Why didn't my beeswax harden after rendering? Its very mushy.
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Prunedale, California
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    Default Why didn't my beeswax harden after rendering? Its very mushy.

    Hello, this is my first time rendering wax from my bee hives. I used the double boiler method of melting the wax. I filtered it through a cheesecloth into a container. The rendered beeswax never hardened, its like a mushy slush which will shift if I tilt the container. There are three layers, a whitish layer on top a middle layer and a little left over honey on the bottom. I did everything that I read about or watched on rendering beeswax. I was hoping to make some lotions, balms and salves as Christmas gifts.


    What did I do wrong?


    Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Richmond, VA UNITED STATES
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    Default Re: Why didn't my beeswax harden after rendering? Its very mushy.

    you need to boil it in a water bath. That removes all the sugars. Chop it in chunks, set at medium high heat, and stir, then when it's clear, turn off the heat and set aside and don't touch it until the next day. Then, you'll pull out the wafer that's floating on top.

    Next, you set it out to dry, then shave off the bottom - the part that was in the water, until you get solid wax. Then you're good to go. The shaved off stuff you can add to next year's batch. You want to clean off the bottom until there's no dirty residue. At this point, you could heat it again in a double boiler and pour through a coffee filter for a fully refined wax.

    rob.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Prunedale, California
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    Default Re: Why didn't my beeswax harden after rendering? Its very mushy.

    Thank you Rob, so just put the glob i have from last time in the water and boil till clear. I will try this tonight.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Richmond, VA UNITED STATES
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    241

    Default Re: Why didn't my beeswax harden after rendering? Its very mushy.

    yep.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Why didn't my beeswax harden after rendering? Its very mushy.

    If water, wax and honey are in just the right proportions and perhaps boiling the three can form an emulsion similar to soft soap. It happened with identical results to my son. It can be difficult to break down the emulsion once it happens.

    The more honey, less water solution has a higher boiling point than a mostly water bath; that may be part of the reason it happens. We did not try to reproduce those results to find out why. I use lots of water and have not had it occur.
    Frank

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
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    2,095

    Default Re: Why didn't my beeswax harden after rendering? Its very mushy.

    what was the amount of cappings your working with? It takes quite a bit to amount to much.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Rib Lake WI
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    1,705

    Default Re: Why didn't my beeswax harden after rendering? Its very mushy.

    When I did my wax I used a ice cream pail ful to the top of cappings. I put it in a kettle of water on low heat the water did not boil. It takes a little longer that way but it separated very nice from the honey . Melted the wax again in the pail with water in the pail.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Cullman, Alabama, USA
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    1,240

    Default Re: Why didn't my beeswax harden after rendering? Its very mushy.

    Quote Originally Posted by RobWok View Post
    you need to boil it in a water bath.
    I don't want to argue with any one, since I am so in-experienced, but, I was cautioned not to get the wax too hot, as it "(would darken it)". Color probably doesn't matter for this application though.
    Last year, I put scrap wax in cheese cloth, or "t-shirt cloth" , then when melted pulled the bag up & let it drip back in the pot.
    I processed the bagged slumgum multiple times.
    thanks for the tip about coffee filters, I had not heard or thought of that
    CE
    Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,761

    Default Re: Why didn't my beeswax harden after rendering? Its very mushy.

    I've had that happen when there was honey in it. The honey sort of emulsifies it. A water bath, as others have said, will get the honey out and that should fix it. Cook it with some water in the pot with the wax.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    1,433

    Default Re: Why didn't my beeswax harden after rendering? Its very mushy.

    Quote Originally Posted by tech.35058 View Post
    I don't want to argue with any one, since I am so in-experienced, but, I was cautioned not to get the wax too hot, as it "(would darken it)". Color probably doesn't matter for this application though.
    Last year, I put scrap wax in cheese cloth, or "t-shirt cloth" , then when melted pulled the bag up & let it drip back in the pot.
    I processed the bagged slumgum multiple times.
    thanks for the tip about coffee filters, I had not heard or thought of that
    CE
    I used a section of panty hose leg to do the fine straining.

    Made a loop in a piece of wire and twisted the free ends together to form a handle. Similar to the handle of a fly swatter except the grip is formed to a larger round circle. Cut a piece from the leg and slip it over the ring and get double filtering. Poured the liquid wax through and with double straining it is very clean.

    Worked very well. No need to cut the bottom off the wax and melt it again with next batch.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Brazoria County, Texas
    Posts
    323

    Default Re: Why didn't my beeswax harden after rendering? Its very mushy.

    squeez as mush honey as possible through cheese cloth or a nylon paint trainer. Warm room in a paint strainer hanging over night most of the honey will drip out.
    Then find an open area preferably a fair distance from your colonies and spread the cappings on plywood or a flat surfcae. Stir it a few times as the bees will gather all the remaining honey.It will be like fine shredded leaves but slightly sticky once its ready to render.
    Solar melter works great for a nice clear wax with very little residue to scrape away.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Tacoma, WA USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Why didn't my beeswax harden after rendering? Its very mushy.

    Quote Originally Posted by tech.35058 View Post
    I don't want to argue with any one, since I am so in-experienced, but, I was cautioned not to get the wax too hot, as it "(would darken it)". Color probably doesn't matter for this application though.
    Last year, I put scrap wax in cheese cloth, or "t-shirt cloth" , then when melted pulled the bag up & let it drip back in the pot.
    I processed the bagged slumgum multiple times.
    thanks for the tip about coffee filters, I had not heard or thought of that
    CE
    I too am ultra careful about the temperature the wax is allowed to go to. When it is overheated, it loses the antimicrobrioal properties.

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