a bit.
    If you can find an old Woodman 45 frame extractor they can be easily retrofitted to use as a capping spinner though they do require cleaning out by hand, a job that takes 20 minutes or so. The reel is perforated metal that works perfectly for drying cappings, so all that is need is a bottom and a rim about 4" wide fitted to the top of the reel to keep the wet cappings from sliding up over the top as it begins to fill. The problem, though, is unless you are hand uncapping directly into the spinner you need a way to get them transferred from under the uncapper up into the spinner. A custom auger would do the trick but in stainless may cost you around $5,000. The small Maxant would be far less money as the much larger Cowen spinner runs around $9,000. Some type of large tank with a hardware cloth bottom will actually do a decent job of draining out your cappings if they are warm and clear. We used to do that some ourselves. Just use a pitchfork to take off the cappings after they have drained overnight.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,246

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    astrobee
    sorry for not getting back to you quicker. my uncapping plane is over 20yrs old and made in canada. I suspect that they are all made by one or two companies. they do not hurt your wrist like a knife does. we have used a cowan uncapper, plane, knife and kellys vibrating knife. I have seen operators in fla that uncapped with the kelly unit go faster than the uncapper. to get full benifit from an uncapper you need at least two people. with an uncapper you need at least twice as much work space.we were running 1200 hives with the uncapper. now we run about 200 hives and a plane or kelly unit works for us now. good luck

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Lyndon, KS
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    I love my Maxant uncapper. I bought it a couple years ago. it is an older model with the non adjustable pillow blocks but it does an awesome job for my one man 100 hive operation. i dont think i would ever go back to a hot knife again although I have it. I would recommend it.
    You have to stop and smell the roses......but please watch out for my bees.
    www.johnwaynehoney.com

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Central CA.
    Posts
    531

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Haraga View Post
    What about Kelly's electric vibrating knife. Would that work for you? Maybe someone on here has some experience with one.
    I have one and it works great. Mine is homemade with Kelly parts. The blade is about 3 ft high. I don't use the motor to make it vibrate anymore, it's too loud and it works just as good without it. So basically it is just a hot knife. Hold the frame in both hands and slide it across the blade. The cappings fall into a bin below. I can uncap faster than my helper can put the frames in the extractor. I have at least 300 hives making honey, probably 600 total.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,735

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Flewster View Post
    I love my Maxant uncapper.
    How do you manage the cappings?
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Louisburg, NC
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    Astro;

    I am just south of you and run 200 hives. I have had a Maxant chain uncapper for 15+ years and it works fine. I have 4 large 'totes' that I put a wooden frame in the bottom of (2" high_ and set hardware cloth over that. I put a honey gate on one end of the tote. I uncap half a day into the tote and switch it out. The cappings drain just fine in the tote and I set it up on 2 upended hive bodies and let it drain into a 5 gallon bucket. The new Maxants have adjustable pillow blocks so you can adjust the cut, unlike my old one. It is just the right height that you can use a scratching fork to clean up what the uncapper misses or use the fork for partially capped frames. The problem with electric knives and planes is they will soon kill your forearm and hand and if you don't keep them running they will scorch honey and the chain uncapper and fork will never scorch honey. I get a premium for my honey and I don't want high heat anywhere near it. I feed a 24 frame and a 36 frame extractor with the uncapper and the extractors are the bottleneck, not the uncapper. For a one man operation like me the uncapper is some of the best money I ever spent. I just finished up last night using it for about 2 weeks straight at night with no problems. Send me a private note if you want to talk.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,785

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    Yes, Astrobee, the knives of today are aimed at the hobby market, not the commercial market. The old knives, when you picked it off the cradle, had about 2-3 time the heat of the modern knives, but simmered as soon as you put htem down. From memory, less than 2 seconds a side where needed, with minimal effort on white comb. I believe htey are no longer made because the market disappeared with the invention of hte uncapper.

    Crazy ROland

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,572

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    Yes, Astrobee, the knives of today are aimed at the hobby market, not the commercial market. The old knives, when you picked it off the cradle, had about 2-3 time the heat of the modern knives, but simmered as soon as you put htem down. From memory, less than 2 seconds a side where needed, with minimal effort on white comb. I believe htey are no longer made because the market disappeared with the invention of hte uncapper.

    Crazy ROland
    Interesting insight that may explain a lot as I don't have any experience with what is currently being sold. I have a box full of old uncapping knives. Perhaps they are more valuable than I realize. Yes, 2 seconds a side. I wanted to say that but thought it sounded a bit too much like an exaggeration so I fudged a bit. We never used a cradle but always laid a nice little pile of wet cappings off to the side that you put the blade in when you laid the knife down so that it wouldn't overheat on you as you needed them adjusted hot enough for continuous use. I really miss the clean bottom bars we had in the days of hand uncapping, it made for easier frame spacing the following year.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  19. #39

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    I use the PIERCE Speed King uncapping knife and am very satisfied with it.

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,785

    Default Re: uncapping for 100 hives

    Hey Jim, just for grins, is there a wattage rating still visible on one of the old knives? Be careful , it may be in roman Numerals.

    Crazy Roland

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