Using a Filter Press to purify beeswax
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Waimea, HI, USA
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    Default Using a Filter Press to purify beeswax

    While scouring the internet, I've seen a number of references to a method of purifying beeswax that uses a filter designed for the maple syrup industry. The device is called a Filter Press. I bought a filter press last year and have done some test trials with very poor results. I can't find any detailed description of how people use the filter press for beeswax. So I would be thrilled if someone could explain how the filter press can be used to clean beeswax. Here's some questions that will help get the discussion pointed in the right direction.

    1) What temperature do you heat the wax to, before filtering?
    2) What filter pore size (the paper filters) do you put between the plates?
    3) How much diatomaceous earth do you use to coat the filter papers...if any??
    4) How long do you recycle the wax through the filter before it's considered good to go??

    Regards,
    Michael

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    Thurston County, Washington, USA
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    Default

    I have no direct experience with using a filter press to filter beeswax, but applying the principle of filtering parrafin, but using the melt/flow properties of beeswax, it should work. This is all just speculation on my part though.

    You would have to be able to maintain the wax at a minimum of 150 F, but at no higher than about 180 F through the entire filter cycle, anything higher than 180 begins to change the properties of beeswax.

    I personally wouldn't use diatomaceous earth because it removes a substantial percentage of the properties of beeswax that people find desirable, such as color and scent.

    The micron size of the filter paper you could use would be inversely related to the temperature you can maintain.

    The choice of size would also be related to the percentage of pollen you are trying to filter out, as pollen ranges from approx. 2.5 to 200 microns with the majority between 6 and 100 microns. So, the smaller the particle, the higher the temperature you need to maintain in order to not suffer premature clogging of the filter medium.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Westchester NY
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    237

    Default

    Here is a great video about a traditional wax press, maybe you can adopt some of the basic methods from this.


    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nBLQwYw_wIU
    Pachysandra King of the Ground-covers!

  5. #4

    Default Re: Using a Filter Press to purify beeswax

    Michael,
    I have heard the same thing about a filter press being good for filtering beeswax. What brand filter press did you buy? And have figured out how it works?
    Ben

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Using a Filter Press to purify beeswax

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben77 View Post
    Michael,
    I have heard the same thing about a filter press being good for filtering beeswax. What brand filter press did you buy? And have figured out how it works?
    Ben
    I have tried using the filter press to purify beeswax, but I have not yet figured out how to make it work. Here's the one I purchased: https://www.leaderevaporator.com/p-4...ter-press.aspx.

    I know it can be done, but I've been unable to find anyone who has done it. The press is designed to be used with diatomaceous earth, which gets sucked up onto filter papers to act as the filter, but pumping the wax through that is very difficult. Maybe just the filter paper would be enough?? I would warm up the filter press first, by pumping hot water through it, then switch to the wax. The pump struggles to push the wax through the filter. It would be great to hear from someone who has done this successfully.

    Michael

  7. #6
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    Feb 2019
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    Sherburne County, Minnesota, USA
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    Default Re: Using a Filter Press to purify beeswax

    flying4fish
    Maple producer here. Filter papers are likely going to pack and seal up without DE. I would try it. I don't see how it could change the properties or color of the beeswax, its just a filter. If maple papers are too fine there are other micron sizes available to fit the press. Leader may be able to direct you to a supplier. Either way it WILL work. you just need the right combination.

    If you try it, do not leave any waste where your bees can get at it. DE will kill them
    Last edited by CanadianMountie; 02-15-2019 at 06:25 AM.

  8. #7
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    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: Using a Filter Press to purify beeswax

    The Dadants would know exactly how to do it, but unlike some people I am descended from, are smart enough to not give away the farm. Yes, it can be done, it is now your turn to put in the sweat equity.

    Crazy Roland

  9. #8
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    Jan 2012
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    Waimea, HI, USA
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    Default Re: Using a Filter Press to purify beeswax

    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianMountie View Post
    flying4fish
    Maple producer here. Filter papers are likely going to pack and seal up without DE. I would try it. I don't see how it could change the properties or color of the beeswax, its just a filter. If maple papers are too fine there are other micron sizes available to fit the press. Leader may be able to direct you to a supplier. Either way it WILL work. you just need the right combination.

    If you try it, do not leave any waste where your bees can get at it. DE will kill them
    Beeswax has lots of dirt, pollen, bee parts, cocoons, etc in it when it is raw. Purifying it is necessary for use in candles, lip balm, etc. We get it pretty clean just by melting it in water and allowing most of the contaminants to sink into the water...but there is still some grime in the wax that we want to get out.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
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    Default Re: Using a Filter Press to purify beeswax

    Use a steam press.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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