Filtering wax
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Thread: Filtering wax

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    748

    Question Filtering wax

    I have some really messy combs I want to melt down. Messy because they contain dead bees and brood. What is the best way to filter wax when you melt it, for this kind of stuff.
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancÚe's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Hall, Georgia, USA
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    323

    Default Re: Filtering wax

    A lot of users recommend stretching an old T-shirt or paper-towels across a pot of some kind, set the wax on top like a trampoline, and melt the wax slowly (solar... a box with a glass lid, or an oven set very low... around 160). In a few hours you will have gross stuff on top of the shirt and clean wax below. Some people put an inch of water in the pot bottom so the wax floats. let it solidify and fish it out. The world's simplest solar melter would be an old beer cooler with a sheet of glass on it. There are more complicated designs all over the web.

    I bought some fryer filter cones. These are like giant coffee filters and restaurants use them to filter french-fry grease. I think they work great. Search on Amazon for "Fry Filter". The 10" size is big enough and cheap. Each one costs 20 or 30 cents, and you can throw them in the trash when done. (Don't use commercial fry filters as smoker fuel... they are made of rayon).

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Yuba County, California, USA
    Posts
    6,567

    Default Re: Filtering wax

    I use a 5 gallon paint strainer bag. Works great for me.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Hall, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    323

    Default Re: Filtering wax

    Yunzow, I reread your original message.

    For comb that messy, find an outdoor method; it will stink for sure. Solar might be best. Or throw the comb away. If there is rotting brood in it, I doubt the wax you could extract would be worth the smell or the labor.

    You always get a lot less wax out of dark comb than you think. It can be depressing when you boil and filter a pot full of black comb and end up with a sheet as thick as a tortilla. It can make you wonder why you wasted your afternoon doing that.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,306

    Default Re: Filtering wax

    I have cleaned wax that was full of drone brood and cocoons and all sorts of nasty things. It does smell bad. But, what I do is boil it in a large pot with aboutr a quart of water, then strain it through an old tee shirt as already mentioned. There will be a huge pile of junk compared to the amoumt of wax. Once cooled, lift the cake off the water and process as usual. Even the really gross stuff will produce some nice yellow wax.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,294

    Default Re: Filtering wax

    i had been using an old electric deep fryer with water in the bottom and straining with a 5 gallon paint strainer, but i'm cleaning wax this way now:

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...r-than-factory

    it's less work and doesn't make as much of a mess.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,968

    Default Re: Filtering wax

    Solar melter for first pass. It comes out amazingly clean. I used to use a deep fryer, but it stunk and was generally a mess. With the solar melter I generally scrape out gunk as it accumulates, but the slum in the melter seems to catch a lot of the garbage, without a filter. Then I can use the fryer to melt it in water for final cleaning. I only use wax for applying it to plastic foundation, not candles, etc, so I don't need it as clean in the end.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    camden, tennessee, USA
    Posts
    308

    Default Re: Filtering wax

    I have been melting wax for the last two days. Two nice chunks so far... All together maybe about 3 lbs.

    I started with an old clear storage tub with a piece of glass from an old screen door over it. The wax pan is just an aluminum pan I had laying around with some holes punched in one end and I lined that with two paper towels and piled the the old wax on top of the towels. I used a small plastic container with about two inches of water in it to catch the clean wax.

    It didn't work very well at first...

    Didn't seem to get hot enough so I stretched a black plastic garbage bag inside the tote and put it back together.

    Works like a charm now though I'm sure an old cooler painted black on the inside would be much more efficient.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    West Chester, PA
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: Filtering wax

    I just started filtering wax this year. I boil the raw wax a couple of times and scrape the waste off the bottom when it cools. I then filter it through cheese cloth to get the final clean wax.

    The cooled wax after the cheese cloth filter has a bottom layer the color of the wax above, but not firm like the regular wax. It is very soft and seems like wax ground to the size of sand. It doesn't seem to stick together like normal wax. I can easily scrape it off with my hive tool. Is this more waste matter or something I am doing wrong? It was about 10% of my final yield. Please advise if this is expected and if it is useful for anything.

    Thanks!

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,306

    Default Re: Filtering wax

    I think that wax still has residual moisture in it. Try heating just the grainy stuff and let it cool undisturbed. I have had the same problem before also.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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