How many hives? how many frames? how much time you want to spend? how much money you want to spend? For 3 hives the best uncapper is a knife, for 1000 hives maybe a Dakota Guiness or Cowen. Need more info to properly answer the question.
If you want to damage the least amount of the drawn comb as possible use a cappings scratcher. If you want to do it fast and have the least amount of hand scratching as possible a flailing uncapper is best.
With some modifications to the slip clutch and frame feeder, a Cowen can be made rather fool proof. The first ones(back when Datsun made mini pickups) where more rigid than the newer ones, but the newer ones(1980) had better comb guide features.
P.S. if the spring breaks, it is from an Air cooled VW, can't remember if it is 36 hp or 1600.
I have both, chain flail and a cowen. The chain flail, older model Maxant worked great on med frames, not so well on deeps. I think they fixed this with movable blocks, very fast. We now use the cowen, its fast and maybe 1 out of 1000 frames might get a little damage. good luck
If you get the Cowen it sure helps to use 9 frames in 10 frame equipment or 7 frames in 8 frame equipment so the bees draw the comb out wide. The Cowen blades don't reach down into the frame so it means a lot of scratching if not drawn out wide. The chain flail uncappers are much better in this respect.
I personally dont like the flail....to many little wax specks/ hard to get out if you bottle your honey> Its true you will have less scratcing, but he more you (deeper)remove cappings the more bees have to build back....this equals less honey. THe gunness uncapper puts alot of small piecesof wax in honey and will cut very deep especially new comb. Takes alot of honey to make wax...expensive!
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