This is my third year beekeeping and my first year extracting (I spent the first two years focusing on increase.) I picked up a 6 frame (radial, I think) extractor and an uncapping tub and 'extracted' my first supers (3 shallows, to be exact) for the initial test run. Things seemed to go well (I'm still alive and I did get some honey - @ two-thirds of a five gallon bucket - not a ton, but I'm happy with it), but I have a few questions.
1. Uncapping : when I was finished uncapping, some of the honey had seeped through the screen and into the bottom section of the uncapping tub. There was still honey in the wax, so I decided to put the clear top on the uncapping tub and put it in the Sun. The rest of the honey seemed to drip through (with some of the wax) and I strained it into my five gallon bucket. Is this how other folks do it? Or do you just put the cappings (with the honey still on them) in the wax melter?
2. Spinning : the thing came with no real instructions on how long to spin the frames or how to do it. When I amped it up to 70 at the start, the thing would begin to shake all over the place, so my process was to start at 40 for a few minutes, then go to 60 for a few more minutes and finally to 80 for a few more minutes. It appeared as if I got all of the honey, but am thinking I probably spun for longer then I needed to. What process to other folks use?
3. Post Extraction : I now have a 5 gallon bucket, 2/3's full of honey, that has been sitting for a day and a half. I was planning to bottle it tonight. I noticed that a film has formed on the top. Do folks try to get that out or just pour the honey until it gets to the last inch or so and restrain that top part? What's the general philosophy at that point?
4. Bottling : when I bottle it tonight, I assume that I just let it pour out through the spigot, filling each bottle to the top and then put a top on it. Should be ready to go, right?
1) Uncapping - I do mine the same way. Put it in the sun, skim the wax, and then strain into a 5 gallon bucket.
2) Spinning - Start off low and slow. It appears you have an electric. Just do some trial and error. Go at about 25 percent for a minute or two, then kick it up another 25 percent for another few minutes... maybe even let it spin while you decap the next depending on your setup. There is no need to kick it into high gear, and it can in fact damage your wax very easily.
3&4 sort of go together) I restrain myself from bottling anything that goes to a paying customer that comes from that part of the pour. When you fill the bottle, make sure you cannot see air (hold it to the light) between the top of the honey and the bottom of the cap.
I extract about 10 westerns a year. this is how i do it.
First i use a uncapping fork.it takes a little longer then a hot knife. but I don't get much wax
in with the capping'. I buy nylons for $.99 and fasten one to the outlet on the extractor to filter
out all the wax and bee parts. I put a pasta strainer on a 5 gal bucket under my Extractor.
it comes out real clean.
I start out slow on one side. then change sides go slow first them sped up I go about 1 minute fast
then go to back to the other side.
I have a old small freezer with on unit in it. I put light bulbs in it for heat.
if you warm it a day or two before you bottle it you won't have bubbles in it.
Hope this helps.
The 'setup' is really only the extractor and the uncapping tank (I cannot attest to the value of the latter yet, but I can definitely attest to the value of the former.)
Ranger Extractor for 6 Meds or Shall - @$800
Uncapping Tank - @$100
I went in with my Pop and my cousin on the extractor.
You can get an extractor for less that does fewer frames, but I had a bunch of folks tell me that you will outgrow the 2 frame one quickly and the price difference between 4 and 6 was not enough, since we were splitting it between three.
I only have 6 honey producing hives this year (out of 24). Next year (God willing), I will have @30 hives with over 15 being honey producers, so I figured that I needed a decent sized extractor.
Of course, I'll probably lose all of my hives this Winter and not have needed it after all....
If you are just wanting to clean up the cappings I know some people who put it in front of the bees and let them clean it up.
Others say this encourages robbing but I do have friends who do it with no ill effect.
The stuff that just has a thin film on it we just use for ourselves. of course I am just starting last year was my first extraction.
I ordered a 6 frame Maxant for a similar price. (their hand crank in sale right now and can be upgraded later to electric) I am not what I will do for an uncapping tank. Friends used a dish tub with heavy screening used to make a dish to keep the cappings up of the bottom of it.
The other thing you need to have a complete setup is soemthing to uncap with, an electric planer, cappings knife or fork for scrapping. I am getting an electric planer to tryout.
Western is deeper than an Illinios/medium and shallower than a deep.
Time and a little warmth will settle the air and contaminants to the top, leave them alone until you start getting trash in the bottle, then strain everything after that.